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The goal of Get on the Doc Bus is to seed a grassroots documentary cinema network across Canada.

The Doc Bus map-based database begins to put the players on the map, creating the beginning of a broad network of documentary community builders. This network has the potential to connect Canadian documentary screening initiatives to each other, to local and virtual audiences as well as to filmmakers, film producers and distributors.

The Future is BOTH Local AND Online

I believe that a thriving documentary future combines a strong local presence that builds face-to-face community with creative online engagement strategies. The first step is to create an environment where the local documentary community and audience can thrive, and then build an online network that serves the local needs. The future needs our imagination, and this is one step towards a crowdsourced future.

Register Your Doc Screening Program Now!

We invite you to register your organization or business that is (or hopes to be) involved with documentary screenings in your town or city. Your organization will then appear as a pin on the map, with links, photos and posts associated to it. This will serve to form the beginnings of a grassroots network that can support our struggling film industry, serving documentary audiences, filmmakers, NGO’s and businesses while building community.

If you are one of the following, we want to hear from you:

  • Documentary filmmaker
  • Film screening program (that includes some documentary programming)
  • Community group or NGO (that screens docs to engage your constituents)
  • Film Festival
  • Media Arts Organization or Co-op
  • Cinema or Theatre
  • Non-cinema venue (ie community hall, church, library, cafe, restaurant, art gallery, etc)
  • Film Distributor (online or offline)
  • Film school or educational institution
  • Documentary Lover
  • Other…. did we miss someone?
Submit Your Listing Now

What Can This Network Do For Me?

While the exact nature of this network is what Get on the Doc Bus plans to discuss across Canada, there are a few obvious goals that are worth discussing and reaching towards.

  1. PEER-to-PEER CONNECTION: There are dozens of small & medium sized documentary screening initiatives across Canada that could benefit from shared knowledge, best practices and organizing tips. Many of these groups are working in isolation for very low pay and without the support of a network. While there are a handful of curated screening networks, such as TIFF Film Circuit and Cinema Politica, there are barriers to inclusion. Would a broad grassroots network be useful to community cinema groups. If so, what would that look like?
  2. AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT:  Dwindling documentary broadcast strands and changing technology are making it harder to finance and distribute documentaries. Meanwhile, there is a huge and growing demand for documentaries – audiences have never loved docs more! Is there a way to use multi-local live + virtual = hybrid events to develop, educate and reach offline and online documentary audiences to ensure the survival of the documentary genre? What is a hybrid event? Read more here.
  3. ALTERNATIVE DISTRIBUTION: Since October 2012, OPEN CINEMA has been successfully experimenting with virtual engagement in conjunction with its popular hyper-local screening events. Simultaneous online and offline screenings in cafe style venues, followed by livestreamed open forum discussions with an accompanying Tweetchat have achieved a climbing online reach of up to 123,000 people per event. This suggests the possibility of developing a revenue-generating grassroots documentary distribution network.

Let’s connect to discuss the future! OPEN CINEMA founder and program director Mandy Leith hopes to develop strong ties to like-minded organizations, by meeting and discussing these, and other questions face to face. Get on the Doc Bus!


  1. Mandy: How do i get on the list of places you will visit? dave

  2. Mandy: We are on the doc map under spring pulse poetry festival and are the only red dot in north eastern Ontario

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