• Third Coast Festival
  • Navy Pier
  • 848 East Grand
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • 60611-3509


Though we spend most of our time curating work from all over the place, once a year we change it up and encourage the production of new work via our ShortDocs Challenge. In cahoots with a different artistic partner each year, we design a set of rules and invite everyone - producers and radio fans alike - to submit short audio works that follow these rules.

Submissions range from literal to metaphorical, narrative to sound-rich, cultural to political. Each year four stories are crowned as official ShortDocs, and presented in Chicago at our conference or Filmless Festival.

Whether you've been producing for decades, or have always wanted to give it a try, whether you're mixing on ProTools or Garage Band, whether you live down the road in Chicago or across the sea in Tokyo, the ShortDocs Challenge is open to YOU! We hope you're game.


2015 challenge

The 2015 ShortDocs Challenge, in partnership with the Studs Terkel Radio Archive at the WFMT Radio Network, invites stories inspired by Stud's mighty curiosity. Read the rules, incentives, and other deets here - then grab your recorder and hit the streets!


a brief history of third coast shortdoc challenges

2013: Appetite (with the James Beard Foundation)

2012: BlockDocs (with EveryBlock)

2010: Book Odds (with The Books)

2009: Chicago Sound Drops

2008: Radio Ephemera (with the Prelinger Library)

2007: Dollar Storeys (with the Dollar Store Show)

2006: 99 Ways to Tell a Radio Story

2005: Stories about "games"

2004: Stories about "darkness"

2003: Stories about "thirst"

Have an idea for a future ShortDocs Challenge or collaboration?
Tell us all about it!


The 2012 ShortDocs Challenge partnered up with EveryBlock.com (RIP), and inspired 180 stories about neighbors.


2013 ShortDoc theme: Appetite

Perhaps one of these amazing chefs will create a dish inspired by YOUR ShortDoc!





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