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Open Call 

DokuBaku LAB

Supporting Documentary Filmmaking for Local Filmmakers

Submission deadline - February 10

Do you have an idea for a documentary film? Are you preparing the first steps to shape your initial idea? Join DokuBaku LAB to get your film-idea off the ground. 

We’re supporting filmmakers from all over Azerbaijan committed to their documentary projects with social driven topics. DokuBaku LAB supports filmmakers to develop their projects from the early stage. Our workshop accompanies you through the first steps of the project - the subject, narrative and visual language development, necessary in order to develop your story and push your project further. 

The training program will be lead by Nino Orjonikidze, award-winning filmmaker, curator and experienced tutor. Her 2-weeks long mentorship will be accompanied by lectures of invited guest-speakers, pitching training and a final pitching session. 

About DokuBaku Lab

Part of the DokuBaku International Documentary Film Festival, DokuBaku LAB is the training program to support local filmmakers. The main goals of the DokuBaku initiative is to establish a creative environment for local film professionals, offer the guidance of established tutors to develop their story. We aim to create a network of local filmmakers and documentary enthusiasts and support them in entering the international market and professional networks. 

What to expect?

We offer

  • Mentorship by lead tutor Nino Orjonikidze and lectures by renown film professionals to shape your idea into a film project

  • 3 weeks workshop focusing on the first steps of film development and pitching training

  • Work in an inspiring environment with established tutors

  • Networking platform

  • Internship fee for participation to be paid to each selected project of 200USD

  • Price for the winner of the pitching in the amount of 500USD and shaping the film treatment package incl. Mentorship of the trailer and producing packaging

Review process

  • After you submit your application, you will receive an email notification about your application acceptance. If you are among a small group of finalists you will get the second email notification and invitation to the skype interview. 

  • Decisions are final and may not be appealed. However, unsuccessful applicants are welcome to apply again in the future.



  • Film idea - We are looking for engaging non-fiction stories, experiences that are innovative, feasible, and that challenge social realities. We are also open to projects that are already in development. Although we love works that challenge definitions of documentary, purely fiction films are not accepted. (Max 3 pages, min 1 photo project-related included)

  • Your motivation letter and CV (Max 500 words)

  • Prior experience with film - please provide a link

  • English (spoken and written)

  • Time availability, 100% participation during the workshops.

  • Stable internet connection


The deadline is Monday, February 10th 2021. But the sooner you let us know what you are working on, the better. All proposals will be evaluated by both an internal as well as an external selection committee.

We will notify you of the final selection committee’s decision by February 17.

The first stage of DokuBaku Lab is workshop sessions and will be held online with the lead of Nino Orjonikidze from February 22 till March 5.

The second stage is 2 days of Pitching training with Michaela Sabo, 10th and 11th of March. 

The third stage of the DokuBaku LAB is the Pitching session of projects of all the participants to an international jury the on 12th of March 2021. The session will follow up with one-to-one meetings to get individual feedback. 

The jury will select a winner (winners) of the pitching session. The winner will be granted the amount of 500USD and shaping the film treatment package incl. Mentorship of the trailer and producing packaging.


Nino Orjonikidze

Nino Orjonikidze is a Georgian documentary filmmaker – author of several award-winning documentaries, including English Teacher and Altzaney. Her latest film – A Tunnel, a co-production with ZDF/ARTE, premiered at IDFA 2019. It won the Grand Prix at Trento Film Festival, Best film award for International Competition at Montenegro’s Underhill FF, Young Onion award at Makedox, and Best Feature-length at DokuBaku. 

After teaching Documentary film in the Caucasus School of Journalism (GIPA) for almost 10 years and curating short documentary film production at Chai Khana Media platform for the last 6 years, Nino is well acquainted with the regional context and documentary film scene. Herself alumni of many interesting training initiatives including EsoDoc, she is now tutoring internationally, be it international exchange academic programs or training initiatives like DW academy and Baltic Sea Forum. 

Nino established Artefact Production 12 years ago after quitting her journalism career and moving into creative documentary production. She studied journalism, TV production, and documentary film at Goldsmiths, University of London (MA), and Tbilisi State University (BA).


Hans Robert Eisenhauer


As commissioning editor for ZDF-ARTE, and Deputy Programme Director and Head of Theme Evenings for ARTE, Hans Robert’s more than 50 theatrical lengths commissions for TV and Cinema include since 1992: Oscar nominated Buena Vista Social Club by Wim Wenders, Oscar-winner Taxi To The Dark Side by Alex Gibney, the Sundance award winners Why We Fight  and The House I Live In by Eugene Jarecki, the acclaimed Up The Yangtze by Yung Chang and Mama Africa by Mika Kaurismäki.  

Hans Robert has also served as director of the Berlin Film Fund and he is member of the European Film Academy, which he helped to create in 1988.

After his retirement from ZDF/ARTE Hans Robert is living in Berlin and running the small film-and TV-production company Ventana-Film GmbH., focused on international documentary-films, including cultural and current affairs TV programs.

His recent German-Syrian coproduction “Return to Homs” had it’s world premiere at IDFA 2013 and received the Grand Jury Prize for the best international documentary film at the Sundance Film-festival 2014.

Iikka Vehkalahti

Iikka is Executive Producer of Rough Cut Service and Dare To Dream Asia. His own company IV Films  has produced among others Machines by Rahul Jain and Unframed Portrait by Avnai Rai.  IV Films has been vo-producr also in the awarded documentaries Winnie by Pascal lamchke and Chris The Siss by Anja Komfelt.Iikka was a Commissioning Editor for the Finnish Broadcasting Company, YLE Documentaries, in Finland from 1998 until March 2015. He was an Executive Producer for Steps For The Future and is working now for Generation Africa project also. Rough Cut Service is community of 12 outstanding editors around of the world and it has given online support already to more than 100 documentaries, many f them winning at main festivals.


Michaela Sabo


Michaela studied at VŠMU (Slovakia), DAMU (Czech Republic) and UCLA (Los Angeles). In 2014, Michaela moved to Berlin to be part of a Serial-Eyes program. An intensive 8-month postgraduate course on TV writing and show running based in Berlin. Michaela found her network during the studies and is currently living in Berlin. Michaela was part of the EPI European TV Drama Series Lab in the year 2013.
Apart from her own work as a freelance writer and creative producer (five TV series already aired, several feature film and TV series projects in different stages of development or production) Michaela is also working as a pitching trainer (Sarajevo Film Festival, Serial Eyes – DFFB, Series Mania – Writers Campus, Midpoint workshops, Odessa International Film festival, Antalya Film Forum, Tallinn Black Nights, etc.).

Salomé Jashi

Salomé Jashi was awarded a British Council scholarship to study documentary filmmaking at Royal Holloway, University of London in 2005.

Salomé Jashi's Taming the Garden [2021] premiered at Sundance Film Festival. Her previous film Dazzling Light of Sunset [2016] has been awarded the Main Prize at Visions du Réel’s Regard Neuf Competition as well as at ZagrebDox, Jihlava IDFF, FIC Valdivia, and several other festivals. Her earlier work Bakhmaro [2011], made in co-production with filmproduktion and MDR/Arte, received an Honorary Mention for a Young Documentary Talent at DOK Leipzig, was awarded as the Best Central and Eastern European Documentary at Jihlava IDFF, and was nominated for the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and Silver Eye Awards. Both films were produced in collaboration with Arte's La Lucarne.

She is the founder and works through two production companies - Sakdoc Film and relatively young Microcosmoss, both producing documentaries and fiction of high artistic quality.

Salomé Jashi was a fellow of Nipkow Scholarship in 2017 and DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program in 2020.


Vano Arsenishvili


Vano Arsenishvili – a filmmaker, cinematographer, and editor, studied film directing at the Vienna Film Academy and Animation in the Tbilisi Theatre and Film University. He is co-director, cinematographer and editor of an award-winning A Tunnel (winner of Trento FF, Underhill FF, Dokubaku FF, Makedox), English Teacher, Altzaney, The Bridge. Before moving to documentary filmmaking, Vano filmed several short fiction films. Vano teaches documentary film production at the Caucasus University. He works as a consultant and editor on numerous film projects in Georgia and the South Caucasus. He is a director of Production Company Artefact Production focusing on a creative documentary film.

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