SeriesFest, non-profit organization, champions and empowers artists at the forefront of episodic storytelling by providing year-round opportunities for creators and industry experts to connect, collaborate, and share stories, which inspire and impact global audiences.

SeriesFest proudly presents year-round opportunities for creators to connect, collaborate, hone their craft and learn from established industry professionals to move their projects - and careers - forward.

SeriesFest is thrilled to partner with National Geographic and Visible on a brand new initiative, Spotlight Your Town, which aims to empower independent creators to use their art form to spotlight the timely political and social justice issues happening in their hometowns. Spotlight Your Town supports an inclusive group of unscripted storytellers creating authentic, community-driven stories that embody the breadth and diversity of the people and places they represent.

The SeriesFest programming team will review each docu-series submission and work with National Geographic to identify three finalists that fit the company's mission and slate of projects.

**SeriesFest: Season 7 will take place virtually June 24-July 11. Spotlight Your Town is a professional development opportunity that will take place outside of the annual festival.

Questions? head to or contact

Once submissions are closed, our team of experienced producers, writers, programmers, and filmmakers carefully reviews each application to narrow it down to ten semi finalists for National Geographic to review. Out of those ten, three creators will be identified to participate in industry roundtables prior to finalizing the award winner.

The three finalists will take part in a two part round table event with industry experts, which includes curated one on one conversations with a producer or filmmaker specializing in unscripted content. These experts will cover a range of topics about navigating the television landscape and feedback on the materials submitted. The goal of these roundtables is to build invaluable, lasting relationships with industry executives that are uniquely focused on supporting diverse voices, championing marketable storytelling, and pushing independent projects into production.

Additionally, the three finalists will have twenty minutes to pitch their series to a curated group of jurors in hopes of being selected for the grand prize.

The winning artist(s) will receive a $20,000 development grant from National Geographic as well as an opportunity to pitch to National Geographic Documentary Films and unscripted teams in 1:1 curated meetings as well as receive a 6-month mentorship with Steve James. Additionally, a $10,000 grant will be awarded to a nonprofit organization that aligns with the cause of the winning artists concept

To honor the inspiration behind the Spotlight Your Town Initiative, the winning selection will also receive a six month mentorship with Academy Award-nominated documentarian, Steve James.

All submissions are required to go through FilmFreeway

Pitch Video: Uploaded as the "trailer", a short video of 5 minutes or less pitching the concept
Proof of Concept Video: Uploaded as the "film", a short video created to demonstrate series potential and tone of the docu-series idea based on the creator's home town. Proof of concept video should not exceed 15 minutes in length.
A Series Format Deck: A 2-15 page document that includes a log line, series main character descriptions, and a Season One story arch or future episode descriptions.

Unregistered submissions will not be viewed! If you are having trouble with the online form, please e-mail us at and we will be glad to help guide you through the process.

All submissions must also Series Format Deck to be uploaded to the application page under “Files & Attachments”

An effective Series Format Deck introduces your project in a visually exciting and emotionally powerful way. It captures the reader’s imagination, allowing them to see the full scope of the series and embrace the subject of your docu-series.

The Series Format Deck should be no longer than 15 pages and include the following:
Log Line
Pilot Synopsis
Season One Outline
Tone of your series (can include no more than 2 comps)
Producing Team
Key Creatives
Goals for your Series
A Creator Statement which includes Why This Idea, Why Me, and Why Now?

We encourage content creators of all ages to submit their work. All submitted pilots will compete against each other. If you are under the age of 18 and your pilot is accepted, we will require signed, written permission from your parent or legal guardian before we are able to screen your pilot.

You may submit as many pilots as you'd like. Upon doing so, you will fill out individual applications for multiple pilots. We do not offer reduced rates in fees for multiple submissions.

At the time of submission, you are not yet required to obtain all rights and clearances.
If your pilot is selected, you must clear all copyrighted materials before it can be publicly screened. It is the sole responsibility of the entity submitting the project to secure permission from the copyright holder of the material in question, whether it is music, stock footage, or any other elements that could violate an existing copyright Quite often, rights holders offer reduced rates for festivals, so you should contact them directly to avoid any potential rights infringements. You will be required to sign a release stating that materials used in the pilot do not violate any existing copyright.

We will contact you via e-mail during the month of September 2021. Please make sure that the e-mail address you provided on your application will be operational at that time. If your e-mail address changes after you’ve filled out the application, please log into your account and update it. We will not be held responsible for any failed delivery of notification. If you haven’t heard from us by October 10th, please contact us at for an official notification.

Please make sure to add to your SPAM account settings as SAFE SENDER LIST.

If your work is selected, you must fulfill the following requirements by the date(s) designated by the Festival:
(1) You must execute a release agreement wherein you:
Accept responsibility for obtaining any and all clearances necessary to exhibit your film/ pilot at SeriesFest
Warrant that you have the rights necessary to exhibit your pilot at SeriesFest
Indemnify and hold harmless SeriesFest, LLC, its parent company, its affiliates, and subsidiaries and any of their respective directors, officers, employees, and representatives against any claim arising out of exhibition of your film at SeriesFest.
Agree to participate in a reasonable number of customary promotional and publicity activities [including press junkets, telephone interviews, sending press packages, and public appearances to promote the SeriesFest
You own the project IP and have the rights to any affiliated source material
You have to legal right and ability shop this work to new partners for development
The project is not currently optioned or in advanced talks with other development / producing / production partners which could prevent you from developing the project with National Geographic

The official judging panel, consisting of individuals selected by the SeriesFest, at its sole discretion, will make a number of official selections (the “Official Selections”) from all eligible entries received. The judging will be based on the following criteria:
Originality and creativity

Overall quality of all elements & aspects of the production of each entry, including, without limitation, writing, acting, directing, editing, etc.

Adherence to and appropriateness for a particular format or type of program
The ability to develop story through a first season and thorough drafting of the arc.

Overall Rating
  • Brando Benetton

    We could not feel more proud of how positive our experience at SeriesFest has been. Despite a rough spring, the program was organized with care to maximize creativity and filmmakers' voices. We hope to be able to return in the future for more in-person screenings!

    July 2020
  • Shawn Parsons

    We participated in the Pitch-A-Thon in the 2020 virtual festival, and it was truly an invaluable experience. You really should submit to this festival. I’ve heard the actual in-person festival is an incredible time, and I believe it based on what they were able to achieve virtually.

    July 2020
  • The team at Series Fest went above and beyond in making this online fest experience worth it for all. I hope to meet everyone and take part in person next year!

    July 2020