Open Call for Global Short Docs Forum

Open Call for Global Short Docs Forum

Global Short Docs Forum is a much needed and dedicated initiative to nurture new talent in documentary shorts, giving them access to the growing number of digital media platforms.

GSDF is open to applications from all parts of the world, for documentary projects up to 30 mins, either in production or post-production, with existing footage.

16 filmmakers will be selected to attend a series of online workshops, mentoring, and one to one pitches.

In the past, GSDF has hosted some of the most established international media outlets, including: Arte France, BBC Arabic, CBC, Al Jazeera, BBC Africa, The Guardian, Coda Story and Our World.

GSDF 2023 will have a special focus on solutions oriented stories about people who are responding to social problems, with experiences we can learn from.

We will dedicate 50% of the Forum places to such stories – stories that show us what works, what doesn’t, with evidence and context.

To help filmmakers develop their projects, and to encourage a solutions approach, we will open our Call for Applications with worldwide workshops.

GSDF Labs is a 3-day series of free events on short documentary storytelling, screenings and one-to-one consultations, online and around the world.

Our Focus

We champion new and diverse voices telling international stories.

We have a special interest in films that have a social, political or cultural narrative, take a solutions journalism approach or give us a new perspective on the changes we want to see in the world.

To encourage new narratives and underreported stories our focus is on filmmakers from areas with low production capacity or little global visibility, as well as underrepresented filmmakers in geographical areas of established media production.

We are especially looking for stories from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East or the Post-Soviet States.

The Format

Selected filmmakers join a supportive environment of international filmmakers coming together to discuss, develop and rework their pitches, leading to one-to-one meetings with representatives from digital platforms.

The online Forum is composed of 2 x 2h sessions for 4 weeks, along with individual mentoring meetings throughout the week.

By the end of the Forum, filmmakers are expected to produce a short pre-recorded pitch video, including a trailer of their project.

These are shared with platform representatives, in advance of the one-to-one pitching sessions.

Why Solutions?

For our next edition, we will dedicate half of the Forum places to stories of people solving social problems.

Stories that show us what works, what doesn’t, with evidence and context.

We are focusing on solutions journalism because we recognise that global south stories can be dominated by war, conflict, crime, corruption and poverty.

Solutions journalism provides a framework to change this narrative by focusing on what’s being done to respond to the problem, instead of repeating what the problems are.

This is an important approach particularly in the areas of health, education, climate, science and technology, where sharing information and ideas could have a tangible impact.

What’s New?

We will be pioneering training efforts on solutions focused filmmaking in the global south, by partnering with key players in the field and developing specialised training with regional hubs.

Solutions journalism tends to be more common in print and digital media, and geographically in the US and in Europe.

There is increasing awareness and training in many parts of the global south.

Yet there are much fewer examples in the short documentary format, and no dedicated training for global south filmmakers.

We will build on the existing knowledge of solutions-oriented media but filling a significant gap for filmmakers, especially in the global south.

We are collaborating with the Solutions Journalism Network, Transitions, Egab and Inkline among others, to further existing efforts and reach more people.


The Global Short Docs Forum is a dedicated event to bridge the gap between the growing number of online media platforms looking for documentary shorts, and short doc filmmakers:

Dedicated to Shorts

  • Pitching and development forum wholly dedicated to documentary shorts: GSDF is the first of its kind.

    New and Diverse Voices

  • Fresh and unique narratives offering original perspectives on the dominant digital platforms.

    Meet the Gatekeepers

  • Curated workshops, pitch training, and networking opportunities between the experts and the makers.

    Access to Market

  • Access for diverse filmmakers to the growing market of online platforms seeking untold stories.

    Positive Storytelling

  • We have a special interest in stories that have a social, political or cultural narrative, take a solutions journalism approach or give us a new perspective on the changes we want to see in the world.

    Rapidly Evolving Market

    Over the past decade, there has been an explosion of online content – including platforms for documentary shorts from longstanding print publications to Internet giants.

    There have also been omnibus projects and ventures, as well as dedicated shorts and documentary platforms.

    These online media platforms are globally accessible to massive audiences, creating huge opportunities for talented filmmakers.

    But the short itself is an art form which requires particular skills and training separate from long form documentary.

    The online market for short documentaries is evolving rapidly and is very different to the market for feature length docs.

    GSDF offers training and workshops on both the form and the market.

    New Voices Meet Decision Makers

    It is often difficult for filmmakers to determine the relevant decision makers, as well as the style and subject matter they are looking for.

    Global Short Docs Forum fills this crucial gap in the market, acting as a matchmaker between the relevant commissioners and emerging filmmaking talent.

    The Forum fosters a more sustainable culture of short documentaries, giving filmmakers access to valuable training and top decision makers; and ensuring that these commissioners can likewise access a global pool of the best new filmmaking talent, resulting in more diverse and untold stories.

    How to Apply

    For more information and job application details, see: Open Call for Global Short Docs Forum

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