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documentary film festival

Serving Filmmakers is our first and only goal.


The Global Film Awards Competitions have been honoring filmmakers for more than 17 years.  Our reputation in the industry is strong, earning a “Top 25 Competitions worth the money” from MovieMaker Magazine.

We believe in the power of documentary films to make substantive change in the world.  Because the staff and judges at GFA are so committed to supporting filmmakers who do this – we were compelled to dedicate a competition solely to documentaries and to the filmmakers who work so hard to create them.  And, of course, to help support the important causes that they have worked so hard to illuminate.  Welcome to the IMPACT DOCS Awards!

Many of our GFA family of winners have gone on to earn Emmys, Tellys and Oscar nominations and Awards… including our inaugural season Best of Show – Academy Award winning director Louie Psihoyos..

Unique in the Industry:

The IMPACT DOCS Awards are unique in the industry.  GFA competitions attract both powerhouse industry veterans (Ridley Scott, Weinstein Company, Disney, Oscar winner Jeff Bridges,etc.) as well as talented new filmmakers.  IMPACT DOCS is an exceptional, truly international awards competition, not a traditional film festival – which allows filmmakers from around the world to enter their documentaries in this prestigious competition.  The IMPACT DOCS Awards are about helping industry professionals who create fresh, standout documentaries achieve the publicity and credibility they deserve.

Serving filmmakers is the IMPACT DOC’s primary goal.

IMPACT DOCS goal is to discover and honor the achievements of filmmakers who produce high quality documentaries.  We promote award winners through press releases to over 43,000 filmmakers, industry contacts as well as additional global media/distribution outlets.  IMPACT DOCS also provides filmmakers with tools to promote their winning achievements such as our fill-in-the-blanks press release template and tips so that you can get the targeted promotion you are looking for.


To support and promote filmmakers who are making a difference in the critical issues of our times through producing impactful documentaries and who are inspiring and entertaining audiences with their stories.

Documentary and Documentary Shorts

Your documentary submission can be either:

Doc Feature (More than 40 minutes)

Doc Short  (Less than 40 minutes)

Documentary Definition:

We use the same parameters to define a documentary as is used by the Academy Awards.  A nonfiction motion picture dealing creatively with cultural, artistic, historical, social, scientific, economic or other subjects. It may be photographed in actual occurrence, or may employ partial reenactment, stock footage, stills, animation, stop-motion or other techniques, as long as the emphasis is on fact and not on fiction.

Judging and Award Levels

Quality and creativity are celebrated in four levels of awards: Best of Show, Award of Excellence, Award of Merit and Award of Recognition.

The judging takes place by in-house staff and a committee of industry professionals including Emmy, Telly and Communicator nominees and winners.

As with the Tellys and regional Emmy Awards,  entries do NOT compete against each other. Instead, entries are judged against a high standard of merit and are scored accordingly. Judges score entries on a performance scale and winning entries are recognized and awarded as Awards of Excellence, Awards of Merit, Award of Recognition or no award.

Best of Show honors are granted to the top scoring entry.  Awards of Excellence are granted to entries with truly exceptional filmmaking.  Notable artistic and technical productions are recognized at the Award of Merit award level and Award of Recognition recognizes achievement in a specific category of entry.

No fixed number of awards are granted at any level but rather fluctuate based on the total number of entries received for each competition deadline.

Additional Categories:

You may also enter additional categories, such as cinematography, soundtrack, direction, viewer impact, etc.  A full list of additional categories can be found here:  Categories


Each submission received through the IMPACT DOCS Awards website or any film portal will be contacted by the IMPACT DOCS Team via electronic mail to confirm entry. Film portals such as Film Freeway also notify through their system.

After judging is completed, winners in all categories will be notified of their award status by the IMPACT DOCS Team.

We proudly comply with Film Festival best practices

Serving Filmmakers with integrity is our top priority.


•Submissions in other than English must be subtitled.

•Multiple entries are allowed from an individual filmmaker and each entry may be entered in multiple categories.

•The entry fee for the first judging category is $60.00. Each additional judging category is $40.00.

•Please provide an online link to your submission and be sure to include the password on the attached online submission form. Or you can send a DVD screener in PAL or NTSC format.  NO entries requiring a file download will be accepted.

•Written comments describing entries are beneficial.

•DVD Entries will not be returned.

Judging Criteria

Each entry is scored based on its own merits covering all aspects of technical production as well as storytelling and narratives.  For an overview of the criteria – click here:

The IMPACT DOCS statuette is exceptional in this industry and is a work of art.  Covered with 24k gold it is manufactured by the company that makes the worlds’ most prestigious and celebrated awards, the Oscar, Clio, and Accolade.  Best of Show  honorees receive a complimentary statuette.  Award winners at other levels are also eligible to purchase a statuette for themselves or their team. For more information about the statuette click here:

Sister Competitions:

The IMPACT DOCS Awards sister competitions are the Best Shorts Competition  honoring the best of short filmmaking, the Accolade Global Film Competition which celebrates outstanding media of every variety around the globe and the IndieFEST Film Awards recognizing unique gems and cinematic voices.   All four competitions share administrative offices but have independent judging by different industry professionals – and judging results from one competition will not influence the outcome of the other.


To enter online click here: