PRESS RELEASE: International Documentary Challenge Heats Up This Summer With New Online Voting Competition

June 21, 2014


June 24, 2014

The Audience Awards hosts online contests for worldwide viewers to pick their favorite short films, giving filmmakers exposure and awards.

(Missoula, Mont.) – The Audience Awards launched a new digital film competition today featuring twelve short films from the 2014 Doc Challenge Showcase. Viewers from around the world have three weeks to vote for their favorite documentary. All participating films premiered in May at Hot Docs – the largest documentary film festival in North America. This online competition is run by The Audience Awards, an online social platform connecting filmmakers to audiences through short film competitions.

The International Documentary Challenge, now in its 10th year, is an annual timed filmmaking competition. Each film is made in only five days. Participating filmmakers must choose between two documentary genres, and are assigned a specific theme at the start of the competition that dictates the films’ content. All entries are short non-fiction films between 4-7 minutes.

Over 100 filmmakers from around the world entered the competition this year, which ran from February 26 to March 2. The top 12 films were determined by an elite industry jury including Dan Swietlik (Sicko & An Inconvenient Truth), Jeremy Sauter (Paramount Pictures), Sascha Rice (California State of Mind: The Legacy of Pat Brown) and Deny Staggs (Montana Film Commissioner) and premiered on May 1 at Hot Docs in Toronto. Filmmaker finalists are from the USA, Canada, Hong Kong, London and Poland. Sponsors for the 2014 Doc Challenge include P.O.V., Documentary Educational Resources, DocuMentors, Video Blocks and Submittable.

The 12 Doc Challenge finalist films go on to screen at film festivals and on television – some even get Emmy nods. For instance, Maikaru, a film about surviving a childhood filled with violence and human trafficking, won ‘best short documentary’ at the Seattle Film Festival last month, and is now eligible for an Oscar. In addition, some of the films are licensed by Fusion, a digital cable and satellite television network owned by ABC and Univision.

The next step for Doc Challenge finalists is to compete online for the most digital votes — the winner will receive $1,000 cash prize. Filmmakers upload their short film to the site, and create an online profile page that allows them to promote and fundraise for their film careers. Viewers sign in and can vote for their favorite film. Each participating film is also entered into the Audience Awards digital library, providing more exposure for the film.

“This year’s showcase of films is exceptional,” says Paige Williams, founder and CEO of The Audience Awards. “We are thrilled to be able to bring these documentaries into living rooms and laptops around the world. The Audience Awards gives rising star filmmakers the opportunity to showcase their talent to a massive audience and create a fan base for their work. ”

The next competition is right around the corner. Filmmakers can participate in the Fusion Doc Challenge this fall, and the top 12 films will premiere at Slamdance in Park City January 2015. More information is available at

Audiences worldwide can view and vote on the Doc Challenge short films at Viewers are allowed to vote for one film per day from June 23 to July 14.


Paige Williams,

Audience Awards CEO  or  406/532.5398


Rod Austin

Audience Awards CMO or 406-532-5399



June Noel

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