Short Doc Contest 2019 FAQ

1. When is the deadline?

The contest closes on July 15, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. (ET). No late entries will be allowed.

2. What is the maximum length of a short doc?

Four minutes and 45 seconds (4:45), including credits. We will not accept any submissions over that running time. There is no minimum length.

3. What do you mean by a short short doc?

If your doc is 90 seconds or less, we consider it a short short doc. We will give a prize to the video that our judges determine is the best one of this length. There’s no separate category — just go ahead and enter.

4. Does my doc need a certain subject or theme?

No, but please keep TVO’s Journalistic Standards in mind.

5. Do I have to be 18 or over to enter?

No, but if you are under 18, your entry must include a permission form signed by your parent or guardian.

6. Do I have to be a student to enter?

No. The contest is open to all Ontarians.

7. I'm from Ontario but don't live in the province anymore. Can I still enter?

No, you must reside in Ontario. Keep in mind that some prizes involve events in Toronto, so you will be responsible for getting to the city on those dates if you win.

8. What are the technical specifications for the doc?

To enter, you just need to send us a link to your doc on YouTube or Vimeo. Make sure the video is embeddable and the settings allow public viewing.

If you make it to the finalist round, we will ask you to submit a copy of your doc with these specifications:

  • Video at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, at a frame rate of 29.97 fps, interlaced video.

  • Accepted video codecs are Sony XDCAM HD 50, Apple ProRes HQ 422, or Panasonic DVCPro 100.

  • Preferred wrapper file formats are .mxf or .mov.

  • Audio should be a stereo mix on channels 1 & 2, with audio peaks no higher than


9. Once I submit a doc, who owns it?

You own your documentary. However, if you are a finalist or winner, you give TVO the right to modify, distribute and display your doc through any media platform, including online and broadcast television, in perpetuity without any further payment to you.

10. Can I submit more than one short doc?

Yes, provided they are substantially different. Versions of the same doc will not be accepted.

11. More than one filmmaker worked on our doc. Is it still eligible?

Yes, but only one person may submit the documentary. Each and every filmmaker must give their permission for that one person to enter the contest. Prizes in each category will be awarded to only the individual entrant listed on the contest entry.

12. Can I shoot my video vertically?

Yes, but we really wish you wouldn’t. We want to showcase the finalist and winning entries online at and on the air on TVO, where horizontal (also known as landscape) video looks best. Don’t forget this if you’re using a smartphone to make your doc.

13. Can I use music, photographs, or video that I didn’t create in my doc?

Yes, but only if you obtain copyright clearance for this material. Read more about this in the rules and regulations.

14. Can I include people in my doc without their permission?

No. You need to get signed releases from everyone who appears on camera.

15. Do I have to submit all the clearances and releases with my entry?

No, but we may ask for those documents at any time. You must have:

  • signed releases from all people appearing in your doc;

  • parental or guardian permission for minors to appear in your doc; and copyright clearance for any music, photographs, or footage you didn’t create.

The only clearance that must be included in your entry is permission from your parent or guardian if you are under 18.

16. I received money to make this doc or it won a prize in another public competition. Can I still enter?

No. Your doc must be an original piece of content that was created for this contest, or for a course in the 2018-19 school year.

17. Can I vote more than once for the People’s Choice Award?

No. One vote per person, please. You may not vote multiple times from different email accounts, either. We will allow only five votes from a single IP address. Duplicate votes will be disqualified.

Read the full rules and regulations here. If you have more questions, please email We cannot accept telephone inquiries.