2021 & 2020 Past Programming

Past Events:

Meet the Funder: TELUS

On Wednesday, April 21, our popular Meet the Funder series will stream online virtually.
All tickets are Pay What You Can.

Shaun Cathcart and Christina Willings will join moderator Joy Loewen from NSI for a behind
the-scenes discussion about TELUS originals and STORYHIVE. Tune in to hear insights and gather
information on how to pitch in the midst of COVID-19.

TELUS Originals
TELUS Originals are high-quality documentaries that reflect the kaleidoscopic Canadian experience, and
exemplify TELUS’ social purpose values into an ever-widening community.

TELUS STORYHIVE supports compelling, original stories told by filmmakers from BC and Alberta by
providing production funding, training and exposure to new audiences. Since 2013, STORYHIVE has
funded productions and supported emerging filmmakers with mentorship and support from the National
Screen Institute, bringing hundreds of films to life online and around the world.

Date: Wednesday, April 21, 2021
2:00 – 3:00pm (EST)



Distribution & Festival Lessons in the Time of C19

A year ago, we watched as celebrated festival premieres and strategic distribution rollouts were forced to pivot in response to the pandemic. Today, producers, distributors, and industry stakeholders are paving new virtual pathways for bringing documentary films to screens. What does audience development entail? What is the role of film festivals, and is there even a window anymore? Join us for three case studies: Stateless, Stray, and Water of Life, as key players share what they’ve learned launching and distributing films amidst the ongoing pandemic.

Date: Thursday, April 8, 2021
4:30 – 6:00 p.m. (EST)

Films and Panelists:

Moderator: Patricia Marie Scarlett
Stray – Elizabeth Lo, director, George Nicholis, publicity, and Corrine Bourdeau, impact producer
Stateless – Jennifer Holness, producer
Water of Life – Trevor Jones, producer
Liz Manashil – distribution consultant



Making Films in the Time of COVID:
One Year On

Nearly a year ago, DOC Institute hosted a series of panels on doc filmmaking amidst COVID, and we’re here a year later to give you an update from some of the original panelists and some new ones.

A year into the pandemic, we will hear from filmmakers across Canada who have worked through the challenges of COVID-19 to complete their new documentaries. They share their insights on the logistics of ensuring safety, how COVID impacted their creative approach, schedules, production plans and how they personally managed the risk and stress caused by the pandemic.

In addition to the panel, registrants will be offered a time-limited sneak-peek of Matt Gallagher’s Dispatches From a Field Hospital and Yung Chang & Annie Rollins’ Pandemic-19 in advance of the panel. Register now and we will send you a link to these two powerful documentaries for your personal viewing.

Date: Thursday, March 11, 2021
4:30 – 6:00 p.m. (EST)

Films and Panelists:

Moderator: Kat Cizek
Deep Inside Humanity/Ce que le monde porte en soi – Mélanie Carrier, director, and Olivier Higgins, director, DOP
Dispatches From a Field Hospital – Matt Gallagher, director, DOP, and Cornelia Principe, producer
Pandemic 19 – Yung Chang, director, and Annie Katsura Rollins, director
Superfan – Amar Wala, director
Kimmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy – Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, director



MEET THE FUNDER: Hot Docs Film Funds

Meet the Funder is a professional development series that brings funders and non-fiction content creators together to share up-to-date information.

Olena Decock and Julian Carrington from Hot Docs join moderator Ngardy Conteh George for a behind-the-scenes discussion about Hot Docs Film Funds. Tune in to hear insights and gather information on how to pitch in the midst of COVID-19.

Hot Docs Film Funds

Hot Docs’ $12.6-million portfolio of production funds provides Canadian and international documentary projects with development, production and completion grants, and valuable professional development opportunities. Hot Docs has directly financed nearly 300 films to date. To learn more about the Hot Docs Film Funds, click here.


Intro to Doc Producing

(formerly Savvy Producer)

Early-career & emerging doc filmmakers! Learn how to get your film projects funded, made, and seen with DOC Institute’s producing workshops. (Note: this program was previously called Savvy Producer).


 What is it?
Are you interested in the basics of documentary producing? This series is for you! INTRO TO DOC PRODUCING will be facilitated by arts educator Chanda Chevannes and will consist of online workshops and meetups intended for early-career & emerging documentary filmmakers who want to get their film projects funded, made, and seen.

Three free online workshops will be available to documentary filmmakers across Ontario. Each of these 90-minute sessions will offer an overview of best practices for specific aspects of documentary filmmaking.


Workshop #1: Intro to Doc Funding- Tues, Oct 13 (7-8:30pm EST)
Workshop #2: Intro to Doc Budgeting – Tues, Oct 20 (7-8:30pm EST)
Workshop #3: Intro to Doc Distribution – Tues, Oct 27 (7-8:30pm EST)


MEET THE FUNDER: Inspirit Foundation

Join us on October 21 as filmmaker Sherien Barsoum, Chair of the Racial Equity Media Collective (REMC) speaks with Chris Lee, director of programming at the Inspirit Foundation.

Get your tickets for this insightful conversation about how the Inspirit Foundation promotes inclusion and pluralism through media and arts, specifically through their support for documentary film and impact investing. Their grants and programming are specific to the arts and media sectors, and they aim to support individuals and organizations pushing for systemic change. Learn how to pitch your project to Inspirit.


Wednesday, October 21 at 2-3pm EST
Free for members & non-members; donations accepted
Read more about the panelists here.




Join filmmaker and programmer Aisha Jamal as she leads us through an intensive three-part series that digs deep into the craft of documentary filmmaking. What are the essential storytelling decisions and the paths that filmmakers explore as they land on the key elements that define their films? Join Aisha and many other talented filmmakers as they share insight into their creative process, bridging conversations around writing, genre, format and more.


Thank you to Vistek, our presenting sponsor.

We are proud to partner with POV; POV is Canada’s go-to magazine on documentary culture.


PAY WHAT YOU CAN – $10/session suggested donation

Panel 1 – Thursday, Sept 24th, 7-8pm EST
Translating theme
Yung Chang (This is Not a Movie, Up the Yangtze)
Ngardy Conteh George (Mr. Jane and Finch, The Flying Stars)
Baljit Sangra (Because We Are Girls, Have you forgotten me)

For more information on the filmmakers on this panel,
please see this deep dive on POV’s website.

Panel 2 – Thursday, Oct 1st, 7-8pm EST
Finding Your Format
Lisa Jackson (Biidaaben: First Light, Lichen, Ojiibikaan; dev)
Aïcha Diop (Nancy’s Workshop, Gawlo; dev)
Joannie Lafrenière (Bibelot & Bingo, Gabor)

For more information on the filmmakers on this panel,
please see this deep dive on POV’s website.

Panel 3 – Thursday, Oct 8th, 7-8 pm EST
On the Topic of Genre
Maya Annik Bedward (The Haircut, Black Zombie; dev)
Shane Belcourt (Amplify, Indictment: The Crimes of Shelly Chartier)
Maya Gallus (The Heat: A Kitchen Revolution, Derby Crazy Love)


Industry Exchange brings together filmmakers and industry leaders to share ideas around new challenges and solutions for
documentary productions in the wake of COVID-19. These sessions are open to all DOC members.


Join us for our next instalment of INDUSTRY EXCHANGE:


Date: June 11th, 2020
Time: 4 pm – 5:15pm EST
Format: Zoom meeting space with participation from the audience
Cost: Free for DOC Members, $10/session for non-members
*note: these sessions will be recorded
*DOC Members: You will receive a promo code in the June 4th newsletter. Click the blue ‘enter promo code’ link above the ticket selection options.


Moderator: Lea Marin, NFB Producer

Panelists: Cecilia Aldarondo (director/producer), Chris McDonald (president, Hot Docs), Wendy Lidell (SVP Theatrical & Non-Theatrical Distribution and Acquisitions, Kino Lorber), Robin Smith (CEO, Founder, Kinosmith), Emily Best (Founder, Seed&Spark), Sonia Kennebeck (director/producer). Full bios HERE.

Prior the pandemic, there seemed to be clear(er) festival and distribution strategies for documentaries. With festivals temporarily moving online and distribution strategies pivoting from theatrical to digital in the blink of an eye, the classic roll-out strategy is no longer obvious. How are festivals and virtual cinemas faring and who is watching online? How can we ensure that filmmakers’ need for a robust and meaningful launch is met? Should we hold onto our new films and ‘wait and see’ or do we launch into the digital space and start marketing watch parties? Our insightful and experienced panelists share their observations, newest strategies, and honest opinions about how to bring your film to audiences in this new reality.


More Past Events


“To Shoot or Not and How in the Time of C19”

 Wednesday, May 27th and Thursday, May 28th
Time: 4 pm – 5:15pm EST (each session is 75 minutes)
Format: Zoom meeting space with participation from the audience
Cost: Free for DOC Members, $10/session for non-members or $15/both sessions
*note: these sessions will be recorded

*DOC Members: You received a promo code in the May 21st newsletter. Click the blue ‘enter promo code’ link above the ticket selection options.



Moderator: Kat Cizek

Panelists: Yung Chang (director), Derek Howard (cinematographer/director), Smriti Mundhra (director), Cornelia Principe (producer), and Craig Thompson (director/producer). Full bios HERE.

Documentary filmmakers are familiar with production challenges, but no one was prepared for COVID 19. With new health and safety protocols at top of mind, some directors and producers have been carefully moving their productions forward. Meet a group of innovative filmmakers who share details about their production challenges, the creative tools used to tackle them, the deeper questions that keep them up at night, and the steps they are taking to reduce the risks that their crews and film subjects are facing.



Moderators: Joanne Jackson & Karen Shopsowitz

Panelists: Ric Esther Bienstock (filmmaker), Pascale Dubé (director of post-production, DATSIT SPHERE), Isabelle Fortier (producer), Cathy Gulkin (editor), John Laing (partner, URBAN POST), Brendan Smith (director of post-production, OMNIFILM). Full bios HERE.

Working remotely isn’t new to many technical experts, but the pandemic has reshaped the post-production process. With new timelines, additional costs, and creative teams signing off from their calibrated computer monitors, producers, directors and post-houses alike are determined to export their final films. Our panelists share insight into how post-facilities are adapting to the new rules, what technical arrangements are required to work remotely, and the unanticipated details that impact the bottom line.



Moderator: Betsy Carson

Panelists: Diane Konecny (Front Row Insurance Brokers Inc.), Lisa Leeman (professor), Carrie Lozano (director), Hatty Reisman (Reisman Law Office), Danny Webber (Hall Webber LLP).

The rules of production have changed overnight. In a time when sharing space with others puts lives at risk, filmmakers, production crews, lawyers, and insurers are faced with the task of finding solutions to keep each other safe. Can we shoot, now and how? Who is protected, and from what? What should we absolutely not do, and how do we decide? Join our group of panelists to discuss the law and ethics of documentary filmmaking in the age of COVID 19. Panelists shown below.





Meet the Funder Webinar with Crave


Meet the Funder is a professional development series that brings funders and non-fiction content creators together to share up-to-date information.


Save the date! On Wednesday April 22nd, our popular Meet the Funder series will stream for free across the country for the first time.
This event is open to members and non-members alike.

Production Executive Tina Apostolopoulos will join moderator Lauren Grant for a behind-the-scenes discussion about this
rapidly growing streaming service in the documentary space. Tune in to hear Tina’s insights into
Crave’s programming needs,
gather information on how to pitch amid COVID-19, and learn more about her collaborative process.

Date: Wednesday, April 22
Time: 1:00-2:00pm Eastern Standard Time
Price: FREE

*DOC Institute events are usually free for members only. However, we are happy to announce that this webinar is open to everyone*



Tina Apostolopoulos is a Production Executive on Bell Media’s Original Programming team. In this role, Tina works with Canadian production companies on the development and production of various original series & documentaries for Bell Media’s channels & platforms including CTV, Crave, & CTV Life. Currently, Tina is production executive on CTV’s hit series MASTERCHEF CANADA, MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH and upcoming MIKE HOLMES series for CTV.  She is also executive on Crave’s upcoming doc series WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!. She is also an executive on a variety of feature documentary programming for Crave including ONCE WERE BROTHERS: ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND, ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH, SHARKWATER EXTINCTION, CARMINE STREET GUITARS and THE WOMAN WHO LOVES GIRAFFES. Prior to joining Bell Media, Tina was an independent director/producer for a number of award-winning, highly-rated reality and factual entertainment series such as SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE CANADA (CTV), CANADIAN IDOL (CTV), and PROJECT RUNWAY CANADA (GLOBAL).



Lauren Grant is a producer, and owner of Clique Pictures, a vibrant film and television company that focuses on working with under-represented talent in front and behind the camera. Lauren won a Canadian Screen Award for the short documentary Take a Walk on the Wildside and a Genie award for the residential school musical Savage, and The Hollywood Reporter named Lauren one of 15 Talents to Watch. Lauren is an alumna of Trans-Atlantic Partners, Rotterdam Lab, Berlinale Talent Campus and the CFC Producer’s Lab. Clique Pictures is in post-production on the features Sugar Daddy and The Retreat. Recently completed films include the feature Riot Girls and the documentary On the Line for TSN. Previously, Clique Pictures’ produced the features Wet Bum and Picture Day, as well as the documentaries Metamorphosis, and Traceable.



Presenting Sponsor:


Presenting Supporter: