IBF Classic: Regulations for Documentary Projects

    The IDFA Bertha Fund supports documentary filmmakers in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Oceania (see IBF Classic Country List) by offering them financial contributions, assistance and coaching to complete their projects. The Fund is looking for creative documentaries that use strong visual treatments to tell compelling stories and have the potential to reach a global audience.

    Projects can be submitted in two  categories:

    • Project development: The maximum contribution for project development is  €7,500, which must be spent in a country on the  IBF  Classic Country List.
    • Production & post-production: The maximum contribution for production & post-production is €25,000, which must be spent in a country on the  IBF Classic Country List.

    Please read the  Regulations  below carefully  to see if your project meets the basic criteria before filling out the entry form, which will be available through  MyIDFA  a month before each deadline. All steps must be completed by the day of the deadline. If you are struggling while writing your proposal, read our  tips for writing a proposal.

    Next deadlines: June 10 and December 10, 2023.

    Go to the entry form

    ​What is a creative documentary?

    Creative documentaries are films that are interesting from a stylistic point of view or are particularly innovative, relevant to social issues, and successfully manage to communicate with their audiences. The creative documentary is an art form, which means that the documentary filmmaker is an artist, not a journalist. The Fund is not dedicated to documentaries about art forms (applied arts or portraits about artists), cultural heritage and cultural traditions. More information about creative documentaries can be found in IDFA's Mission Statement.




    • All directors attached to the project should have the nationality of a country as defined on the IBF Classic Country List and should live and work in this country.
    • Before continuing, please confirm whether your country is on the IBF Classic Country list.
    • If a project is selected, the contribution must be spent in a country on the IBF Classic Country List.
    • Projects from Bahrein, Bulgaria, Brunei, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and United Arab Emirates are only accepted when they address social issues within their countries.
    • A project can be submitted only once for each category. A project can be submitted for Project Development and at a later deadline for Production or Post-Production, whether or not the Project Development submission was successful.

    Project Development grants

    • Applications can only be submitted by the director of a project.
    • Project Development contributions are granted to the director of a project and can be spent on research, writing, shooting and producing a visual presentation of the project.

    Production & Post-production grants

    • Applications can be submitted by director and/or producer of a project.
    • The main producer attached to the project must be based in a country on the IBF Classic Country List.
    • In case a co-producer from Europe, North America or Australia is attached to the project, this cannot be the main producer of the project. The application to the Fund must be filed by the main producer from the IBF Classic Country List. In case the project is pre-selected, the applicant should provide a deal memo or co-production agreement which needs to contain detailed provisions on the following aspects: the participation of each co-producer in the financing of the project; joint ownership of all the rights; sharing of the revenues between the co-producers.

    Submission requirements

    • Incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration. Completed applications must be in our office on the day of the deadline.
    • Entry forms must be filled out in English. Only for applications coming from French-speaking African countries and Haiti, the Fund offers the possibility to submit the entry form in French. See:  IBF  Classic information and regulations  in French.
    • Project Development applications will only be accepted when accompanied by original visual material of the project. Material from other resources that serve merely as style example, is NOT accepted. If available, a teaser or selected research material from the project is recommended IF representative of the style. If no audiovisual material is available, photos or a visual presentation can also be presented through a Vimeo or YouTube link.
    • Project Development applications should also be accompanied by one previous work, preferably representative for the style of the filmmaker. This previous/additional film, although required for the jury’s selection process, is viewed only if necessary in making decisions regarding the selection process.
    • Production applications will only be accepted when accompanied by a trailer, demo, edited sequence or other audio-visual material of the project with a minimum of 3 minutes and a maximum of 20 minutes.
    • Projects that have finished the shooting phase will be considered as Post-Production applications. In this case applications have to be accompanied by an edited sequence or a selection of the rough cut of around 20 minutes.
    • In case your material is longer than 20 minutes, please indicate which part we need to watch or make a selection of 20 minutes which you think is most representative and/or complementary to the end result.
    • All applications have the possibility to submit a short video by the director introducing him/herself and explaining his/her motivation to the project instead of writing this down. If you prefer to make use of this possibility, the link can be pasted in the entry form.
    • Vimeo or YouTube links must be in our office on the day of the deadline. The material must be in English or have English subtitles. Links should remain online for at least two months following the deadline. If possible, please allow for free viewing of the material (no password required) or make sure you send us the password.

    Only projects that have been submitted according to the IDFA Bertha Fund regulations will be considered.

    ​Selection procedure

    In assessing projects the fund will consider
    (1) the strength and originality of the treatment,
    (2) the originality and urgency of the story,
    (3) the vision and ability of the director and
    (4) the financial feasibility of the project.

    All applications that are complete will be considered for selection. Within 8 weeks filmmakers will be informed if their project is pre-selected. The applicants of the pre-selected projects will receive a more extensive application form, which must be completed and returned within a week. The pre-selection form includes, among other items, an extensive budget, finance plan, and production schedule. These applications will then be sent to the final selection committee, whose findings will be announced within three months after the deadline.

    After selection

    In return for the financial contribution the Fund requests:

    • Recognition of the IDFA Bertha Fund support by placing the logo of the Fund on the credits of the final documentary and all publicity material. Specific details will be described in the funding agreement.
    • The Benelux (the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg) premiere of the final documentary.
    • Worldwide non-exclusive internet rights of the film. The Fund will take into consideration all prior arrangements made by the applicant with various distribution partners.
    • The right to screen the final documentary in any IDFA related (non-commercial) screening in the Benelux.

    Besides a financial contribution, the Fund offers selected projects other means of support. Together with the project team, the Fund will determine which form of assistance and coaching would be most suitable to their project. This support is intended to enhance the script, production, editing or the access to the international market of a project.


    Please check our Frequently Asked Questions before emailing our office at idfaberthafund@idfa.nl.

    The IDFA Bertha Fund is supported by Bertha Foundation, Creative Europe Media, JustFilms / Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Netherlands Film Fund, ASN Foundation and Special Friends+.

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