General Questions

What kind of films are we looking for?

The selection process will be competitive and seek outstanding compelling, and original submissions that demonstrate a filmmaker’s uniqueness of vision and do not necessarily follow the traditional issue-based East African NGO documentary format (usually filmed according to a tightly written and pre- approved script). It will instead seek to support different genres of feature length creative documentary films that explore the world we live in by approaching it from a different more personal angle with a different emphasis and rhythm.

DOCUBOX are keen to encourage documentary filmmaking that expresses a view of the world – past, present and future – that is both strongly personal and uniquely East African. We are looking forproposals and trailers that will lead to filmsthat enlighten, and inspire audiences provoking viewers to react, and reflect.  We aren’t interested in films that lecture or preach, or films thatpursue the latest headlines, because we believe that great documentaries should lastand hold a mirror up to our times. Films able to stimulate the viewer and provoke thought, by approaching the world as we thought we knew it from a different angle.

Your film may choose to feature courageous individuals confronting difficult issues and actively pursuing a more just, secure and sustainable world, or may have lofty goals such as seeking tostrengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation or advance human achievement.But on the other hand, your film maybe a personal journeywhich simply offers a new, probing view on the world from your perspective shared in a highly original voice that only you, the author and filmmaker possess.

Documentaries that favor novel, or more thoughtful approaches and seek to reveal familiar truths in new ways will have an upper hand in the selection process.

We are interested in stand alone broadcast length films – though it is your ideas and trailers we are most interested in.  As a rough guide, however, your films could aim to berun at 14”, 28” or 58” minute lengths. No proposals for series, please.


What kind of filmmakers are we looking for?

Filmmakers must be East African  or have resided in East Africa for a minimum of eight years.  We are interested in supporting curious talented, perceptive and insightful storytellers.   They must want to be part of a growing network of ultra-talented, committed, focused and accountable storytellers whose work promises to inspire and enlighten and shine light onto previously un-illuminated spaces.


When I submit a proposal for Funding, I become a DOCUBOX member – what does this mean?

It means by sharing your project with us, you become part of a larger network of documentary filmmakers in the region because your profile and previous samples of work are instantly uploaded onto the DOCUBOX community page. This means that people can learn about you and the kind of documentaries you make.  Your showreel is instantly available to others who may be looking for the skills you possess as a documentary filmmaker.  You will also be alerted to application calls announced by other global documentary film grants and invited to watch documentary screenings or attend documentary workshops held by DOCUBOX throughout the year.

You can also become a member if you are an East African filmmaker with previous documentary film work experience that you are credited for directing / producing / filming that you can can upload samples of onto the site.


What is a creative documentary?

The DOCUBOX definition of a creative documentarys is a film that is either

– interesting and unique from a stylistic point of view
– particularly innovative,
– relevant to social issues yet able to engage and communicate with audiences.
– representative of the personal vision  and voice of the maker

The creative documentary is an art form, which means that the documentary filmmaker is likely to be an artist, rather than a journalist. Like reportage, documentaries provide insight into the world around us, but they are also characterized by artistic qualities: innovation, originality, professional skill, and expressiveness and cultural/historical value.

Furthermore, we do not consider creative documentaries to be the programs most often seen on global specialty channels (such as Discovery, History, Exploration, Cooking, Lifestyle etc ) Instead, we regard them as creative or artistic treatments of actuality other than a news, current affairs, sports coverage, magazine, infotainment or light entertainment.

This creative treatment of actuality must deal with a single (rather than multiple) issue, subject or theme, and be about real people and/or events.”

Please keep in mind that we believe that to be make great creative documentaries, it helps to watch a lot of creative docuentaries too.

How will the Projects be selected?

Uploaded projects will be reviewed by an selection panel made up of internationally acclaimed filmmakers, and a maximum of two local panelists.  Most of whom have been involved in film-related selection panels , juries or workshops around the world. A projects are rated according to a variety of markers.  The kinds ofcriteria the selection panel will be judging your application on are sampled here:

  • Does the film deal with a single (rather than multiple) issue, subject or theme, about real people and/or events?
  • Does the film demonstrate the filmmaker’s uniqueness of vision and not necessarily follow the traditional issue-based East African NGO documentary format?
  • Does the filmmaker come across as engaged with his / her topic?
  • Does the film favor a novel, or more thoughtful approaches and seek to reveal familiar truths in a new manner?
  • Does the film favor a novel, or more thoughtful approaches and seek to reveal familiar truths in a new manner?
  • Is the filmmakers voice evident? Is it clear and unique?
  • Is the story both strongly personal and uniquely East African?
  • Does the applicant appear to understand the criteria for the kinds of films DOCUBOX is looking for?
  • Are you as a panelist convinced by what is at stake here and  drawn to the heart of the subject matter? Or: Is the story that they are telling special? In other words, is the film ‘strangely’ compelling…?
  • will the film/subject inspire those who see it to think or take action?


Who owns the finished film and how will any subsequent revenue be shared?

Initially, DOCUBOX sought to own the finished films in order to be more involved in their distribution and marketing . Due to concerns raised by talented filmmakers keen to own their own films, we have reviewed our position. Successful applicants and filmmakers selected for support will own their finished films, however DOCUBOX will retain some rights to show, exhibit these films as part of promotional screenings, at markets and for distribution both as online clips and as box-set collections.  We will also, wherever possible try and help filmmakers access markets, spaces and distributers that alone, they would not easily be able to. This is necessary in order to spread the word about DOCUBOX and attract further support for even more emerging East African filmmakers (like yourselves). The more great films we make, the better we ALL do!

Finished films must credit DOCUBOX for support received and include DOCUBOX logo in end your credits.