Submit Your Documentary
We connect filmmakers and producers with distributors that sell to hundreds of media platforms throughout the world.
Karbonshark accepts documentary films in two different categories:
Standard: For completed films & fine cuts. If you feel you have a strong rough cut, you can submit in this category.
Early Submission: For films still in production or development. We prioritize standard entries for distribution consideration but use the Early category to get films on our radar and for early rough cuts.
Please read the following guidelines carefully as you prepare materials to send to us. Failure to follow these instructions may result in disqualification.
Screening Copies: Filmmakers must submit one of the following:
Delivery online through Vimeo link (Recommended). Upload your film to the Vimeo website at vimeo.com and include a password-protected link to your film in your submission form. Make sure your film is download enabled (found under the ‘privacy’ tab of your Vimeo video). When you submit a Vimeo link, the file MUST BE DOWNLOAD-ENABLED. Please password protect your link and don’t forget to include the password in the form. All links and files received will remain confidential and are for internal use only.
USB drive with a digital video file, in H.264 codec, preferred minimum resolution of 1080p. Please include your film title in the video file name, for example: my_great_documentary.mov.
Non-English submissions must have burned-in subtitles to your link/file. We cannot consider your film if subtitles are not burned-in to the actual file (not overlaid in Vimeo).
Note: You must agree to the terms and conditions stated at the end of the submission form in order to complete your submission.
Liability: USB drives will NOT be returned. Do not submit original material.
Karbonshark considers documentary films that meet the following criteria:
Feature length documentary films only. Runtime of 60 minutes or more (80 to 90 minutes is typically the sweet spot). Documentaries that integrate some fictional elements or create genre hybrids can be considered (we love animation). Please do not submit docudramas, reenactments, promotional, or performance pieces. When in doubt, please email email@example.com and include a phone number where we can reach you.
Documentaries that have not been broadcast or streamed domestically or internationally. Our distributors expect to provide the U.S. premiere of the film. Karbonshark will, however, consider a documentary when it is of special merit and has had only limited television/streaming exposure (such as broadcast on local public TV stations or on cable systems with limited geographical reach). If a film has been broadcast/streamed in countries outside of the U.S., it is still eligible. When releasing a film, our distributors do take its digital distribution and accompanying exposure/press prior to release into consideration.
Documentaries by independent filmmakers. Documentaries produced by filmmakers in association with a network, studio, production company or organization are acceptable if editorial control was entirely in the hands of the filmmaker. Instructional films, films made for a client, and sponsored films are not eligible.
Karbonshark welcomes submissions by both domestic and international filmmakers. If your documentary film has not been previously broadcast or streamed in the U.S., and meets all other eligibility requirements, you may submit your film to us. If your film is not in English, you must submit a version with English subtitles.
Works released within the past five years. Karbonshark will consider exceptional works completed before this date only if they have achieved significant recognition through festivals, awards or reviews. Eligibility of documentaries released prior to the five-year cut-off date is solely at the discretion of Karbonshark.
Documentaries that are complete or near completion. Karbonshark considers completed documentaries or fine cuts for standard acquisition. Samples, assemblies or excerpts usually cannot be considered for distribution and should be submitted in the category “Early
Submission”. See below for details.
Works not previously submitted to Karbonshark. If a film has been previously submitted to Karbonshark in non-final form (rough cut), the film can be submitted again if it is finished and/or the treatment has changed significantly since the previous submission.
Documentaries of feature length will be considered. (Minimum of 60 minutes) are welcomed. If acquired, please note that producers may be asked to cut works to comply with the distributors desired format.
Early Submission is NOT for documentary films seeking funding.
Our distributors get to as many markets, festivals and other industry events as humanly possible. Most of the films we encounter at an early stage will eventually submit as finished works. Limited completion and co-production support is available on a case-by-case basis.
If you have a documentary project you’d like us to know about please submit under the “Early Submission” category. Complete only the section of the submission form that applies to your project’s current stage of production (research, development, pre-production). You may also submit a treatment, trailer or project proposal in this category. Please specify if you do not want information about your project passed along to other parties. If you’re unsure of where your project belongs please email firstname.lastname@example.org
FEES AND RIGHTS
If your film is selected for distribution, Karbonshark will broker the deal (for a fee TBD) to a major all rights distributor that licenses exclusive worldwide all rights. We do not handle educational or festival distribution. Our distributors typically seek all rights for a period of seven years.
Releases / Rights: appearance releases, as well as rights for all music, art, stills and stock footage must be secured by the producer prior to distribution. Final editorial control remains with the filmmakers, however Karbonshark retains the right to request changes in length and/or treatment.
Rights Licensed: Exclusive Transactional VOD Rights, Subscription VOD Rights, Ad-sponsored VOD Rights, Television Rights, Hotel VOD Rights, Airline Rights, Home-Video Rights, Theatrical Rights, Non-theatrical Rights, and Incidental Rights. Licensee shall not exploit the Rights Licensed on platforms before the respective end dates.
If selected, licensing agreement with deal points will be provided.