IF/Then Southeast Asia

This call for submissions is closed.

In collaboration with the Indonesian Agency for Creative Economy and In-Docs, IF/Then Shorts is cultivating new documentary talents in Southeast Asia and is generating funding, exposure, and distribution opportunities for short documentary films from this region. 

Earlier in 2018, 17 short documentary projects focusing on Southeast Asia were selected to participate in the IF/Then Story Development Lab in Jakarta, May 4-6, 2018. In Jakarta, 10 of these projects were selected as "finalists" to receive development grants & to participate in the Docs By The Sea Lab (August 2-5, 2018) and Pitching Forum (August 7-9, 2018) in Bali. These finalists had one-on-one meetings with key decision-makers including broadcasters, film fund organizations, and film festival programmers. They also pitched their stories at the IF/Then Shorts pitch competition on August 8, 2018 in Bali for these coveted prizes:

  • A total cash prize of IDR 400,000,000 for 4 projects to be used for the completion of the films and an opportunity to participate in Tribeca Film Institute's year-long distribution initiative.
  • Full funding of 1 project by Al Jazeera English for broadcast on Witness, the channel's flagship character-driven doc strand, and an opportunity to participate in Tribeca Film Institute's year-long distribution initiative.

The winners were selected by a professional jury consisting of:

Amy Hobby, Executive Director of Tribeca Film Institute
Aloke Devichand, Al Jazeera
Chloe Gbai, POV
Patrick Hurley, Sheffield Doc Fest
Don Edkins, Independent Filmmaker

The Jury chose "Bullet-Laced Dreams", "Songbirds of Aceh", "How Far I'll Go", and "Diary of Cattle" as the competition winners and Al Jazeera English selected "Touch the Colour" to receive a commission for their Witness strand.  These winners were selected from the following ten finalists:

Director: Cha Escala & Kristoffer Brugada

Logline: Children of indigenous tribes in Mindanao fight for their right to education as the government militarizes their schools to quell rebel conflicts.

Director: Watcharee Rattanakree
Producer: Appichon Rattanapayon

Director & Producer: David Darmadi & Lidia K. Afrilita

Logline: This film is a tragic comedy about the lives of three different cows who have different personalities but share the same home at a landfill site in Indonesia.

GOLEK GARWO (Indonesia)
Director: Wahyu Utami Wati
Producer: Damar Ardi

HOME (Indonesia)
Director: Arunaya Gondhowiardjo
Producer: Firman Widyasmara

HOW FAR I’LL GO (Indonesia)
Director & Producer: Ucu Agustin
Co-Producer: Dian Raisha

Logline: Two blind childhood friends—Andrea and Salsabila— are now teenage girls living with their blindness in two different continents—USA and Indonesia. 

Director & Producer: Aminda Faradilla
Producer: Jean Chang

Logline: In one of the strictest Muslim states in the world, an all-female teenage Muslim choir tackles gender inequality and Islamic extremism using nothing more than their voices in song.

Director & Producer: Komtouch Napattaloong
Producer: Nontawat Numbenchapol

TOUCH THE COLOR (The Philippines)
Director: Baby Ruth Villarama
Producer: Carlo Joel Gutierrez 

Logline: Two sisters are serving life in prison for keeping a missing boy. The law says it's kidnapping, while they claim they were ensuring the boy's safety. After 19 years, a possibility for parole emerges on the condition that the mother of the boy meets them and grants forgiveness. 

UNDER THE STARS (formerly THE LEGEND OF THE FISH) (The Philippines)
Director: Venice Atienza

The 7 additional projects participating in the Jakarta workshop were:

IF I CAN DREAM (Indonesia)
Director: Ratih Prebatasari

Director & Producer: Rungroj Rojanachotikul

PRETTY ALMA (Indonesia)
Director: Bani Nasution
Producer: Yogi A. Fuad

SOUND OF SOIL (Indonesia)
Director: Ika Yuliana

Director: Kurnia Yudha Fitranto & Teguh Hari
Producer: Amerta Kusuma

THE EMBER (Indonesia)
Director: Arfan Sabran

Director: Nadira Ilana
Producer: Martin Potter


Key Dates:

  • Online registration opens: January 11, 2018
  • Project application deadline: February 11, 2018
  • Story Development Lab in Jakarta: May 4-6, 2018
  • Docs by the Sea Lab & Forum in Bali: August 2-9, 2018


All stories and storytellers coming from Southeast Asian countries. We are looking for short documentary projects that explore a range of socially, politically and culturally relevant topics through the lens of young and emerging storytellers.  Filmmakers need not reside in these countries, as long as the story is about this region. The director must be a passport holder of Southeast Asian nations including : Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Brunei and East Timor.