Doc in a Day: Chinese New Year
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10:00 to 23:00
From 28-01-17 to 29-01-17


Our China Exchange CNY Inspiration Guide is now available. Use this for a valuable insight into the symbolism behind CNY.

It’s important that you read the Inspiration Guide and London Documentary Network’s Survival Guide-Doc in A Day: Chinese New Year before the competition. Good luck!

This Chinese New Year, budding documentary makers and curious Londoners are invited by China Exchange and London Documentary Network to join an open challenge to make a short documentary film – with a Chinese flavour – in under 36 hours.

Meeting at China Exchange at 10am Saturday 28 January – the beginning of Chinese New Year – you will learn more about the festival and its symbolism before the all-important documentary theme is announced.

The following day, London will mark the arrival of the Year of the Rooster with the annual Trafalgar Square celebration and parade, providing plenty of colourful content for the short films. It will be a race to the finish, with the final documentaries accepted at 11pm that night.

Selected documentaries will be shown at our Lantern Festival Screening held on the official end of Chinese New Year, Saturday 11 February. During the screening, the films will be judged by a panel of professional filmmakers – including artist and film maker Xiaowen Zhu and Richard Melman, Executive Producer and Managing Director of the award winning Spring Films. Prizes and glory will be awarded to the winning film and the runner up. More details on the Lantern Festival Screening to follow.

Taking part costs £6 and includes entry to the Lantern Festival Screening.

For learn more about our Chinese New Year programme of events, click here.


9:30am Saturday 28th January: Doors open. Meeting and forming groups.

You can enter on your own if you want, but ideally you will end up in a group of about 3 or 4 people but that is completely flexible. You can form a group beforehand or we can help you to form group. Try to make sure that each group has enough equipment and a reasonable spread of skills/roles. No experience is required.

10:30am Saturday 28th January: What Does Chinese New Year Mean to Me?

A short workshop led by the China Exchange team will equip you with a greater understanding of Chinese New Year, encouraging you to interact with and enjoy the celebrations on a deeper level, fueling your Doc in a Day inspiration.

11:10am Saturday 28th January: Theme Announced

A special Chinese New Year theme will be announced at the event and on social media.

11pm Sunday 29th January:

Deadline for submission – Please send the file of your film via the following submission page: http://www.londondocumentarynetwork.com/


At the Lantern Festival screening the judging panel will select the winners and runners up. Winners each receive a pair of tickets to a China Exchange event of their choice (subject to availability). Winners also come away with the LDN crest of approval sent as a digital file for use on the cover of the winning video + invaluable feedback from professional judges.


• You will need to check in at reception on arrival and show proof of registration / register. The registration fee is £6.

• Payment if you are working remotely: Call China Exchange to complete your registration over the phone.

• Films must be objectively factual/documentary style.

• Film length must be between 2 and 6 minutes.

• Participants – absolutely anyone can enter, from a beginner to a pro. If you want to work with others we will try to pair/group at our kick off event on the Saturday.

• Equipment – use anything! Try to make it look as good as possible and don’t forget about audio! And bring an umbrella!



  1. Do I need to know anything about documentary making? No! Anyone and everyone are welcome to take part, regardless of ability and experience. We will help you join a group with an even spread of experience.
  2. Do I need to know anything about China / Chinese New Year? No prior knowledge of Chinese culture and Chinese New Year is needed. 
  3. Do I need any equipment? Although helpful, it’s not necessary to own any professional film making equipment. A smart phone will do! We will also try our best to help you join a group with an even spread of equipment.
  4. Can I enter by myself or do I need to come in a team? Working alone is fine – you don’t need to be in a group – but working in a group is more fun! If you are coming alone and want to be in a group, we can help match you up.
  5. Is there an age limit? Over 16s only.


Doc in a Day: Chinese New Year Trailer:

Doc in a Day Behind the Scenes:


London Documentary Network (LDN) is a non-profit organisation founded by a group of documentary enthusiasts, best known for their “Doc in a Day” 36-hour filmmaking competitions which have attracted over 200 budding filmmakers, and helped facilitate the creation of over 40 short documentary films. Doc in a Day judges have included Thomas Meadmore (National Geographic, Discovery, Channel 4, “How To Lose Jobs and Alienate Girlfriends”); Nic Guttridge (Channel 4, Discovery, BBC, “Through a Child’s Eyes”); and Sophie Robinson (BBC, Discovery, “My Beautiful Broken Brain”). The Doc in a Day competition in January will mark the 7th competition and screening that London Documentary Network has held since September 2015.

Email: LondonDocumentaryNetwork@gmail.com

Phone: 07825 881 550

Social Media:  @LonDocNet