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Former ABC News/Disney Exec Marie Nelson Named Hot Docs Fest President



Former ABC News/Disney exec Marie Nelson has been named president of Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.

Starting June 1, Nelson will oversee North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market, as well as the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema in Toronto. “For me, having the chance to link arms with Hot Docs was an unequivocal swipe right. From my first trip to Toronto for the festival and its legendary pitch forum, it was love at first sight,” Nelson said in a statement on Monday.

Nelson has completed many executive stints at American networks, including WGBH in Boston, National Public Radio and Viacom/BET Networks.

“Marie is a dynamic leader with a proven track record of supporting filmmakers, growing and diversifying audiences and lifting powerful and yet often unheard voices into national discussion, which makes her ideally suited to lead Hot Docs into its next chapter,” Lalita Krishna, co. -Chair of Hot Docs Board of Directors, said in another statement.

Nelson most recently served as senior vp at ABC News/Disney, where an evolving brand and content strategy included more inclusive and diversity-led content for TV, streaming and film audiences.

Her credits include the ABC/Hulu/Disney+/Star series Soul of a Nation and partnering with teams across The Walt Disney Company and Nicole Hannah-Jones, Oprah Winfrey, Harpo, The New York Times and Lionsgate to develop the Pulitzer prize-winning The 1619 Project docuseries for Hulu Originals.

Nelson’s work has been recognized by Emmy, Peabody, Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite and NAACP Image awards.

She replaces Chris McDonald, who first as executive director and then as president has led the Hot Docs festival in Toronto for 25 years.

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