Dominica Film Challenge – The Selection Process

04 Mar 2014, Posted by Dominica Challenge in Dispatch

A little over a month ago we opened up the application process for aspiring photographers, filmmakers, storytellers, and overall wandering travelers to tell us why they should be a member of our creative experiment: The Dominica Film Challenge.  We thought we would be lucky if we got 100 entries, being that we didn’t have a budget to advertise and everything we were trying to do was word of mouth.  I guess we underestimated the power of an amazing community to spread the word and share the idea with each other.  One month later, we’re looking at a list of over 1,100 names of people who are dreaming about the island of Dominica.  Our hear swells with pride.

What was even more impressive than the number of applicants, were the quality of people who wanted to join the expedition.  We had photographers from around the world, filmmakers from all levels, and every one of those who applied were amazing storytellers.  Over 15,000 people visited the website, which by some standards might not seem like much, but for us it was a big deal.  In fact, when the entire population of the island is 72,000, it’s a REALLY big deal.  We had people visit the site from over 155 countries and we’ve been slowly building a loyal twitter following.  Needless to say, we’re very excited and thankful for everyone who has raised their hand and said, “pick me.”

Alas, we can only select 6 teams.  12 people out of 1,100 is a hard process.  We stayed up really late several nights, carefully reading through every single submission, viewing application videos, browsing portfolios, and reading all the wonderful essays.  We made sure to read everyone of them.  And we stayed up late, because it was like binge-watching television — we couldn’t stop ourselves.

We sent out an email to our semi-finalists, making sure they were all still interested.  Within 24 hours, we got a 100% response from everyone, still interested, still excited.

So, if you didn’t get an email from us, we are very sorry.  It was a very difficult selection process.  Now we know what it’s like to cast a reality tv show.  Ok, maybe not the same, but I will just say that nobody here wants that job. But there is good news for those that were not contacted about the semi-final round.  Actually, a few good pieces of news:

1. We are going to be offering a sweepstakes for a trip for 2, after the expedition.
2. We’re DEFINITELY going to make this an annual event.

Not that we would expect anyone to do this, but if any of you were planning a vacation and happened to be on the island during the expedition anyway, we would love it if you would tag along for some of the events, hikes, activities, and beach parties.  I know the odds are slim, but it would be totally cool if someone did that.

As for the final selection process, it’s in the hands of our friends at Discover Dominica Authority.  We expect to announce the finalists at the end of the week.


Michael Kraabel
Executive Producer
Dominica Film Challenge

  • Daina

    We are totally going to be there at the same time! Is there a way we can get in touch to discuss logistics?

  • brittney

    you have no idea how hopeful I am!!

  • George Thomas

    It was a wonderful opportunity. But sadly to note that I missed it. And I am looking for the next round.
    Wish you all the best.
    George Thomas,
    A story teller from Kerala, God’s Own Country in India.

  • Morgan

    Excellent that you received so many to choose from, congratulations. Some advice from someone who has partaken in many press trips and events like this: make sure you pick teams who will get the job done. There are many with good ideas and attractive on-camera personas, but all of that means nothing if they don’t complete the project. Best of luck and can’t wait to see the finished products.

    Morgan Paar
    Nomadic Frames

  • Rodolfo M. Lemos González

    I can really imagine reading all applications for the challenge … Sleepless nights …

    I wish you luck, and I hope that next year there will be a new challenge to shoot, write, and photographed on Dominica. A big hug from Argentina to Michael and his team.