Get your project pitch ready! This rigorous and intimate market preparation course takes eight emerging, high-potential producers through market preparation with a development prize for two successful projects.
The Breakthrough program has been successfully running for 20 years. Many Breakthrough alumni have developed their projects through the program and have gone on to win awards at prestigious international film festivals and work with major broadcasters.

Eight emerging producers will be selected for this market-preparation course to develop project pitches and to prepare for one of two Breakthrough Awards and the Deal Maker program at Hot Docs.

Breakthrough 2023
Eight emerging producers will be selected for this market-preparation course to hone their projects culminating in a final pitch where two projects will be awarded a cash development award of $20,000 and a development license with CBC. Applications for the 2023 Breakthrough Lab are now closed.

Selected filmmakers will get exclusive access to:

  • Two intensive weekend workshops, where participants will hone their pitch packages with support from creative producers, story editors, business affairs experts, and trailer editors.

  • For two months leading up to Hot Docs, weekly sessions with broadcasters and funders, as well as business affairs, legal, impact, and distribution professionals.

  • All-Access Pass to the 2023 Hot Docs Film Festival including Deal Maker and the Industry Pitch Forum.

  • Opportunity to pitch projects to receive the DOC Institute Breakthrough Development Award including a $20,000 cash prize from the Rogers Group of Funds and one of two development deals from the CBC.

The Program commences with two weekend bootcamps in late January and late February, followed by weekly workshops for seven weeks on Wednesday evenings in March and April. We encourage all qualified Ontario-based, Canadian citizens to apply. 


The Breakthrough Program was created with a mandate to provide more access and inclusion for individuals self-identifying as Black, Indigenous, a person of colour, and/or LGBTQ2S+ and to increase participation for emerging film creators from underrepresented communities. We encourage applicants to self-identify in their application.