The Spo​tlight Documentary Film Awards will be held January 11, 2020 at the Synchronicity Theatre. We screen the very best films of the year who win a Platinum Award in our unique film competition.

We are searching the globe for the best films on Earth to spotlight and support. We are dedicated to promoting experienced and new filmmakers through three important international film competitions:

Spotlight Short Film Awards

Spotlight Horror Film Awards

Spotlight Documentary Film Awards

We publicize our award-winning films through various websites, press releases, social media posts and email campaigns to industry leaders, film festival organizers, and more. Our award-winning filmmakers get the recognition they deserve, and can have a better success rate on the sometimes arduous journey through the festival circuit.

Our organization is composed of industry professionals: filmmakers, independent film consultants, film festival organizers, festival programmers and judges who have been in the business nearly 20 years, and share a passion for independent film. Our team has evaluated and judged more than 25,000 independent films from directors and producers just like you. Many of the films were spectacular, and some needed a little tweaking, but they were all magically created with the unwavering spirit of the true independent filmmaker.

The Spotlight Documentary Film Awards is a must for filmmakers who are searching for someone who can give their documentary films the undivided attention they deserve. We can now shine the spotlight on an unlimited amount of talented filmmakers from around the world, and celebrate the art and beauty of filmmaking.

Awards are announced every year in June and December. The top rated films will then screen at the Spotlight Film Awards in January. Filmmakers with documentary shorts and features are encouraged to Enter your film to the Spotlight Documentary Film Awards.


Platinum Awards: ​celebrate truly remarkable films with the highest scores from our panel. Platinum Award Winners will be screened at the Spotlight Film Awards in January.

Gold Awards: celebrate incredible films with the second highest scores from our panel. The top rated Gold Award Winning Films will be in competition to screen at the Spotlight Film Awards in January.

Silver Awards: awarded to unforgettable films with the third highest scores from our panel.

Bronze Awards: awarded to films with high artistic achievement with the fourth highest scores from our panel.

No Award: Films not receiving an award will be given important and honest feedback from our organization upon request. We know the amount of hard-work it takes to make independent films. This feedback could be essential in getting your film out there for the world to see.

Awards will be announced every year in June and December with the top rated films screening in January. The total number of films awarded depend on the number of entries received.


Award Winners Receive:

Hi-resolution digital downloads of Spotlight Documentary Film Award Winning Laurels.

A personalized Certificate of Excellence in Filmmaking announcing your award.

Social Media posts, press releases and emails to our extensive database of industry professionals with announcements of your award.

Links from our website, and our sister websites, to your film website, film trailer, and / or sales of your film online.

Filmmaker Spotlight with director photo, bio, and links to chosen websites.

The top rated fiilms will be screened at the Spotlight Film Awards in January.

Documentary Shorts are 45 minutes and under. Documentary Features are 46 minutes and over.

Awards are announced every year in June and December and the top rated films will be screened in January.

Entries in any language other than English or Spanish should be subtitled in either language.

Entries can only be submitted via FilmFreeway with a secure link of an online copy through vimeo or other host. No hard-copies of films will be considered. Email us with questions.

Overall Rating
  • Peter Costigan

    I had a great experience with the spotlight documentary film awards. highly recommended!

    July 2019
  • Nivitra Devi Hari

    The organizers were really friendly and helpful. Super responsive. Great festival for new and upcoming documentary directors. Good job to the team!

    July 2019
  • Khalid Al-Rowaie

    This festival is very interesting. It is very welcome with the participants. This festival likes the film industry to be different and profound .. Thank you for being wonderful

    July 2019
  • karen kramer

    This festival was so easy to work with. I was so moved to see the way Eric genuinely took interest in the entries and took the time to return all my emails. And then when RENEGADE DREAMERS received an award, Eric was truly enthusiastic and joyous about it. In a field of overworked and jaded festival organizers, Eric Panter and Spotlight stand out as a refreshing alternative. karen kramer

    July 2019
  • Wonderful festival. Truly grateful for all they have done.

    July 2019