LOCAL FILMS: These films must be filmed within Memphis & Shelby County* with local subjects of local, national or international connections, interest, or influences. 

(*Within this category is a special DOWNTOWNER sub-category for films filmed in Memphis’s downtown according to the Memphis Downtown Commission’s (DMC) Central Business District Map, which borders the Mississippi River, north at the Wolf River, south around the Metal Museum and Fort Pickering and along Crump Blvd, and east along Thomas St and Danny Thomas Blvd. An additional DMC boundary includes the Edge/Medical District, from Danny Thomas Blvd at the west, north along Poplar Ave, east along N. Watkins St., and south along Linden Ave. Please review this DMC Map for specific details. Or refer to the map at the bottom of this page.)

REGIONAL:  These films must be filmed outside of Shelby County in the Mid-South/Delta Region of Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana with regional subjects of local, national or international connections, interest, or influences. 

NATIONAL and INTERNATIONAL: These films must be filmed outside of the Local and Regional areas, with a broad range of connections and interests in arts, community and culture that may or may not have connections to Memphis, the Delta or the Mid-South.

901TEEN FILMS: These films must be created and filmed by local teens within the Local and Regional boundary areas and requirements. 

COLLEGE & UNIVERSITY STUDENT FILMS: These films must be created and filmed by local college and university students within the Local and Regional boundary areas and requirements.


We found these excellent resources and documentary descriptions from Premium Beat. For further reading, visit Premium Beat

POETIC DOCUMENTARIES: Docs that focus on experiences, images, and showing the audience the world through different eyes, can be unconventional and experimental

EXPOSITORY DOCUMENTARIES: The most straightforward and well-known type of documentary, aims to inform in narrative style, includes Ken Burns-style filmmaking

OBSERVATIONAL DOCUMENTARIES: Sometimes in a Cinema Verite-style, these films observe their subjects and important, sometimes private moments, are less pointed than the expository approach, and attempt to give voice to all sides of an issue

PARTICIPATORY DOCUMENTARIES: These include the filmmaker(s) within the narrative, using their voice to prod their subjects, in the Michael Moore style

REFLEXIVE DOCUMENTARIES: These often include the filmmaker as the subject of and within the film. Most reflexive documentaries make no attempt to explore an outside subject. Rather, they focus solely on the creators and their interactions with the world.

PERFORMATIVE DOCUMENTARIES: These are an experimental combination of styles used to stress subject experience and share an emotional response with the world. They often connect and juxtapose personal accounts with larger political or historical issues, also in the Michael Moore style.

Check out this helpful and informative Complete Guide to Documentary Filmmaking, also from Premium Beat.

ANIMATED DOCUMENTARIES. In addition to the above, StoryBoard Doc Fest will also accept documentary shorts in various and experimental formats, such as Animated, Graphic-Novel-style documentary shorts that adhere to the StoryBoard mission. 


Want to qualify for the Downtowner category?
Films must be at least partially filmed within this footprint: