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IDA is thrilled to present the Awards Campaign Access Initiative (ACAI) for FallDocs 2023, formerly known as IDA Screening Series. We combine films and their creators with industry insiders and film enthusiasts throughout the award season. This format will expand your film’s geographical reach and help gain new audiences. Application Deadline was August 17, 2023.

Feature films selected through the ACAI program include:

  • While We Watched | Dir. Vinay Shukla | Prod: Vinay Shukla, Luke W Moody, Khushboo Ranka
  • Against The Tide | Dir. Sarvnik Kaur | Prod: Koval Bhatia, Sarvnik Kaur
  • Queendom | Dir. Agniia Galdanova | Prod: Agniia Galdanova, Igor Myakotin
  • What These Walls Won't Hold | Dir. Adamu Chan | Prod: Pete Nicks, Christian Collins
  • unseen | Dir. Set Hernandez | Prod: Set Hernandez, Day Al-Mohamed, Félix Endara
  • King Coal | Dir. Elaine McMillion Sheldon | Shane Boris, Diane Becker, Peggy Drexler, Elaine McMillion Sheldon
  • Another Body | Dir. Sophie Compton, Reuben Hamlyn | Prod: Elizabeth Woodward, Sophie Compton, Reuben Hamlyn
  • Subject | Dir. Jennifer Tiexiera, Camilla Hall | Prod: Camilla Hall, Jennifer Tiexiera, Joe Caterini, Margie Ratliff
  • Incompatible with Life | Dir. Eliza Capai | Prod: Mariana Genesca

Short films selected through the ACAI program include:

  • Can I Hug You? | Dir. Elahe Esmaili | Prod: Elahe Esmaili, Hossein Behboudi Rad
  • Mãri hi - The Tree of Dream | Dir. Morzaniel Ɨramari | Prod: Eryk Rocha, Gabriela Carneiro da Cunha
  • Between Earth & Sky | Dir. Andrew Nadkarni | Exec Prod: Su Kim | Prod: Swetha Regunathan, Katie Schiller, Andrew Nadkarni
  • Relighting Candles: The Tim Sullivan Story | Zeberiah Newman & Michiel Thomas | Exec Prod: Ben Falcone, Melissa McCarthy | Prod: Zeberiah Newman
  • Waorani: Guardians of the Amazon | Dir: Luisana Carcelén, Jamaicanoproblem | Prod: Luis Felipe Fernández Salvador, Manuel Cardenal, Xavier Guerrero, Lily Van Ghemen, Debbie Vandermeulen  

What are ACAI Screenings? 

The initiative supports independent filmmakers from historically excluded communities pursuing a film awards campaign. Our goal is to minimize the financial burdens related to their campaign. During the 2022 events season, we hosted screenings and provided advertising support to 9 independent filmmakers. This year, our FallDocs event will feature ten independent films, screening them alongside an extensive catalog of FYC screenings. Please note that FallDocs - Awards Campaign Access Initiative (ACAI) has no connection to the IDA Documentary Awards. These two programs are separate and run by different departments at IDA.  

What’s FallDocs? 

IDA FallDocs is a curated collection of the most acclaimed documentary films of the year. We combine films and their creators with industry insiders and film enthusiasts throughout the award season. IDA’s FallDocs hybrid event presents films in-person and streaming online via IDA's Eventive virtual platform. This format will expand your film’s geographical reach and help gain new audiences.

Selected Winners

IDA will provide ten filmmakers with an in-kind awards campaign package valued at $15,000 each. Each grant offers the following services and support: 

  • One IDA Documentary Screening Series virtual screening event with a moderated Q&A to be recorded and shared on IDA's YouTube channel
  • Complimentary IDA digital advertising 
  • IDA grantees and alum are encouraged to apply  

Application Evaluation

IDA staff and a committee that may include journalists, filmmakers, scholars, and industry professionals will review application materials through a confidential process.

Applicant Eligibility

ACAI applications are open to directors or producers from historically excluded communities (including but not limited to BIPOC, LGBTQ+, D/deaf, and disabled filmmakers). International filmmakers are welcome to apply. All applicants must be Doc Maker or above-level IDA members. Not a member? Join today.

Film Eligibility

The film must demonstrate significant financial need (films without distribution or with a self-financed awards campaign).

Must be an Oscar-qualifying or Oscar-qualified documentary feature for the 2023 awards season. See the 96th Academy Awards rules here.

To be eligible for 96th Academy Awards consideration, a documentary feature must have been publicly exhibited for paid admission in a commercial motion picture theater in one of the six qualifying U.S. metro areas: Los Angeles County; City of New York [five boroughs]; the Bay Area [counties of San Francisco, Marin, Alameda, San Mateo, and Contra Costa]; Chicago [Cook County, Illinois]; Miami [Miami-Dade County, Florida]; and Atlanta [Fulton County, Georgia], for a run of at least seven consecutive days. Screenings during the theatrical release must occur at least three times daily, with at least one screening beginning between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. daily. The motion picture must be advertised during its qualifying theatrical release in a manner normal and customary to theatrical feature distribution practices and may receive movie critic reviews. Drive-in theaters are included as qualifying commercial venues in the above metro areas (films must run for seven consecutive days with at least one screening daily).


The film must have won a qualifying award at a competitive film festival, as specified in the Documentary Feature Film Qualifying Festival List, regardless of any prior public exhibition or distribution by nontheatrical means. Proof of the award must be submitted with the entry. The Documentary Feature Film Qualifying Festival List is available at or may be obtained from the Academy.  


The film must have been submitted in the International Feature Film category as its country’s official selection for the 96th Academy Awards. Works that are essentially promotional or instructional are not eligible, nor are works that are essentially unfiltered records of performances.   

Only individual documentary works are eligible. This excludes from consideration such works as:

  • multi-part or limited series,
  • episodes extracted from a more extensive series,
  • segments are taken from a single “composite” program, and
  • alternate versions of ineligible works.

The eligibility period for documentary features begins on January 1, 2023, and ends on December 31, 2023.


2022 IDA Screening Series Selected ACAI applicants were:

  • Beba | Dir. Rebeca Huntt | Prod: Sofia Geld, Rebeca Huntt  
  • Hidden Letters | Dir. Violet Du Feng, Zhao Qing | Prod: Violet Du Feng, Mette Cheng Munthe-Kaas, Jean Tsien, Su Kim
  • I Didn't See You There | Dir. Reid Davenport | Prod: Keith Wilson
  • Lakota Nation vs. United States | Dir: Jesse Short Bull, Laura Tomaselli | Prod: Benjamin Hedin
  • Let the Little Light Shine | Dir. Kevin Shaw | Prod: Kevin Shaw, Rachel Dickson
  • Punch 9 for Harold Washington | Dir. Joe Winston | Prod: Joe Winston, Raymond Lambert, Sonya Jackson
  • Sansón and Me | Dir. Rodrigo Reyes | Prod: Su Kim, Rodrigo Reyes 
  • Sirens | Dir. Rita Baghdadi | Prod: Rita Baghdadi, Camilla Hall
  • What We Leave Behind | Dir. Iliana Sosa | Prod: Emma D. Miller, Iliana Sosa