• Gordon Quinn celebrates 2015 IDA Career Achievement Award with friends

  • 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

  • Morgan Freeman at the 2006 IDA Documentary Awards

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

  • 2017 host Maz Jobrani

The IDA Documentary Awards is the world's most prestigious event dedicated to the documentary genre, celebrating the best nonfiction films and programs of the year.


Become an IDA member today to vote for your favorite feature and short of the year!



May 7: Film/Series Call for Entries Open

July 9: Film/Series Call For Entries Deadline

July 30: Audio Documentary Special Call for Entries Open

September 5: Audio Documentary Call For Entries Deadline

October/November: Nominations announced

November: IDA member vote for Best Feature and Best Short

December: IDA Documentary Awards ceremony

(Dates subject to change)

Rules & Regulations


Entry is open to any documentary, non-fiction or factual program completed and/or been broadcast or publicly released between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018. Projects submitted to prior IDA Awards shows that were withdrawn from competition prior to being nominated are eligible if the project fulfills the eligibility requirements for the year of resubmission.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 9, 2018 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 Special Recognition Awards.


Typically, materials required for submission include: project title, 80 word synopsis, completion and/or release date, credits, running time, contact information, and a screener uploaded onto our submission platform. Documentaries 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 $400 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 early 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.