Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival is held annually in the last week of March in Kyiv. After it ends, Docudays UA presents the best films in the regions of Ukraine within the Docudays UA Travelling Festival. Screenings take place from October up until and including December.


Objective of the Festival

To facilitate the respect for and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, to establish an understanding of human dignity as the highest value, to raise the level of civil activity in Ukraine, to promote the development of documentary filmmaking.



We are creating a society of free people.


Mission of the Festival

We create opportunities for every person in Ukraine to watch talented and relevant human rights documentary films from all over the world. We promote an active civic position and respect for human dignity. We support the development of the Ukrainian film industry.


The 19th Docudays UA was supposed to take place on 25 March – 3 April 2022, but Docudays UA was postponed due to the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war. The festival will take place after the victory of Ukraine.


The Festival is non-political and non-commercial.



  • Non-Governmental Organization “Docudays”.
  • Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union.
  • Centre for Contemporary Information Technology and Visual Arts.
  • Charity Organization “Charity and Health Fund”.


The programme of the Festival, guest lists, juries, topics of the seminars and masterclasses, etc., are developed by the Executive Management Board, which consists of the heads of departments of NGO Docudays, and approved by the Executive Director of NGO Docudays.


Criteria for Participation 

  • Non-fiction films of any genre created no earlier than 2020 can participate in the competition programmes.
  • Only films not screened earlier in competition programmes of other Ukrainian festivals, on Ukrainian television, in Ukrainian cinemas or on the internet can participate in the international competition programmes.
  • There is no restriction on genre, running time or year of production for non-feature films participating in the non-competition programmes. The topics for the non-competition programmes are defined annually by the festival team. The films for the non-competition programmes are selected by the Programming Department of the Festival based on the defined topics and approved by the Selection Council.
  • The premiere requirement of Docudays UA is the Ukrainian premiere. Exceptions can be made for non-competition programmes.
  • A film can be submitted for the competition programme only once. If a film is submitted again next year, the Selection Council has the right not to consider it.
  • Films which were made to order, or represent reports on the activities of organizations, or realization of certain projects, films which have pronounced propaganda nature, which were created to lobby political or commercial interests, instructional or 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 the Festival programme, the Festival has the right to use sequences from the film, up to a 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 programme only to the accredited participants and guests during the Festival week. Accordingly, persons accredited at the Festival will receive three months of access to watch the Festival films online (starting from 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.




Competition Programme

Creative documentaries in which ethical and legal problems are revealed through expressive artistic means. The competition programme 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. Besides, films created by Ukrainian filmmakers and foreign production companies are welcome to apply.

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


RIGHTS NOW! is a prize awarded to creative documentaries that explore and analyze the contemporary world and make a significant contribution to the discussion about human dignity, freedom and equality. Ten films from all Festival film programmes can be nominated for it


Non-Competition Programme

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


DOCU/SYNTHESIS Interdisciplinary Programme

In 2021, we launched the DOCU/SYNTHESIS Interdisciplinary Programme, which rethinks modernity, the abilities of documentary, and gallery space through media art.


DOCU/PRO Industry Platform 

Every year, as a part of the Festival programme, we organize the DOCU/PRO industry platform, created to promote the development of the Ukrainian film industry, to establish contacts with international experts in the documentary world, and to create Ukrainian film projects. In particular, it includes training programs and pitchings for directors, as well as workshops and discussions for everyone who is interested in documentary film.


The main events of DOCU/PRO:

Ukrainian Doc Preview is a presentation of relevant Ukrainian films at the rough cut or post-production stage to a group of festival programmers and representatives of international sales companies and funds. The authors of each project will present 15 minutes from their rough cut and answer the panel’s questions. The Ukrainian Doc Preview participants are selected by the Festival team in an open competition.


Meet Professionals offers a chance to arrange a face-to-face meeting with international film industry experts and to benefit from their professional advice and networks. Any festival participant with an industry accreditation can sign up for individual sessions.

Civil Pitch 2.0 is a competition of ideas and a laboratory of documentary short films on relevant social issues. Civil Pitch brings together documentary filmmakers and civic sector activists to create films that can be a tool for change. Civil Pitch 2.0 will last two years.


Within DOCU/PRO, the Festival collaborates with Ukrainian and international organizations and institutions whose purpose is to develop Ukrainian and global documentary cinema, to promote the Ukrainian culture and to develop the Ukrainian film industry by integrating it in the global context.




  • 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.
  • DOCU/WORLD Competition Jury (3 people).
  • DOCU/UKRAINE Competition Jury (3 people).
  • DOCU/SHORT Competition Jury (3 people).
  • Students’ Jury.

The Docudays UA team invites prominent Ukrainian and international filmmakers and human rights advocates to participate in the Jury. The Festival team also invites young people with an active civil position who are interested in documentary film to participate in the Students’ Jury.



  • Special Award from the RIGHTS NOW! Jury. $1000.
  • DOCU/WORLD Competition Jury Award. $1000.
  • DOCU/UKRAINE Competition Jury Award. $1000.
  • DOCU/SHORT Competition Jury Award. $1000.
  • 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 16 February 2010. $1000.
  • Students’ Jury Award. $1000.

The awards are given out to the film director(s).


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. $1000.


Organizations and private persons can give their own special awards upon decision of the Executive Management and the Executive Director of NGO Docudays.


Application and Selection Procedures

The films that participate in the Festival’s competition programmes are selected by the Selection Council. The Selection Council members include professionals in the documentary industry and human rights advocacy.


The final deadline for accepting submissions is 1 December 2021.


The consideration of applications for the Festival’s competition programmes is performed 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. 


Application Deadlines and Fees 









01/06/2021 – 03/09/2021

Early deadline




50% discount depending on

the selected competition category

04/09/2021 – 19/11/2021

Regular deadline




50% discount depending on

the selected competition category

20/11/2021 – 01/12/2021

Final deadline




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 or created by the Ukrainian filmmakers in collaboration with the foreign production companies; 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 Council only after it is filled in and paid for online.

●      In the application form, you can upload the film directly with your application or provide a closed online link to Vimeo/YouTube. Links to downloads in file-sharing services (WeTransfer, MegaUpload, etc.) will not be considered by the Selection Council. Please make sure that your link works until the end of March 2022.

●      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 21 February 2022.


Films mailing, insurance and return

The applicant bears all mailing expenses for sending films to the Festival. To reduce mailing expenses as much as possible (including customs duties), please indicate merely symbolic (token) value of packages (for example, $1). NGO Docudays covers insurance expenses for copies on DCP and 16 mm or 35 mm film. Film copies on hard drives, DCP and 16 mm and 35 mm film are to be returned at the expense of NGO Docudays within 30 days after the end of the Festival to the address indicated in your application form. If your film is sent via mail, please mark the parcel: “For cultural purposes only. No commercial value.”


You must inform the Programming Department about any possible changes of the return address before the beginning of the Festival.



The number of screenings is discussed between the programme department of the festival and the rights holders. Films are demonstrated in original language with English and Ukrainian subtitles. The costs of the Ukrainian 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 the 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. NGO Docudays and the Executive Management provide 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 film screenings are discussed directly with the authors and rights holders of the films.


Invitation and Participation

Directors, scriptwriters, producers of the films selected for participation in the competition and non-competition programmes are invited as Festival participants. NGO Docudays covers their hotel accommodation and travel expenses. No per diem is paid.


Promotion and Advertising

The organizers can prepare and give to television stations special reels of selected films up to three minutes in length (using the projection copies that have been sent in). The organizers can also use film fragments of up to one minute in length to create a Festival announcement aimed for the media and to demonstrate them before film screenings. The Festival has the right to use sequences from the film, up to a total length of 3 minutes, for the purpose of its popularization. The organizers provide free-of-charge placement of ads and information for the films that participate in the Festival programme and for the partner organizations of the Festival.


Access for press

The organizers ask to send the film copies with watermarks in order to create the special video library for press and media representatives that cover the festival’s events. It will help to promote the films and screenings at a much better scale.


The Travelling Festival

After the end of the Festival in Kyiv, the organizers carry out the Travelling Docudays UA Festival in the regions of Ukraine. The screenings are held from October up until and including December in cinema halls, houses of culture, universities, schools, youth clubs, book stores, libraries, as well as penal colonies and educational facilities for future penitentiary system workers. The screenings of festival films in the regions are reinforced by discussions on human rights with involvement of experts.

The Travelling Festival is a non-profit event; however, to reduce renting costs for cinema halls, the organizers reserve the right to allow cinema owners to sell entry tickets, provided that the gains do not exceed the operational costs. The organizers have no right to profit from such ticket sales.

If you as a Festival participant agree to your film’s participation in the Travelling Festival, please mark your application form accordingly.



The films can be used by the organizers (Non-Government Оrganization “Docudays”, Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Charity Organization “Charity and Health Fund”, Centre for Contemporary Information Technology and Visual Arts) in their work related to the implementation of the purposes and objectives of their organizations—strictly for educational, not commercial reasons, and with prior consent of the rights holders.



Any issue not provided for in the Regulations is to be considered directly by the Executive Body of NGO Docudays and the Executive Management (advisory body) in accordance with the procedures for holding international festivals. A filled-in and signed application form submitted to the Selection Council confirms that the applicant agrees with the conditions stated in the Regulations.


Official Festival website: 


25 MARCH – 3 April 2022

 2 — 8 
June 2023