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.

An artistic documentary-focused mentorship program for young filmmakers (ages 20-29) in Toronto, Sudbury, & Belleville.

New Visions Incubator is a unique blend of creative mentorship, story development, practical resources, & networking opportunities. Deadline for 2017 has closed.

This project is funded by the Government of Ontario and the Ontario150 Partnership Program.

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.

The 2018 Breakthrough Program is closed for applications. Please check back in December 2018 for a new call for applications.

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

Filmmakers of all experience levels are equipped with cutting edge information from industry leaders. Whether it’s a crash-course on non-fiction producing, or in-depth sessions on funding and financing, and distribution and marketing, The Savvy Producer Series has you covered.

Equipping young filmmakers (23-29 years old) with the skills and connections to advance their careers in non-fiction media.

Generously supported by:

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




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!