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2003: "History·Culture "

In 2003, an International Documentary Seminar with the theme of “History·Culture” was held in Guangzhou. The seminar received international attention and 147 films from 14 countries were sent for competition. The jury included almost all the documentary experts UNESCO dispatched. Chinese film Old Mirror (《老镜子》) won the Grand Jury Prize and the seminar was a great success.


2004: "Adolescents and Children"

The event was renamed as Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival in 2004 and it became the only domestic trading platform for international documentary films at that time. The Adolescents and Children theme attracted 115 films from 23 countries and regions to come for competition. Chinese film “Kindergarten” (《幼儿园》) was awarded the Grand Prize, Poland’s “A Girl Named Dasha” won the Merit Prize, Japanese film “Japanese Education” won the Special Prize; “Born Bead” and “Tom W.” from Poland, “Three Generations, one Stage: First Steps to Mastery” from Japan and “Star kiss: Circus Girls in India” from Holland won the Academic Award.


2005:" Women Today"

In 2005, 380 entries from 46 countries and regions were submitted for GZDOC themed “Women Today”.“Bride Kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan” from Kyrgyzstan won the Grand Prize and the Jury Prize was won by Chinese film“Big Family” (《大家庭》) . Special Prizes for best Direction were awarded to Denmark's “The German Secret”, Israel’s “Keep Not Silent” and Canada's “Post Partum”. The Chinese Producer Prize for Best Reportage was won by “Langjin and Her Sisters” (《朗金和她的妹妹们》)and “Sacred Memory” (《记忆的伤痕》).


2006: "A Focus on Poverty"

GZDOC 2006 focused on poverty and attracted 217 films from 48 countries to come for competition.“Hercules Ventures into the World” from Poland won the Grand Prize, Jury Prize was won by the Chinese film “Shelter” (《房子》) and the Best Director Prize was awarded to Poland’s film “Corpus Christi”. “Armenia’s Dinner Time” was awarded the Best Short Film Prize. The Best Community Issues Award was won by “Neighbours-Vecinos” from Germany. The Award for the Best Original Perspective was won by Bulgaria’s film named “Dancing Bear Park”. The Best Chinese Producer Prizes were won by “The Moon Lacks” (《月缺》) and “City” (《城》).

2007: "Olympic Journey "

The theme of GZDOC 2007 was “Olympic Journey”. 395 films from 47 countries came for the festival. “The Warrior” from Poland was awarded the Grand Prize and the Jury Prize was won by the Chinese film “The Olympic Dream in a Village” (《龙吟水乡》). The Award for Most Original Perspective was won by Canada’s “Chairman George” and the Award for Best Storytelling was awarded to “Fairies’
Ultimate Dance, Rhythmic Gymnastics-Prayer for Beijing”. Mention Special was granted to Canada’s “Iris Chang: The Rape of Nanking”, Chinese film “Lady Confucius” (《孔夫人》), Poland’s “Tell Me Why” and Australia’s“4”.


2008: "Earth, Our Home"

The theme of GZDOC 2008 was “Earth, Our Home”. 448 films from 37 countries came to GZDOC 2008. “Peace with Seals” from Czech Republic won the Grand Prize. China’s “Living with Shame” (《瓦全》) won the Jury Prize. Mention Special was granted to Germany’s“Detecting Danger”, France’s “School on the Move”, Denmark’s “A Killer Bargain”, Montenegro’s “The Thirst of a Stone Sea” and Canada’s “The Last Continent”.


2009: "Sunshine in Life "

The theme of GZDOC 2009 was “Sunshine in Life” and it attracted 510 films from 60 countries to come for competition.
“For the Best and for the Onion” from France and Niger won the Grand Prize and Jury Prize was awarded to Holland’s “Another Utopia”. The Best Chinese Director Award was won by “For the Love of Shakespeare” (《爱上莎士比亚》), directed by Zhu Guangchun’s, “Grassroots”(《草根》), directed by Han Lei and “The Living: Mianzhu” (《生者 • 绵竹》), directed by Jia Ding. “Forgetting Dad”
from Germany won the Special Jury Prize.


2010: An Ever Mature Festival

GZDOC 2010 didn’t have any specific themes. There were 519 films from 53 countries coming for competition. The Best Science and Education Documentary Awards were won by “The Light Bulb Conspiracy” from Spain and “The Mermaid’s Tears” from France. The Best Environment and Protection Documentaries were won by China’s “Paradise of Milu” (《麋鹿家园》) and Denmark’s “Changes in Shanghai”.

2011: Market Oriented

The festival initiated its market oriented strategy and attracted 683 films from 56 countries to come for competition in 2011. The Jury Prize was won by “The Next Life” (《活着》), from China and “Argentinean Lesson” from Poland won the Grand Prize.


2012: “Golden Kapok Award” Initiated

GZDOC 2012 was held from December 3 to 7 and the “Golden Kapok Award” was initiated. It started kinds of ways to call international entries, with 1488 films from 65 countries to come for competition, screening, pitching and DocShop. “A Bite of China” (《舌尖上的中国》) from China won the Grand Jury Prize and the Best Documentary Award was won by Israel’s “Five Broken Cameras”.


2013: Forging International Brand, Meeting Market Needs

GZDOC 2O13 has further perfected its content and the six sessions “Completion, DocuMart, Industry Communication,Professional Forum, DocRoads and Screening”. GZDOC 2013 was comprised of 38 programs, attracting 2071 films from 72 countries/regions to come for competition, facilitating documentary contracting, worth RMB ¥150 million. The scale of the festival, the number of competing films,the number of guests received and trade volume were all unprecedented. “Forest of the Dancing Spirits” from Canada won the Grand Jury Prize.


2014 With The Largest Number of Entries in Asian Documentary Festivals

GZDOC 2014 has attracted nearly 300 domestic and overseas institutions coming for the festival, facilitating documentary contracting, worth  nearly RMB ¥200 million,with 3054 films from 85 countries to come for competition,screening, pitching and Doc Shop, set a record for the documentary festivals in Asian region. “112 Weddings”(《112场婚礼》)and other 13 documentaries won the awards.


2015: Salience of National Cultural Card Effect

In 2015,the Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival became the largest international and professional documentary film festival in Asia. It has built cooperative partnerships with other global professional documentary festivals and industry institutions, including Italy Venice Film Festival, France Sunshine Documentary Festival and Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union. 

The documentary festival has served as one of the best platforms for Chinese culture to go global and has become an important part of international documentary industry chain.