ARPCF Expresses Concern Over Hot Docs Programmers’ Resignation Due to Silencing of Pro-Palestine Voices

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Montreal, April 2, 2024 – The Anti-Racism Program of the CJPME Foundation (ARPCF) voices deep concern and disappointment over the recent mass resignation of ten members of the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival programming team. This unprecedented move underscores a troubling trend with cultural institutions, where voices of Palestinian and their allies are often marginalized or disregarded. The mass resignation of ten members of the programming team, including, veterans Myrocia Watamaniuk and Angie Driscoll, signals a concerning disconnect in the festival’s commitment to diverse and inclusive storytelling, particularly regarding Palestinian narratives.  


Jamila Ewais, a Researcher for the ARPCF, emphasized the significance of the programmers’ departure, stating “The resignation of such a significant number of the programming team at Hot Docs, particularly due to concerns over the silencing of pro-Palestine voices, is a stark indication of the systemic barriers faced by Palestinian narrative in media and cultural festivals. This situation calls for a reassessment of Hot Docs’ commitments to equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism.”  As such, the ARPCF calls for Hot Docs executives to convene a meeting the with resigning programmers and address their concerns. 

According to Point of View Magazine, internal disputes within the festival's board and leadership regarding statements on Israel and Palestine, perceived by some as pro-Israel, exacerbate the situation. Some board members also resigned from Hot Docs. This issue highlights wider concerns of a discomforting bias that demands immediate attention and rectification.

Given recent developments, the ARPCF calls on Hot Docs to review the circumstances which led to the resignation of the programmers, and reconsider whether the organization has been faithful to its founding principles.  For the sake of their reputation and credibility, the leadership of the Festival should seek a solution with the programmers, and recognize the importance of Palestinian representation in the documentary industry.  The ARPCF remains dedicated to promoting anti-racism and combating discrimination in all forms, including in the documentary film industry. 

About the ARPCF – The mandate of the Anti-Racism Program of the CJPME Foundation (ARPCF) is to create public awareness about racism in Canada.  This mandate falls in line with the Foundation’s broader purpose of monitoring and combating manifestations of racism, xenophobia, and discrimination by increasing public awareness of such biases.

For more information, please contact Jamila Ewais, 514-389-8668
ARPCF, [email protected]

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