My film is/will be completed in 2020, but I'm unsure about its release date. Can I submit to this year's awards?

Yes. Projects may be submitted in any year they are eligible—either the calendar year they are completed or the year of their broadcast or theatrical/film festival premiere. The eligibility period begins October 1, 2019, and includes any film, series or audio documentary completed or scheduled to premiere on or before December 31, 2020. However, if the project is announced in the shortlist announcement, it is no longer eligible for submission in subsequent years, so we advise to consider your submission carefully.

My film was completed in 2019 and was released or is set to be released in 2020. Can I submit to this year's awards?

Yes. Projects may be submitted in any year they are eligible—either the calendar year in which they are completed or the year of their broadcast or theatrical/film festival premiere. The eligibility period begins October 1, 2019 and includes any film, series or audio documentary completed or scheduled to premiere on or before December 31, 2020. However, if the project is announced in the shortlist announcement, it is no longer eligible for submission in subsequent years, so we advise to consider your submission carefully.

Do you offer fee waivers for submissions?

Yes. Due to the impact of the global pandemic, we recognize the economic hardship that independent producers are experiencing and we can offer fee waivers on a case-by-case basis. To apply for a fee waiver, fill out this form form by July 28, 2020. Waiver codes will not be eligible for use on late submissions. Requests will be reviewed by an advisory committee on a regular basis until the form closes on July 28, 2020. All requests will receive a response before the close of Call For Entries on Aug 4, 2020.

How do I submit my film if it is completed after the deadline?

Requests for deadline exceptions for eligible projects expected to be completed after Aug 4, 2020, are considered on a case-by-case basis. A late submission request should be made no later than July 28, 2020, via our late submission request form here. Please include the following information in the form: category, project title, synopsis, distributor, expected delivery date. A fee of $100 for IDA Members and $150 for non-members and will be added to submissions accepted after Aug 4, 2020. Waiver codes will not be eligible for use on late submissions.

I submitted my project to the Awards, but I would like to withdraw from the competition. Is this possible?

Yes. Please contact awards@documentary.org immediately to withdraw your film from the competition. The submitter must contact awards@documentary.org to withdraw a project from competition prior to the official shortlist announcement on October 28, 2020. Projects that withdraw may be deferred to the following year’s competition at no additional fee. If the project is announced in the shortlist announcement, prior to withdrawal, it is no longer eligible for submission in subsequent years. There are no refunds for those who don’t defer their submission until next year.

What is the difference between Episodic Series and Multi-Part Documentary?

Both categories are documentary series comprised of multiple episodes, each more than 20 minutes in length. In Episodic Series, episodes are unified through a topic, approach, characters, or narrative and are produced as part of a series (e.g. Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Chef's Table). For the Multi-Part Documentary category, the series is conceived and constructed with a beginning and an end, and all the episodes are viewed in order to create a complete story and/or support a complete theme (i.e. Wild Wild Country; The Defiant Ones).

What is the difference between Curated Series and Short-Form Series?

The Curated Series is comprised of multiple episodes, each 50 minutes or more in length, while the episodes in Short-Form Series should be less than 50 minutes in length.

What is the difference between Curated Series and Episodic Series?

Both are comprised of episodes that are not necessarily produced to be viewed in order. Curated Series episodes are usually created by different producing teams (e.g. Independent Lens, POV), while Episodic Series are produced with a continuity of production supervision (e.g. Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown).

I have an interactive documentary that is only available online. Can I submit to the IDA Documentary Awards?

Yes. The Short-Form Series category accepts interactive documentaries and other forms of innovative documentaries. IDA strongly encourages filmmakers to submit interactive and innovative projects to the IDA Documentary Awards.

What kinds of podcasts are eligible for the IDA Documentary Awards?

We currently accept both stand-alone and documentary series. A stand-alone audio documentary may be either a one-off program or a single or multi-part documentary episode from a series (i.e. The Problem We All Live With from This American Life) that stands on its own as a documentary on a single subject or theme. A series is comprised of multiple episodes, conceived and constructed with a beginning and an end, with all the episodes being listened in order to create a complete story and/or support a complete theme (i.e. The New York Times’ Caliphate, Serial, the Los Angeles Times’ Dirty John, APM’s In the Dark). Radio shows and podcasts that consist primarily of news reporting, interviews and conversational episodes are not eligible.

What is the difference between Best Music Documentary Award and Best Music Score Award?

The Best Music Documentary Award recognizes a feature, short or multi-part documentary that has music as the central character of the film and/or a pivotal component of the storytelling (e.g. Amazing Grace, Apollo, Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé). The Best Music Score Award recognizes special achievement in a feature documentary that contains an original score.

How are the winners of the IDA Documentary Awards chosen?

Judging of the IDA Documentary Awards is based on overall creative excellence. Twenty committees of 150+ filmmaking and industry professionals screen all 700+ entries and select all nominees. For the Best Feature and Best Short categories, the winners are selected by IDA Members from the pool of nominees. For all other awards, the winners are selected by blue-ribbon panels.

Will there be an awards ceremony this year? 

If we are able to gather safely in January 2021, we will. If we are unable to gather, we will determine the optimal way to celebrate the best documentaries of the year.