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Doha Debates News / January 24 2021

Doha Debates Seeks Short Film Submissions Focused on Elevating New Voices

A production still from the short film “(Un)divided,” featuring two young Texans on opposite sides of the political spectrum who are finding common ground. (Photo: Paul Raila)

Digital storytelling is at the creative core of Doha Debates, and we believe the best way to come up with collaborative solutions to global challenges is through civil discourse and debate. In that spirit, we’re looking for original documentaries that tackle pressing social issues, present innovative solutions to global problems and encourage collaboration to find common ground.

We’re looking for all kinds of stories: character-driven, observational, animated, impressionistic and experimental. What’s most important is that the stories feel urgent and speak to a young global audience, and that the exposition is clear and compelling. We’re excited by challenging, nontraditional viewpoints.


Topics of interest in 2021 include eliminating barriers to gender equality, the fight for racial justice, solutions to climate change, disability justice and accessibility, the future of democracy and experiments in  education.


Beyond these themes, we’re looking to commission stories that shine a light on conflict resolution and show the power of productive conversation.

We’re particularly interested in amplifying voices, stories and narratives from historically underrepresented regions. Whenever possible, we’d like to commission producers and filmmakers who are from the region they are covering.

Stories should feel relevant to the moment but also evergreen.

We’ll consider cut-down versions of works in progress or films that have already been posted online or broadcast on TV but have yet to garner large audiences.


Your pitch should be no longer than a page:

— In 150 words or less, tell us why your story is important: What needle will it move? What is the call to action? How does it align with one of our debate topics and why are you and/or your character(s) the right person to tell it?

  • What is the narrative arc of your story?
  • What kind of access do you have to the location(s)/character(s)?
  • Explain the visual style you’ll use to tell the story.
  • Any issues you foresee that will complicate the project?
  • What audiences or influencers might want to engage with/share the story?
  • Include a link to a rough cut if it exists, and links to work you’ve created in the past and your exact role in the project.
  • Include complete contact information.


Please send pitches to [email protected]