Hot Docs 2018 Submissions

September 21, 2017

Film submissions for Hot Docs 2018 are open.

Please note that deadlines and fees may have changed from previous years. Please review the below before submitting a film.

Submission Fees & Deadlines

NOV 15 DEC 6 JAN 8
Short (1-40 min) $25 $35 $55
Feature and Mid-Length (41+ min) $55 $100 $150

Please note that HST taxes (13%) are not included in the above fees. All deadlines are postmark deadlines.


All submissions:

  • must have been completed after January 1, 2017
  • must be at minimum Toronto premieres (i.e. cannot have been screened publicly in Toronto prior to the 2018 Festival, including broadcast versions of any length)
  • must not be available online in any form (this includes DVDs for purchase in any region). Not applicable for short film submissions.
  • must be in English, subtitled in English or English versioned (non-English language films may be submitted with an English transcript; however, if selected for Hot Docs, it must be subtitled or dubbed into English at the applicant’s expense)
  • may not have submitted to the Festival previously in any stage of completion (i.e. films that were submitted as rough cuts will not be reconsidered)

Please note: It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to secure clearance from all copyright holders of materials included in the submitted film. Hot Docs will not be held responsible for the unauthorized inclusion of copyrighted materials within or relating to the submitted film. Hot Docs reserves the right to disqualify any film with unauthorized copyrighted materials.

Questions? Check out our FAQs or contact us.


All fees outlined above include:

  • Submission to the 2018 Festival for programming consideration;
  • Administrative expensive related to cataloging and previewing each film;
  • Inclusion in The Festival Doc Shop (official selections only);
  • A 12-month presence on The Doc Shop Online (official selections only).

Please note: Inclusion in The Doc Shop onsite and online is included only for official selected films if the applicant opts in during the submission process.

Submission fees are non-refundable.


Hot Docs accepts Canadian and international documentaries of all lengths and subject matter.

All Hot Docs screening programs are curated and all submissions will be considered by Hot Docs’ programming team.

For the purposes of eligibility and awards consideration, Hot Docs uses the following definitions:

Film Length

  • Feature-Length: 60 minutes or longer
  • Mid-Length: 41 to 59 minutes
  • Short: under 40 minutes

Country of Production and Submission Categories
Submissions to the Festival are divided into two categories:

  • Canadian Submissions: All films produced in Canada or directed by Canadian filmmakers
  • International Submissions: All films produced outside of Canada and directed by non-Canadians

Country of Production
The origin of the majority of the film’s financing and/or the film’s key crew members, which can also include the location of significant production support.

Rough Cuts/Fine Cuts
Rough/Fine Cuts: The Festival will only accept one cut of each film for programming consideration. If needed, Hot Docs will request an updated version and will contact those applicants directly.

Made in… Program
Each Festival, Hot Docs presents a program showcasing recent films from a selected country or region.


Applicants will be notified of programming decisions via email by the end of March 2018. Final programming, categorization and slotting of films will be determined by the Festival programming team. Their decision is final. Successful applicants will receive this information in their official invitation.

Hot Docs is under no obligation to provide comments or feedback regarding the submitted film to the applicant or any other representative of the submitted film.

No screeners or application materials will be returned. Do not send film prints, master tapes or other originals.



  • Hot Docs features two juried competition programs, Canadian Spectrum and International Spectrum, and several non-competitive programs. Feature-length films in the Spectrum programs are eligible for jury prizes. International Spectrum films are chosen by the programming department and must be at minimum a North American premiere, with priority given to international and world premieres.
  • Specifically selected shorts and all mid-length films (except those in retrospective categories) will be considered by the jury for Best Short Documentary and Best Mid-length Documentary, respectively.
  • All feature films selected for Hot Docs, with the exception of those screening in retrospective programs, are eligible for the Audience Award.

Hot Docs is recognized as a qualifying festival for the Academy Awards® in the Documentary Short Subject category. The winner of the Best Short Documentary at this year’s Festival will qualify for consideration in the Documentary Short Subject category of the annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules.

Hot Docs is also BAFTA-recognized festival, acknowledged to be one of the most trusted and respected arbiters of excellence in the art of short filmmaking. Shorts screened at Hot Docs fulfill an important eligibility criterion for entry to the BAFTA British Short Film and British Short Animation categories at the EE British Academy Film Awards.


For officially selected films, Hot Docs aims to provide as much support as possible to filmmakers attending the Festival:

  • For feature-length films, Hot Docs strives to bring at least one filmmaker to Toronto for each invited film, by providing hotel accommodation and a stipend for travel expenses, as well as an airport transfer, if required.
  • For all selected films, Hot Docs will provide Festival accreditation for every credited director as well as one producer.


Step 1: Online Submission Form & Payment

To submit your film for consideration, you must complete and submit Hot Docs’ online submission form.

If interested in The Festival Doc Shop and The Doc Shop Online, please mark the appropriate boxes noted in the Terms and Conditions section of the entry form.

At the end of the form, you will be asked to make a credit card payment. All major credit cards are accepted. If you get an error message, please call your bank as we have found that some banks block the transaction.

Step 2: Send Us Your Screeners or Vimeo Link

Screener Link: Copy and paste your link and password into the online submission form under “Screener Information.”

Please note: The password must not change during the programming process. All links must be received by the film application deadline.


Screeners: You can submit two clearly labelled DVD copies of your film for preview screening purposes. All formats and regions are accepted. Please make sure to test out your DVD screeners in a commercial DVD player. We do not require a printed version of the online form.

All submissions must be sent prepaid. The Festival will not accept collect or C.O.D. shipments.

Hot Docs will not assume responsibility for, nor will it accept shipments incurring expenses for terminal charges, duties, taxes or customs brokerage.

Please note: Hot Docs does not accept international shipments via United Parcel Services (UPS) since this courier does not deliver international duty-free shipments to Toronto.

Shipping Address
Hot Docs Film Festival
110 Spadina Avenue, Suite 333
Toronto, ON
M5V 2K4


To submit a film, please complete the 2018 SUBMISSION FORM.

Submission guidelines for Hot Docs are subject to change. Hot Docs reserves the right to rule on all issues not expressly covered in these guidelines.

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