Why I’ve Been So Busy Lately

A few days ago, I alluded to something I was working on that I “couldn’t talk about” and so I’m glad that now I am able to tell you about it. I’m very honoured to reveal that I’m working for the 2009 edition of the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival as an Associate Programmer. I’ve attended the festival each year since 2004, and have always wondered how films are chosen. Director of Programming Sean Farnel has been posting about the process over on his fairly new blog, and it’s a fascinating read. It’s even more exciting, though, to be a part of it, and I’m tremendously grateful to Sean and his whole amazing crew for such a wonderful opportunity.

Though I’m not able to reveal anything about the films I’m currently screening, I can let you know that it’s been pretty gruelling so far. Each submission deserves careful consideration and I’m happy to report that Hot Docs’ process gives each film its chance to shine. I’m hopeful that at least some of the films I’ve recommended make it into the final schedule, but I won’t know for many weeks yet.

If you live within traveling distance of Toronto, Hot Docs really is a can’t-miss festival. Even if you’ve never considered yourself a fan of documentaries, you’re bound to come away with a fresh appreciation for all the dedicated and talented filmmakers telling stories about real people and places. Free from celebrity hype, manageable in size, and an amazing value. What’s not to love?

P.S. Documentary filmmaker and blogger AJ Schnack wrote about the festival programming process yesterday and cites Sean’s blog as “a primer that any filmmaker should read.”

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5 Responses to Why I’ve Been So Busy Lately

  1. Trista says:

    James! What a wonderful opportunity! I’m planning to try to cover as much of Hot Docs this year as possible, so maybe I’ll be covering something you programmed! This is excellent! Congrats! T

  2. Bob Turnbull says:

    Yep, let me join in the “huzzahs”…That’s terrific news and also well deserved. I thought I was a strong backer of documentaries, but you put me to shame.

    I should probably go fill out those Hot Docs press credentials now…

  3. Ilka de Laat says:

    Hi James, thanks for peeking at my new blog… looks like I can learn a lot from you! Congrats on the great opportunity with Hot Docs and I hope to meet you during the festival – I will have be carrying an industry pass with CBC.

  4. Dude, that is beyond cool. I’m so happy for you. Congratulations!


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