After a chat over lunch at the Rivoli a few weeks ago with a super talented friend / acquaintance / colleague of mine I got it in my head that it may be interesting for Plank / Me to attend Hotdocs in Toronto this year. I hemmed and hawed about it for a week or so (since I’m not a traditional ceo/president schmoozer/type) but after talking it through with Sarah (ahem, she told me I had to go) we all agreed it was a good idea.

Our goal with attending Hotdocs was really based on a few simple things. One, learn a bit more about what documentary filmmakers in Canada are struggling with (and from what I heard, it’s “new media”). Two, learn all about the different ways that these filmmakers are being supported (the NFB, Bell Media Fund, CMF, Tax Credits etc.). Three, figure out how we can help and get more involved in the Canadian film industry. And finally, and most importantly, meet some smart people and see some good films.

While I enjoyed a few chance meetings with some interesting filmmakers and a head’s up on where the NFB sees it’s focus now, the most interesting to me was the Canadian Media Fund Mini-Meeting in the afternoon. The panelist was quite strong, articulate and honest but as we all know, with a brand new fund some questions were left unanswered. This being Hotdocs, one of the most contentious parts of the panel was the presentation of the POV stream. In all honesty, while most filmmakers in the room saw the deadline and options with this fund to be a real problem, I actually came out of it with a new idea for Plank and an interesting way we can help out Canadian documentary filmmakers. I get the vision of what the government and CMF are trying to do and I’m ready to embrace it. Wanna hear more? Email me and I’ll let you know what’s mulling around in my brain.

I’ll definitely post about the Plank “idea” once I have it organized. I may hold ideas close to my chest, but not that close.

After one illustrious day, all goals met except one, going to see a film! Let’s see what day 2 holds. Highlights of the day:

  • Chance meetings with 4 different and talented filmmakers
  • Realizing I may have a solution to the POV CMF problem
  • A beautiful, clear, warm day in Toronto
  • A chance to take a LONG walk from my hotel to Hotdocs first thing in the morning
  • Yay for iPhone tethering

Down points of the day

  • Wifi fail @ Hotdocs
  • I went over to Caplansky’s delicatessen for lunch and it was closed for spring cleaning. Oy! Such bad timing!
  • I understand the game they all play, but do the prices at hotels really need to be 2X what you would pay anywhere else?

See you tomorrow!

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