Anna Maria Tremonti, Samantha Bee, and more added to 2022 Hot Docs Podcast Festival line-up – fest goes virtual!

Full lineup announced for sixth edition of Hot Docs Podcast Festival
Festival shifts to all-virtual, globally streamed format, running
Jan 25-28

  • Yowei Shaw and Kia Miakka Natisse of NPR’s Invisibilia in conversation with Saidu Tejan-Thomas and Bethel Habte from acclaimed Gimlet podcast Resistance
  • Hit pop culture podcast Back Issue welcomes New Yorker music writer Kelefa Sanneh
  • A Canadian treasure “comes home” for an unmissable episode of Full Release with Samantha Bee featuring a surprise guest
  • Opening Night presented by CBC Podcasts featuring an intimate conversation with Anna Maria Tremonti about her explosive new podcast

 
Creators Forum offers most robust line-up to date including events featuring Connie Walker, Director X, Dan Taberski, Ira Madison III of Keep It!, and more.
 
Presented in partnership with CBC Podcasts and supported by Major Partners Acast and RBC Foundation

Hot Docs has announced the full programming lineup for the sixth annual Hot Docs Podcast Festival – one of North America’s premier podcasting events, celebrating the artistry and craft of exceptional audio storytelling. In light of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and changes in public health regulations, the Festival will once again shift to an all-virtual format to ensure the health and safety of audiences and guests. This virtual edition, running from January 25 to 28, offers the distinctive mix of live podcast presentations and provocative conversations that have come to define the Festival, all spotlighting leading storytellers and creators working on the new frontier of audio storytelling.
 
“While we had sincerely hoped to be bringing Hot Docs Podcast Festival back to Hot Docs Cinema this year, we are pleased to be able to effectively respond to our changing circumstances, while moving ahead with our full slate of public and industry programming,” says Alan Black, co-managing director of Hot Docs. “Building off the success of last year’s virtual edition, our goal is to offer an unmissable experience for both audiences and industry, placing homegrown creators on the virtual stage alongside international leaders and providing essential resources to the podcasters of the future. Perhaps most importantly, we hope this upcoming edition of the Festival can offer some much needed connection and inspiration.”

Joining previously announced headliners including a CBC Opening Night Storytelling Showcase hosted by The Secret Life of Canada and previewing a new podcast from Anna Maria Tremonti; bestselling Big Short author Michael Lewis in conversation with Ira Glass; and a sneak peek of award-winning Anishinaabe journalist and writer Ryan McMahon’s new television adaptation of his Canadaland series, Thunder Bay. The Festival is also thrilled to welcome one of the most popular and innovative podcasts in the medium’s history—NPR’s Invisibilia—in conversation with Saidu Tejan-Thomas and Bethel Habte of Gimlet’s Resistance (a New York Times Best Podcast of 2021); and a live edition of the irreverent pop culture podcast Back Issue with guest Kelefa Sanneh, a staff writer with The New Yorker. The Festival will close with an unmissable special event: Canadian treasure, comedian, and satirist Samantha Bee will present a virtual live episode of her wildly popular podcast Full Release—featuring a special to-be-announced surprise guest. This highly anticipated event will take place on January 28, at 8:00 p.m., and be streamed live around the world.
 
“In these last few years as we’ve faced the challenges presented by the pandemic and major socio-political disruption, we’ve experienced a renewed sense of how fundamental journalism and storytelling are to our ability to navigate our world,” says Will Di Novi, the Festival’s lead curator. “Podcasting continues to become an increasingly dynamic space offering everything from narrative non-fiction to feature conversations to scripted drama—and we are seeing creators and thinkers from widely varied backgrounds entering the space. With this year’s Festival we sought to really capture and reflect that dynamism, pairing groundbreaking audio storytellers with leading cultural figures for one-of-a-kind conversations.”

The Creators Forum again runs for three days of the Festival, with its most robust slate to date of hands-on skills building workshops, “Meet the Decision Maker” events with leading content executives and Masterclasses with creative luminaries. Some highlights of the industry programming this year include a career building session with Media Girlfriends, Garvia Bailey, Nan aba Duncan, and Hannah Sung; a talk on crossing over into podcasting from other mediums with influential music video directors Director X and Taj Critchlow; a case study in investigative podcasting with Gimlet Media’s Managing Director Lydia Polgreen and acclaimed host Connie Walker (Stolen, Finding Cleo); meet the decision-maker talks with CBC Podcasts and Amazon Music; and masterclasses with Canadaland, 9/12 and Running from the Cops creator Dan Taberski, For Colored Nerds’ Eric Eddings and Brittany Luse, and This American Life’s Alix Spiegel. On day three, Hot Docs turns over the Creators Forum to Acast, the world’s leading independent podcast company supporting shows of all sizes. Events include an Indigenous creators panel sharing perspectives on the role of activism in audio, and a deep dive into fandom in the podcast-sphere with Ira Madison III from Crooked Media’s Keep It!, Hannah Sung, and CBC Pop Chat’s Amil Niazi. 
 
Hot Docs Podcast Festival continues its commitment to provide development resources to emerging audio creators. Opening Act returns in 2022 offering homegrown podcasters the opportunity to get new shows in production heard before select live events. The Festival will also welcome a new cohort into its Podcast Career Accelerator program, equipping emerging creators of diverse backgrounds with the tools they need to take their audio skills to the next level, strengthening and sustaining the burgeoning Canadian audio industry.

Passes and single tickets for public events are available now. Single tickets for headlining events are free for Hot Docs Members, Hot Docs at Home Subscribers, and Festival passholders, and are $9.99 for non-members/passholders. All Creators Forum sessions are accessible with a Podcast Festival pass only. Festival passes are $94 ($84 for Hot Docs Members) and are available at Early Bird pricing (20% off) until January 6 at midnight. Passes also grant extended streaming access to all event recordings until February 28. All events are able to stream worldwide. Tickets are available for purchase at hotdocs.ca.
 
For more information, please visit hotdocs.ca/festivals/podcast-festival

HEADLINING EVENT LINEUP
All times listed in EST

Tuesday, January 25

7:30 PM
Opening Night Event: The Secrets We Keep: CBC Podcasts Storytelling Showcase
We all have a secret or two. Why are some hard to keep, and others hard to share? What are we still afraid to talk about in 2022? Are some secrets best kept hidden?  Building on the theme of their highly entertaining and richly subversive CBC podcast, The Secret Life of Canada, co-hosts Leah Simone Bowen and Falen Johnson return to the festival on opening night with a star-studded storytelling showcase. Come join some of Canada’s top podcasting talent for a night of eye-opening revelations.

Featuring stories by:

• Elamin Abdelmahmoud, Amil Niazi and Kevin Fallon (Pop Chat)
• Ryan Thorpe (White Hot Hate)
• Anna Maria Tremonti and Farzana Doctor (the all-new CBC podcast, Welcome to Paradise) 

Wednesday, January 26

6:00 PM
Michael Lewis in conversation with Ira Glass
Michael Lewis’ first book, Liar’s Poker, about working on Wall Street in the ‘80s, turned him into a literary icon. When he went into the studio to record a new audiobook version of Liar’s Poker, he thought a lot about how much Wall Street has (or hasn’t) changed. He also thought about his own evolution as a writer. Those musings became a new podcast series called Other People’s Money, which is being released as a companion to Liar’s Poker. In this celebration of two of the greatest non-fiction storytellers of our time, Lewis, whose other books include Moneyball and The Big Short, is joined by Ira Glass, creator and host of public radio’s This American Life, to discuss their award-winning bodies of work and how they learned to stop imitating others and write like themselves.

8:00 PM
Sneak preview: Thunder Bay, the Crave Original Documentary Series
Award-winning Anishinaabe podcaster, journalist and writer Ryan McMahon returns to the Hot Docs Podcast Festival stage to share a preview of the upcoming Crave Original documentary series based on his hit CANADALAND podcast, Thunder Bay. This gripping investigative series directed by award-winning filmmaker Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and executive produced by Canadaland’s Jesse Brown, follows McMahon on his quest to uncover the truth behind the recent deaths of multiple Indigenous people in Thunder Bay, Ontario—a city known as the homicide and hate crime capital of Canada. Examining the failings and the injustices of the city’s social systems and institutions, the four-part series sheds light on our country’s complicated relationship with colonialism, while examining the consequences of a broken system in which some can thrive, while many others, disproportionately struggle to survive.


Thursday, January 27

6:00 PM
Virtual: Telling Hidden Stories: Invisibilia in Conversation with Resistance’s Saidu Tejan-Thomas & Bethel Habte
NPR’s Invisibilia is one of the most popular and innovative podcasts in the medium’s history. Founded by audio icons Alix Spiegel (This American Life) and Lulu Miller (Radiolab), the show is now led by two of the most dynamic young voices in audio storytelling: Yowei Shaw and Kia Miakka Natisse. At this live virtual event, Yowei and Kia join forces with Saidu Tejan-Thomas and Bethel Habte, the host and producer of Gimlet’s acclaimed Resistance (recently named one of the 10 Best Podcasts of 2021 by The New York Times), and the for a one-of-a-kind meeting of curious minds. As they discuss the stories and ideas that fascinate and excite them, Kia, Yowei, Saidu and Bethel will explore their common passion for telling hidden, sometimes overlooked, stories—and their commitment to producing socially engaged work that speaks to a new generation of passionate audiophiles.

8:00 PM
Back Issue Live with The New Yorker’s Kelefa Sanneh
Remember when tasteless critics panned Mariah Carey’s Glitter? (#JusticeforGlitter!) When BeyoncĂŠ gave us EVERYTHING? Tracy Clayton and Josh Gwynn do, and these are just a few of the formative pop culture moments they’ve dissected on their brilliant and delightful podcast Back Issue. In this first-ever live edition of their show, Tracy and Josh team up with New Yorker staff writer Kelefa Sanneh for an unforgettable night of conversation, trivia and pop culture nostalgia. As they dig deep into the fascinating stories at the heart of Major Labels, Kelefa’s groundbreaking new history of the past 50 years of popular music, they’ll revisit some of the biggest songs and videos of the 90s/00s and reckon with some of culture’s biggest questions: How did we let this happen? And why do we still love this? As Tracy and Josh often say: “Nostalgia is more than just a feeling.”


Friday, January 28

8:00 PM
Full Release Live with Samantha Bee
Every week on Full Release, her wildly popular podcast, Samantha Bee sits down for unscripted, in-depth conversations with the best and brightest people about how to navigate the ever-changing world and what to laugh about along the way. In this first-ever live virtual episode of the show, the brilliant comedian and satirist joins the Festival for a one-of-a-kind meeting of minds with a surprise special guest. 


CREATORS FORUM EVENT LINEUP
Exclusive access to these events is granted with the purchase of a festival pass.

Wednesday, January 26

9:30 AM
How to Build a Career in Podcasting (without Selling your Soul)  
How do you build a career in podcasting without selling your soul? How do you acquire job security and creative freedom in an industry that has historically underpaid workers and undervalued the voices of women and people of colour? Answering these questions has been integral to the mission of Media Girlfriends, a Toronto-based podcast production company, founded by journalists of colour, that’s devoted to amplifying historically misrepresented voices. In this candid conversation, the studio’s three co-founders will discuss their strategies for navigating the podcast landscape as freelancers, their efforts to build supportive and inclusive teams on their podcasts, and how they’ve worked to achieve a sense of agency, aligning the work they do with their personal values.

Featuring:
• Garvia Bailey, award-winning journalist and co-founder of Media Girlfriends 
• Nana aba Duncan, Media Girlfriends co-founder, Associate prof, Carleton Chair of Journalism, Diversity and Inclusion Studies at Carlton University’s School of Journalism
• Hannah Sung, award-winning journalist and co-founder of Media Girlfriends

11:00 AM
Launching an Investigative Podcast: A “Stolen” Case Study with Gimlet’s Lydia Polgreen and Connie Walker 
As the managing director of Gimlet Media, one of the studios at the heart of Spotify’s growing podcast empire, Lydia Polgreen is responsible for bringing audio storytelling of the highest quality to millions of listeners around the world. Connie Walker is one of the studio’s most accomplished hosts—a Canadian success story whose acclaimed podcast, Stolen, caught the eyes and ears of fans and critics alike. In this candid discussion of both the craft and business of podcasting, Polgreen and Walker will use Stolen as a case study to explore the process of building an ambitious, journalistically rigorous podcast at a major studio. They’ll discuss the joys—and the institutional challenges—of bringing timely, socially engaged narrative journalism to a big global audience.

Featuring:
• Lydia Polgreen, Managing Director, Gimlet Media
• Connie Walker, Investigative reporter, host of Gimlet Media’s Stolen, previously: Finding Cleo (CBC)


1:00 PM
Creatives Crossing Into the Podcasting Space with Director X & Taj Critchlow
In recent years, podcasting has become a truly cross-platform medium, attracting big-name talent from across the world of arts and culture—and inspiring exciting new projects in other media. In this intimate session with two of the world’s most influential music video creators—Toronto’s own Director X and Taj Critchlow—explore what it takes to translate your skills from another creative medium into this exciting and endlessly inventive art form. Sharing lessons from their hit podcast, ARTchitects: the architects of ART podcast (also co-hosted by Karena Evans), and their collaborations with superstars with Drake, Rihanna and Kanye West, X and Taj will discuss the power of podcasting to nurture your creativity and expand your audience. 

Featuring:
• Julien Christian Lutz, aka Director X, filmmaker, music video director and Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Fela, new age production company creating globally celebrated content.
• Taj Critchlow, talent manager, producer, creative consultant, and Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Fela.
• Jordan Sowunmi (Moderator), Lead, Music Editorial and Content Strategy at TikTok, co-founder of Boosie Fade and the podcast, Catch Up.

2:30 PM
How to Pitch with CBC Decision-Makers
In this special presentation from Canada’s largest podcast studio, decision-makers Chris Oke and Ilina Ghosh will pull back the curtain on one of the most difficult and important skills every podcaster needs to master: how to pitch. Using examples drawn from some of the CBC’s most popular and award-winning narrative series, this will be a practical guide to building proposals, presentations and teasers that will excite potential collaborators and help get your projects in front of the right people.

Featuring:
• Chris Oke, Senior Producer, CBC Podcasts
• Ilina Gosh, Producer, CBC Podcasts

4:00 PM
How to Make a Good Talk Show: A Masterclass with Canadaland
Aspiring podcasters often underestimate the amount of work that goes into making a good conversation show—the best ones sound so effortless. But even the most informal, off-the-cuff-sounding chat pods require immense planning and expertise, and few studios understand this better than Canadaland, the scrappy, Toronto-based indie behind some of the country’s most popular podcasts on politics, media, and current events. In this special Masterclass, Fatima Syed, host of The Backbench, and more veteran producers reveal the nuts and bolts of how a good chat show gets made— and how to make them dynamic, structured, and topical enough to engage a large audience.

Featuring:
• Jonathan Goldsbie, co-host of Wag the Doug podcast and editor at Canadaland
• Tiffany Lam, producer, Canadaland 
• Fatima Syed, host, Canadaland’s The Backbench
• Kieran Oudshoorn (Moderator), Managing Editor of Podcasts, Canadaland


Thursday, January 27

9:30 AM
Masterclass in Audience Engagement
“If you have a big social following, your podcast audience numbers are guaranteed. If you’re a celebrity, no doubt people will tune into your show. Having a show that’s outside the mainstream means only a few listeners will tune in (likely your friends and family).” All of these are misconceptions in how to establish, engage with, and grow your audience in podcasting. As the classic saying in podcast audience engagement goes, “It’s an art, not a science.” At this masterclass, leading insiders from Acast dig into the most interesting audience engagement trends and strategies they’ve seen and executed with creators of all backgrounds. 

Featuring:
• Tiffany Ashitey, Director of Partnerships, Acast US  
• Trace Gaynor, Associate Partner Manager, Acast USA
• Becky Celestina, Partner Manager, Acast USA
• Sophia Lepage, Associate Partner Manager, Acast Canada

This Creators Forum session is guest curated by Acast as part of Acast Day: Seen and Heard: Elevating Diverse Voices & Stories. 

11:00 AM
Aclass: Indigenous Voices
Get Indigenous podcasters’ perspectives on creating and developing audio-first stories, and the challenges and successes they’ve encountered along the way. Is podcasting a means to activism? Hear from Ryan McMahon (Red Man Laughing, Thunder Bay), Pam Palmater (Warrior Life), Nick Estes (The Red Nation Podcast), and Falen Johnson (CBC’s The Secret Life of Canada) as they walk you through their journeys into the medium, how they’ve found and grown their audiences, and what their unique creative processes look like. They also discuss the current state of Indigenous podcasting along with where it’s headed in the future.

Featuring:
• Nick Estes, a journalist, historian, and host of The Red Nation Podcast. He is a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. 
• Falen Johnson, award-winning playwright and co-host of CBC’s The Secret Life of Canada. She is Mohawk and Tuscarora (Bear Clan) from Six Nations Grand River Territory.
• Ryan McMahon, award-winning Anishinaabe podcaster, journalist and writer, host of the Red Man Laughing and Thunder Bay podcasts
• Dr. Pam Palmater, a Mi’kmaw laywer, professor and activist, host of Warrior Life.
• Narisa Ladak (Moderator), Creator Network Director, Acast Canada.

This Creators Forum session is guest curated by Acast as part of Acast Day: Seen and Heard: Elevating Diverse Voices & Stories. 

2:30 PM
Communicating Challenging Concepts Through Creation with AsapSCIENCE
How do you make your podcast more accessible when it covers an “inaccessible” topic? AsapSCIENCE creators Greg and Mitch are popular Toronto-based YouTubers, TikTok stars, podcasters, and queer science educators who are making the subject of science digestible, inclusive, and fun with the help of their podcast Sidenote. Joined by Acast’s Heather Gordon, Greg and Mitch will discuss their journey into podcasting, and how they’re taking advantage of cross-platform storytelling to break down knowledge barriers and make the typical esoteric language used in the science community more accessible to all. Using TikTok as a case study, they’ll also discuss how to create unique content for digital platforms that will resonate with related—though distinct—audiences.

Featuring:
• Gregory Brown, co-creator of AsapSCIENCE, co-host of Sidenote podcast 
• Mitchell Moffit, co-creator of AsapSCIENCE, co-host of Sidenote podcast 
• Heather Gordon (Moderator), Managing Director of Acast Canada

This Creators Forum session is guest curated by Acast as part of Acast Day: Seen and Heard: Elevating Diverse Voices & Stories. 

4:00 PM
Freedom Through Fandom 
From Swifties bashing Jake Gyllenhall to the BTS Army disrupting a Trump rally, to Britney Spears fans rallying to #SaveBritney, we know the power of fandom. We also know that podcasting can offer a space for fandom to thrive. When it’s coupled with the viral nature of social media, there’s even an ability to create a groundswell of awareness and change. Ira Madison III (Keep It!), Hannah Sung (Media Girlfriends), and Vanessa Zoltan (Harry Potter and the Sacred Text) all have experience with fandom—whether through reporting, social engagement, or being an actual fan. Join this roundtable discussion moderated by Amil Niazi (CBC’s Pop Chat) as the panelists dive into the intricacies of fandom—when it’s used for good, when it’s used as an activism tool, and when it turns ugly. They will cover how podcasting plays an integral role as a source of information.

Featuring:
• Ira Madison III, television writer, host of Crooked Media’s Keep It!, former critic at The Daily Beast and GQ Magazine
• Hannah Sung, award-winning journalist and co-founder of Media Girlfriends, podcast production company
• Amil Niazi (Moderator), showrunner, CBC’s Pop Chat 

This Creators Forum session is guest curated by Acast as part of Acast Day: Seen and Heard: Elevating Diverse Voices & Stories. 


Friday, January 28

9:30 AM
Launching and Creating Podcasts with Amazon Decision-Makers
In recent years, Amazon Music has made a serious investment in the audio storytelling landscape, with the acquisition of podcast studio Wondery and podcast service provider Art19, making it a premiere destination for creators looking to manage, grow and monetize their content. In this presentation and panel specially crafted for Hot Docs Podfest delegates, Amazon audio execs Marshall Lewy, Lindsay Michael, and Declan Moore will offer an overview of the services and support systems their team is putting in place to support podcast producers who are looking to grow their audiences. Get insider knowledge on the studio’s approach to developing and launching new shows and get expert tips on how to pitch an exciting project to a major podcast studio.

Featuring:
• Marshall Lewy, Chief Content Officer at Wondery, overseeing Wondery and Amazon Originals
• Lindsay Michael, Manager of Podcasts for Amazon Canada
• Declan Moore, Head of International at Wondery

11:00 AM
The Art of the Limited-Run Podcast: A Masterclass with Dan Taberski
Dan Taberski is on a roll. In the years since his viral podcast series Missing Richard Simmons dominated the podcast charts, the former documentary filmmaker and Daily Show producer has hosted a series of critically acclaimed shows that have set a new creative standard for the limited-run podcast series: Running with Cops, Surviving Y2K, The Line and, most recently, 9/12.

This latest, an Amazon Original produced by Pineapple Street, was recently named one of the ten best podcasts of 2021 by The New York Times and The New Yorker. In this masterclass, Dan sits down with Elamin Abdelmahmoud, hosts of CBC’s Pop Chat, to discuss the important process-oriented questions that help to structure an ambitious documentary series, and why he believes this emerging art form is the place, as he puts it, to tell “crazy explosive” stories and explore complicated questions and ideas.

Featuring:
• Dan Taberski, Filmmaker and podcaster, host of Running with Cops, Surviving Y2K, The Line and 9/12
• Elamin Abdelmahmoud (moderator), culture writer at Buzzfeed News and host of CBC’s Pop Chat

1:00 PM
Editing Across Difference with The New Yorker Radio Hour’s Ngofeen Mputubwele
As a producer of The New Yorker Radio Hour, and a former staffer at Stitcher and Gimlet, Ngofeen Mputubwele has helped produce some of the most acclaimed podcasts in recent memory. He’s also witnessed the podcast industry’s tendency to undervalue and marginalize the work of podcasters of colour. In this masterclass, adapted from workshops he’s led for the teams at Stitcher and WNYC, Ngofeen will address the power dynamics that often take shape in the production and editing of ambitious podcasts—and how to establish ground rules and support systems that allow team members to negotiate their creative and cultural differences, especially when they are telling stories rooted in the experiences of historically marginalized peoples.

2:30 PM
Finding Your Voice: Audio Writing Masterclass with This American Life’s Alix Spiegel
Writing for audio is often discussed as a mysterious, almost mystical process. At this masterclass, Alix Spiegel, a senior producer for This American Life and former host of Invisibilia, sits down with 99% Invisible’s Chris Berube to cut through the noise and break down the most effective approaches to tape use, story structure and reporting techniques that she has encountered at the canonical shows where she has worked.  As she talks though examples from her award-winning body of work, she’ll demonstrate practical strategies that podcasters of all backgrounds and experience levels can employ to write captivating, elegantly structured audio stories.

Featuring:
• Alix Spiegel, senior producer for This American Life, former host of Invisibilia
• Chris Berube (moderator), producer, 99% Invisible

2:30 PM
Breaking Form, Breaking Rules with Eric Eddings and Brittany Luse
After breaking new ground with their show The Nod, Eric Eddings and Brittany Luse are once again shaping the cultural conversation with their newly rebooted For Colored Nerds, where they deconstruct the nerdier side of pop culture, and peel back the layers of Black culture we rarely discuss in mixed company. At this masterclass, the BFFs and cultural critics will dig into the art and craft of making “form-breakers”—episodes that play with narrative and production to make the world take notice. Using examples from past episodes of The Nod, Eric and Brittany will break down the rules for an episode where you break the rules, offering invaluable tips and tricks on how to take your show and your audience to new and unexpected places. 

Featuring:
• Eric Eddings, co-host of For Colored Nerds, Director of Lifestyle Podcasting at Stitcher/SiriusXM, and the former co-host of The Nod (Gimlet)
• Brittany Luse, journalist, podcast host, and cultural critic whose writing has appeared in Vulture, Refinery29, Harper’s Bazaar. She is the co-host of For Colored Nerds and former co-host of The Nod.

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