Rules and Regulations

Film Submission, Rules and Regulations

We kindly ask you to read the ethocineca regulations carefully before submitting your film. By submitting a film, you confirm that you have read and accepted these regulations. Questions regarding the Rules & Regulations and/or film submission should be directed to programm(at) You can find the link to the entry form at the bottom of this page. 

1. General Information

The 18th edition of ethocineca takes place from May 16 to 23, 2024 at Vienna’s Votiv Kino and Kino De France. As Austria’s largest film festival for documentary cinema and ethnographic film, ethnocineca is dedicated to the diversity of human liveworlds worldwide and the burning issues of our time. With our Call for Films we are looking for films of any length and approach that make accessible the diversity, uniqueness as well as the commonalities of social and cultural life worldwide, while narrating this view critically and innovatively. In addition to the general programme, in which all films run out of competition, there are five competition sections, that films can be submitted to. 

2. Competition Sections 

When submitting a film on Filmfreeway, please indicate whether the film is entered for the main program (non-competitive) or for one of the five competitions (EVA, IDA, ADA, ISA, ESSA). Ensure that the film meets the respective competition criteria (multiple nominations are not possible). The artistic directors reserve the right to nominate films submitted to one category for another award or to include them in the main program.

2.1 Overview of Competitions 

IDA – International Documentary Award 

IDA celebrates documentary film as a dynamic art form and transmits the experience of its rich diversity: here the format has no set limits – from classical narratives  to animated documentaries, all film formats are welcome. Outstanding works are honored that go beyond the factual conveyance of content and emphatically encourage a reflexive and undogmatic examination of the realities of human life and society. Prize money: EUR 1.000

•   Length: min. 45 minutes

EVA – Excellence in Visual Anthropology Award

This competition recognises the diversity of ethnographic film and honors outstanding achievements and innovative works that contribute to a progressive understanding of Visual Anthropology. The competition includes films made as part of academic research as well as independent works of art. Traditional as well as experimental methods and approaches are equally welcome. Prize money: EUR 1.000

•   Length: min. 45 minutes

ADA – Austrian Documentary Award

An international jury selects the best Austrian film in the category of Austrian Documentary Film. Films produced by an Austrian production company or made by a filmmaker from Austria or living in Austria are eligible for submission in this category. Prize money: EUR 1.000

•   Length: min. 45 minutes

ISA – International Shorts Award

The International Shorts Award (ISA) gives short films the attention they deserve during the festival. The nominated documentaries are characterized by their broad range of topics and demonstrate the dynamics and expressive possibilities of the short film format. In this competition, the audience decides on the winning film. Prize money: EUR 500

•   Length: max. 30 minutes

ESSA – Ethnocineca Student Shorts Award

Young talents – great cinema! With the student shorts award, ethnocineca celebrates the diverse impulses of young documentary filmmaking. Student works as well as debut works from the documentary film sector and ethnographic film are eligible. ESSA is an audience award. Prize money: EUR 500

•   Length: max. 30 minutes


Films can also be submitted outside of the competitions if, for example, they do not meet any of the award criteria. 

2.2 Programme Focus 2024: RE-RENDERING PERSPECTIVES

“We need to see the world from as many perspectives as possible” has always been ethnocineca‘s leitmotif. Building on that, the 2024 programme is dedicated to the theme of RENDERING PERSPECTIVES and focuses on the need of and demand for a change of perspective in all its facets. The annual theme thus considers diverse viewpoints, possibilities of negotiations and interpretations of different temporal perspectives and epistemologies. It is about changes that affect people’s lives over time through cultural change, social transformation, political upheaval, or other external influences. This change and unlearning of habitual perspectives as well as learning new ways of thinking/positions/approaches is more important in social discourses today than ever before. It asks for a break with existing power structures and to wean oneself from one’s own thought patterns, as well as to explore how breaking through one’s own perspective can broaden one’s horizon in manifold ways and enable for a different form of community life and meaningful cooperations.

2.3. Information on the Selection of Films, Screening Fees and Prize Money

The curators of ethnocineca carry out the selection of films for the festival programme and have the right to reassign competition sections. It is therefore possible, that the selected films for the programme run in a competition other than the one originally selected. The organisers reserve the right to change the type and number of listed competition sections. All mentioned prizes are subject to change. An external jury decides on the winning films of IDA, EVA and ADA. ISA and ESSA are Audience Awards. 

ethnocineca will pay screening fees to all films screened during the 2024 festival.

3. General Submission Criteria and Film Entry

The production year or year of completion of the film must not be older than 2022. Submitted films that have already had a theatrical release in Austria, have been released on the Internet (e.g. VOD), have been broadcast on Austrian / German-language television, or have already been shown in the ethnocineca programme cannot be considered for the programme selection. If you submit your film for a competition section, the film must meet the respective criteria, otherwise your film can be submitted to the main programme.

All entries will be shown in original version with English subtitles. Therefore, only entries with English subtitles can be considered in the program selection. The submission form on Filmfreeway must be filled out completely and all documents requested therein must be submitted. One submission form must be used per film. Only submissions that have submitted all required documents by December 1, 2023 will be considered.

Overview of General Submission Criteria: 

• Deadline for submission: December 1, 2023
• Production year 2022 or more recent
• No previous theatrical release in Austria, no release on the Internet or TV broadcast
• Original version with English subtitles 
• Fully completed submission form (Filmfreeway)
• Provision of a viewing copy

4. Viewing Copy

Preview copies can be submitted directly via Filmfreeway, via download link (without expiration date!) or online screener (e.g. vimeo). In exceptional cases we offer an upload to our FTP server or you can send us a DVD/Blu-ray. In that case please contact us via e-mail at programm(at)

5. Legal Information

The submitter assures that he/she is authorized to allow the festival to use the film and that the use of the film within the framework of the festival does not violate the rights of third parties (e.g. copyrights, ancillary copyrights, personal rights) and, in particular, that the rights to any third-party material used (music, film, photos, texts, etc.) have been clarified for use. In this respect, the submitter indemnifies the festival from all claims of third parties due to the use of the film at the festival (e.g. copyright, ancillary copyright, personal rights) and, in particular, that the rights to any third-party material used (music, film, photos, texts, etc.) have been clarified for use. In this respect, the submitter indemnifies the festival from all claims of third parties involving e.g. copyright, trademark, credits, etc. with regards to the use of the film at the festival.

Filmmakers agree that excerpts from their film as well as additional and image materials provided may be used by the organisers to promote the film or the festival.

Any shipping of the viewing material is at the submitter’s own risk and expense. For cost reasons, the submitted viewing material cannot be returned. ethnocineca does not assume any shipping costs for preview copies.

6. Dates and Deadlines

Opening date Call for Films: October 15, 2023
Earlybird: October 31, 2023                
Regular Submission: December 1, 2023                
Notification Date: March 15, 2024
Event Date: May 16 – 23, 2024