dok.incubator INT

an eight-month long workshop for documentaries in the rough cut stage with ambitions to enter the international market, focusing on editing, distribution and marketing strategy development

Every year we select 8 documentary projects represented by director, editor and producer to work with in the frame of three residential workshops (April – November). Experienced as well as first time filmmakers from all over the world are provided individual guidance through the post-production period by renowned tutors. We lead the participants to conclude strong dramaturgy of the final cut to reach a wide international audience by building a clever distribution strategy using new digital technologies and smart online marketing tools.

participants with project
participants without a project

next deadline: January 26, 2023

application is closed
application is closed


Submission deadline
Announcement of selected projects
1ST workshop / rough cut
Individual consultations between the workshops
2ND workshop / fine cut, open program
Individual consultations and finalising the marketing materials
3RD workshop / picture lock
Preview / final presentation

1ST session / rough cut / April

During the first session the participants and their tutors are looking for the "DNA" of each film. In editing rooms they focus on storytelling and start asking basic marketing questions.

Everything starts with screenings of the rough cuts, followed by discussions and in-depth analysis of the narrative structure and dramaturgy. The participants are assigned a supervising tutor and a ‘fresh eye’ consultant to work with on the editing to enhance their project's potential for international audiences.


The producers start thinking about the best distribution and festival strategy, searching for opportunities for their films within different territories, platforms or institutions.


The first session will take place in Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia between April 25-30.

2ND session / fine cut / June

The second session is about finding the right direction of the film. Participants have a chance to test their current rough cuts on important decision makers and discuss their distribution possibilities with them.

The almost finished films are “test screened” for an international audience: festival programmers, distributors and sales agents who provide the participants with feedback on the content and structure of the film, the release strategy and distribution. Editing sessions and individual meetings follow.


Marketing specialists teach how the documentaries can be promoted effectively using different strategies. The end of the workshop is dedicated to legal issues of distribution, providing the participants with a detailed overview of the European sales landscape.


The second session will take place in Olomouc, Czech Republic between June 23-30.

3RD session & preview / picture lock / October

During the third session the editing of the films is finalised and the rest of the session is dedicated to marketing and preparations of the official presentation of participating projects within the industry at the dok.incubator preview.

Individual editing meetings help finalise the trailers, speech structuring and five-minutes scene selection. Pitching tutors individually train participants‘ presentation skills and introduction of the project.


The preview is composed as an exclusive event organised either on stage for invited decision makers or online. The preview is followed by a networking gathering and one-on-one meetings with invited industry guests.


All workshop projects are widely promoted throughout the following year.


The third session will take place in Dlouhá Lhota, Czech Republic between October 1-7.


The "dok.incubator preview" presentation will be organised at IDFA, Amsterdam on Saturday, November 12.

How we work

More than 25 experienced tutors: producers, editors of award-winning films and creative PR and marketing experts will provide you with individual mentoring. Internationally recognised tutors aim to inspire the participants to find their own way of telling their stories – and how to get them to the audiences.

We believe in an individual approach and providing a tailor-made development plan for each project we work with. Our tutors work with the whole teams to help the participants with their projects. In our opinion each project is different and requires unique approach, knowledge and support.

The group of dedicated tutors and participants work very hard to step across the films’ and individual’s limits. It's an intensive period of hard work and creative energy.

How to apply

dok.incubator invites editors, directors and producers to a six–month workshop, focused on filmmakers’ professional development and giving you access to top internationally-experienced tutors. If you are thinking of applying, decide early enough so you can adjust the schedule of making your film to the schedule of the workshop. See the timeline section above for more details.

Please note, that to apply you will need:


Audiovisual materials:

  • An English-subtitled rough cut of your film or a selection of edited scenes with a length of 40 – 90 minutes (you can apply with a longer version, however we cannot guarantee the selectors will watch more than 90 minutes; max. 4GB, supported formats include MP4, AVI, MOV); an additional edited pilot/trailer/teaser of the film is an advantage
  • Link to director’s previous film
  • Link to editor’s previous film – preferably documentary feature (only the main editor’s work will be accepted)
  • Three high-resolution stills from your film

Information about the project:

  • Short synopsis (max. 1600 characters)
  • Film treatment based on the shot material (max. 3000 characters)
  • Motivation letters from all the team members: director, editor and producer
  • Rough distribution strategy, including the estimated premiere time and place
  • Financing plan of the film (with specified confirmed/non-confirmed funding)
  • Portrait photo of the director, editor and producer (high-resolution), their short CVs and contact details

Be aware that all three team members – director, editor and producer – must be available to participate in three one-week online/hybrid/residential sessions in April, June and September. You cannot apply without an editor. Please book your editor in advance: for an editing period between the 1st and 2nd workshop, and for another between the 2nd and 3rd workshops. Please note that all the participants must be able to work in English.


Use one of the many chances to meet us during the year! We usually attend industry events at DOK Leipzig, IDFA and other festivals where you can arrange a meeting with us and learn more about the program. Before the submission deadline (December and January) we also organise online meetings during which we answer all your questions about workshop applications.


Fees & scholarship

The full fee is € 17,500 for the whole team for three workshops. However, we consider each project and its financial situation individually. To include projects with a limited budget, we offer discounts leading to individual rates in the range € 5,700 – € 17,500. The fee consists of tuition fee and accomodation and rental costs to be able to react flexibly to changes between residential and online sessions.

What the fee includes – this may not fully apply to year 2021 due to the COVID-19 situation this includes:
  • Three workshops (6+6+8 days) including accommodation and editing room rental for a team of 3 people.
  • Individual editing, marketing, distribution and other types of consultations with more than 25 world renowned experts within the period of 6 months.
  • The possibility to screen your rough cut to festival selectors, get their feedback and fee waivers for top documentary festivals.
  • An extensive PR campaign organised by dok.incubator / presentation of your nearly finished film at the dok.incubator preview at Nordisk Panorama Film Festival or online with approximately 100 decisionmakers in the audience.
  • A chance to win one of our post-production awards in the value of 6,500–10,000 €.

We aim to make our workshop accessible to great films regardless of the size of their budget, we realistically assess the production possibilities and the majority of our participating projects do not pay the full participation fee. In every year of its existence dok.incubator supported films in difficult financial situations, therefore we encourage applicants to apply for a scholarship. The selection committee decides about discounted fees and scholarships, all participants are informed about the exact amount of their fee before confirming their participation.

You can get a discounted fee, if:
  • Most of your budget is unconfirmed.
  • You are from a country that already subsidizes dok.incubator (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary).
  • You have a low budget film. This is a subject to the territory of production.
  • Your production country is a country with low or very few possibilities of financial support.
  • Your production country is considered to be a low-production capacity country according to the Creative Europe MEDIA guidelines.
In case of projects with no or very low budget and with no additional funding possibilities from the local funds/film institutes, we offer two types of scholarships:
  • Partial scholarship – the participants pay only the cost of their meals, accommodation for the team of three people at three workshops and
    the rental of editing room and technical equipment in case of residential workshop/ in case of online workshop reduced fee covers only part of the
    tuition fee.
  • Full scholarship – in special cases only (non-European or zero budget films) the participants do not pay any fee (only cover their travel costs in
    case of residential workshops).

Around 30% of participants obtain a scholarship. When deciding, we consider the whole financial situation of the project, the likelihood of it receiving financing during the workshop, and the cost of workshop participation (including travel).

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Our Films

What is the role of the observer at the workshop?
We try to involve our observers as much as possible in the practical development of the participating workshop projects, as this is where they will gain the most valuable knowledge. Observers will support the teams, and their exact role very much depends on their own relationship with the participants. Often they become one of the team members.

Each observer will select a favourite film to follow throughout the 3 sessions and will accompany the project’s team in the editing rooms and during the individual meetings with the tutors.

During the plenary sessions and group work, the obersvers are an integral part of the wokshop and their opinions are as valuable as those of ay other participan. However, we ask our observers to be aware that during individual meetings and work in the editing rooms, where the situation is more “delicate”, their role changes. Here’s their task is primarily to follow and observe, rather than to actively influence the process. We request the observer keeps their notes, questions, and feedback for when the tutor asks for it.
As an observer, do I have individual meetings with the tutors?
Unfortunately not, the role of the observer is to follow one of the eight participating projects. You will observe the know-how of our tutors and learn first-hand from the development of the participating film projects. However, due to tough timetable of the workshop, it would not be possible to schedule tutors additional meetings for the observers to work on their own projects.
Do I have to commit to the full three-terms of the program?
No. The sessions which the observers are expected to attend are only the first two sessions. This program counts on the active observers participation. The third session, focused on the pitching performance of the participants, will be a far less intense program and he or she will be encouraged to follow the Nordisk Panorama program.
What is covered by observers' fee?
The observers’ fee is € 2,500. This fee covers all costs for the first and second session and three days during the third session, the whole third session is not obligatory for the observers, we recommend them to come only to the last part of the session (the Preview presentation).

Independent producers, editors or students can get a scholarship and pay only for their accommodation and meals (around € 300 per session).
Do I have to pay for my transport?
Yes. You will travel independently, communicating with us the time of your arrival and departure so we can book your accommodation.
Can I, as an observer, receive a scholarship?
Partial scholarhsips can be offered to observers but only in extraordinary circumstances as we prefer to offer them first to the participants who are working on their projects.
If I cannot come for both the workshop sessions, will you return the fee paid back to me?
No. Unfortunately, the fees cover primarily the workshop lecturers and the venue, and the cancellation terms of the booked accommodation does not allow us to refund the fee for observers not present at a workshop session.
How do we select projects?
Out of approximately one hundred applications which we receive every year we select 8 projects to participate in the international workshop. The most important thing for our selection is the quality of the submitted material and its originality. We are simply looking for good projects, which could be developed into great films. Our selection is not limited by the genre.

We accept films of all genres and we like to mix different kinds of films with different kinds of film-making styles, we simply look for the uniqueness of the story and assess the approach of the filmmakers. Our condition is one – the story should be complex enough to allow feature length. In the first round of selection each of the applications is screened and considered by two selectors. 16 best rated projects proceed to the second round. The shortlisted projects are seen by another five selectors – future workshop‘s tutors.

They discuss not only the quality of the material, which is the basic criterion in the first round, but they also take into consideration the motivation of the team, we look closely on who the director and editor is and consider their
previous films.

We aim to support projects from different regions with a different background and we also combine participants with various levels of experience. The diversity of the participating group contributes highly to the final outcome. We guarantee to keep the rough-cut version you send us strictly confidential and only to share it with the selection committee for the selection purposes.
How will the workshop influence my postproduction timing?
You will begin the workshop with your late rough-cut documentary and will spend the following six months working on editing, distribution, and marketing. This means you can plan a premiere for all the autumn festivals. You will have to book your editor between the first and the second workshop session (MAY-JUNE), and between the second and third session (JULY-AUGUST). You will need to edit very intensively to CLOSE THE CUT and be able to submit your film to the autumn or winter festivals (DOK.Leipzig, IDFA, Sundance, Berlinale).

You will attend three one-week residential sessions at different stages of project development:

April – later rough cut
June – close to fine cut
September – near picture lock
I do not have a rough-cut, but I fit the workshop timing. Can I apply?
Yes. You can send us a compilation of edited scenes, but your chances of being selected are lower. Those who apply with edited scenes rather than a rough-cut will be asked for an update on the progress of the projects at the end of February. The later the rough-cut, the more likely your film is to be chosen by the selection committee. The minimum length of the audiovisual material submitted for the application is 40 minutes.
Does the full team (director, editor, producer) have to commit to the full three-terms of the program?
Yes. This is one of the very basic conditions of your participation. The goal of the programme is to give each member the opportunity to develop professionally as they are developing and progressing within their organisations. Participants are expected to participate in all the three workshop sessions of the program.
We are not three, but just two of us: I don’t have an editor yet, may I participate without them? I am director/producer in one person, can I participate?
You only can participate if you complete your team and find motivated colleagues. According to our experience, filmmakers who work on the film alone, without an editor or producer, suffer at the workshop and do not gain as much from the programme. We often split the participants into groups for directors/producers/editors – and they work simultaneously on various tasks. It would be extremely difficult for you as the director + producer to develop your marketing and distribution strategy and at the same time as working in the editing room. The same goes for a director + editor.
What is the result of the workshop?
We aim to help you conclude the editing of your film. You will have edited various pilots, which will present the main character and the main plot, the way you want to tell the story, what is the film s mood and narration. You will work on both: the pilots and the whole rough-cut.

Your distribution strategy for the film, including a clear festival strategy, will be opened to a network of key decision-makers – international sales agents, broadcasters and festival representatives – who will give you feedback on your film and your distribution strategy. Finally, you will design a tailor-made marketing strategy, (including PR outcomes: visuals, texts, trailer, posters, media strategy) to enlarge your audience, internationally.
Can you help me also with financing the project?
To receive financing in this stage of development is difficult and takes time. Optimally you should be able to cover your expenses at least until the fine cut is concluded. Obviously, we will support you in finding financing, using all our network of contacts. Our support gives you credibility and makes people open the door and listen – but it is up to you to convince them. We cannot guarantee you success.
How many projects and observers will you take?
Eight projects and six or seven observers.
Do you accept also non-European projects?
Yes. We will invite up to 25% of all participants from outside the Europe. The other participants are supposed to be citizens of the MEDIA countries, which includes the EU member states, and additionally:
Norway, Iceland, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Republic of Serbia (full participation in the Creative Europe Programme); and Turkey (full participation in the Culture Sub-programme and partial participation in the MEDIA Sub-programme, i.e. participation in training, festivals, audience development and market access activities).
What special documents will I need for application?
1) English-subtitled rough-cut of your film or edited scenes in the length of minimum 40 minutes (max. 2GB, we prefer mp4/mov format); an additional edited pilot/trailer/teaser of the film is an advantage
2) one edited scene (max. 5 minutes) by applicant editor, preferably from the submitted rough-cut but if not possible, then some example of his/her previous work
3) film treatment (max. 1 page) based on the shot material
4) short synopsis
5) motivational letters from all the team members: director, editor and producer (max. half-page)
6) rough distribution strategy, including the estimated premiere time and place
7) financing plan of the film (specify non-/confirmed funding)
8) stills from your film
9) portrait photo of director, editor and producer, their CVs and contact details
10) link to the reference film of the director
How do you choose the projects and when do you announce the result?
In the first round every project will be seen and judged by two of our selectors. They recommend the top 16 rough cuts with the most potential. In the second round of the selection, the projects will be seen by the dok.incubator board, consisting of our tutors, which will also consider the film’s background and crew. We will announce the final top 8 projects on the dok.incubator website at the end of March.

The top 16 projects selected for the second round might be asked for additional materials, or be invited to a Skype interview. Please note that the dok.incubator board also considers the scholarship applications, and may ask about the financing of the film.
What are the dok.incubator participants’ obligations?
The conditions of the workshop participation are specified in the contract. In short, all the participants are obliged to participate actively throughout the entire workshop programme (all three sessions), and must allow the
workshop to promote the participating film with our media partners (using your promo stills and texts). When the film is finished, we ask you to put our logo in the final credits and send us the link to the final version of the cut, a
final trailer, and the marketing materials (e.g. poster, leaflet, postcards) to promote your film and the workshop.
Do you provide the editing rooms with all the equipment needed?
The editing rooms are fully equiped except for the computer – you need to bring your own laptop together with storage device containing all the footage.
Will dok.incubator screen my movie or will it show anywhere?
We will screen the different versions of your rough-cut for the closed group of workshop participants and tutors. Outside the group, we require just the right to screen the initial and final version of the cut to the workshop funders 
representatives, in order to prove the results of the workshop aim (we will create a closed website, protected by password, which will be given only to the main public funds, who finance the workshop). We have non-commercial
rights to screen the film at promotional dok.incubator events (talks at film schools, for example) if pre-approved in an agreement with the producer.

The final version of the trailer will be published on the workshop website, and promoted to the film professional public. If requested by the participant, the trailer can be updated at any time with a new version.
How does the participation fee work? What is its actual amount? What does it cover?
From year 2018 on, the participation fee will be flexible in the range €5,700 – €17,500 depending on the situation of the project. This fee will be decided during the selection process by the selection board by taking into account the situation of the film and the producer. We will consider the budget of the film and the level of confirmed financing, as well as local funding possibilities in the countries of production.For more information, please see fees and
Do I have to pay for my transport?
Yes. You will travel independently, letting us know the time of your arrival and departure so we can book your accommodation.
What are the criteria for receiving a scholarship?
We accept projects in very different financial situations, with budgets from €50,000 to nearly one million euros. Therefore, every situation needs to be considered individually. Half of our accepted projects will receive a scholarship which will reduce the fee. Usually two projects will receive a full scholarship and will therefore not have to pay anything at all, and two projects will receive a partial scholarship and pay just for their accommodation and food. The scholarship depends on the situation of the project and are based on the decision of the dok.incubator Board. In the case of unapproachability of additional financing from the local film institute, we also often support non-European projects, which have additional travel costs.
Can I submit the application in my native language, instead of English, to avoid mistakes and misunderstandings?
No. The whole workshop programme is held in English. Both lecturers and selectors are chosen internationally, so in order to be able to consider your application, all the materials you provide us with, have to be in English and all
the audiovisual material has to be subtitled in English. We even recommend that the English-speaking parts be subtitled too, to avoid any misunderstandings due to sound quality or accents.