Spo​tlight Documentary Film Awards searches the globe for the best documentary films on Earth to spotlight and support. We are dedicated to promoting experienced and new filmmakers through our international film competition.

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.

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 Spotlight Documentary Film Awards.


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

Gold Awards: celebrate incredible films with the second highest scores from our panel.

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 digital 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
  • Tracii McGregor

    It was a real honor for my work to be recognized by the team at Spotlight Documentary Film Awards! Overall an outstanding experience.

    February 2020
  • Lo Dagerman

    I'm so grateful for the "unforgettable!" silver award we received for THE MAKING OF A MAN!!! You took the time to carefully review, rank, communicate, encourage and help promote a large group of filmmakers and their films - much, much appreciated as we soldier on!!!

    February 2020
  • Aaron Migdon

    I was very surprised my little $1500 documentary won an award. It just goes to show that any unestablished filmmaker can tell their story on ANY format and people will watch and like it. Thanks for everything!

    January 2020
  • One of the best festivals we ever competed in. This festival is highly recommendable to any serious film-maker who wants to compete against the best and has his film judged and acknowledged properly.

    We recommend this film festival to all film-makers.

    Chris & Maurice Micallef

    January 2020
  • We documentary filmmakers need more festivals like this one which is, true to its mission statement, a real supporter of the documentary in all of its forms. It was a great honor to have won a silver award for “Richard Wilbur— Keeping the Difficult Balance”, especially given the number of high quality works submitted. Thank you, especially, for being open to non-traditional forms and lengths! We are encouraged!

    January 2020