What is Hot Docs? It’s a week-long International Festival showcasing great Canadian documentaries, listening to new information about the state of the industry in Canada and a meeting of old friends and new friends.
One thing that makes Hot Docs different than other festivals is I’ve always felt Canadians hold a special place in their hearts for documentaries. Many of us grew up being as familiar with the NFB as we were with Sesame Street.
Hot Docs is something I look forward to with pretty much the same excitement that I look forward to Burger Week (and most of you know how I feel about burgers).
Someone asked me recently what film got me really excited about Docs and without skipping a beat I said Michael Moore’s Roger & Me. I had never seen a story told with such passion before. Moore guided the audience through the personal stories of Flint, Michigan and made my own heart hurt with injustice. As many people know, years later I got in touch with Michael Moore and honestly expressed interest in working with him. From then on, Michael Moore became one of Plank’s most important clients in our almost 20 year history.
Over the few years that I’ve been attending Hot Docs, there has been an increasing crossover of film and digital. Stories on screen are finding more and more avenues to interact with the audience past the traditional film experience - and Plank has been very fortunate to collaborate some of these filmmakers.
In 2015, we launched One Sweet App to accompany Michèle Hozer’s 2015 Hot Docs Selection Sugar Coated - a social and political documentary on the food industry’s role in sugar consumption. In 2014, Plank also worked with Montreal’s Prospector Films to launch Go Fit Yourself - a fitness app that helps you train like a world-class boxer, like Ariane Fortin and Mary Spencer, the subjects of the 2013 Documentary Last Woman Standing.
So what am I most looking forward to at this year’s Hot Docs? To be honest - having a week to fully immerse myself in the impact of storytelling. I always try to see at least 2 films a day and I know that while I go and listen to others’ stories, I’ll be letting my own wheels turn about the future of digital storytelling and where Plank can make a difference.