Applications open for Filmmaker Challenge 2024

A group of people stand on a stage looking to the person on the far right who is holding a microphone. Behind them, a screen shows the words 'Sheffield DocFest 2023'

Image courtesy of David Chang. 

Applications for Filmmaker Challenge 2024 are now closed. 

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Returning for a 3rd edition in 2024, our Filmmaker Challenge, supported by Prime Video, selects six filmmakers to make a short documentary in and around Sheffield during the festival, under the guidance of an experienced mentor and supported by equipment, production budget, and festival passes. 

Working to a tight deadline, the selected filmmakers will create a 3 minute non-fiction film over five days, with filming taking place over a single day.  The finished films will then be presented at a festival screening on Saturday 15 June plus Q&A with Guest Mentor and festival representatives.

Past Guest Mentors include award winning documentary filmmakers Asif Kapadia (2022) and Kevin Macdonald (2023) and previous challenge participants have gone on to be selected for DocFest MeetMarket, IDFA Docs for Sale, UK broadcast and BFI Network talent programmes.

This year, in recognition of the continuing underrepresentation of women in directing roles in documentary* and Prime Video's commitment to We Are Doc Women 50/50 Pledge, the challenge is open to and calling for applicants from marginalised genders.

What’s Included?

  • A micro budget of £1000 

  • Equipment & post production support 

  • Mentoring and 121 feedback from a high profile non-fiction director

  • Accommodation at the festival and standard class UK travel to and from Sheffield

  • Post-challenge mentoring and an invitation to Prime Video’s Summer trainee programmes meetup

  • Successful applicants will receive a full industry pass for DocFest in 2024 & 2025


Who Is Eligible?

To be eligible for the Filmmaker Challenge, you must

  • Be over 18

  • Be based in the UK

  • Be from a marginalised gender (e.g. transgender women, cisgender women, transgender men, non-binary people)

  • Not be engaged in full time education or graduate study

  • Have made, as director or producer, a minimum one short film exhibited at a BAFTA, BIFA or Academy Award qualifying festival or have had a terrestrial broadcast of over 20 minutes in the past 3 years

  • Have not directed or produced more than one feature film (over 60 minutes) or two TV episodes of over 30 minutes 

  • Be available in for the full duration of the programme including pre-festival mentoring at the end of May and the full period of 10-16 June inclusive in Sheffield


How To Apply?

To apply to the 2024 Filmmaker Challenge, please fill out this form. It is free to apply.

The deadline to apply is Wednesday 24 April 2024 at 12 noon BST.

We are committed to growing diversity in the film industry, and particularly welcome applications from underrepresented voices in the factual/documentary TV sector including, but not limited to, d/Deaf or disabled people and people who are ethnically diverse and/or those who are from or live in South Yorkshire.

For the purposes of reporting to our key funders we ask that you help us by clicking here to complete an anonymous diversity questionnaire.

You will be contacted by 3 May 2024 regarding the outcome of your application. 

Participation in the initiative is selective and the decision of DocFest is final.

For any questions, please contact


Principal Supporter Prime Video

Prime Video logo

Supported by Prime Video, Sheffield Hallam University, and Warner Chappell Production Music

Sheffield Hallam University logo and Warner Chappell Production Music logo

This scheme is presented as a positive action initiative in line with the Equalities Act 2010.

* Read more about the underrepresentation of women in non fiction directing roles in UK factual in 2023 here in Deadline and representation of female directors, writers and lead role in Europe here via the European Audiovisual Observatory


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