Submission Guidelines


Eligibility:

Feature-length documentaries, two-part documentaries, and short-form documentaries are eligible for nomination if first released commercially between January 1 to December 31, 2022. Documentaries may be delivered to audiences theatrically and/or by broadcast, cable, or online apps and services. Documentary series of three episodes or more are eligible for nomination if a majority of the episodes have been released between June 1, 2021, and December 31, 2022. 


Critics Choice Documentary Awards categories are:

  • Best Documentary – Feature-length or two-part nonfiction films with contained narratives and/or reporting.
  • Best Director – Directing of nonfiction features, two-part documentaries, nonfiction shorts, or documentary series. 
  • Best First Documentary – Nonfiction films in which the director or directors makes their feature-length debut. 
  • Best Sports Documentary – Nonfiction features, two-part documentaries, nonfiction shorts, or documentary series about sporting events, athletes, and/or sportscasters.
  • Best Political Documentary – Nonfiction features, two-part documentaries, nonfiction shorts, or documentary series focused on political subjects, including political issues and persons involved in politics.  
  • Best Music Documentary – Nonfiction features, two-part documentaries, nonfiction shorts, or documentary series involving music performers, musical performance, or the music industry. 
  • Best Archival Documentary – Nonfiction features, two-part documentaries, nonfiction shorts, or documentary series in which a majority of the visual material is from previously shot footage produced for other use.
  • Best Science/Nature Documentary – Nonfiction features, two-part documentaries, nonfiction shorts, or documentary series focused on science-related subjects, including technology, wildlife, nature, environmental issues, and histories of scientific innovation.
  • Best Historical Documentary – Nonfiction features, two-part documentaries, nonfiction shorts, or documentary series chronicling the history of their subject. 
  • Best Biographical Documentary – Nonfiction features, two-part documentaries, nonfiction shorts, or documentary series chronicling the life story of their subject. 
  • Best Ongoing Documentary Series – Anthology documentary series comprised of in-depth and investigational programs.  Episodes of the series can cover different topics. 
  • Best Limited Documentary Series – Documentary series that have a unified story and overall show arc. 
  • Best Cinematography – Cinematography in a nonfiction feature, two-part documentary, nonfiction short, or documentary series.
  • Best Editing – Editing of a nonfiction feature, two-part documentary, nonfiction short, or documentary series.
  • Best Music Score – Original music scores composed for a nonfiction feature, two-part documentary, nonfiction short, or documentary series. 
  • Best Narration – Writing and performance of voiceover narration for a nonfiction feature, two-part documentary, nonfiction short, or documentary series.
  • Best Short Documentary – Nonfiction films with a running time shorter than 40 minutes. 


Category Submission Instructions:

One fee required for each documentary submitted. Simply enter all the pertinent information for the documentary, pay the one submission fee for that title, and our nominating committee leaders will recommend consideration in all the appropriate and eligible categories. Submitting companies may request an up-to-date CCA Documentary Branch membership contact list in order to send FYC information directly to members. Contact David Freedman at [email protected]


Submission Materials:

Entrants will submit the following materials:

  • Basic information about the Submitter and the Entry (including submitter contact info, entry title, production company, network, premiere date, etc.).
  • A logline of up to 50 words that describes the submission. 
  • Not required but suggested: An essay of up to 300 words regarding the submission, as a guide for judges. The essay may be used to call attention to factors which make the entry worthy of recognition.  It can address such points as the creative and production goals of the entry, techniques used to achieve these goals, any challenges that were met, and the impact of the work.  The essay will be seen by judges alongside the video.
  • A representative photo.  For all entries, a promotional film still, with no text or logos.
  • A video of the entire documentary
    • Video content must be in the same form as originally released, without enhancements.
    • All submitted features and shorts must have premiered during the eligibility period, January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022 and all series must have premiered during the eligibility period, June 1, 2021 to December 31, 2022. 

      Video requirements:

      Video: 1920×1080 progressive
      Codec: H.264
      Bit Rate: 6-8 MB
      Audio: AAC, stereo, 192-320kbps, 44-48 kHz
      MP4 format is preferred
      No timecodes
      No bars & tones
      No commercials, a few seconds of black is optional
      Slate is optional but preferred
      The file should be under 4GB
      File name must include: Film title, name of entrant if applicable, and category.


Entry Fee:

For all categories

Entry Fee
By Friday, September 2
(early discount)
$320
By Friday, September 16
(submission deadline)
$400