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.

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.


  • Open for entries: TBC
  • Entry deadline: TBC
  • Fellows announced: TBC

Who is it for?

Filmmakers of documentary shorts & digital platforms looking for new voices and new narratives.

GSDF supports and trains diverse voices to tell local stories of a social, political or cultural nature.

The Forum is open to applications from all parts of the world, with documentary projects up to 30 mins. The focus is on filmmakers from areas with low production capacity and little visibility, as well as filmmakers from minorities in geographical areas of established media production, thereby encouraging new narratives and underreported stories.

How does it work?

The GSDF is annual and the call for applications is open to all. Selection is based on the filmmaker’s proven ability and the strength of the story, characters and footage provided.

16 selected applicants attend a 4-day residential workshop and pitching training, followed by one-to-one meetings with editors/commissioners. Travel and accommodation expenses are covered by the Forum for selected applicants.

The first forum was hosted by the Frontline Club in London. Second forum will take place in Kyiv, Ukraine as part of Docudays UA. Future iterations will take place in different geographical areas, with local partners focusing on outreach in the surrounding regions.

Why now?

There’s a growing number of online media platforms looking for documentary shorts. Yet currently, there is no dedicated event of this kind to bridge the gap.


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 an application fee?

Application to the OWM Fellowship is free.

Which project locations are eligible?

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 application for each proposal.

How much research do I need to show?

We expect you to have researched and verified your stories before applying. We will generally not consider your proposal if you have not established contacts and contributors on the ground and obtained their agreement to take part. We do not expect you to have a trailer or existing footage, however it always helps if you have any visuals to support your application.

Who do I get a reference letter from?

Your reference should be written on headed paper and can be from a tutor/lecturer, a commissioner, an employer, or an established practitioner in your medium that is familiar with your work. It should clarify in what capacity your referee knows you; confirmation that they are familiar with your work, and a comment on your application, particularly your ability to deliver the piece of media proposed.

Can I apply from outside the UK?

The applications are open to anyone from around the world, as long as the proposed story is about or from a developing country. We have 3 spaces reserved for international filmmakers working locally.

How does the selection process work?

Call for applications for the Fellowship open once a year in February, with a deadline in April. Applications are shortlisted in house then put to a jury panel of industry professionals who select the winning applications. Our new Fellows are announced in May.

How long should my final project be?

We support small scale projects that can be delivered in a year. For documentary films, this is under 30 minutes.

How long do I have to deliver my work?

You have one calendar year to complete your proposed media and deliver either a short film, a print article, an audio or a multimedia piece.

Can I seek further external funding after I become a Fellow?

We expect you to have the majority of your budget in place at the time of your application, and ready to start production. There are no restrictions on receiving more funding during the process, as long as you keep us informed, and the changes in the scale of the project do not affect your delivery to One World Media. While we fully support your journey to receive commissions and reach further audiences, we still expect you to deliver a short piece of media within one year.

If you have any questions about your application, or would like to find out more about the Global Short Docs Forum, please get in touch via email or call us on +44 (0)207 922 7941