Doha Debates Launches Call for Submissions Focused on Elevating New Voices

Doha Debates
January 24, 2019
A production still from upcoming short film "(Un)divided," featuring two young Texans on opposite sides of the political spectrum who are finding common ground. (Photo: Paul Raila)

Digital storytelling is at the creative core of Doha Debates, and we believe the best way to come up with collaborative solutions to global challenges is through civil discourse and debate. In that spirit, we’re looking for original documentaries that tackle pressing social issues, present innovative solutions to global problems and encourage collaboration to find common ground.

We’re looking for all kinds of stories: character-driven, observational, animated, impressionistic and experimental. What’s most important is that the stories feel urgent and speak to a young global audience, and that the exposition is clear and compelling. We’re excited by challenging, nontraditional viewpoints.

Our six topics of interest for the first season are the effects of AI on jobs and society (April 2019), the need for global citizenship (July 2019), the effects of water shortage (September 2019), the loss of trust in institutions (October 2019), rethinking capitalism (November 2019), and gender inequality (January 2020). We’re particularly interested in amplifying voices, stories and narratives from historically underrepresented regions. Whenever possible, we’d like to commission producers and filmmakers who are from the region they are covering.

Stories should feel relevant to the moment but also evergreen.

We’ll consider cut-down versions of works in progress or films that have already been posted online or broadcast on TV but have yet to garner large audiences. 

Your pitch should be no longer than a page:

—In 150 words or less, tell us why your story is important: What needle will it move? What is the call to action? How does it align with one of our debate topics and why are you and/or your character(s) the right person to tell it?

—What is the narrative arc of your story?

—What kind of access do you have to the location(s)/character(s)?

—Explain the visual style you’ll use to tell the story.

—Any issues you foresee that will complicate the project?

—What audiences or influencers might want to engage with/share the story?

—Include a link to a rough cut if it exists, and links to work you’ve created in the past and your exact role in the project.

—Include complete contact information.

Please send pitches to