1. Choose your social issue and corresponding non-profit. For the subject of your film, brainstorm topics of interest that have had (or are currently having) a social impact on your community. The subject can be an individual and/or a non-profit organization that has created positive change in the Bay Area. For help choosing a non-profit, go to the Finding a Non-Profit tab. The issue can have worldwide scope, but in order to be eligible for the festival, it must have a substantial, significant link back to our community. Check out our "Possible Topics" list and click here for case studies!
2. Start planning. Once you have selected your issue, think about how you want to organize your project. Research your topic as much as possible to help build a framework for your film. Start asking yourself the following questions: Why am I making this documentary? Why does this film matter? Who should see it and why?
3. Pre-register. Beginning November 1, 2011, please fill out the pre-registration form and email it to email@example.com. This form includes a brief description of your project proposal. The pre-registration period ends February 1, 2012. You will be notified within two weeks of pre-registration submission as to whether your proposal meets the criteria of the SI DocFest.
4. Shoot, shoot, shoot. After preliminary preparation, go out and start filming your issue. Be sure to get footage of your issue in action. For example, if your issue is homelessness and you are filming at a soup kitchen, filming volunteers hand out soup could be an important element to your doc. In addition, begin interviewing relevant people on-camera that provide insight and/or a differing perspective on your issue.
5. Submit preview. Put together a 1-2 minute preview of your documentary highlighting your issue. The preview does not need to be the first or last minute of your film; in fact, it can be a sequence of people or scenes that appear in your film that conveys the purpose of your documentary. The preview must be submitted by March 1, 2012 and this will count as your official registration for the SI DocFest.
6. Work on finished product. Continue working on editing your film, making sure to consider both technical aspects and content. Show your film to teachers, friends and family to get feedback – outside perspectives are very important when working on a documentary. At this point, the questions you asked yourself while planning should be clearly answered and obvious from the documentary’s storyline and overall message.
7. Submit completed documentary. The final cuts must be submitted in DVD format and postmarked to dogooddocs by midnight on April 1, 2012. You must include 6 copies of your films to be distributed to the judge panel. You must also include the “Final Submission” form (it will be available on the SI DocFest website) with your finished product.
8. Check the website. Keep a look out for final details on the awards screening and for information on when all approved submissions will be posted online at sidocfest.com.
9. Attend the festival. Come to the screening party at Camera Theatres™ April 28, 2012 celebrate the fifth annual SI DocFest!