Prepare to pitch for development funds and a development deal for your project. Sell your project to prestigious festival markets like Hot Docs International Documentary Festival and beyond! Six emerging and high-potential producers will be selected for a rigorous and intimate market-preparation course where they’ll hone their project pitches and materials to prepare for festivals and markets like the Deal Maker program at Hot Docs.

Emerging producers will learn to pitch for development funds by meeting key industry mentors at each session such as broadcasters, distributors, and story and trailer editing consultants. They will be supported to workshop their pitch and encouraged to apply to festival markets like Hot Docs International Documentary Festival and beyond!

These sessions will be run online via Zoom for the 2023 edition.

Selected filmmakers will get exclusive access:

For four months leading up to Hot Docs, bi-weekly sessions with acclaimed documentary filmmakers and project-specific feedback from funders, broadcasters, distributors, and peers. As well as workshops, where participants will hone their trailers and work on their pitch materials with story editors, producers, and pitch specialists.

1.Free one-year DOC membership with all its benefits, including free access to other DOC events.

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

3.Digital pass to the 2023 Hot Docs Film Festival (attend industry sessions, network with key industry professionals, set up meetings to sell their projects, and connect and collaborate with peers.)

The following information is required to apply:

1.In one to three pages, 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 no more than one page, tell us why you would benefit from the Breakthrough Program and what you hope to achieve by attending a pitch session such as the Hot Docs Festival and Forum, or equivalent. Why would this program be timely for your career as a producer or director intending to produce your next project? Tell us about how you intend to interact with the other participants in the program to build community and how you have built a community in your career thus far.

3.In no more than one page, tell us briefly about the main project you are intending to workshop during this program. If available, please include sizzle, trailer, visual elements/references and/or websites you have.

4.In no more than one page, if you have a second or third in development, you may tell us about them. We encourage you to include links to any trailers, visual elements/references and/or websites you have. However, this is not mandatory.

To apply candidates must:

1. Person submitting the project must be a resident of BC, Yukon, or Northwest Territories who has resided in the territories for a minimum of one year.

2.Be documentary filmmakers who have at least one producing or directing credit; or who have a comparable level of industry success and experience in the arts.

3.Have a slate of projects in development (at least one, can be features, shorts, or series).

4.Be able to attend the following: the Breakthrough Program (January – April); the majority of the online edition of the Hot Docs Festival ( including the virtual Forum) and all training during the program.

Please note: Non-members are required to pay a registration fee of $25 + tax and will be asked to join DOC if accepted into the program. If you are a current DOC member we reserve the right to verify your residence and membership status on the DOC membership list. Questions? Contact us by email at

To submit follow the link, register, and submit via FilmFreeway. *If you have any trouble with the FilmFreeway platform or need to send us more information, please email

By submitting this entry, you guarantee that the submission is original work and that there are no ownership or copyright disputes regarding this entry. You are authorized to submit this project and affirm that your submission will not violate any law or right of any person or entity.

You indemnify and hold the Documentary Organization of Canada, its directors, producers, staff, volunteers, and affiliated entities harmless and will defend them against any damage to or loss of the film, any claims, demands, losses, damages, judgments, liabilities, and expenses, including attorney’s fees, arising out of or in connection with any and all claims of third parties based on your work submitted to the Documentary Organization of Canada.

You understand that failure to comply with the Documentary Organization of Canada guidelines will disqualify your entry and result in forfeiture of the submission fee. Should your project not have at least one producer, writer, or director who is a BC, Northwest, or Yukon resident, your submission will be disqualified and you will NOT be refunded your entry fee. By submitting your film to the Documentary Organization of Canada, you agree that DOC has the non-exclusive right to use clips, images, and/or sound from your project for promotional purposes in all the world, all media, in perpetuity.

Overall Rating
  • Jamuna Galay-Tamang

    Really beautiful experience & opportunity to meet people in the industry in a low-stakes way. I found that as an emerging filmmaker, it was a great way to learn the language of pitching & the art of describing my work in a clear and compelling way. Everyone on the team was thoughtfully engaged with the process & Brishkay Ahmed is totally invested in the success of all the mentees. Highly recommend.

    April 2022
  • Theresa Warbus

    Absolute amazing program with amazing people who care about their participants! Highly recommend.

    May 2021