2016 ShortDocs Challenge: Radio Cinema

Roll out the red carpet... Premiering the 2016 ShortDocs Winners!

WATCH: Manual Cinema transformed all the ShortDocs winners onto the screen at our-night-only Radio Cinema Spectacular.


2016’s creative partner was Manual Cinema - a cinematic shadow puppet performance collective(!) that uses vintage projectors, multiple screens, live-feed cameras, actors and musicians to create film-inspired performances. To inspire submissions, Manual Cinema created four original just-for-Third Coast mini-movies, each based on a different film genre: Rom-Com, Sci-Fi, Film Noir and Nature Doc.


Here at Third Coast we’ve been saying “Radio is the most visual of mediums” for a looong time. So we decided to put our money where our mouth is, launching a Challenge that invited anyone and everyone to create audio to delight the mind’s eye.

We encouraged ShortDoc-makers to think of their microphone as a camera - use it for close-ups and wide-angle shots, zoom in and out, consider perspective and point-of-view and shadow and light. We also encouraged them to keep cinematic conventions in mind while editing - jump cuts and long fades, flashbacks and chase scenes and meet-cutes, montages and double exposures...


Each ShortDoc had to:

  • be inspired by one of four original Manual Cinema mini-movies
  • be "shot" on two or more locations
  • incorporate one Manual Cinema original musical composition
  • be two to three minutes in length


The ShortDocs came flying in - we had over a hundred submissions from twelve different countries! After marathon listening and much deliberation at Third Coast HQ, we crowned four winners. These included the People’s ShortDoc, voted for by hundreds of listeners in six continents.

Listen to the winners below, check out our Third Coast Picks playlist for a selection of more favorites, or head to our audio library to hear every single submission.

And the show is only just beginning... On November 10th in Chicago, Manual Cinema will be adapting all four winning ShortDocs into a live performance spectacular ! Save the date and watch this space for more info.