Hot Docs Podcast Festival Will Switch To Virtual Event Because Of Omicron Surge.


The Hot Docs Podcast Festival will not return to a live event in 2022 as planned, but the silver lining is that for those who cannot travel to Toronto, the showcase of audio documentaries will be just a few clicks away. In light of the rise in COVID cases and the changes in public health regulations, Hot Docs says its Podcast Festival will once again shift to an all-virtual format running from Jan. 25 to 28.


“While we had sincerely hoped to be bringing Hot Docs Podcast Festival back to Hot Docs Cinema this year, we are pleased to be able to effectively respond to our changing circumstances, while moving ahead with our full slate of public and industry programming,” said Alan Black, co-managing director of Hot Docs. “Building off the success of last year’s virtual edition, our goal is to offer an unmissable experience for both audiences and industry, placing homegrown creators on the virtual stage alongside international leaders and providing essential resources to the podcasters of the future. Perhaps most importantly, we hope this upcoming edition of the Festival can offer some much needed connection and inspiration.”


The virtual edition will offer a mix of live podcast presentations and conversations spotlighting storytellers and creators working on the new frontier of audio storytelling, such as author Michael Lewis in conversation with Ira Glass and a conversation with the hosts of NPR’s Invisibilia and Gimlet Media’s Resistance. There will also be podcast premieres like a new show from Anna Maria Tremonti and a sneak preview of a new show from journalist and writer Ryan McMahon’s new television adaptation of his Canadaland podcast series, Thunder Bay.


“In these last few years as we’ve faced the challenges presented by the pandemic and major socio-political disruption, we’ve experienced a renewed sense of how fundamental journalism and storytelling are to our ability to navigate our world,” said Will Di Novi, the Festival’s lead curator. “Podcasting continues to become an increasingly dynamic space offering everything from narrative non-fiction to feature conversations to scripted drama—and we are seeing creators and thinkers from widely varied backgrounds entering the space. With this year’s Festival we sought to really capture and reflect that dynamism, pairing groundbreaking audio storytellers with leading cultural figures for one-of-a-kind conversations.”


The event will also once again feature the Creators Forum, which runs for three days of the Festival, offering a slate to date of hands-on skills building workshops. Highlights include a career building session with Media Girlfriends, Garvia Bailey, Nan aba Duncan, and Hannah Sung; a talk on crossing over into podcasting from other mediums with influential music video directors Director X and Taj Critchlow; a case study in investigative podcasting with Gimlet Media’s Managing Director Lydia Polgreen and acclaimed host Connie Walker (Stolen, Finding Cleo); meet the decision-maker talks with CBC Podcasts and Amazon Music; and masterclasses with Canadaland, 9/12 and Running from the Cops creator Dan Taberski, For Colored Nerds’ Eric Eddings and Brittany Luse, and This American Life’s Alix Spiegel. Acast is also sponsoring an Indigenous creators panel sharing perspectives on the role of activism in audio, and a deep dive into fandom in the podcast-sphere with Ira Madison III from Crooked Media’s Keep It!, Hannah Sung, and CBC Pop Chat’s Amil Niazi.


Hot Docs Podcast Festival continues to offer a showcase of emerging audio creators. Opening Act returns in 2022 offering homegrown podcasters the opportunity to get new shows in production heard before select live events. The Festival will also welcome a new cohort into its Podcast Career Accelerator program.


Find more information about the Hot Docs Podcast Festival HERE.

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