Rules and regulations of the 5th IDFF Artdocfest / Riga


  • The ARTDOCFEST/RIGA International Documentary Film Festival is a professional event with both competitive and non-competitive screenings of documentary films from around the world. 
  • The abbreviated name of the Festival is IDFF ARTDOCFEST/RIGA.
  • Place – Riga (Latvia).
  • Dates - March 1-8, 2025.
  • The IDFF ARTDOCFEST/RIGA programme is formed by the Programme Board, which is appointed by the Festival’s Board.
  • The procedure for showing films and the conditions for holding IDFF Artdocfest/Riga are determined by the festival management.

Acceptance of applications

  • Applications for participation in the Baltic Focus competition and in the Artdocfest Open competitions are accepted to December 15, 2024.

Goals and tasks

  • Based on the historical and geographical context of the region, the IDFF ARTDOCFEST/RIGA aims at creating in the Latvian an important collection of world documentary cinema with an emphasis on documentary films from the Baltic Sea region as well as from other Eastern European countries and Central Asia. Introducing documentary cinema of the Baltic region to representatives of the film industry from other countries.
  • Developing mutual cultural exchange and cooperation between documentary filmmakers from Latvia and the world.
  • Presenting contemporary auteur documentary films from around the globe in Latvia. 
  • Raising the status of documentary cinema and its significance to the life of the society. Attracting attention of the audience to documentary cinema.
  • Finding and promoting new documentary film trends, currents, and rising names.

Festival languages

  • The language of the festival is English. Films are shown in their original language and must be subtitled into English with translation into Latvian (depending on the original language).
  • Festival events are translated into Latvian and English (depending on the meeting format and audience).
  • The language of the professional panel discussions and the symposium is English.

Festival Programme

‘Baltic Focus’ Competition Section

  • For this competition section, the Festival considers films produced in the countries of the Baltic Sea Region (Estonia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia*, Sweden) or co-produced with any of these countries.
  • A Latvian premiere status at the Festival is a mandatory condition. During the film selection process, preference is given to films having Baltic or World premiere status. 
  • Submitted films must be no longer than 180 minutes.

* The Festival does not accept films financed by the Russian government or its related companies

‘Artdocfest-Open’ Competition Section

  • The Artdocfest Open programme is open to submissions from all over the world, with an accent on documentary cinema and processes in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
  • Films in the premiere status for Latvia are allowed to participate in the competition. The selection committee may make an exception to this rule, but not more than one film per year. When forming the program, preference is given to films in the status of "world premiere" and those that have not previously been shown in the Baltic countries.
  • Submitted films must be no longer than 180 minutes.

After the official announcement by the Festival’s Board of the festival of programs, the copyright holder cannot unilaterally withdraw the film from the screening.


Festival prizes are awarded to participants of two competitive programs.

There are 3 (three) nominations in the Baltic Focus program:

  • Grand Prix HERZ for Best Film ($1,000 cash prize)
  • Special Jury Prize
  • Best Directing 

The HERZ Baltic Focus Prize is named after the classic of Soviet and Latvian documentary films Hertz Frank, authored by sculptor Aigars Zemitis.

In the program Artdocfest Open 3 (three) nominations:

  • Festival Grand Prix ($2,500 cash prize)
  • Special Jury Prize ($1,000 cash prize)
  • Best Directing ($1,000 cash prize)

The prize is the figurine "Kinoglaz Vertov", the author is the sculptor Vadim Kirillov.


  • The Juries of both competition programmes may also award Special Jury Mentions
  • The Festival’s Board announces the prize amounts to the winners on a yearly basis.
  • The Festival’s Board has the right to award special awards sponsored by Festival partners or public organizations.


  • The Festival’s Board assembles two international juries – the ‘Baltic Focus’ Competition Jury and the ‘Artdocfest Open’ Competition Jury.
  • Each Jury consists of three jury members.
  • The Festival covers the living expenses of all jury members while in Riga, including travel and meals.
  • The members of the juries must not have participated in the making or commercial exploitation of any film in the competition they are judging.

Non-competitive film screenings and events

  • Special screenings are determined and announced by the IDFF ARTDOCFEST/RIGA Board.
  • A discussion of the film with viewers is planned after each screening.
  • Public discussions on the relevant themes portrayed in the films screened by the Festival.
  • Presentations and master classes at Riga educational institutions and other public venues.
  • A documentary film symposium.

Rules and Regulations for Submitting Films

  • Films may be submitted to the Festival by production companies, independent producers, sales agents and distributors, or other copyright holders.
  • The competition programmes accept documentaries and experimental films (not feature films!) from any country in the world completed no earlier than June 1 of the previous year.
  • Films must be submitted in their original language, preferably with English subtitles.  
  • Films participating in the competition programmes must not have been previously shown in Latvia.
  • If a film happens to meet all requirements of the Festival’s Rules and Regulations, the Programme Board may invite the film to participate in both competition programmes.
  • The festival will not consider submissions of films that can be freely watched online. (The authors of these films are asked to pay attention to the ArtdocNet program.)
  • In order to submit a film the applicant should complete the online form and provide access to the film's video file that can be streamed, with additional option to download.
  • Participation in the competition selection process is free of charge.
  • The festival does not pay screening fees for the films included in its competition programmes.
  • The Festival will begin announcing its programmes and selected films from December 1, and will cease the process no later than 15 days before the Festival’s Opening. Participants are informed about the inclusion of their submitted films in the Festival programmes by February 15th.
  • The final decision on the inclusion of a film in the IDFF ARTDOCFEST/RIGA competition programmes is made by the Programme Board. The Programme Board does not comment on reasons for refusal.

Documentation and technical requirements

Each film included in one of the IDFF ARTDOCFEST/RIGA Programmes has to ensure that by January 15 of the respective year the Festival has received the following materials:

  • script dialogue in original language and English (even if the film is only in English);
  • a digital copy of the film for subtitling needs;
  • a synopsis;
  • biography and a photograph of the director;
  • film publicity images;
  • commercial film poster (if applicable);
  • trailer or teaser for the film (if applicable);
  • other publicity materials (if applicable).

The Festival has the right to use visual materials and excerpts of the films included in its programmes (up to 5 minutes, but no more than 10% of a film’s total footage) in order to inform viewers and promote the Festival. The Festival’s management reserves the right to independently make trailers for the films included in its programmes (by agreement with the copyright holder).

Film copies

  • Copies of the films included in the competitive and non-competitive programmes must be made available to the Festival by January 15 of the respective year. 
  • The Festival’s screening format is DCP. Other high-resolution, high-quality digital files are also acceptable: mov. Apple Pro Res. Detailed technical requirements will be individually sent to all submitters of selected works.
  • Screening copies of films must have English subtitles burned in (if the on-screen language is not English).
  • Copies of films may also be delivered to the Festival’s FTP server.
  • Physical transportation of a copy of the film to the Festival will be paid for by the submitter.
  • The costs of returning a copy of the film are covered by the Festival. The copies of the film will be sent back to its rights holders within three weeks of the Festival’s closing.

Accreditation and guests

  • Directors of the films included in the Festival competition programmes are invited to the Festival. The festival will cover their travel expenses within the limit, as well as hotel accommodation for three nights.
  • The Festival provides invitations to the accredited representatives of the films included in the competition programmes so they can apply for a visa to enter the Republic of Latvia. Other issues related to the invitation of guests, duration and conditions of stay, as well as the granting of Festival Accreditation, are decided by the Festival’s Board.
  • The Festival’s Board decides on the conditions for inviting the makers of films in the non-competitive programmes.
  • Number of Festival Accreditations issued to film representatives:
  • for a film included in the competition programme – up to three;
  • for a film included in the non-competitive programme – one.


  • IDFF ARTDOCFEST/RIGA is a festival open to the general public. A festival viewer is any person who presents a purchased entrance ticket or an invitation granted by the Festival’s Board.


  • Participation in the Festival requires consent to all provisions of these Rules and Regulations.
  • The Festival’s Board has the right to resolve any issues not covered by these Rules and Regulations in accordance with the generally accepted practice of international film festivals.