“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,” said 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.”
Smith previously worked at the Toronto International Film Festival as the director of special projects, where he oversaw initiatives and events like the TIFF Bell Lightbox, TIFF in the Park, Nuit Blanche, the digiPlaySpace traveling exhibition and Short Cuts programming for TIFF. Beforehand, he was the director of public programs at TIFF.
As director of programming at Hot Docs, Smith will head a programming team that includes senior Canadian programmer Lynne Fernie and a full staff of programmers specializing in Canadian and international films. He will develop the programming vision for the festival, contribute to the long-term planning of the organization and work with other departments to create new initiatives.
Current programming manager Sarafina DiFelice will move to the newly created position of associate director of programming. In this new position, she will take on new strategic assignments to build Hot Doc’s brand, outreach and reputation.