Travel Video Documentary Scholarship 2011 – Arnhem Land, Australia

Go on assignment to the Arnhem Land, far north Australia and have your doco broadcast on Nat Geo Adventure!

Applications close June 16, 2pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time)
Kick start your documentary career by going on assignment to one of the most remote Yolngu Aboriginal communities in Arnhem Land (far north Australia), and be immersed in traditional Yolngu Aboriginal knowledge and understanding of the land, sea and animals.

Flying to the Northern Territory with Virgin Blue,you will take part in a special project withWorld Expeditions, working alongside the indigenous Yolngu Aboriginal rangers to restore sea country by removing and cataloging marine debris, the by-product of South East Asia’s fishing industry.

Under the mentorship of documentary producer Trent O’Donnell (who filmed our Positive Footprints series screened on Nat Geo Adventure Channel)you will find your story and create your own short documentary.

It will then be considered for broadcast on Nat Geo Adventure! That’s right – the holy grail documentary makers work their whole lives to achieve!

Photo: Cameron Herweynen, winner 2007 Travel Photography Scholarship

Your assignment brief

Join a 7 day  World Expeditions‘ community project in North East Arnhem Land, working alongside the indigenous Yolngu Aboriginal rangers to restore sea country by removing and cataloging marine debris, the by-product of South East Asia’s fishing industry.

The virtually pristine  coastline is facing a significant environmental threat from marine debris washed in on the ocean currents. Discarded fishing nets, rubber footwear, empty bottles and plastic bags are all carried by these currents from throughout the South East Asian region and deposited on the Arnhem Land Coast. All of this waste is a major threat to the wildlife, as animals get caught up in the nets and choke on the plastic rubbish.

Not only will we be using high-tech techniques for dealing with this modern problem, but also relying on and learning from Traditional Yolngu Aboriginal knowledge and understanding of the land, sea and animals. The group may break into mens and womens groups to share in the gender-specific aspects of culture and lifestyle. Men can learn traditional hunting and fishing and women can be involved in traditional bush medicine, bush food and handicrafts.

This project aims to work alongside and under the direction of Yolngu Aboriginal Rangers from Dhimurru and Laynhapuy Land Management as we together collect, catalogue and dispose of the marine rubbish.

Working with the Yolngu people under the mentorship of Trent O’Donnell you will find your story and film your own short documentary.


What’s the deal?

* We’ll fly you to the Northern Territory, Australia with Virgin Blue from your country of residence.

* You need to be available to be in Australia from September 3-9, 2011 to participate in the project.

* Under the mentorship of Trent O’Donnell you will shoot a video documentary about the experience.

* You will keep a daily diary about your time on the trip and upload this plus pictures you’ve taken to your travel journal.

* You will edit together your 5-10 minute documentary and submit it to within 2 months of your return.

Watch Mo Soliman, our 2010 winner talk about his experience

Who can apply?

* Any non-professionals can apply – this is open to film students, or anyone who’s trying to build a career in documentary making!

* Minimum age 18 with a current, valid passport and you must available as per the dates set out. Please note these dates are not changeable in anyway.

* You may be a resident of any country.

* You should be a mad-keen auteur with a lust for adventure and burning desire to be a documentary maker.

* You must be fit and healthy as moderate levels of physical work are involved, and happy to camp for 7 days.

Am I eligible? What makes a non-professional?

This is a grey area, and very tricky to put measures around. We appreciate documentary filmmaking is a difficult industry to crack and there are a lucky few who can count themselves as a professional full time documentary maker.

This scholarship is very much about the mentorship opportunity, and the judging panel will be selecting someone who they feel will most benefit from the learning opportunity. So if you have already been commissioned to make documentaries or have had your work broadcast on numerous occasions, it is unlikely you will be selected.

You will be asked to outline your experience to date in the submission process, and it will be the judging panel who decides who is most suitable based on their video and written component. So whilst we are not stipulating exactly what does and does not constitute a professional, think about the spirit of the mentorship program and whether you think you would make the most ideal candidate.

Apply now

If you want it, you’ve got to show it. To apply you need to:

1. Compile a maximum 3 minute video documentary in English based around the theme; ‘Local Encounters’. Remember, 3 minutes maximum means that 3:01 videos will be ignored. In a professional video environment, you need to be able to deliver up to the exact time, we’re no different in this case. Do not go over !

Your ‘local encounter’ may be from your travels or somewhere closer to home. You should explore how this encounter changed your perspective on the world. The theme is open to interpretation, so be creative! The documentary may be compiled from previous travel videos you’ve shot.

It’s up to you to convince our judging panel through your video that you have the spirit for adventure and passion for filmmaking to be chosen for this scholarship. Our judging panel will be looking for;

* The ability to convey a strong narrative within a short time-frame
* Originality
* A visually engaging story
* A candidate whose passion for documentary filmmaking makes them an obvious choice to benefit from this professional mentorship opportunity.

We strongly recommend you look at the previous winners (below) to give you an idea of the quality we are looking for. Entries compiled solely of still shots will not be considered, you need to demonstrate your skill with the moving image.

2. Upload your video : Go to to upload your video

3. Add your video to Create a journal and fill in the entry form, then follow the simple instructions to upload your video into the post. In under 200 words tell us about your video;

– What inspired your subject matter?

– What has been your documentary experience to date?

– What is your ambition as a documentary maker and what would winning this scholarship mean to you?

You will be judged on what you write as much as your video submission, convince us you are a worthy candidate!

4. Additionally, we will be offering a Nomad’s Community Choice Award for the entrant who receives the most combined Facebook ‘Likes’ and Twitter ‘Tweets’ for their video on their submitted journal application page. The winner will receive a digital video camera worth AUD$2500! (This award will have no bearing on the scholarship judging). So get your submissions in early and start gathering support !

One entry per person (no longer than 3 minutes, again remember, entries that exceed this will not be considered)

Watch our 2010 winner’s & shortlisted documentaries

Watch our 2009 winner’s & shortlisted documentaries

Entries close June 16, 2011, 2pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time)

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