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COVID-19 Hits Hot Docs

Empty Cinema Seats, image,
Seats at the Ted Rogers Hot Docs Cinema.

COVID-19 Hits Hot Docs
by Staff

(March 14, 2020 – Toronto, ON) The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an impact on the Canadian film industry. In addition to the postponement of the Canadian Screen Awards and Canadian Screen Week, Hot Docs has announced that they too will be postponing this year’s festival, which was scheduled for April 30-May 10 in Toronto.

The decision by festival organizers follows Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer having called for the immediate suspension of gatherings with more than 250 people and also having learned that many companies are placing restrictions on their employees’ attendance at large events.

In a media release from the festival, they stated, “We remain committed to bringing these outstanding documentary films to our audiences and are currently investigating ways that we can do so at a later date. We also intend to replace the onsite industry events, scheduled to take place during the Festival.”

Hot Docs is turning to technology to rescue part of the festival’s activities and plans have started to bring together filmmakers, producers and industry decision makers in an online environment and to virtually deliver the event’s valuable pitch presentations and one-on-one meetings. Each year, Hot Docs brings together audiences of over 220,000, along with thousands of filmmakers and industry delegates from over 55 countries.

They concluded their statement with, “While we are deeply disappointed by having to make these announcements, these decisions were made after consultations with major partners, stakeholders, and local public health authorities. Our team is currently reaching out to filmmakers, audiences, registered delegates, partners, funders, suppliers and other stakeholders involved with the 2020 Festival. We will continue to provide updates as details of our planning to bring the outstanding documentary films to our audiences become available, and to deliver the event’s valuable sessions to filmmakers, producers and decision makers.”

Meanwhile, Bern Euler, founder and Executive Director of Toronto’s Canadian Film Fest announced that this year’s festival has also been postponed.

As Euler stated in a media release, “We are following the advice of our experts, and that means presenting the CFF at a later date.. And, “We’re working with our theatre partner to figure out the best dates so that we can all celebrate the fantastic films of our incredibly talented filmmakers in a safe environment and as soon as that’s figured out, we’ll let everyone know. We will reimburse all those who have purchased tickets and please stay tuned for our announcement of new dates.”

Also see: Hot Docs online.
Also see: Canadian Film Fest online.