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Hot Docs president leaving beleaguered film festival as it looks to forge 'new path'

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Hot Docs President Marie Nelson poses in this undated handout photo. The beleaguered Hot Docs Film Festival says Nelson is leaving her position after just one year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Hot Docs *MANDATORY CREDIT*

The beleaguered Hot Docs Film Festival says its president Marie Nelson is leaving her position after just one year.

Hot Docs says it's proud of the work it did under Nelson's leadership and the organization is looking to "forge a new path," with an interim executive director at the helm.

Financial uncertainty forced Canada's largest documentary film festival to temporarily close its flagship Toronto theatre in May and lay off staff for about three months.

Hot Docs has said it's facing a substantial operating deficit due to slow post-pandemic recovery, even though the 31st edition of the festival that wrapped in early May was considered a success.

Earlier this year, Nelson sent out a series of emails to audiences asking for financial support and warning that this year's Hot Docs fest could be the last.

There was also a mass exodus of staff just before the announcement of the 2024 lineup, with departing programmers citing a "toxic workplace."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 10, 2024.

The Canadian Press