The International Documentary Challenge

There are presently no open calls for submissions.

2014 Filmmaking Rules

THE GOAL: Write, shoot and edit a short documentary in 5 days. With teamwork and complete focus you can make a cohesive and entertaining movie in a exceptionally short time frame.
The following rules apply to each participating group/production team:
1. Times: The 2014 International Documentary Challenge will occur between Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 8 a.m. and Sunday, March 2, 2014. (Your local time.)
2. The participating group must complete their film in time to UPLOAD YOUR FILM on Sunday, March 2, 2014 by midnight your time.  You must also submit your team leader agreement, an image for the film, an image from making the film and the name and mailing address for the filmmaker who will receive the cash award if you win.
3. The Doc Challenge is open to filmmakers from all nations across the world.
4. Doc Challenge entrants are accepted on a first come, first served basis. The Doc Challenge organizers reserve the right to limit the total number of teams to 300.
5. During the official Challenge period, all creativity will take place, including but not limited to:
  • Researching the subject matter
  • Writing the script (if applicable)
  • Shooting
  • Editing
  • Graphics and Sound Design
  • Rendering
  • Outputting to tape or other media
6. The only work to begin prior to the "Official Doc Challenge Time Period" is:
  • Organizing Crew
  • Securing Equipment
  • Scouting/Securing Locations
  • Acquiring Music
***We have partnered with You will be given a page on Feb.26 where you can download clips and royalty free music to use in your edit.
7. At least 50% of the footage must be photographed within the time period of the project - February 26, 2014 at 8 a.m. local time and ending March 2, 2014. Stock footage and photographs are permitted but cannot account for more than half of the footage used. Participants must have all rights to the stock footage and include a release that states this. will make a secret page available for free footage and royalty free music for your use.
8. To ensure the films were made within the required time frame, each team must prove the date the film was made by adding a time element to the credits of the film. This must be done by having someone who appears in your film hold a newspaper on screen. The date of the newspaper must be large enough to read. This should be done in the credits of the film so as to not affect the flow of your film.
9. Each participating group must provide the International Documentary Challenge organizers with two e-mail addresses. At registration a username and password will be emailed to each Team Leader. On February 26, 2014 at 8 a.m. local time, the team leader will log onto our secure site to receive two randomly generated genres (from which you must choose one to produce), as well as a theme that must be addressed in the film. To qualify as an official "International Documentary Challenge Film," each group's film must be in one of the genres it receives and must contain a reference to the theme and the required time element. 
10. All cast and crew must be non-paid volunteers.
11. The finished film must be a minimum of 4 minutes in duration, and a maximum of 7 minutes in duration-not including credits. See Rule 12 below.
12. Credits at the end of each film are limited to a maximum of 60 seconds. The 60 seconds is considered additional to the length of the film, as stated in Rule 11. (That is, a film may be 7 minutes long, with an additional 60 seconds of credits, for a total running time of 8 minutes.)
13. Any type of video or film camera may be used, however, a maximum of only three video cameras may be used. (Still photos from still cameras are allowed in addition to this 3 video camera limit, DSLRs used for video count against the 3 camera limit.)
14. Sound recordings and Sound Effects: Sound recorders are allowed in addition to the three camera limit above. As with music, pre-recorded sound effects are allowed, but you must have rights to use them.
15. Films must be submitted online. We will provide the link on Feb 26 of where to upload your film.  

 a Quicktime must be submitted  compressed with Motion JPEG A,  Apple Pro Res 422, DV/DVCPro, DVCProHD, or H.264 (Use an .mov container instead of .mp4)

16. Before the finished film begins, your movie should have:
  • 2 seconds of black
  • A title card with: team name, title, city & country, genre, theme, aspect ratio
  • A title card containing the phrase: "This film was made for the 2014 Doc Challenge"
  • 2 seconds of black
  • Your film
18. The producer/team leader for each group must submit a complete and signed paper copy of the Team Leader's Agreement and submit with your film. You will also need to submit an image that represents the film and one that portrays the filmmaking team during the weekend.
19. Each team must secure talent, crew, music releases and location releases, which must be turned in to the challenge organizers with the finished film/video. (The release forms can be found on the special Doc Challenge team area.) The film/video will not be judged or screened before the Doc Challenge Organizers receive the signed releases.

20. To be eligible for the Challenge, Entries must be the original work of the Entrant; must not infringe third-party's rights; must be suitable for publication (i.e., may not be obscene or indecent); must not contain obscene or pornographic material; may not contain defamatory statements about any person, company, organization or entity; may not invade privacy or other rights of any person, company or entity; may not in any other way violate applicable laws and regulations; and may not contain any copyrighted elements (other than as owned by the Entrant and/or FilmSpur). Entries containing prohibited or inappropriate content as determined by FilmSpur, in its sole discretion, to be inappropriate will be disqualified. FilmSpur reserves the right to make the final determination as to which Entries are eligible.

21. Participating groups are encouraged to work with a local composer and/or musicians to write and record music for the films. It is permissible for a participating group to use pre-recorded music; however the participating group must have the rights to any music used in its film and must provide a release for all music used. If you create your own music using a music software program like Soundtrack, please sign the release yourself as the owner of the program. VideoBlocks is also an option for royalty free music. You will receive a link to use their music before competition begins.

22. The Entrant must submit a Certification Statement with his/her completed Entry, certifying adherence to all Official Rules.

23. To be certified as an "Official Doc Challenge Film," each participating group's film/video production must follow all rules herein. The Doc Challenge Organizers reserve the right to screen only certified "Official Doc Challenge Films."

24. FilmSpur and Challenge Parties may, in their sole discretion, disqualify Entries deemed to be inappropriate or otherwise non-compliant.

25. All certified "Doc Challenge Films" are eligible for judging. A panel of independent judges will select twelve Doc Challenge Finalists from which the major awards will be selected (Best Film, POV Award, DER Award, etc.) All 12 finalists will screen at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival in April/May of 2014. Finalist films will compete at in May for $1000 provided by Video Blocks.

26. The Doc Challenge Organizers may add to or amend these rules at any time prior to the beginning of the Challenge time period.

27. On March 2, 2014 we will send you a link to download all required forms and upload your film and film images.

The One Time Sign Up Fee is PER TEAM.