26films anywhere," he says, crediting some of the success ofCanadian documentaries to the public broadcasters, such as theCBC and TVO. These publically funded organizations giveopportunities to Canadian documentary filmmakers to shootcreative long-form documentaries that reach a wide audience."We have this long tradition in this country, and we're certainlyrecognized around the world for that," McDonald says. Hot Docs makes sure to reward many of its Canadian filmmakers.Last year, at the festival's awards ceremony, a feature calledFamily Portrait in Black and White, which examined thedifficulties of growing up as a biracial child in Ukraine, won a$15,000 prize in the category of best Canadian feature. Manyother Canadian films received awards both in the Canadian andgeneral categories. In addition to visiting the new theatre, documentary lovers whowant to continue the festival's activities year-round can alsosubscribe to Doc Soup, a program that screens documentaries ona monthly basis for seven months during the fall and winterseasons. For the majority of the screenings, Hot Docs brings thefilmmaker to Toronto to answer audience questions both beforeand after the show. Almost 1,400 people have subscribed to theDoc Soup program, demonstrating the success of the festival andthe documentary genre. "It's just a way for Hot Docs to keep intouch with its audience, and it's been an important way for us toconvert single ticket buyers into core audience members,"McDonald says. He says over the years he has loved getting the opportunity tomeet documentary legends, and watching the festival grow from asmall niche festival to the largest of its kind on the continent."Nothing beats seeing an enormous lineup around the block forany one of our venues," he says, adding that these successfulshowings remind him of the importance of the festival. Audiences vary in the ways they try to enjoy the festival. McDonaldsays some people - particularly year-round subscribers -purposefully enter a cinema blindly, having not researchedanything about the documentary to allow themselves to becompletely surprised. However, McDonald says he prefers to do abit of research beforehand. "Sit down for an hour or so on ourwebsite or with our program guide," he says. "Become as familiar as you can with the offerings, and make your choices accordingly,or open yourself up for surprise." Left: Highway Gospel.Filmmakers Subjects and Skaters. Hot Docs 2011. Photo by T. Andrew Morton.Top Right: Moviegoers at Hot Docs 2011. Photo by Joseph Michael.Bottom Right: Hell and Back Again.Director Danfung Dennis. Hot Docs 2011.FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE HOT DOCSFESTIVAL BY VISITING WWW.HOTDOCS.CATHE FESTIVAL RUNS THIS YEAR FROM APRIL26 TO MAY 6. CHECK THE WEBSITE FOR APROGRAM GUIDE AND MORE.
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