Longtime Hot Docs executive director Chris McDonald will step into a newly created position of president of the organization, it was announced today. Brett Hendrie, Hot Docs’ managing director for the past 10 years, was appointed the organization’s new executive director. McDonald will directly oversee the ongoing growth and activity of the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, one of the only documentary-focused cinemas in the world.
Full press release below.
June 25, 2013, Toronto – The Hot Docs Board of Directors announces that longtime executive director Chris McDonald will assume the newly created position of president within the organization effective immediately. In this role, McDonald will directly oversee the ongoing growth and activity of the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, one of the only documentary-focused cinemas in the world. At a board meeting on June 19, Brett Hendrie, Hot Docs’ managing director for the past 10 years, was appointed the organization’s new executive director. Hendrie will assume leadership of Hot Docs’ annual event and year-round public and industry activities and initiatives. Both McDonald and Hendrie will report to the Board of Directors.
“Chris and Brett have been a remarkably effective team for the past 10 years,” said Michael McMahon, co-chair of the Hot Docs Board of Directors, “and we’re thrilled that together they will lead the organization into its next exciting growth phase. The Board was unanimous in its enthusiastic support for Brett to assume leadership of the festival, and for Chris to oversee the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema and related initiatives. We are fortunate to have these two talented and experienced individuals at the helm.”
Under McDonald’s leadership since 1998, Hot Docs has grown from a small gathering of Canadian filmmakers into North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market, and a key event for the international industry. This year’s 20th anniversary edition welcomed record audiences of 180,000, compared to just 7000 in 1999. During his tenure, Hot Docs’ activity expanded year-round and nation-wide with annual Doc Soup and Best of Hot Docs screening series running across Canada. McDonald also spearheaded opportunities for Canadian and international filmmakers, establishing the renowned Hot Docs Forum for international co-financing, the $4-million Shaw Media-Hot Docs Documentary Funds and the $1-million Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund. In 2011, McDonald led Hot Docs into a partnership with the Blue Ice Group to program and operate the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, a newly renovated, century-old movie house in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood.
“I'm very pleased that the board has approved this transition,” said Chris McDonald. “It will allow me to concentrate on the expansion and enhancement of our new theatrical business, and for Brett to direct the day-to-day operation of this great festival. Running Hot Docs for 15-years has been a dream job, and I welcome these new challenges and opportunities with equal enthusiasm."
“I'm humbled and honoured for the opportunity to lead a festival for which I care passionately,” said Brett Hendrie. “Chris has been a great mentor for over 10 years, and has created a team culture that embraces creativity and big ideas. This is a crucial time for the documentary industry and Hot Docs has an important role to play. I look forward to working closely with the festival's outstanding team to celebrate and vigorously support the excellent work of documentary filmmakers."
Brett Hendrie joined Hot Docs in 2001 and became managing director in 2003. With McDonald, he was integral in managing the festival’s growth from a single venue to 14 cinemas offering 400 screenings throughout the city; and was instrumental in the organization’s operational development, growing its human resources to 35 full-time and over 250 contract and production staff, and more than 700 volunteers. A key member of the organization's fundraising and strategic planning teams, Hendrie established and led many of the festival's key corporate and public-sector partnerships. He has also focused on diversifying the organization's revenue and developing Hot Docs' online initiatives and digital assets, including Hot Docs-branded online streaming properties, and retail DVD and VOD partnerships. In 2004, Hendrie oversaw the development of a long-term partnership with World Congress of Science and Factual Producers (WCSFP), an annual industry event managed by Hot Docs that has been successfully held in cities around the globe, including Tokyo, Florence, Paris, Dresden, Melbourne and New York.