Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC) launches online COVID- 19 production guide by and for documentary filmmakers

DOC Launches Documentary Production in the Era of COVID-19: Best Practices by and for Documentary Filmmakers


English Press Release

French Press Release

Sept. 28, 2020 - The Documentary Organization of Canada / l’Association des documentaristes du Canada (DOC) is pleased to release its online guide Documentary Production in the Era of COVID-19: Best Practices by and for Documentary Filmmakers. 

The first guide of its kind, Documentary Production in the Era of COVID-19 was created with input from the community of professional documentary makers and is aimed at helping filmmakers navigate new ways of working safely in the context of COVID-19.   The guide was created in partnership with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), and the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC).

“DOC initiated this study to fill a gap for documentary filmmakers and empower them to make informed decisions about their productions based on official guidelines and emerging best practices sourced from within the community. Documentary is a small-scale, artisanal form of production and those working in Canada’s documentary sector are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19.”  explains Michelle van Beusekom, Executive Director of DOC.

The online guide ( is based on a survey of 327 documentary professionals (directors, producers, crew), in-depth interviews with over 50 individuals (filmmakers, experts, and documentary participants), and a rigorous review of health and safety guidelines from jurisdictions across Canada and abroad.

The survey, conducted in July 2020, indicated a strong need for additional, genre-focused, guidance with 91% of respondents indicating that they are planning to be in production or post-production on a new project within the next year and 75% of those who are currently working saying their primary concern is the safety of their participants and crew. 

Researched and written by documentary filmmaker Chanda Chevannes, the guide is a response to calls from the community for more documentary-specific pandemic guidance to supplement high-level provincial/territorial film & television guidelines.  It helps filmmakers work through ethical considerations (Should I Shoot?); jurisdictional and legal matters (Can I Shoot?) logistics; (How Do I Shoot?), as well as issues that may arise in post-production.  The guide presents six illuminating case studies from Canadian filmmakers who are currently in production and provides links to a wealth of practical resources for those who are producing during these unusual times.


The guide is available online in English and French at the following URLs:


For additional information please contact: 

Vincent LeClair

Advocacy, Communications, and Operations Senior Coordinator

Documentary Organization of Canada

[email protected] 

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