Top 5 Reasons to participate with Hot Docs for Schools in Theatre

Hot Docs, the Canadian International Documentary Film Festival is coming to Toronto, April 25th to May 5th, 2013.  For the fourth year in a row, I, along with Tim King am taking our media arts classes to the Bloor Cinema.  We will be participating with Hot Docs for Schools “In-Theatre”, a special part of the Hot Docs Festival.

I thought it would be a good idea to countdown the top 5 reasons to participate with Hot Docs for Schools.  Hopefully I will see you and your class down at the Hot Docs Bloor Cinema soon!

5. It is free

Thanks to sponsorship, students and teachers get to view the films for free.  All you have to do is get there.

4. The Venue and Popcorn rock

Last year, the Bloor Cinema got a much needed  reno and the result is comfortable chairs, better sound, new digital projector and a great concession stand.  The popcorn has not changed and the Bloor Cinema makes some of the best.  The Cinema is located at Bloor and Bathurst, with lots of good eateries and great coffee at Green Beanery.

3. View new and award winning documentaries

2 years ago, my class had the pleasure of watching Being Elmo, which went on to win numerous awards, including the Sundance Film Festival Special Jury prize in 2011.  We will be watching 2 films this year which are also likely to garner awards.

Fight like Soldiers Die like Children

The Ghosts in our Machine

2. Meet the People who Matter

After you watch a documentary film at Hot Docs, you get to meet the film makers, the people who matter.  After watching Being Elmo, it would have been incredible to meet Kevin Clash (Elmo puppeteer) , but it was just as great to meet Constance Marks, who directed and produced the film.  Students get to ask the film makers questions and get to learn behind the scene details that are missed when watching a film.


Photo by Hot Docs © Linda Dawn Hammond / ’11

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 11.05.11 PM

Photo by Hot Docs © Linda Dawn Hammond / ’11


1. It will be a major highlight for your students

One of the first things my students now ask me is,

“Do we get to go on that fantastic trip to Toronto that last year’s class went on?”

My answer is yes of course.  Being from a small rural town like Fergus, travelling to Toronto is always a treat.  I am always amazed that for some students, this will be their first trip to Toronto.  I will never forget as we were pulling into the down town one year, that a student saw a street car and remarked,

“Wow, is that a trolley?”

More like 10 Reasons and more
I guess the problem with a top 5 list is that you miss out on other important points.  Hot Docs for Schools also provides lessons plans and other great educational material related to each film.

Where do I get started if I want to go?

So, the best thing to do is contact Lesley Sparks, 416-203-2155 x253.

She is the Education and Youth Programs Manager at Hot Docs.

You could also check out the Hot Docs for Schools website.  There you fill also find out information about the Hot Docs for Schools “In-school” program.  If you can’t make it to Toronto, Hot Docs for Schools will send you a fantastic documentary to your school for your viewing there.  It will also include great lesson plans and educational material.