The premise is simple; filmmakers will push their skills to the limit by making a short (4-7 minute) documentary in just five days. Top films will make their world premiere at North America's largest documentary festival, the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.
Filmmakers are assigned a theme (past themes include Dreams/Nightmares, Movement) and must choose between two assigned documentary genres (such as Character Study, Music, 1st Person, etc.) These two requirements provide a challenge to filmmakers, as it will shape the content and direction their film takes.
In addition to making their world premiere at Hot Docs, three major awards will also be announced at the festival. Awards given include The American Documentary/P.O.V. Award, The Documentary Educational Resources (DER) Award and the Best Film Award (presented by the Documentary Channel.) There are also cash prizes for winning films. Additionally, online viewing and voting will determine an Audience Award winner. After the premiere, there are additional theatrical screenings in major cities, national television exposure (10 films from 2011 were selected for national broadcast on the Documentary Channel) and a DVD release of the best films.
Doc Challenge is produced by KDHX Media. 2012 Presenting Partners include Hot Docs, The Documentary Channel, American Documentary/P.O.V. and Documentary Educational Resources. Supporting partners include the International Documentary Association, the Documentary Organization of Canada, DocuMentors, the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Dokufest, Docs In Progress and the 48 Hour Film Project.