Hot Docs 2013: A Little Different

by James McNally on April 19, 2013 · 2 comments

in Documentaries,Film Festivals,Hot Docs

Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival 2013

So, the 20th edi­tion of the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival starts next week. And nor­mally by this time, I’ve posted sev­eral pre­view posts talking about the films I’m most excited about. Why not this year? Well, I’m very pleased to share that I’ll be working for the fest­ival this year. I only found out about a week ago, but I’ve been busy pre­paring and that might explain my absence not just here, but on Twitter as well.

I’ll be doing the intros and Q&A ses­sions for about 20 films over the festival’s ten days (April 25-May 5, 2013). Even looking at my schedule makes me tired, but it’s going to be a great oppor­tunity to meet film­makers and to help them enjoy the fest­ival and the city. I’m hon­oured to do it, but I have to admit it’s a little strange, too. The job of fest­ival pro­grammer can be divided into two halves: the pre-festival job of screening sub­mis­sions and eval­u­ating whether they’re festival-worthy, and then the work during the fest­ival itself, showing the films and hosting the film­makers. In 2009 and 2010, I was doing the first part of the job for Hot Docs, and this year, I’m doing the second part. Hopefully one day I’ll get to do the whole thing, but I’m tre­mend­ously excited (and a bit nervous) nonetheless.

I’m not going to share my schedule here because, frankly, I really don’t want anyone who knows me to be in the audi­ence (although it’s bound to happen). But I am hoping to see a number of other films, too, and having to re-arrange my schedule at the last minute has put me into a little bit of a panic. I’ve been for­tu­nate to have seen a number of films ahead of the fest­ival, too, but here’s where things will become a little bit strange.

As an employee of the fest­ival, I’m not cer­tain yet what sort of cov­erage I can provide here. I’ve already written a few cap­sule reviews, which you may or may not see here. And as in past years, I have a few guest con­trib­utors who will likely be posting here during the fest­ival. I hope you can appre­ciate the del­icate situ­ation I’m in, which is to say that I may not be able to “cover” the fest­ival the way I have in pre­vious years.

With that in mind, though, I’m happy to point you to some other great local writers who will be cov­ering Hot Docs this year:


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