Starting in 2008, the seven documentary festivals in Doc Alliance have nominated seven films for the prestigious Doc Alliance Award.

This annual competition was founded in 2008, intended for first and second feature films of emerging filmmakers. The Doc Alliance chose to emphasise the vitality and originality of these films as potential recipients of the prize with the knowledge that 70 per cent of filmmakers do not follow up on their feature-length debut with a second film firmly in their mind. This competition is therefore an important support system for emerging talents to continue on in their film career, both helping bolster their position as artists seeking financial support for upcoming films and in helping their work reach new audiences at home and abroad.

In 2021, each of the Doc Alliance festivals nominates one feature-length and one short film, both eligible for two respective feature and short prizes. The winner of the Doc Alliance Award is decided by a nominated seven-member jury comprised of critics, film professionals, and other important figures in the film industry.