Focus Forward Filmmaker Challenge Offering Largest Short Documentary Prize Ever: $100K to the Winner

Alright No Film Schoolers, it's time to fire up your brains, set up your lights, check your mic levels, and turn on your cameras! GE and Cinelan are joining forces to bring you Focus Forward, a contest that challenges you to make a short non-fiction film on the theme of invention and innovation. There's some serious money up for grabs, with $200k in cash prizes in all. Morgan Spurlock has more info:

From the Focus Forward FAQ:

 Submitted films must be three minutes in length, suitable for all screens and all audiences. Be sure it is clear in your film what the innovation/invention is (and/or the person responsible for it), as well as what its significant human impact has been. These films can be narrated or purely observational, interview-based or expressionistic; HD, film, animation, and mixed formats are all welcome. Be creative—think cinematically. A selection of Focus Forward films will be distributed and shown all over the world and up to 100 finalists will be featured online at in the fall of 2012. The Jury Prize finalists will be announced in December.


  • 1st Place (the Grand Prize): $100,000
  • 2nd Place: $50,000
  • 3rd Place: $30,000
  • 4th Place: $10,000
  • 5th Place: $10,000

In addition to the cash prizes the Top 100 Focus Forward Filmmaker Challenge Films will be presented for audience viewing and voting on and in Fall 2012. The Top 10 films according to the number of audience votes will be recognized on the websites as audience choice films.

Winners will also be invited to the 2013 Sundance Film Festival where the prizes will be awarded. If you need some inspiration for your project you can check out the first 9 films of the series here. The deadline for submissions is August 23rd, 2012.

So what say you? Who's up for the challenge?



Your Comment


let's do it!

May 23, 2012 at 9:36AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Spent a week last month filming a Short Doc for this, on some amazing new eco-innovation that might be able to completely replace Styrofoam and plastics!

Editing soon as my client project is done! Very excited to share!

May 23, 2012 at 2:03PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Sweet! Can't wait to see it!

May 25, 2012 at 3:04PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Is it me or the video for the Largest Short Documentary contest ever has bad lighting? still amazing contest though!

May 23, 2012 at 9:08PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


It's you.

May 26, 2012 at 7:33AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Is this only for new invention or any invention regardless new or in the past? Nothing about this was mentioned.

May 24, 2012 at 7:33AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I believe they're looking for new inventions and innovations.

May 25, 2012 at 3:40PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM