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Hot Docs' Top Programmer Sean Farnel Steps Down

Hot Docs' director of programming is leaving North America's largest doc festival after six years in the post and a steady climb in film attendance at the Toronto event.

TORONTO -- With no job to go to, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival programming head Sean Farnel is stepping down.

Farnel was director of programming at North America’s largest doc festival for six years.

Before that, he programmed films at the Toronto International Film Festival for five years.

But Farnel, announcing his resignation Monday on his personal blog, Ripping Reality, said he was looking forward to some down time as “a free agent, and at some point to taking your calls to persuade me to settle down.”

The veteran Canadian film programmer also said he was leaving Hot Docs after its most successful festival ever in May.

“Few, if any, international film festivals have enjoyed more growth then Hot Docs since 2005. Having just announced another record event, with over 150,000 admissions and a 24% increase in earned revenues, the festival has more then tripled its audience over the past six years,” he wrote.

Farnel said Hot Docs was now a “close second” to the IDFA as the largest doc festival internationally.

Hot Docs has yet to name a successor for Farnel.