Breakthrough Program

Online Application


Prepare to pitch and sell your project at the prestigious Hot Docs International Documentary Festival and beyond! Eight emerging and high-potential producers will be selected for this rigorous and intimate market-preparation course where they’ll develop a successful festival strategy and sharpen their project pitches and materials in advance to Hot Docs Dealmaker.

Selected participants will get exclusive access to:

Two weekend workshop intensives, where participants will receive training & feedback on their pitch materials from acclaimed filmmakers, producers, and craftspeople.

• For two months leading up to Hot Docs, weekly pitch workshopping with project-specific feedback from funders, broadcasters, distributors, and peers.

All-Access Pass to the 2019 Hot Docs Film Festival and Forum, to attend industry sessions, network with key industry professionals, set up meetings to sell their projects and connect and collaborate with peers.

Free DOC Institute events during the program.

The Breakthrough Alumni Network, a private group where alumni share opportunities & information.

The Program will take place: on Jan 19 weekend, Feb 9 weekend, and for seven weeks on Wednesday evenings, starting in March. We encourage all qualified Ontario-based professionals to apply. Learn more about past participants here.

Application Deadline: November 23, 2018 before midnight (EDT)

2018 Breakthrough Program Participants

If you have questions, we have answers: check our Breakthrough FAQ for more.

The following information (in one word doc or PDF) is required to apply:

1. In three pages or less, give us a summary of your industry and work experience, your educational background and past professional development, or mentorship programs. Please note that many past applicants choose to submit a CV plus a list of broadcast credits and/or a filmography. This section should be used to convey your relevant experience to the jury, so please share your accomplishments with us!

2. In one page, tell us why you would benefit from the Breakthrough Program and what you hope to achieve by attending the Hot Docs Festival and Forum. Why is this the right program for you? Why would this program be timely for your career?

3. In one page, tell us briefly about one of your projects. You may include links to trailers or websites. Note: trailers or visual material is strongly encouraged.

4. In one page, if you have a second or third project in development, you may tell us about them. You may include links to trailers or websites. Note: trailers or visual material is strongly encouraged.

Non-member Information
Please note: non-members who have not paid their application fee online or by cheque/cash will not be considered.  Pay online now or mail a cheque for $25.00 to DOC Toronto at 192 Spadina Avenue, Unit 414, Toronto, Ontario, M5T 2C2. Or join DOC now by clicking here

Questions? Email Genie: genie@docorg.ca or 416-599-3844  x3.

To apply candidates must:

1. Be documentary filmmakers who live and work in Ontario (we welcome applications from outside the GTA).

2. Be documentary filmmakers who have at least one producing or directing broadcast credit, but no more than five; or who have a comparable level of industry success and experience.

3. Have a slate of one to three projects in development (can be features, shorts, or webseries).

4. Be able to attend the following: the Breakthrough weekend workshops (January 19 weekend and February 9 weekend), the Breakthrough Program (March 2019); the majority of the Hot Docs Festival (April 25-May 5, 2019), including the Forum; and all DOC Institute training during the program.