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For several years now, I have sat on a variety of pitch panels. From a privileged seat like this, these are great events where I see new work, hear from smart colleagues, smile at a turn of wit, and wince at the inevitable awkward moments. Like most of my brethren on “that” side of the table, I try to be kind, constructive and fair in my comments to these filmmakers struggling to make their vision come to light. I try to imagine what it must be like to be in their shoes. But what I have learned is that nothing can prepare you for what it must be like to be in those shoes until you are actually IN them. And that, my friends, is what I did in Toronto at the Hot Docs Forum 2013.

New England