Gerry Flahive


I'm writing this blog from a computer in the Delegate Lounge at the Rogers Industry Centre (U of T campus).  The festival is winding down but there's definitely many people still buzzing about here.  The Rogers Industry Centre houses all of the main industry panels, the Doc Shop, and more (plus free coffee and David's Tea!!!!!!).Day 8 was probably one of my favourite days at Hot Docs.

It began with a TDF visit at the Royal Conservatory of Music.  TDF (The Documentary Forum) is an event where people with projects apply to pitch in front of a large panel (I think about 20-30 people) made up of all the heavy-hitting documentary industry players.  It makes up a wide-range of platforms and broadcasters/networks/etc.. including CBC, CBC radio, PBS, TVO, NHK (Japan), Sundance Channel, and so many more.  The production teams are selected and have a short amount of time to pitch their project, and also express what they're looking for (pre-sale, 30% funding, etc..).  The industry members interested in the project will express so, and those who are called upon for their opinion, who are not interested, express so as well.  It ranges from, "We'd love to talk more" to "Send us a rough cut" (which seems like code for passing, but there's hope down the road).  Every pitch was pretty successful, and I was impressed by how positive an experience TDF seemed to be for.  It'd definitely good for putting your project out there and getting honest opinions from key industry people about their interest.  I had built up TDF as an intimidating and scary experience, but it wasn't at all and I'm glad to have been able to witness it.

Then it was off to the Victoria College chapel to visit a panel on The Poetics of Online Documentary.  It was interesting, and featured people who worked on interactive components to films or television projects, or online documentary.  It's definitely the direction the industry is going, but I feel like so many details are still up in the air.  I think next year this panel will be even more enlightening, and who knows where we'll be next year in terms of the online world and documentary.

The DOC U group gathered back at our base camp and had a chance to essentially pitch and workshop our project with Gerry Flahive, Bob Culbert, and Michael Claydon.  We got into groups, and my group was with Michael Claydon, and commissioning editor at CBC for Doc Zone.  I knew my film was more festival oriented, as my next project will be another personal documentary, but it was really interested to hear what a television-oriented industry member thought about my project.  The advice was really great and I found Michael to be extremely supportive of all our ideas, handing us some great constructive criticism that I know I'll definitely use and keep in mind.

I was pretty exhausted after this day but went to the Rooftop screening event, featuring The Parking Lot Movie.  The film was awesome!!!  I definitely recommend it.  And the fact that we watched it on a rooftop parking lot....GOLD.  The film was hilarious, but also opened up contemplative discussion on the service industry, and the effects it has had on our society.

Afterwards, I went off to bed in a bittersweet state, knowing Friday would be my last day in DOC U at Hot Docs, but excited as I feel like this week has really motivated me and I can't wait to get back to my film and other projects. :D