Extended Deadline: Balkan Watchers – Media Programme for Documentary Films and Podcasts, at OWR #17
2 February 2024


Investigative and independent journalism in the Balkans, Central Europe, the EaP countries, as well as Cyprus and Malta, has been facing numerous challenges in recent years. In many countries in the region, the media landscape is full of self-censorship and a lack of critical reporting. Journalists who do pursue investigative stories face life threats, harassment, and legal action, which further restricts their ability to report on sensitive issues.

These journalists often rely on international support, international collaboration and funding to carry out their work, and they face significant risks and obstacles in doing so. However, their work is crucial in holding those in power accountable and promoting transparency and democracy, and desperately needs other relevant public interest structures to unite efforts in improving the situation within the media landscape.

For more than 15 years, Balkan Documentary Center has been committed to supporting filmmakers, journalists and activists successfully complete their work. They've done so with their established training programs – BDC Discoveries and Docu Rough Cut Boutique.

Taking into consideration the learnings and experience from previous trainings, BDC is happy to present Balkan Watchers – Media Programme for Journalists. The program will not only offer training, but will also provide funding for six projects (three documentaries and three podcasts). The program is supported by Creative Europe MEDIA.



Who is it for?

Filmmakers, journalists, activists working on documentary film projects or podcasts. Hybrid, collaborative projects are encouraged, including docu-series, animation documentaries etc.


Eligible countries:

EU: Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Cyprus and Malta; non-EU: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia & Herzegovina.


We strongly encourage applications which are co-productions between EU and non-EU countries.


What stage?

Projects should be in late development or production.


The program is organized in three working modules:

1. Bucharest (April 2024) – during One World Romania – dedicated to project development
2. Online module (August/September 2024) – dedicated to pitching preparation
3. Sofia (October 2024) – during Sofia Documental – dedicated to pitching and selection of funded projects

10 documentary film projects and 10 podcasts will be selected. After pitching in Sofia, 3 documentary films will be awarded 25,000 EUR each and 3 podcasts will be awarded 5,000 EUR each.


Timeline (2024):

Project Submission Deadline (Extended): March 8th
Announcements of results: mid-March
First module: April, during One World Romania
Second module: August/September, online
Third module: October, during Sofia Documental

In order to apply, please click here.


Official language of the workshop is English. All members of the team must be fluent in English in order to participate. Chosen participants must be present at all programme modules. All supported projects are expected to be completed within 2 years after the event.

We are looking forward to receiving your projects!


If you have any questions, please contact: