Ethnocineca is an International Documentary Film Festival based in Vienna, Austria, with an emphasis on Documentary and Ethnographic Film.

IDA - International Documentary Award - EUR 1.000.-
EVA - Excellence in Visual Anthropology Award - EUR 1.000.-
ADA - Austrian Documentary Award - EUR 1.000.-
ISA - International Shorts Award - EUR 500.-
ESSA - Ethnocineca Students Shorts Award - EUR 500.-

Please read the following Rules & Regulations for ETHNOCINECA 2021 carefully before submitting. By submitting you confirm that you have read and understood the Rules & Regulations and that you fully agree to the conditions of entry. Questions regarding the Rules & Regulations and/or film submission should be directed to programm(at)

1. General Information

ETHNOCINECA celebrates its 15th edition in Vienna’s Votiv Kino and Kino De France from the 6th to 13th of May 2021. As Austria’s film festival for ethnographic and documentary films, ETHNOCINECA is dedicated to diverse realities of everyday human life. With our Call for Films we are looking for films of any length and approach that make accessible the diversity, uniqueness as well as the commonalities of social and cultural life worldwide, while narrating this view critically and innovatively. In addition to the general programme, in which all films run out of competition, there are five competition sections, that films may be submitted to.

2. Competition Sections

It is mandatory to specify in the online entry form, if you are entering your submitted film to one of the five competitions (EVA, IDA, ADA, ISA, ESSA) or if you are submitting your film to the main programme without entering competition. It must be ensured that the film meets the respective competition criteria (multiple choice is not possible).

2.1 Overview of Competitions

IDA - International Documentary Award
IDA celebrates documentary film as a dynamic art form and transmits the experience of its rich diversity: here the format has no set limits – submissions from classic to animated documentaries, are welcome. Outstanding works that go beyond the factual communication of content and stimulate a reflexive and undogmatic analysis of human lifeworlds and society will be honored. Films from each region and on any subject are welcome, as long as man and society are at the center focus. Prize money: EUR 1.000.-
• International documentaries, traditional to experimental
• Length: min. 45 minutes

EVA – Excellence in Visual Anthropology Award
This competition reflects the diversity of ethnographic film and honors outstanding achievements and innovative works that contribute to a progressive understanding of Visual Anthropology. Films, which have been made within scientific research as well as independently produced films will be accepted. Traditional and experimental methods and approaches are equally welcome, as long as they correspond to anthropological principles in perspective and style. Prize money: EUR 1.000.-
• Innovative films in the field of Visual Anthropology
• Length: min. 45 minutes

ADA – Austrian Documentary Award
To promote Austrian Documentaries an international jury will select the best Austrian film. Film can be submitted for this category if they have a minimum length of 45 minutes and if they are either produced by an Austrian production company or made by a director with residence in Austria. Prize money: EUR 1.000.-
• Films by Austrian production companies or by directors with residence in Austria
• Length: min. 45 minutes

ISA – International Shorts Award
Within the International Shorts Award (ISA) the nominated documentaries show the dynamics and expressive opportunities of the short film format. Apart from the formal requirement of the length of the films being under 30 minutes, there are no limits to their audio-visual expression. The audience will elect the winning film of this competition. Prize money: EUR 500.-
• International short documentaries, traditional to experimental
• Length: max. 30 minutes

ESSA – Ethnocineca Student Shorts Award
Young talents – Big cinema! With the ESSA, ETHNOCINECA gives due attention to the multifaceted inspiration of young documentary filmmaking. The award not only presents an international platform for young filmmakers of documentary filmmaking, but allows the participants to discuss their works side by side with established filmmakers and a large festival audience. Student works and first works from the documentary field and ethnographic filmmaking with a maximum length of 30 minutes are sought for this competition. ESSA is an audience award. Prize money: EUR 500.-
• Student works and first works
• Length: max. 30 minutes

You can submit your film also to our main programme to run out of competition, for example if your film doesn’t fit into any of the award criteria.

2.2 Programme Focus 2021: TURNING POINTS

What are the moments that herald big changes? What happens when small decisions trigger major upheavals - privately, culturally, politically or economically? How does social order or a political system overturn? What triggers us to rethink, to establish new values? And in what ways are the processes leading to change affected by outside forces, ideas and interests?

With this year's focus on TURNING POINTS, we especially invite films that address global cultural, ecological and socio-political watershed and volte-face that create dynamics that enable personal, interpersonal and social changes. Additionally, we shed light on how documentary filmmaking can help shape or even initiate such TURNING POINTS. Our programme focus therefore also stands for the hope to always use ones opportunities - even against all prospects of success - and to become an active part of major changes.

2.3. Information on the Selection of Films, Screening Fees and Prize Money

The curators of ETHNOCINECA carry out the selection of films for the festival programme and have the right to reassign competition sections. It is therefore possible, that the selected films for the programme run in a competition other than the one originally selected. The organisers reserve the right to change the type and number of the listed competition sections. All mentioned prizes are subject to change. An external jury decides on the winning films of IDA, EVA and ADA. ISA and ESSA are Audience Awards. ETHNOCINECA will pay screening fees to all films screened at the 2021 festival edition. Submitted films that were already shown in previous ETHNOCINECA festivals cannot be taken into consideration for the 2021 programme. In addition to the screening in the cinema we will invite a small selection of films to be repeated online during the festival week.

3. General Submission Criteria & Film Entry

If submitting for a competition, the film must meet the stated criteria above. Only films that have been completed after January 1st, 2019 are eligible for the programme. All films will be shown in the original version with English subtitles. Thus only entries with English subtitles will be taken into consideration for the programme selection. The entry form must be fully completed and all the requested documents submitted. One entry form must be filled out for each film. Applications will only be accepted if all required information is submitted before the deadline of December 1st, 2020.

Overview of General Submission Criteria:
• Submission Deadline: December 1st, 2020
• Year of production 2019 or more recent
• Original version with English subtitles
• Fully completed submission form
• A preview copy

4. Preview Copy

Preview copies can be submitted directly via FilmFreeway, via download link (no date limitation!) or online screener (e.g. vimeo). In exceptional cases we offer an upload to our FTP server or you can send us a DVD/Blu-ray. In that case please contact us via e-mail: programm(at)

5. Legal Information

The applicant warrants that s/he is authorized to allow the Festival the use of the film, as well as that its use during the festival does not violate rights of third parties (e.g. copyrights, performance, personal rights). It is the responsibility of the filmmaker to secure authorization for any copyrighted material that may be used in the film. ETHNOCINECA is held harmless from any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses, which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, or screening of any film.
The filmmaker agrees that organizers can use clips or trailers of her/his work as well as any additional materials, which have been submitted to our organisation for advertising purposes for the film as well as for the festival.
Costs of sending screening copies to the festival are at the expense of the sender. Submitted viewing material cannot be returned. ETHNOCINECA will not incur any shipping fees of the screening copies.

Overall Rating
  • Thank you for hosting the Austrian premiere of "Living Water". It was my pleasure to meet you again. P.

    May 2021
  • Ani Antonova

    We are very thankful for the selection of our film to Ethnocineca. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 Pandemic, we could not meet in a cinema hall. The festival organizers were wonderful, the communication was easy and fast and they managed to react and build a virtual festival.

    May 2020
  • Frank Shouldice

    Delighted to be part of Ethnocineca -- was really looking forward to sharing time and thoughts with people who clearly love film. Unfortunately all our plans got hit by Covid so we hope to get back to Vienna another year!

    May 2020