Sink or Swim: Documentary Awards - Call for Entries

IUCN in collaboration with the Goethe Institute, CGIAR, SIDA, and the Thai Film Foundation are organising the Southeast Asian Students Documentary Awards, a competition to encourage the art of documentary filmmaking in the Asia region as a platform to engage with pressing social and environmental issues.

SEADocs poster

The call for entries into the 2012 competition invites students aged 18 – 28 in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam to submit a portfolio of their work and a motivational essay on making a film under the theme H2O: Sink or Swim by July 27, 2012.

A jury of film, television and environment experts in each country will make a selection of 3 students based on a portfolio of their work and their motivational essay. The national shortlisted students will then receive expert guidance during the production period of their competition film.

During the production period, the film ideas of the students will be explored and developed under guidance of a consultant and the students will receive a budget grant of $500 to produce a short documentary (maximum 10 min. in length) in relation to the theme, which must be submitted by November 09, 2012.

The three regional winners are selected by an international jury and receive a cash prize of $500 each. Furthermore, the first place winner receives a grant of up to $5,000 to produce a feature length documentary in 2013.

Theme Outline:

Water is the most abundant compound on Earth. And yet water, as one of our most important natural resources, presents one of the most pressing ecological and social challenges of the 21st Century with growing constraints on the availability, quality, and use of freshwater resources.

The United Nations states that each year more than 1 billion of our fellow human beings have little choice but to resort to using potentially harmful sources of water and up to 1.8 billion people may be living with absolute water scarcity by 2025 with two thirds of the world population potentially subject to water stress. With recent events such as the drought in the Horn of Africa or the devastating floods in Southeast Asia, it is clear what severe impact water has amidst our changing global climate patterns. This essential dependency is why the United Nations designated 2005 – 2015 as the International Decade of Water and why it is the focus subject of the 2012 Documentary Awards.

Students in Southeast Asia are asked to view the diverse and complex relationships with water in their region through filmmaker’s eyes. The competition invites aspiring documentary directors to look beyond the obvious and to seek captivating stories under the motto of “H2O: Sink or Swim”.


July 27, 2012 Deadline for Submissions
August 10, 2012 Announcement of Shortlisted Candidates
November 09, 2012 Submission of Competition Films by Shortlisted Candidates
December 10, 2012 Announcement of Regional Winner


For more information, please contact IUCN Asia Communications Officer, Dararat Weerapong:

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