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Toronto, August 19, 2015 – Hot Docs is delighted to announce that Shane Smith will join the Hot Docs team as the organization’s new director of programming on October 5, 2015.

“Shane has built a well-earned reputation as a champion of original and visionary filmmakers, and his innovative programming reflects his own passion to inspire, inform and entertain filmgoers,” says executive director Brett Hendrie. “His outstanding eye for great docs will help ensure that Hot Docs continues to bring the most outspoken and outstanding films to the Festival every year. I can’t wait for our audiences to meet him.”

“As a long time attendee of the Festival and a life-long lover of the documentary form, I’m thrilled to be joining the stellar team at Hot Docs,” says Smith. “Having witnessed first-hand the incredible growth of the organization, I’m looking forward to playing my part in the evolution of the Festival by continuing to bring the finest documentaries in the world to Toronto audiences.”

Smith comes to Hot Docs from the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) where he is the director of special projects, overseeing a wide variety of initiatives and events at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, including large-scale strategic projects, TIFF in the Park, Nuit Blanche, the digiPlaySpace travelling exhibition, and Short Cuts programming for TIFF. Previous to this role, he was TIFF’s director of public programs.

Smith graduated with a BA in film studies and mass communications from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Prior to joining TIFF in 2010, he held various positions in programming at Spafax Canada, Movieola: The Short Film Channel, and Silver Screen Classics, and spent six years as director of the Canadian Film Centre’s Worldwide Short Film Festival. He has worked as a programmer, jury member, and speaker at film festivals around the world—most notably programming for the Sundance Film Festival and Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival—and has written about film for Canadian publications Xtra! and Cinema Scope. He directed the short film Goodbye to Love. Smith is a former board member of the Centre for Aboriginal Media, presenters of the imagineNATIVE Film Festival. He founded and co-directed OzFlix: Australian Film Weekend in Toronto and Vancouver.

In his role as director of programming at Hot Docs, Smith will head up an exceptional programming team that includes senior Canadian programmer Lynne Fernie and a staff of experienced programmers specializing in Canadian and international films. Smith will be responsible for developing the programming vision for the Festival, continuing Hot Docs’ reputation for presenting a high-calibre documentary slate each year. Smith will contribute to the long-term visioning and strategic planning for the organization, working with various departments to help research and shape new initiatives, and with the wider senior management team to help direct existing projects, both online and live-event based.

Hot Docs is also pleased to announce that current programming manager Sarafina DiFelice will assume the newly created position of associate director of programming. Through her outstanding work at the Festival and Doc Soup, Sarafina has helped to develop some of Hot Docs’ most successful programs, while building outstanding relationships with Toronto audiences and the international documentary community. In her new larger role, she will be taking on new strategic assignments designed to help build Hot Docs’ programming brand, outreach and reputation for excellence.


Hot Docs (, North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market, will present its 23rd annual edition from April 28 – May 8, 2016. An outstanding selection of approximately 200 documentaries from Canada and around the world will be presented to Toronto audiences and international delegates. Hot Docs will also mount a full roster of conference sessions and market events and services for documentary practitioners, including the renowned Hot Docs Forum, Hot Docs Deal Maker and The Doc Shop. In partnership with Blue Ice Group, Hot Docs operates the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, a century-old landmark located in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood.

Media Contact: Patrycja Cieniewicz Publicity & Promotions Coordinator, Hot Docs Telephone: 416-203-2155 x292 Email:

The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

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