The International Documentary Challenge is back for its 7th year, giving documentary filmmakers of all stripes a shot at showing the world their absolute best. A shot at the Best Film Award (presented by the Documentary Channel) and additional awards and cash prizes are also within your reach!
This year’s challenge takes place March 1-5, 2012 (registration is now open to filmmakers worldwide) and hinges on a simple premise: filmmakers are asked to push their skills to the limit by making a short, 4 to 7 minute documentary in only five days. Top films will make their world premiere at North America’s largest documentary festival, the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival where winners will be announced.
“I personally think anyone who fancies themselves a filmmaker should go through this process — it forces you to streamline, and those skills can then be applied to larger and longer jobs in the future,” says filmmaker Jon Ward, Portraits of Hope 2007 Best Film winner. “I wholeheartedly recommend, if you’re a young or up and coming filmmaker, try this at least once and see what you get out of it.”
It works like this: filmmakers are assigned a theme (such as “Dreams/Nightmares” or “Change”) and must choose between two assigned documentary genres (some genres include “Character Study,” “Music” or “First Person”). These two requirements provide a challenge to filmmakers, as it will shape the content and direction their film takes.
In addition to screening at Hot Docs, many films from past competitions have gone on be broadcast on the Documentary Channel as well as other outlets. The Documentary Channel will also present the Best Film Award and award a $1,500 cash prize, as well as an audience award (via online voting) for $500. There are also additional awards presented by PBS’s P.O.V. and Documentary Educational Resources (DER).
Check out the Doc Challenge website, where you can learn more about the event, view films and hear directly from past participants about their exhilarating experiences. And stay tuned to the Documentary Channel, which is currently airing 19 different DocChallenge titles from 2010 and 2011.