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POV Hackathon

Hackathon FAQ

Updated November 10, 2014


Where's the application form? It's here. This is the correct form for future POV Hackathons. If you are applying as a filmmaker, artist, journalist, etc., enter your information in the "media maker" section. If you are applying as a web developer, web designer, etc., enter your information in the "technologist" section.

What's the deadline to apply? POV Hackathon 7 is over. We accept applications for future POV Hackathons on a rolling basis.

Is there a submission fee? No.

Do you accept fiction projects? If they are purely fiction, then no. If they combine fiction elements with nonfiction storytelling, then yes.

I'm from outside the United States. Can I still apply? Yes, but note that POV does not pay expenses for travel or accommodations. All projects are judged on their merits, not the location of the applicant.

I'm proposing a project. What stage should it be at? Any stage. You must have a vision for how your project could use digital media and a proposal for what you hope to complete over the course of a weekend. See the application form for media makers for a full list of questions.

My film isn't in production yet. Do I qualify? Projects at the proposal stage are eligible to apply. Your application will be judged on the strength of your idea and your ability to execute it over a weekend.

Do I need to have a team in place before I apply? No. Most applicants apply as individuals and we find matches among the applicants. But media makers can apply together, and technologists can apply together.

I already have a team in place. Can we apply together? Yes. Everyone on the team should complete a submission form and name the other people or project so we can connect the submission forms. Note that we have a limit of two media makers per team and two technologists per team.

Can I build on open-source tools? Yes.

Will my project be considered in some specific section or category of the lab? No, all projects are considered on their own merits and there are no categories or quotas for types of projects.

My last project was rejected, but I have a new project. Should I apply again with the same project? Probably. Submitting your project is free, so why not apply with the old one (after reviewing our submission tips) in addition to the new one? Let us know how your project has progressed since the last POV Hackathon.

I already have a prototype. Should I share it in my application? Yes.

I already have some video. Should I share it in my application? Yes.

I'm going to miss the application deadline. Can I have an extension? We grant extensions on a case-by-case basis. If you need an extension, email Don't ask for an extension on or after the deadline — you will not receive one. If you apply after the deadline, we will consider you for the next POV Hackathon.

I missed the deadline. How can I apply for the next POV Hackathon? POV Hackathon 8 dates have not been announced, but we are accepting applications at

I can't apply to the next POV Hackathon. Will there be future POV Hackathons? We expect to oversee more labs in the future, but the dates of future hackathons have not been set. Please subscribe to our blog or newsletter for announcements about our open calls and funding initiatives.

Is this a competition? Do I win something? Teams compete against the clock, not against each other, but an award is given by participants ("The Participants' Choice Award").

How many people can participate in POV Hackathon from my team? We have a limit of two media makers per team and two technologists per team. Additional members beyond those explicitly accepted must be approved by POV before the start of POV Hackathon. We do this to ensure that all team members are active participants and play a vital role in the creation of the prototype.

Will the projects be shown to the public? Yes. Participants will be screening projects for an audience at the end of the hackathon. Projects will be archived for anyone to explore online after the event has concluded.

Note: There are more application tips for media makers here.


Can I volunteer for the POV Hackathon? Yes, but volunteer spots are more competitive than the hackathon! Email to find out how you can help.


What's the exact schedule for the weekend?

Expect to be busy from the Saturday morning through Sunday evening. Hacking concludes on Sunday afternoon, but there will be a screening on Sunday evening, followed by a reception.

Here is the tentative schedule:

9:30am-10:00am - Check In & Orientation
10:00am-10:30am - Strategy Session
10:30am-5:30pm - Hacking!
4:30pm-5:30pm - Tech-Check (Reserved Slots)
5:30pm-7:30pm - Show & Tell of Works in Progress
7:30pm-dawn - Hacking!

10:00am-10:30am - Check In & Orientation
10:30am-10:45am - Strategy Session
10:45-5:30pm - Hacking!
4:30pm-5:30pm - Tech-Check (Reserved Slots)
6:00pm-7:00pm - Break and Preparation for Screening
7:00pm-11:00pm - Public Screening & Reception

What should I bring? Bring whatever gear and media you'll need to hack with. Laptops with production software, thumb drives and other external storage. For filmmakers especially, bring an extra laptop in case you need to process media files. Bring extra drives fully loaded so you don't need to ever wait in case one team member is transferring files. We'll have wifi, but bring your mifi (if you have one) as a backup. Bring headphones and splitters, because you'll be working in a shared space. We'll plan to run demos from a single Mac that is connected to the web, but if you have video adapters, please bring them in case we have to connect your device to our projector. Bring anything else you can think of: phones, chargers, surge protectors, extension cords, mouse pads, pens, paper, business cards...

What should I prepare? In talking with your team, you'll decide what assets you need to prepare (i.e., video, audio, text, etc.) and what development environments you'll need to set up. You may want to share a dropbox folder, or set up a URL or FTP ahead of time, and possibly register a domain. But plan this with your team.

How do you recommend we compress video for the HTML5 video tag? We've created a blog post, "Simplifying HTML5 Video Compression," just for this purpose. Please take a look at our tips, tricks and resources for compression settings there.

Will my travel and hotel expenses be paid? No. Participants are expected to cover their own costs for transportation and accommodations. If you need a hotel as a visitor or participant, visit for suggestions.

Will we be fed? We'll have meals, snacks and coffee for participants during the scheduled hacking, and some additional catering for Sunday night's screening and reception. There will be a variety of options, but let us know if you have dietary restrictions that we can help you work around.

Will I meet my team members before the event? Possibly. Teams will participate in a pre-Hackathon orientation session, which be held online if members aren't able to meet at the same location. And don't forget to share your contact information (i.e., email and phone number) as soon as you're connected.

Do I have to work non-stop? No. It's wise for teams to decide a work schedule ahead of time.

Will there be journalists present? We expecting journalists to attend at different points over the weekend, but we'll do our best to let you know so your work is not interrupted. Because of the photo and video recording that might happen, we'll have release forms for you to sign when you check in.

Who owns the prototype we make? This is ultimately a question for your team. Filmmakers should be able to take the prototype away, potentially be able to build on it and share it appropriately (perhaps to funders), while developers should be able to continue working on the code independently or share it with the open-source community. POV isn't taking ownership of your projects, but we do need to be able to share some form of it with the public via our blog and website. Projects MUST be frozen at the end of the hackathon and shared with POV. You can see how we shared the prototypes from POV Hackathon 1, POV Hackathon 2, POV Hackathon 3, POV Hackathon 4, POV Hackathon 5, POV Hackathon 6 and POV Hackathon 7.

Final Screening

What's the format of the final screening? Each team will have 15 minutes in total for their demo/screening/pitch: 10 minutes of this is allocated to showing their POV Hackathon prototype, 5 minutes of questions will follow from the judges and the audience.

Will I be able to test my presentation before the final screening? Yes! There will be a Saturday night work-in-progress screening as a first chance to test. On Sunday afternoon, as soon as you have something projectable, test it! There will also be reserved tech-check slots on Saturday afternoon and in the last hour of hacking for final tests. Test it early, test it often. Bring any adapters you think you'll need for projection.

Can my friends/family/colleagues come to the final screening? Seating is limited, so they will have to RSVP as soon as possible! If people say they're with your team that won't be enough to get them in the door. More information for RSVPing is online at

Who will be in attendance at the final screening? The final screening is public, although seats are limited. Expect a mixture of friends, documentary fans, and other industry professionals.

Will there be awards given? Yes. One award will be given by participants (The Participants' Choice Award).

Subscribe to our blog or newsletter to find out when tickets become available.


What's the hashtag? #povhackathon. Use it on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.

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