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International Film Festival & Forum on Human Rights 2021: Call for Projects

October 26, 2020

Some films have the power to effect long-lasting change in our societies. To strengthen the potential of cinematic storytelling as a tool for social and cultural change, in 2019 the International Film Festival & Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH) launched the Impact Day, an event where filmmakers, producers, NGOs, organizations and foundations gather together to find potential alliances and strategies that will increase the quality and results of their joint actions to have positive impacts on the world we live in.

Call for projects

The FIFDH, a leading human rights film festival, is held each year in March in Geneva, a city where over 750 NGOs and international organizations actively work and advocate to promote human rights and protect human rights activists worldwide.

For its 2021 Industry Programme, FIFDH is calling on filmmakers from around the world producing or directing documentaries about pressing social or environmental issues to submit their projects for the Impact Day. The selected film teams will be able to attend the Impact Lab to develop their impact campaign, connect with strategic partners to effectively put it in place, and possibly be awarded a cash prize for the best Impact project.

For its upcoming hybrid edition, the Impact Lab will take place online in January 2021 – dates to be confirmed – and in Geneva from 8-9 March 2021 in the framework of the 19th edition of the FIFDH. Depending on the restrictions that will be applicable next Spring, the second part of the Lab and the networking events may also take place online.

For the 2021 FIFDH Impact Day, organizers are looking for bold documentary projects from around the world, at any stage of production or late development, driven by thoughtful and in-depth storytelling, bolstered by a compelling visual approach,and with a clear vision of the impact they want to make. They need to have strong potential to create real cultural and social impact around some of the most pressing issues of our time.

Who can apply?

  • Any independent filmmaker and/or producer from anywhere in the world who is committed to outreach goals and looking for partners and collaborators to make their films truly influential.
  • Submission is free. The selected teams will need to pay an accreditation fee of CHF 100 for each member attending the event. Accreditation will give access not only to both sessions of the Impact Lab and all Impact Day activities (including lunches and the closing cocktail), but also to all screenings and debates for the entire duration of the FIFDH (5-14 March 2021).
  • Selected participants based in the DDC priority countries will have their accreditation, trip and accommodation covered by the FIFDH.
  • The deadline for the submission of projects is 31 October 2020. Selected team members will be notified no later than 30 November 2020.


Which projects are eligible?

  • Non-fiction films of 52+ minutes in length.
  • One project per company or filmmaker can be selected. However, an applicant can be a member of the key creative personnel on multiple projects.
  • Projects in production and post-production are preferable, but FIFDH will also consider projects in a late development stage which demonstrate access, strong storytelling in the treatment and work sample, and an urgency to the story.


The selected film teams will get

  • Mentorship for their impact strategy: How to identify the target groups and relevant partners for their impact campaign, inspire strategic audiences with their film, influence policies and catalyze change, as well as how to pitch their project to potential partners outside the documentary industry. This training is given by experienced producers and impact producers sharing their insights and takeaways on how to create effective impact campaigns.
  • Curated connections to key players (NGOs, organisations and foundations) within their issue areas with pre-arranged one-to-one meetings to pitch their impact campaign and find partners and funders that could help them implement it.
  • Networking opportunities with the other participants of the event coming from around the world: filmmakers, producers, impact producers, experts and tutors of the Lab, as well as the other festival attendees.



Deadline for submission of the projects is 31 October. Selected team members will be notified no later than 30 November 2020.

Submit your project.


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