Int'l Documentary Challenge

Doug Whyte of KDHX (St. Louis Community Media) emailed me recently about a new "timed-filmmaking" competition called the International Documentary Challenge (IDC), which will be happening this March 22-27, 2006. Much like the 48 Hour Film Project, in the Doc Challenge teams from around the world have just over 5 days to make a short non-fiction film (4-8 min.).

The organizations involved seem first-rate: the competition has been developed in cooperation with the International Documentary Association, the Documentary Organisation of Canada and the creators of the 48 Hour Film Project, and the winning films will screen this summer at a theatrical event presented in association with Silverdocs.

The competition costs $125 to enter ($110 if you register by Feb. 28). I asked Doug what the entry fee goes towards since it's more than the $35-$50 you usually see with film festivals. He replied:

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the email. As far as the entry fee, the amount is based on several things:

1. We only accept a limited number of teams (as opposed to festivals that will accept hundreds if not thousands of entries.)

2. The fees take care of many expenses: administration, marketing, judging, prizes, etc. Even with the $110-125 fee, we will still not make a profit.

3. We actually pursue distribution for the films - theatrical and TV and will also release a DVD. We are a non-profit organization and by no means make money on any of these deals. (If the winning films happen to earn a profit, we share that with the filmmakers.)

That said, I would like to see the fees become more affordable for the filmmakers. But that won't happen unless we are able to get a sponsor who can help cover our expenses for running an event like this.

I hope that explains it. If you have any more questions, I'd be happy to try and answer them.

Thanks, Doug Whyte IDC Producer

So there it is. Good luck to anyone that enters and good luck, also, to Doug and his crew in their launch of this competition.