Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival is held annually in the last week of March in Kyiv. On completion, Docudays UA traditionally presents the best movies in the regions of Ukraine within the Docudays UA Travelling Festival. Films are demonstrated from October to December (inclusive).



To promote popularization and development of documentary film and to raise the level of respect for human rights in Ukraine.



We create opportunities for every person in Ukraine to watch the most talented and present-day documentary films from all over the world. This contributes to the development of critical thinking, the creation of active citizen position, and appreciation of the highest value of human dignity. By realizing our mission we promote popularization and development of documentary film and to increase of the level of respect for human rights in Ukraine.


The 17th Docudays UA will take place in Kyiv Cinema House on March 22-29, 2020.


Festival is non-political and non-profit. 



  • Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights;
  • Non-Government Оrganization “Docudays”;
  • Charitable organization “Charity and Health Found”;
  • Centre for Modern Information Techniques and Visual Arts.

Every year, organizers of the upcoming Festival create Organizing Committee consisting of representatives of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Non-Government Оrganization “Docudays”, Kherson Regional Charity and Health Foundation (KRCHF), Centre for Modern Information Techniques and Visual Arts and invited experts in the documentary, human rights, management and fundraising. All decisions on the Festival program, guests, jury members, seminars and workshops are adopted by the Organizing Committee.


Selection criteria

  • Films made in 2018 – 2019.
  • Only films not screened earlier in competition programs of other Ukrainian festivals, on Ukrainian TV, Ukrainian cinema and internet can participate in international competition programs. 
  • There is no restriction on genre, running time or year of production for non-feature films participating in the non-competition program, films of any timing unrestricted in the year of production are allowed notwithstanding the fact whether the film was screened earlier in competition programs of other Ukrainian festivals, on Ukrainian TV or Ukrainian cinema.
  • The premiere requirement of Docudays UA is the Ukrainian premiere. Exceptions can be made for non-competitive programs.
  • A film is allowed to be submitted to the Selection Committee only one single time. If a film was not accepted for the competition, the application next year will not be considered.
  • Films that were made to order, or represent report on activities of some organizations, or realization of certain projects, spread pronounced propaganda, lobby political or commercial interests, instructional and training films are debarred from participation.
  • All the submitted online links are stored in the festival archive (in the FilmFreeway online database).
  • If a film has been selected for a festival program, the festival has the right to use sequences from the film, up to the total length of 3 minutes, for the purpose of its popularization.
  • The festival has the right to upload all the films included in its film program to its online library. The resource is managed by Docudays UA and works from the first day of the festival and for three months after the end of the festival. The purpose of the online library is to provide online access to the festival film program only to the accredited participants and guests during the festival week. Accordingly, persons accredited at the festival will receive three months of access to watching the festival films online (starting with the opening day of the festival). The access is individual and cannot be transferred to third parties. None of the films in the online library can be copied, published elsewhere, downloaded, uploaded, transferred, screened, accessed by or distributed to any third parties.

Application submission means you comply with the Festival Regulations and acknowledge the Festival right to use submitted materials in non-commercial purposes.





The program features creative documentaries in which ethical and legal problems are revealed through expressive artistic means. The competition program consists of three sections. 

  • DOCU/WORLD is the international competition of feature- and medium-length documentaries which are longer than 30 minutes. 
  • DOCU/SHORT is the international competition of short documentaries which are up to 30 minutes long. 
  • DOCU/UKRAINE is the national competition. It includes documentaries of varying lengths, created in Ukraine or in co-production with Ukraine.

The festival also awards a special prize to the winner among the films nominated for the RIGHTS NOW! award.




Every year, the Festival chooses the main topic whose different aspects are presented in the non-competitive program. In addition, the Festival offers traditional programs such as DOCU/BEST (international award-winning films), DOCU/ART (films about art and artists), DOCU/YOUTH (the program for children and teenagers), and retrospectives of famous directors.



  • The RIGHTS NOW! jury (human rights jury, 3 people) who award the special prize to the winner among the films nominated for the RIGHTS NOW! award. The participants of this category will be selected by the Selection Commission from all the competition programs.
  • The DOCU/WORLD Competition Jury (3 people). 
  • The DOCU/UKRAINE Competition Jury (3 people). 
  • The DOCU/SHORT Competition Jury (3 people). 
  • The Student Jury (5 people) select the best film among the participants of all competition programs.

The Organizational Committee invites prominent Ukrainian and international filmmakers and human rights advocates to participate in the Jury. The Student Jury is formed by the Organizational Committee based on the results of an open competition.



  • Special Award from the Jury RIGHTS NOW!. 1000 USD. 
  • DOCU/WORLD Competition Award. 1000 USD. 
  • DOCU/UKRAINE Competition Award. 1000 USD. 
  • DOCU/SHORT Competition Award. 1000 USD. 
  • Andriy Matrosov Award, founded by Docudays UA organizers in the memory of Andriy Matrosov, the Festival’s producer who died in a car accident on February 16, 2010. 1000 USD. 
  • Student Jury Award. 1000 USD.

Additionally, in each of these nominations, the Jury can give special mentions to up to two films.


Based on an audience survey, the Audience Award winner will be determined. This film will also receive USD 1000.


Organizations and private persons can give their own special awards by the preliminary agreement with the Organizational Committee.


Application and selection procedures

The films that participate in the Festival’s competition programs are selected by the Selection Commission which has five members. The Organizational Committee invites experts in documentary cinema and human rights advocacy to participate in the Selection Commission. The Festival Program is approved by the Organizational Committee. The order of the screenings is determined by the Festival’s Program Department.


The final deadline is December 10.


The consideration of applications for the Festival’s competition programs is done for a fee. The payment must be completed online during the application process through the FilmFreeWay service. The application fee is non-refundable.


As they fill in the application, the applicants can select several nominations/competitions which they want to apply for. The final decision is made by the Selection Commission and the Festival’s Organizational Committee.


Application Deadlines and Fees


Dates Deadline Short Films Feature Films

Films Produced in Ukraine

or in Co-Production with Ukraine*

Student films
01.06.2019- 01.09.2019 Early Deadline 5 USD 10 USD free

50% discount depending on

the selected competition category

02.09.2019 - 20.11.2019 Regular Deadline 10 USD 15 USD free

50% discount depending on

the selected competition category

21.12.2019 - 10.12.2019 Final Deadline 15 USD 20 USD free

50% discount depending on

the selected competition category


* In some cases, you can get a submission fee waiver, that is, submit your film for free. The films eligible for the submission fee waiver are: films produced in Ukraine; films from the following countries: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Anguilla, Antigua, Armenia, Aruba, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burma (Myanmar), Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde Islands, Central African Rep., Chad, Comoros, Congo, Congo Dem. Rep. of, Cook Islands, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji Islands Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea North, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Micronesia, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Niue, Pakistan, Palau, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sudan South, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Conditions of Application

  • You can only apply via the FilmFreeWay service. Your application will be considered by the Selection Commission only after it is completed and paid for online. 
  • In the application form, you can upload the film directly with the application or provide a closed link in Vimeo/YouTube. Links to downloads in file-sharing services (WeTransfer, MegaUpload, etc.) will not be considered by the commission. Please make sure that your link works until the end of March 2020. 
  • When you submit an application, you confirm that you agree with the Festival Regulations and give the Festival the right to use the materials you provided for non-commercial purposes.

All participants will receive an email about the results of the selection no later than February 20, 2020.

Films mailing, insurance and return

The applicant bears all mailing expenses for sending films to the Festival. To reduce mailing expenses, including customs duties, please indicate merely symbolic (token) value of package (for example, $1). The Organizing Committee covers insurance expenses for copies on DCP, and 16 or 35 mm films. These copies are to be returned by the organizers within 30 days after the end of the Festival to address indicated in your entry form at the Festival's expense. It would be expedient to use diplomatic channels of the sender’s country of residence for mailing purposes. If the sender uses mail, please, mark the parcel: “For cultural purposes only. No commercial value.” 


You must inform the Organizational Committee about any possible changes of the return address before the beginning of the festival.



Each film can be screened at the Festival up to three times. The rights holders of the film agree that the Festival will demonstrate their film with Ukrainian translation. The costs of translation will be covered by the Docudays UA Festival. The costs of creating English subtitles for the films whose country of production is Ukraine must be covered by producers/rights holders. In addition, the rights holders of films in Russian must provide a copy with Ukrainian and English subtitles created at their own expense. The Festival’s Organizational Committee provides the accredited Festival participants and guests with access to the video library (as well as the online video library) which stores all the films that participate in the Festival. The festival usually does not pay the authors for screening their films, since it is non-commercial and non-profit. Therefore, the conditions of film screenings are discussed directly with the authors and rights holders of the films.


Invitation and participation

Directors, scriptwriters or producers of the films selected for participation in the competition are invited as the Festival participants. The Organizing Committee covers their accommodation, meal and travel expenses, but provides no per diem payments. Only one representative from each film or project may be invited at the Festival expense. All decisions on the Festival guests, jury members, or trainers are made by the Organizing Committee.


Advertising and promotion

The Organizing Committee can prepare and give to television stations special reels (up to 3 min) of selected films, using the copies at the Organizing Committee disposal. Short (1 min or less) fragments of selected films can be used by mass media for Festival-advertising purposes and for showing before film screening. Advertising of films and organizations participating in the Festival is free of charge, all other advertising is to be paid for at a fixed rate.


The Travelling Festival

After the end of the Festival in Kyiv, the Organizing Committee carries out the Travelling Docudays UA throughout Ukrainian regions (oblasts). The screenings are held in cinema halls, houses of culture, universities, schools, youth clubs, book stores, libraries, penal colonies and educational facilities for future penitentiary workers and followed by discussions on human rights. The Travelling Festival is the non-profit event. However, to reduce renting costs for cinema halls, the organizers reserve the right to allow cinema owners to sell entrance tickets provided that gains are not exceeding operational costs. The Organizing Committee gets no profits from such ticket sales.

Please, indicate in the Entry Form your consent or intention for the participation of your film in the Travelling Festival.

Festival Archives

The film copies sent to the Festival and prepared for needs of the Travelling Festival are to be kept in the Festival archives. These copies can be used by organizers (Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Non-Government Оrganization “Docudays”, Kherson Regional Charity and Health Foundation (KRCHF), Centre for Modern Information Techniques and Visual Arts) in their subsequent work related to the purposes and objectives of their organizations for strictly educational, not commercial reasons, and with prior consent of the rights holder.



Any issue not mentioned in Regulations is to be considered by the Festival Organizing Committee in accordance to procedures of the international festivals. Filled and signed Entry Form means that applicant agrees with the Festival rules stated in Regulations.


Official Festival website

March 2020