Documentary Pitching Masterclass with Catherine Olsen

Documentary Pitching Masterclass with Catherine Olsen

Do you want to strengthen your trailer and treatment for your next meeting with a decision maker? Are you hoping to attend an upcoming festival or market? Whether you’re planning to apply for the Hot Docs Forum or Deal Maker meetings, submitting a proposal for original content at Knowledge, or you’re having a one-on-one meeting with any funder or broadcaster… this event is for you!

For over 20 years, Catherine Olsen was the commissioning editor for CBC’s doc strand The Passionate Eye. She is a founding member of the Hot Docs Film Festival and a regular moderator or guest at high-profile documentary festivals and pitching forums such as IDFA, Hot Docs, Sheffield Doc/Fest and more. DOC BC, in association with Creative BC and CMPA-BC is thrilled to present two events with Catherine Olsen that will offer invaluable feedback and insider tips as you prepare for your next pitch!


Trailer Workshop & Insider Tips Masterclass – OPEN TO THE PUBLIC


Get inspired by some of the best examples of trailers that have worked or not worked in the international marketplace, and gain insider tips on how to make your next one-on-one meeting or market experience more successful. As part of this session, a representative from Creative BC will also provide a brief presentation on opportunities available through their Passport to Markets Program.


Saturday, December 16th, 2017, 3:00 – 5:00 PM

Wine and Cheese Reception 5:00 – 6:00 PM

The Post at 750 (110-750 Hamilton Street)

General Admission $30, DOC BC and CMPA-BC members FREE

Click here to register!


Intensive Pitch Training – FOR UP TO 8 PRE-SELECTED PROJECTS


1) 50-min One-one-One Session (Thursday, December 14) with International Documentary Consultant Catherine Olsen, which will include feedback for both your trailer and your treatment. For 20+ years Catherine Olsen was the Commissioning Editor & Executive Producer of CBC’s The Passionate Eye, and now she travels the world offering workshops, moderating pitching sessions, and mentoring filmmakers.

2) Half-day Group Pitching Workshop for the same 8 selected projects (Saturday, December 16, 9am – 1:30 pm). Be prepared to pitch your project & trailer in a maximum of 7 minutes to a small group of peers, and fine tune and improve it with the help of Catherine Olsen. These presentation skills and feedback will be invaluable whether you’re pitching publicly or in one-on-one meetings.



To apply for the One-On-One and Group Pitching Workshop, please send the following materials to with “Pitching Workshop”. Deadline extended before November 27th, 2017:

– Short synopsis and cutline

– 1 page treatment

– Trailer (max, 4 minutes. Recommended length 2 – 3 min)

– Financing plan



50-min One-one-One Session – Thursday, December 14, meeting time assigned after selection

Half-day Group Pitching WorkshopSaturday, December 16, 9:00am – 1:30 pm

DOC and CMPA-BC Members $75 ($100 for a team of 2)

Non-Members $160 ($200 for a team of 2)

Deadline for submissions: November 24th, 2017

Become a DOC member today!


Additional Information

– The fee for the Intensive Pitch Training includes a One-on-One session (Dec 14), Group Pitching Workshop (Dec 16, 9:00am-1:30pm) and admission to the Trailer & Insider Tips Masterclass (Dec 16, 3:00-5:00pm).

– Up to 8 projects will be selected to participate in the One-On-One Meetings and Group Pitching Workshop.

– Teams of two participants are preferred for the One-on-One and Group Pitching Workshop (preferably producer and director).

– One-on-One Meetings will run from 9:00am-6:30pm on Thursday, December 14th.

– Deadline for submissions is November 27th, 2017. Successful applicants will be notified on November 27th, 2017. Further information may be required for selected projects.

– Questions? Please email


Catherine Olsen

Catherine  has a wealth of experience in the international marketplace & is now working as a Documentary Consultant, Producer, Moderator, Tutor and Editorial Coach. She has moderated pitching forums & tutored filmmakers at Festivals and workshops around the world including IDFA & Hot Docs. For 22 years,  Catherine  was the Commissioning Editor of the CBC’s “The Passionate Eye”,  an award-winning series specializing in political and social issues she developed into one of the most successful documentary strands in North America.  It’s a series she also had the unique opportunity of hosting for 8 years.

Catherine  is one of the founding members of Hot Docs, and for many years, a member of its international advisory board.  She began her career in Vancouver as a camerawoman and editor, and has since worked as a TV journalist, writer, director, and documentary producer. Films she’s commissioned or invested in have won virtually every award available, including Oscars, Emmys, Canadian Geminis, Bafta’s, and Peabody’s.

Films commissioned for the Passionate Eye she’s particularly proud of include Yung Chang’s “Up the Yangtze”, Peter Raymont’s “Shake Hands with the Devil”, Neil Diamonds “Reel Injun”, Ric Bienstock’s “Sex Slaves”,  Ido Haar’s “Presenting Princess Shaw”, Kirby Dick’s “Invisible War”, Steve James “The Interrupters”, to name just a few.



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