IF/Then Short Documentary
Pitch Competition
We are calling all Southeast Asian documentary filmmakers to join our short documentary pitching competition, a collaboration between Tribeca Film Institute’s IF/Then Short Documentary Program and Docs by the Sea. We are looking for short documentary projects that explore a range of socially, politically and culturally relevant topics through the lens of young and emerging storytellers. Eligible projects must meet the following criteria:

1. Be an original short documentary with a final duration (TRT) under 40 minutes.
2. Be completed within 6 months of receiving the IF/Then grant.
3. Be factually accurate, follow best practices in documentary ethics, and be designed for a U.S. audience.
4. Be driven by (a) compelling character(s), with access to the character(s) secured.
5. Be presented in English or subtitled in English.
6. Have no prior distribution attached and be able to participate in the IF/Then distribution initiative.
7. Director has to be a passport holder of Southeast Asian nations including: Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Brunei and East Timor.

From the open call, 20 projects will receive partial travel grants to participate in a 3-day Story Development Lab in Jakarta (4-6 May, 2018). The amount of stipend for travel grant will be informed with the invitation letter to selected participants. Projects can be in any stage of pre-production, production, or post-production.

At the end of the development lab, 10 projects will be selected to receive development grant and another travel grant to participate in Docs by the Sea Lab (2-5 August, 2018) and Docs by the Sea Pitching Forum (7-9 August, 2018) in Bali. All selected participants will pitch their stories to key decision-makers and will also have a chance for one-on-one meetings with broadcasters, commissioning editors, film fund organizations and film festival programmers during Docs by the Sea.

The coveted prizes of the IF/Then Pitch Competition at Docs by the Sea are:
- A total cash prize of IDR 400,000,000 for 4 projects to be used for the completion of the films and an opportunity to participate in Tribeca Film Institute's year-long distribution initiative.
- Full funding of 1 project by Al Jazeera English for broadcast on Witness, the channel's flagship character-driven doc strand, and an opportunity to participate in Tribeca Film Institute's year-long distribution initiative.

Online registration opens: January 11, 2018
Project application deadline: February 11, 2018
Story Development Lab in Jakarta: May 4-6, 2018
Docs by the Sea Lab & Forum in Bali: August 2-9, 2018


IF/Then is a new filmmaking initiative developed by Tribeca Film Institute. Its mission is to discover and empower more inclusive voices in short film storytelling. It also fosters multi-platform distribution and financial sustainability for more short filmmakers in a global and increasingly complex marketplace. IF/Then was developed by Tribeca Film Institute with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

For enquiries, send an e-mail to

Download PDF