(Top: John Mann and Jill Daum from SPIRIT UNFORGETTABLE; Russell Simmons from HIP-HOP EVOLUTION)TORONTO (April 27, 2016) – As doc fans gear up for the 23rd installment of Hot Docs, the Canadian International Documentary Festival running April 28 – May 8, Bell Media announced today its expansive involvement. Bell Media has been a prominent sponsor of Hot Docs for more than 15 years, and this year’s partnership continues the company’s longstanding role as Presenting Partner with the return of the CraveTV Box Office at Hot Docs House, the Hot Docs Forum, the Bell Media Kickstart series, and the Hot Docs Short Film Pitch. Additional Bell Media presence includes the exhibition of Bell Media-backed feature-length and short Canadian documentary films screening at the Festival, and branded cross-promotion on leading video-streaming service CraveTV. As well, Bell Media executives will be on-hand during the Festival to offer expertise on various topics during industry sessions. Today’s announcement comes on the heels of today’s news that Bell Media properties CTV, TSN, and CraveTV will present the big-buzz Hot Docs title O.J. SIMPSON: MADE IN AMERICA for exclusive Canadian broadcast in June. “Canadians love documentaries and Hot Docs is North America’s premier celebration of the format,” said Scott Henderson, Vice-President, Communications, Bell Media, and Hot Docs Board Member. “We are proud to support this incredible festival as well as many of the Canadian filmmakers whose works will debut to public and industry audiences. Congratulations to everyone involved on what will surely be a fantastic event.” Here is a complete run-down of Bell Media’s involvement in this year’s Hot Docs: Presenting Partner Activations Bell Media is the Presenting Partner of this year’s Festival and has been a sponsor of Hot Docs for more than 15 years. Additional sponsorship elements of this year’s Festival include: the CraveTV Box Office at Hot Docs House; the Hot Docs Forum, North America’s most effective international documentary market and pitching event; the Bell Media Kickstart series, dynamic industry sessions that provide the essentials for emerging and mid-career doc-makers; and the Hot Docs Short Film Pitch, a BravoFACT-sponsored live pitch event. Bell Media’s support of Hot Docs extends to the organization’s year-round initiatives such as Bell Media Best of Hot Docs, bringing festival hits to cities across Canada, and the Bell Media Hot Docs Showcase, which helps indie exhibitors across Canada show outstanding Hot Docs titles to their communities. Bell Media-Supported Films and Filmmakers Bell Media’s premium pay TV network The Movie Network has commissioned two Canadian titles that will have their world premieres at this year’s Festival. Spirit Unforgettable, from Little Kingdom Productions, Project 10 and director Pete McCormack, follows the multi-Platinum winning band Spirit of the West and lead singer John Mann, who at the age of 52 was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Hip-Hop Evolution, a Banger Films production from director Darby Wheeler, is a Special Presentation at this year’s Festival and follows critically acclaimed MC and journalist Shad Kabango who sets out to understand how Hip-Hop became the world’s biggest music genre by meeting with the Djs and MCs who set the template for all to follow. Both TMN original documentaries will premiere later this summer and will join the Documentaries Collection on CraveTV following their Pay TV run. Two short films supported by BravoFACT (Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent), the Bell Media fund dedicated to helping Canadian producers and directors who seek to create entertaining and engaging short-form content, will also bow at this year’s Hot Docs. Terranova Matadora is a portrait of Canadian Carolyn Hayward, who was the highest-paid female bullfighter in the world, by her granddaughter, director Rhonda Buckley. Conversations with a Dead Prime Minister, from director Daniel Roher, follows two mediums who attempt to contact deceased Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King. Another Bell Media supported Canadian filmmaker participating in this year’s Hot Docs is acclaimed director Rama Rau, a graduate of the Bell Media Diverse Screenwriter Program, whose feature documentary League of Exotique Dancers screens as a Special Presentation on opening night. Hot Docs-Branded Titles on CraveTV CraveTV, sponsor of the Festival’s Box Office at Hot Docs House for two years running, is also putting Hot Docs in the spotlight by branding festival titles as part of its popular Documentaries Collection on Canada’s leading video-streaming platform. Thirteen titles streaming now on CraveTV, including acclaimed, award-winning documentaries from HBO and SHOWTIME, as well as CTV Canadian Original titles, have all played at either the Hot Docs festival or screened at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. More Hot Docs branded titles will come to CraveTV later this year. Hot Docs Industry Events Featuring Bell Media Properties and Executives Bell Media executives will share their expertise and participate in a wide range of industry panel discussions. This year’s lineup includes a spotlight on Bell Media network Discovery with Close Up With . . . Discovery Channel Canada, and Online Channel Surfing, a panel discussion with leading digital networks including Bell Media’s Mike Cosentino, Senior Vice-President, Programming, CTV Networks and CraveTV.