Polidoc Contest 2018-2019

What is the Polidoc Contest? 

  • PoliDoc is a contest organized by the Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship (CSDC), aimed at Quebec post-secondary students in the context of Canada’s Democracy Week 2019. To participate in the contest, students are asked to submit a short documentary film on topics related to democracy, civic engagement, political participation, representation, diversity, and other topics related to the exercise of democracy.
  • One winning project will be selected. The winner of the PoliDoc contest will receive a $1000 stipend. 
  • The finalized short documentary will then be screened during the Democracy Week, in September 2019.

Contest Guidelines

Students will have until June 21, 2019 to submit their documentary. The winner will be announced by August 1st.

The final short documentaries must be between 6 and 20 minutes in length.

Here is a list of general themes that would be considered for this contest, though this list is not exhaustive and only indicative of general areas of interest:

  • Political participation and youth politics
  • New forms of political engagement
  • Canadian and Quebec democracy and democratic institutions
  • Quebec in an historical context
  • Internet and social media’s relation to democracy
  • Demographic changes and political dynamics
  • Canada and Quebec’s First Nations
  • Gender and Democracy
  • Diversity, immigration, multiculturalism

These topics can be approached through a variety of documentary styles: observational documentary (“fly-on-the-wall”), character-driven documentary, interview-based, video essay, strong narration, journalistic video report, etc.

The winning project will receive the cash prize and be invited to screen their documentary and attend the Democracy Night event in September 2019 in Montreal (travel expenses will be covered by the CSDC for non-MTL students).

By submitting your film to the PoliDoc contest, you are accepting that your documentary will be screened publicly during the Democracy Night event. The CSDC will not however publicly distribute your movie online or in any shape or form.


To be eligible to participate in the PoliDoc contest, you must be enrolled full time in a Quebec Cégep or undergraduate university program, and you must be aged between 16 and 25 years old, at the moment of applying. Winners will be asked to show ID to establish age and student status.

To be eligible, you must submit a complete application, written in French or English. Incomplete applications will be automatically disqualified.

Projects should ensure they have full ownership or authorization to use archival material, music or any other licensed material before they submit their film.

Application and Documentary Proposal

In order to apply to PoliDoc 2019, please fill out the form located on this page: https://csdc-cecd.ca/polidoc2019-apply/

Please be sure to complete the form, otherwise your application will be disqualified. On the form, please sure to send us a streaming or download link for your short documentary.

 Please read the presentation document to make sure your proposal is complete: PoliDoc_ENG_PresentationDocument_20170914_v3

Evaluation Criteria

The short documentaries will be reviewed by a jury composed of the CSDC’s Knowledge Mobilization Committee as well as members of youth advocacy groups, fellow filmmakers, and other stakeholders. The jury will select the winners based on the following criteria:

  • Relevance of the topic

Is your topic related to democracy, politics, civic engagement, social issues, and such?

PoliDoc is not a partisan contest, your documentary can tackle many different topics, but this is not the occasion to formulate an endorsement for a specific political party. This does not mean you should refrain from presenting a strong point of view.

  • Originality of the Documentary and Strength of its Point-of-View

Your documentary shouldn’t be too general, it should be focused and precise. It should present the topic in a new light, or through the life and experience of characters that will be interesting to follow and listen to. Is your documentary offering anything new to a given topic? Are we with characters and ideas that draw our attention?

Your documentary should not only focus on the information we might learn while watching it. It should introduce us to people and ideas we would have never encountered in our daily lives.

  • Technical and General Quality of the Documentary

Your documentary should be well shot and well edited. It will be evaluated on its technical merits and on the emotional and intellectual strength of its delivery.

You have until June 21 at 5:30 pm to submit your film. Use our online form to complete your application. If you have any questions, you can reach out to the PoliDoc contest coordinator: alexandre.sheldon@mail.mcgill.ca

Good luck!