Hot Docs, Blue Ice take over Bloor Cinema

The iconic Toronto venue will predominantly feature documentary programming and continue as a host venue for a variety of festivals.

Canadian festival Hot Docs has teamed up with Blue Ice Film to take control of Bloor Cinema (pictured), an iconic and century-old film house located in Toronto’s Annex neighborhood.

The theater, which is currently undergoing renovation, will reopen this autumn under Hot Docs’ management, after the parties agreed upon a deal for an undisclosed sum.

Under a joint venture agreement, Hot Docs as leaseholder will assume responsibility for managing and programming the venue year round, in addition to using it for its annual spring festival and monthly Doc Soup screening series.

“Independent cinemas like the Bloor are vital to the city’s vibrant film culture,” said Hot Docs executive director Chris McDonald, who added that the venue has been “a cherished home to Hot Docs for the past 12 years.”

Documentary films will be predominantly featured at the new Bloor, although the venue will continue to host other Toronto-based film festivals and offer alternative programming. In addition to Hot Docs, the Bloor regularly hosts the After Dark Film Festival, the Toronto Jewish Film Festival and the Images Festival.

Carm Bordonaro, the now former owner of the cinema, described the deal as “a dream come true,” adding: “The business model has completely changed and we need visionary investors and organizations like Hot Docs to protect these neighborhood cinemas.”

The partnership comes after Hot Docs in May teamed up with Blue Ice Film to launch a fund providing CDN$1 million in grants over five years for African documentarians.