In partnership with Tribeca Film Institute, the second edition of IF/Then Southeast Asia is held in conjunction with Docs By The Sea. The program provides project funding and creative distribution mentoring to short documentary projects that explore a range of socially, politically and culturally relevant topics through the lens of young and emerging storytellers from Southeast Asia. The program stands out for its capacity to leverage short documentary film as a vehicle for responsive, community-driven storytelling and filmmaker viability. It is a fund and also a distribution initiative—the first of its kind to support independent short-form storytelling in an effort to maximize revenues and garner the widest possible international audience for our films.

The project submissions were open from 6 January—6 March 2020.

From the open call, 15 projects will be selected to participate in a 3-day Story Development Lab in Jakarta (11-13 June 2020).

From the all the submissions, 15 projects will be selected to participate in a 3-day Story Development Lab in Jakarta (11-13 June 2020). From the lab session, 7 of those original 15 projects will further be selected to participate in the Docs By The Sea Lab (21-24 August 2020) and Docs By The Sea Pitching Forum (26-28 August 2020) in Bali. These participants will pitch their stories to key decision-makers at the IF/Then Pitch Competition, 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 top two projects (as selected by an industry jury) will receive a USD $20,000 production grant, plus a year of mentorship and an opportunity to participate in the IF/Then distribution initiative.

Stipends for travel to the IF/Then Southeast Asia Development Lab, Docs By The Sea Lab and Pitching Forum will be provided to participating filmmakers.


Online registration opens: 6 January 2020
Project application deadline: 6 March 2020, 11:59 PM (Western Indonesia Time, UTC +7)
Public announcement: 6 April 2020
Story Development Lab in Jakarta: 11-13 June 2020
Docs by the Sea Lab & Forum in Bali: 21-28 August 2020


Eligible projects must meet the following criteria:
  1. Be an original short documentary with a final duration (TRT) under 30 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 the global audience.
  4. Be driven by compelling characters, with access to the characters 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. Filmmakers have to be passport holders of Southeast Asian nations including Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Brunei and East Timor.
IF/Then is a 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 email to

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