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We currently accept both standalone and documentary episodic series. A standalone audio documentary may be either a one-off program not part of any series, 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. Serial, LA 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.
Individual, stand-alone documentary, more than 40 minutes in length.
Individual, stand-alone documentary, less than or equal to 40 minutes in length.
An ongoing documentary or nonfiction series or strand, comprised of unique episodes, each more than 20 minutes in length, that have been created by different producing teams and can stand alone as a complete entity in their own right, and are unified solely by a high-level theme (e.g. Independent Lens; POV). The series is created without an end in sight, and can return indefinitely season after season. Curated Series entries are eligible for the awards year in which the majority of its episodes were broadcast. Eligibility window for the 2018 IDA Documentary Awards is January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018. Entries are evaluated on a submission of up to four episodes from the eligible season.
An ongoing documentary series that is comprised of episodes each more than 20 minutes in length, produced with a continuity of production supervision and unified through a topic, approach, characters, or narrative (e.g. Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown; Planet Earth II). The episodes are conceived and produced as part of the series, not as stand-alone entities. The series is created without an end in sight, and can return season after season. Influence by the producer(s) on the story is limited to setting up an initial situation (i.e. deciding on a character’s storyline to follow or location or event to go to) and observing the action that ensues (e.g. Beyond Scared Straight). Programs that consist primarily of news reporting and news magazine-style programs are not eligible. Episodic Series entries are eligible for the awards year in which the majority of its episodes were broadcast. Eligibility window for the 2018 IDA Documentary Awards is January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018. Entries are evaluated on a submission of up to four episodes from the eligible season.
A documentary series comprised of multiple episodes, each more than 20 minutes in length. The series is conceived and constructed with a beginning and an end, and all the episodes are viewed in order create a complete story and/or support a complete theme (i.e. The Defiant Ones; The Keepers). This category does not apply to the first season of a series that is anticipated or pitched to continue indefinitely in subsequent seasons. All episodes must have been broadcast within the eligibility window January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018. A review copy of all episodes must be provided.
A nonfiction series that is comprised of episodes each 20 minutes or less in length. Series in this category may be available exclusively online (including branded content) and/or have been produced specifically for a web portal (e.g. Field Of Vision; The New York Times Op-Docs). Series that have been produced as companion pieces to broadcast programming may also be submitted. The series may form a total package and tell a complete story, or may be intended to continue indefinitely. If there is a defined season, a majority of the episodes must have been first uploaded or aired within the eligibility window January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2018. Entries are evaluated on a submission of up to four episodes. Entries are evaluated on a submission of up to four episodes. All submitted episodes must have been first uploaded or aired within the eligibility window.
A short or feature-length film or video, produced by registered, degree-seeking student(s). This award recognizes exceptional achievement in nonfiction film and video production at the university level and brings greater public and industry awareness to the work of students in the documentary field. Screening committees will review only one version of a submitted film. Films must be completed within the eligibility window for the 2018 IDA Documentary Awards, which is January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2018.
Sponsored awards recognize films that have specific characteristics. Finalists are selected based on certain criteria and are drawn from main award categories. Direct submission to a sponsored award is not required, and will not be accepted.
For the best use of news footage as an integral component in a documentary. "News footage" is defined here as factual footage, contemporary or historical, shot for use in contexts such as newsreels, news specials, magazines or nightly news. "Integral component" is defined here as footage that is central to the structure, meaning, and impact of the work. Entries in the Feature category are eligible for this award.
Given to a film that reflects the spirit and tradition of Pare Lorentz’s work. A successful candidate for the Pare Lorentz Award will demonstrate one or more of Lorentz's central concerns (the appropriate use of the natural environment, justice for all, and the illumination of pressing social problems) presented as a compelling story by skillful filmmaking. A Pare Lorentz Award exhibits the highest production values and artistry in its directing, writing, music composition, camera work, editing and research, and exemplifies the spirit and tradition of Pare Lorentz’s work--his passion for people and the land, and his quest for a more fruitful coexistence between the two. Entries in the Feature and Short categories are eligible for this award.
Awards will recognize special achievement in Cinematography, Editing, Music and Writing in films entered in the Feature Category.
Submissions that meet the criteria for a Creative Recognition Award are considered for that award. Direct submission to a Creative Recognition Award is not required, and will not be accepted. Onscreen credit must be given for a film to be eligible for a Creative Recognition Award. For example, a film without a credited writer is not eligible for the Best Writing award.