LOS ANGELES, CALIF. — The International Social Impact Media Awards (SIMA) opens for submissions for its 11th annual awards (#SIMA2023); calling on impact filmmakers, production companies and creative activists to submit their work that stands out in its creativity, integrity, and merit to inspire social change.

In 2012, SIMA set out to propel and elevate social-impact filmmaking that disrupts the status quo. Celebrating and awarding unparalleled stories that capture crucial perspectives and demonstrate unique potential to transform our world placed SIMA in a league of its own. Fringe from the traditional festival circuit, SIMA quickly, without pause or permission, set the new gold standard in socio-political and social-impact filmmaking.

“Since our inception, we have aimed at setting new industry standards that raise the bar of quality, integrity and diversity. When I created SIMA 11 years ago I had one goal: to celebrate and distribute the kind of social impact filmmaking that amplifies the stories of marginalized communities, challenges oppressive mindsets, and inspires audiences to take a critical eye and stance to systems of injustice. We have witnessed firsthand the influence of storytelling to inspire social change and we have seen change ripple across communities through the very act of experiencing a story and being left with an idea and prospect to be proactive in transforming the status quo. We cannot wait to witness the power of your films.”

— Daniela Kon Lieberberg, Founder & CEO

In just 11 short years, the annual Social Impact Media Awards have redefined and uplifted both the roles of film and filmmaker within the tapestry of systems-change, international development, grassroots and global advocacy. When a film becomes a “SIMA Film,” and bears the coveted SIMA laurel, it—without question, stands apart from the crowd of documentaries saturating its collective ether. Through its dawning, a “SIMA Film,” is universally identified, celebrated, and distributed for its unique power to do more than educate, drive traffic or garner impressions. 

This is what makes a film a “SIMA Film”. Its innate ability to provoke, enlighten and inspire audiences to such heights that change is inevitably bound to follow. 

Much like the art of great documentary filmmaking, change isn’t easy. It requires that we unearth our shadow and sit with it.

These are the films that #SIMA2023 seeks. 

The stories that push the boundaries from what is expected to what is right.

The creators that blur the lines between art and activism.  

The radical voices that unearth the subterranean forces that shape our world. 

The filmmakers who know—above all—if we avert our eyes from society’s shadows, we deny our light in all its power. 

It’s within the space that occupies this delicate dance between light and dark, a “SIMA Film” is born. 


SIMA’s work at the intersection of film and activism has brought an international spotlight to some of the world’s most pressing social issues; including those often overlooked and/or underserved by other exhibition platforms. Throughout its tenure, SIMA has amassed an ever-growing roster of over 2,500 social impact and social justice storytellers—representing the world’s greatest social impact cinema. 313 films have been short-listed; 173 awarded (representing 147 countries and 104 languages); and over 200 films have been distributed and screened across six continents. Furthermore, SIMA stands out in its diversity with over 57% of their submitted filmmakers identifying as female (.74% non binary), another impressive statistic amidst an industry predominantly occupied (~75%) by male-identifying documentary storytellers and producers.

SIMA is seeking Feature and Short Documentaries, Impact Videos, and Production Companies whose body of work demonstrates outstanding achievements in creating impact through diverse formats of visual storytelling. Additionally, this year SIMA has evolved its VR/360 category into Extended Reality (XR) / Interactive, and is calling on trailblazers in this field to submit a wide range of immersive media projects that advance creative storytelling for social good. Such projects include VR / AR / MR / 360, Reporting / Journalism, Installations, Apps/ Websites, Creative Advocacy and Campaigns. 

Submissions will compete for awards, cash prizes, and media features. Selected productions will be invited into SIMA’s sought after year-round distribution programs that bring stories to audiences, communities and classrooms in over 50 countries.

Learn more and submit at no later than October 7, 2022.


Feature Documentaries, Short Documentaries, Extended Reality (XR)/ Interactive, Impact Videos: Innovations and Creative Advocacy and Production Companies.


OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS September 7, 2022

EARLY BIRD DEADLINE September 16, 2022

REGULAR DEADLINE September 30, 2022

LATE / FINAL DEADLINE October 7, 2022


WINNERS ANNOUNCED February 9, 2023


SIMA’s Sponsors are committed to the collaborative effort of honoring the most thought-provoking documentary films of our time. The 11th Annual SIMA Awards are powered by The Foundation for Systemic Change (FSC), Milatido, The Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC), The International Documentary Association (IDA), Double Exposure, WITNESS, Firelight Media, and NONOT


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