• Ava DuVernay and honoree Norman Lear at the 2016 IDA Documentary Awards

  • 2015 host Tig Notaro

  • Jane Fonda and Andie MacDowell at the 2006 IDA Documentary Awards

  • Barbara Kopple and Robert Redford at the 2014 IDA Documentary Awards

  • Gordon Quinn celebrates 2015 IDA Career Achievement Award with friends

  • Morgan Freeman at the 2006 IDA Documentary Awards

  • Werner Herzog presents Career Achievement Awards to Les Blank at the 2011 Documentary Awards

Saturday, December 9, 2017 at Paramount Studios, Los Angeles

The IDA Documentary Awards is the world's most significant recognition of the best nonfiction films and programs of the year


Lourdes Portillo

Career Achievement Award

Abigail Disney

Amicus Award

Yance Ford

Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award

Courage Under Fire Award

Over the years, IDA presents a Courage Under Fire Award to a documentarian for "displaying conspicuous bravery in pursuit of the truth". We recognize that both filmmakers and their subjects often take incredible personal risks to bring us essential stories. This year the traumatic conflict in Syria which has been documented by several teams of extraordinarily brave filmmakers, and in light of their contributions to the documentary field IDA has decided to honor four filmmaking teams along with the subjects of their films for bringing us the stories of the Syrian war.

The filmmaking teams and the subjects who are being honored with the 2017 IDA Courage Under Fire Awards are: "Cries from Syria", "Hell on Earth", "Last Men in Aleppo", and "City of Ghosts". Their brave filmmaking and journalism along with the courage of those who shared their stories in these films shed light on a conflict that touches all of humanity.

City of Ghosts

Cries From Syria

Hell On Earth

Last Men In Aleppo


May 24:

Call for Entries submissions open

June 12:

Early deadline

July 7:

Regular deadline

July 7 - Oct 20:

Judging window (all categories)

Sept 12:

Honorees announcement

Sept 15 - Oct 20:

Nomination voting (features)

November 1:

Nominations announcement

Nov 6 - Dec 3:

IDA member voting period for Best Feature and Best Short

December 9:

IDA Documentary Awards ceremony

(Dates subject to change)


Entry is open to any documentary, non-fiction or factual program completed and/or been broadcast or publicly released between July 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017. Projects submitted to prior IDA Awards shows that were withdrawn from competition prior to being nominated are eligible if the project fulfills the eligibility requirements for the year of resubmission. Submission must be made by July 7, 2017 at 5:00pm. For more information, download the complete rules and regulations here.


Entry is made into one of the seven main award categories: Feature, Short, Episodic Series, Curated Series, Short Form Series, Limited Series, and the David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award. Submissions in the Short and Feature categories are eligible for certain Creative and Sponsored Awards.


Typically, materials required for submission include: project title, synopsis, completion and/or release date, credits, running time, contact information, and a screener uploaded onto our submission platform. Films nominated in the Feature and Short categories will be uploaded to IDA’s secure screening portal for viewing by IDA members voting for the winners.


Submission fees range from $145 for features to $245 for series. IDA members receive a discounted rate for submission to the IDA Awards. Join the IDA today for discounted submission fees to the IDA Awards and more!


Judging of the IDA Documentary Awards is based on overall creative excellence. Committees of filmmaking and industry professionals screen all entries and select all nominees. Nominations are typically announced in November, with the winners announced live at the IDA Awards ceremony in December in Los Angeles.

Award winners in the Feature and Short categories are selected by IDA members from the nominees. For all other awards, blue ribbon panels select award winners from nominees.