GSDF 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.


Filmmakers of documentary shorts & digital platforms looking for new voices and new narratives.

GSDF supports and trains new and diverse voices to tell local stories of a social, political or cultural nature.

The Forum is open to applications from all parts of the world, with documentary projects up to 30 mins. The focus is be on filmmakers from areas where there is low production capacity and little visibility, as well as filmmakers from minorities in geographical areas of established media production, thereby encouraging new narratives and underreported stories.

Participating Platforms


The GSDF is annual and the call for applications is open to all. Selection is based on the filmmaker’s proven ability and the strength of the story, characters and footage provided.

16 selected applicants attend a 4-day residential workshop and pitching training, followed by presentations from each participating platform about how they work and what content they are seeking. They then have one-to-one pitching meetings with editors/commissioners. Travel and accommodation expenses are covered by the Forum for selected applicants.

The first forum was hosted by the Frontline Club in London. Future iterations will take place in different geographical areas, with local partners focusing on outreach in the surrounding regions.

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

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

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

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


There’s a growing number of online media platforms looking for documentary shorts. Yet currently, there is no dedicated event of this kind to bridge the gap.


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.


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