The short documentary receives a special place at OFF

When OFF18 – Odense International Film Festival – opens its doors in August, it is with a brand-new competition. Short documentaries are given a special place in this year’s festival program, its own jury and two new awards.


While documentaries have always been welcome in the competition at OFF, the programs have mainly consisted of fiction and animation films. This year, the film festival in Odense will bring the short documentary into the spotlight and focus on this intense and challenging genre. In addition, two new awards will be introduced: Best Documentary Short and The Soapbox Award. With them comes prizes of respectively 15.000 and 10.000 kroner. The awards will be awarded by an expert jury, which, similar to the other juries, will consist of three competent film professionals.


While the Best Documentary Short goes to the best in the category, The Soapbox Award is awarded to the documentary which best uses the platform to challenge the audience, either by showing a new important topic or point of view, or casting new light on an existing discussion. Along with the award for Best Documentary Short, it brings the total number of prizes to 13, given at the OFF Awards Saturday during the festival.


Festival director Birgitte Weinberger comments:

“The short documentary is a wildly intense format, where we as viewers are presented with parts of reality, which we are rarely (or never) presented to. In a short time, we can visit places in the world we couldn’t dream of, personalities we didn’t know existed, or just experience an excerpt of life as it may look. We all know the long documentary from television, but the short documentary is unknown to many. It has always been present at the festival, but it deserves a special place – and that is what it receives now. I’m really looking forward to introducing even more powerful and relevant stories from the real world at OFF.”


More documentaries to OFF

In 2017, OFF received over 2500 short films, of which a couple hundred were documentary films. Out of those, there were 7 short documentaries who qualified for the competition, out of a total of 104 films. By giving the short documentary a special place in the program at OFF18 and introducing two new awards, the hope is that even more short documentaries of high quality will find their way to the festival and help to create more focus on the short documentary subject.


Submission of a movie for the competition will open on January 15, 2018 with deadline 1st of April 2018. OFF accepts films in all genres with a maximum of 30 minutes, and where production was completed in the year of 2017 or 2018.

See more about signing up here.


The Odense International Film Festival has existed since 1975 and is Denmark’s oldest and only Oscar-qualifying film festival.