What’s the DOC Institute?

The DOC Institute develops and leads programs to help filmmakers succeed at every stage of their careers. Offering creative inspiration and insider advice, we’re a hub for the non-fiction community. The DOC Institute is a one-stop shop for professionals to learn business skills, hone their craft and make industry connections.

Our Beliefs

1We’re guided by Canada’s brilliant documentary principles and tradition.

2Those aren’t just a bunch of projects. They’re jobs and careers.

3Deep hands-on learning comes from real world pros. No shallow tips.

4Learning needs are as diverse as our filmmakers. One size does not fit all.

5Success takes business skills, perseverance, creativity and connections.

6You can make it!

Can you help me?

The DOC Institute is for everyone involved in making non-fiction and docs. Whether you’re a director, producer, editor, cinematographer, researcher, writer, interactive producer, jack-of-all-trades or “it’s complicated”, you’re welcome at the DOC Institute. Familiar faces include:

The Lone Wolf

You want inspiration, feedback or collaboration.

The Rookie

You want to start a lifelong career—from scratch.

The Networker

You want to meet funders, partners and supporters.

The Sophomore

You want projects to succeed and a path that sustains.

The Starving Artist

You want real-world business and negotiating skills.

The Veteran

You want to stay ahead, get back on top, or grow.

Does my project fit?

The DOC Institute is dedicated to non-fiction of all flavours and formats. That includes POV theatrical documentaries, non-scripted TV series, interactive docs, non-fiction games, non-fiction shorts and more. If it’s influenced or inspired by the documentary tradition, it counts!


Producers Exchange

Pick up real-world business skills. Become more savvy, professional, competitive and confident.

Everything you need to know about producing non-fiction. Led by top producers and stuffed with real-world insight, this bootcamp covers topics like funding and financing, business affairs and legal, distribution and marketing, and accounting and budgeting.

Get Hot Docs-ready. This rigorous and intimate market-preparation course mentors 8 emerging, high-potential producers as they get ready to successfully pitch and sell their projects at Hot Docs.

Applications for the Breakthrough Program are now closed, and will re-open in early 2017.

Please contact us if you have questions or if you would like to receive updates on this program.

Need a refresher? This flexible, in-depth program builds on topics in the Essentials Bootcamp. Emerging, mid-career and experienced filmmakers can choose from modules like Business Affairs, Legal, and Marketing and Distribution.

Thinking long-term? These intensive sessions are for established industry veterans to interact with leading consultants (both from inside and outside the industry). Discuss pressing concerns, future trends, and how they’ll impact the sustainability of production companies.

Meet current industry decision-makers, buyers, and private investors face to face! Learn about their latest programming priorities, which types of projects are being green-lit, how big their budgets are, and how to get your foot in the door.

Presenting Supporter


Masters Series

Hone your craft, professionally and creatively. Strengthen your process, get inspired and create better projects.

This intimate professional development series focuses on the craft and art of documentary media. Celebrated documentary filmmakers and other acclaimed pros (including editors, cinematographers and sound design) share their expertise and experiences.

The Masters Series Labs are conducted in tandem with the Masters Series Classes. A small number of participants are selected based on applications and spend an intensive day constructively workshopping their projects, guided by the guest Master and encouraged by fellow participants.

How did the hottest non-fiction projects succeed? Meet the teams behind incredible, buzz-worthy work—and learn how their processes, challenges, and decisions shaped the outcome. It’s a special insight into our industry’s pioneers, mavericks and masters in the making.

Presenting Sponsor


DOC Connects

Make connections outside the usual broadcast and festival scene. Meet stakeholders in promising sectors.

Discover new audiences and uses for documentaries in the third sector. Engage with social service agencies, community groups, non-profits, and linguistic communities that are eager to use non-fiction for richer dialogues and activism.







Our Friends

Jennifer Baichwal

Jennifer Baichwal

John Kastner

John Kastner

Shelley Saywell

Shelley Saywell

Manfred Becker

Manfred Becker

Barry Stevens

Barry Stevens

Kevin  McMahon

Kevin McMahon

Alanis Obomsawin

Alanis Obomsawin


Steve James

Interested? Connect with us!