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Global Short Docs Forum is a much needed and dedicated initiative to nurture new talent in documentary shorts, giving them access to the growing number of digital media platforms.

GSDF is open to applications from all parts of the world, for documentary projects up to 30 mins, either in production or post-production, with existing footage. 12 filmmakers will be selected to attend a series of online workshops, mentoring, and one to one pitches.

GSDF 2020 will take place online in October-November 2020.

This year, we are thrilled to be joined by some of the most established digital media platforms in the industry, including: AJE Witness, BBC Arabic, CBC, The Guardian, Thomson Reuters Foundation and VICE World News.

KEY DATES

  • Open for applications: Thu 30 June 2020
  • Entry deadline: Wed 12 August 2020 5PM
  • Filmmakers announced: Late Sept 2020
  • GSDF 2020: Oct – Nov 2020

Our Focus

We champion new and diverse voices telling international stories. We have a special interest in films that have a social, political or cultural narrative, take a solutions journalism approach or give us a new perspective on the changes we want to see in the world.

To encourage new narratives and underreported stories our focus is on filmmakers from areas with low production capacity or little global visibility, as well as underrepresented filmmakers in geographical areas of established media production.

We are especially looking for stories from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East, Russia or the Post-Soviet States.

The Format

Selected filmmakers join a supportive environment of international filmmakers coming together to discuss, develop and rework their pitches, leading to one-to-one meetings with representatives from digital platforms.

The online Forum will be composed of 2 x 2h sessions for 4 weeks, along with individual mentoring meetings throughout the week. By the end of the Forum, filmmakers will be expected to produce a short pre-recorded pitch video, including a trailer of their project. These will be shared with platform representatives, in advance of the one-to-one pitching sessions.

Why now?

The Global Short Docs Forum is a dedicated event to bridge the gap between the growing number of online media platforms looking for documentary shorts, and short doc filmmakers:

  • Dedicated to shorts. Pitching and development forum wholly dedicated to documentary shorts: GSDF is the first of its kind.
  • New and diverse voices. Fresh and unique narratives offering original perspectives on the dominant digital platforms.
  • Meet the gatekeepers. Curated workshops, pitch training, and networking opportunities between the experts and the makers.
  • Access to market. Access for diverse filmmakers to the growing market of online platforms seeking untold stories.
  • Positive storytelling. We have a special interest in stories that have a social, political or cultural narrative, take a solutions journalism approach or give us a new perspective on the changes we want to see in the world.

 

Rapidly Evolving Market

Over the past decade, there has been an explosion of online content – including platforms for documentary shorts from longstanding print publications to Internet giants. There have also been omnibus projects and ventures, as well as dedicated shorts and documentary platforms. These online media platforms are globally accessible to massive audiences, creating huge opportunities for talented filmmakers. But the short itself is an art form which requires particular skills and training separate from long form documentary.

The online market for short documentaries is evolving rapidly and is very different to the market for feature length docs. GSDF offers training and workshops on both the form and the market.

 

New voices meet decision makers

It is often difficult for filmmakers to determine the relevant decision makers, as well as the style and subject matter they are looking for. Global Short Docs Forum fills this crucial gap in the market, acting as a matchmaker between the relevant commissioners and emerging filmmaking talent.

The Forum fosters a more sustainable culture of short documentaries, giving filmmakers access to valuable training and top decision makers; and ensuring that these commissioners can likewise access a global pool of the best new filmmaking talent, resulting in more diverse and untold stories.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a submission fee?

Submissions to GSDF 2020 are free.

Which projects are eligible?

GSDF is open to proposals from anyone, anywhere in the world. Our focus is on films that have a social, political or cultural narrative, take a solutions journalism approach or give us a new perspective on the changes we want to see in the world. We prioritise filmmakers from areas with low production capacity or little global visibility, as well as underrepresented filmmakers in geographical areas of established media production. We are especially looking for stories from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East, Russia or the Post-Soviet States.

Can I apply with more than one project?

We suggest you apply with your strongest proposal. However if you wish to apply with multiple projects, you need to fill in a separate submission form for each proposal.

At which stage of production can I apply?

We expect you to have existing footage of your project, either in the form of a trailer, a rough cut, or a series of sequences. Your project could be in production or post-production phase. We will generally not consider your proposal if it is at early stages of development, if you do not have any footage, if you have not established contacts and contributors on the ground and obtained their agreement to take part.

How does the selection process work?

Call for submissions to GSDF is open to anyone around the world. Applicants are shortlisted and interviewed before the final selection. The selected filmmakers will be announced in September 2020.

How long can my film be?

GSDF is for short documentaries, under 30 minutes. You could apply with a single film, or a series of short docs.

Do you provide funding?

We do not provide a grant or funding as part of the Forum. We do however provide training, mentoring, and workshops to improve your project proposal and pitching skills, ahead of the one-to-one meetings with representatives from online platforms. If a platform is interested in working with you on your film, you are likely to receive a fee in line with your commission, acquisition or distribution deal.

What do I need to be able to take part in the Forum?

This year’s forum will take place online. You will need to have access to a stable internet connection, and a laptop or a desktop computer with a camera + microphone. The event programme will be announced before the Forum, including masterclasses, workshops, pitch rehearsals, mentoring sessions, and one-to-one meetings. Most meetings will take place over Zoom or Skype, with additional softwares or programmes to support file sharing and communications.

If you have any questions about your submission, or would like to find out more about the Global Short Docs Forum, please get in touch via email.