We have all had that special documentary that left a mark in our childhood, that we eagerly and curiously watched eyes glued to the screen. Maybe it was Captain Cousteau, the Silk Road or some other remarkable piece…
Regardless of their name or content, documentaries have expanded our horizons and opened for us the doors to other worlds. They contributed to our collective memory.
When there was only one state-run channel, TRT served as the medium that introduced documentaries to our nation.
It was not only an introduction, TRT -as in many other fields- led the curve in documentary field and created its own experience and staff as part of a deliberate policy.
With the right use of this experience, documentary films could and should play a role that would help modern day people rediscover the joy of knowledge and learning. That’s how the idea of organizing a Documentary Competition was born at TRT. The goal was to encourage the development of creative methods in documentary films and to bring the “products” to viewers.
It was first organized at a national scale in 2009, and in 2010 the international category was added when 232 films from 40 countries applied to TRT Documentary Awards. In its third year, in 2011 a major distance was covered in institutionalization.
In 2012, 151 films ran in the International Category, 140 in the National Amateur Category and with 49 films in National Professional Category a total of 340 films were registered. Along with the screening of finalist films and award winning films, the Festival practiced the concept of “Opening Film” for the first time in 2012.
In 2013, Balkans Panorama Special Screenings were offered. In the same year, 38 films out of 431 applications from 54 different countries made it to the finale. In total, 11 documentary films were awarded.
In 2014, Timeless Documentaries Special Screening was made. 350 films from 35 countries applied and 34 films made it to the finale. 9 films were awarded in 2014.
In the post-competition period, we aired award winning documentaries on different TRT channels.
“TRT Documentary Days” activities, which we hold in every May in İstanbul, bring together documentary filmmakers from around the world. It gives us a great pleasure to see that our activity week evolved into a documentary festival that began to become a habit for documentary lovers thanks to theater screenings including the finalist films, conversation sessions, concerts and the Gala Night program, where awards are presented to winners.