IF/Then Southeast Asia

For the second time, Tribeca Film Institute is excited to take part in a collaboration with In-Docs and Docs by the Sea to support the art of shortform storytelling in Southeast Asia.  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 from Southeast Asia. 

Submissions open - APPLY NOW.

Projects can be in any stage of pre-production, production, or post-production.

From the open call, 15 projects will be selected to receive a travel stipend to participate in a 3-day Story Development Lab in Jakarta (11-13 June 2020).

At the end of the Development Lab, seven of those original 15 projects will move on be selected to participate in the Docs by the Sea Lab (21-24 August 2020) and Docs by the Sea Pitching Forum (26-28 August 2020) in Bali. All selected participants will pitch their stories to key decision-makers at the IF/Then Pitch Competition, and will also have a chance for one-on-one meetings with broadcasters, commissioning editors, film fund organizations, and film festival programmers during Docs by the Sea.

The top two projects (as selected by an industry jury) will receive a USD $20,000 production grant, plus a year of mentorship and an opportunity to participate in the IF/Then distribution initiative.


  • Online registration opens: January 6, 2020
  • Project application deadline: March 6, 2020, 11:59 PM (Western Indonesia Time, UTC +7)
  • Public announcement: April 6, 2020
  • Story Development Lab in Jakarta: June 11-13, 2020
  • Docs By The Sea Lab & Forum in Bali: August 21-28, 2020


Filmmakers have to be passport holders of Southeast Asian nations including Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Brunei and East Timor.

Eligible projects must meet the following criteria: 

Be an original short documentary with a final duration (TRT) under 30 minutes.

Be completed within 6 months of receiving the IF/Then grant.

Be factually accurate, follow best practices in documentary ethics, and be designed for the global audience.

Be driven by compelling characters, with access to the character(s) secured. 

Be presented in English or subtitled in English.

Have no prior distribution attached and be able to participate in the IF/Then distribution initiative.


If chosen as a finalist, it is mandatory that you participate in the events.

You will also receive an industry accreditation for the host film festival free of charge.

Stipends for travel to the Development Lab, the Pitch Lab and the Forum will be provided to participating filmmakers.