Docu fest pitches pics via Internet

Group sidesteps SARS by using new technology

TORONTO — The popular pitching section of the Hot Docs Canadian Intl. Documentary Festival, presently unspooling in Toronto, is to be beamed on the Internet as the outbreak of SARS has kept many international commissioning editors away from the city.

Twelve producers from Canada, the U.S., Australia, France, Germany and Israel were to pitch their wares at the Toronto Documentary Forum on Wednesday and Thursday. Now it will be a one-day event on Wednesday watched live by Toronto attendees while international stayaways see the presentations and film clips on the Internet and join in the discussion via teleconferencing.

“As Hot Docs’ flagship marketing event, the Forum has always been about bringing the world to our doorstep,” said Forum director Michaelle McLean, “but because of this year’s circumstances, this year we’re taking the Forum to the world

“In fact, there are some benefits from this situation, like the opportunity to try out new technology and take the Forum into cyber space.”

Hot Docs, which wraps Sunday, is hosting 122 documentaries from Canada and around the world, plus professional development and market events for delegates.

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