The winner of the Brisbane International Film Festival’s (BIFF) new global documentary competition will walk away with US$27,000.

The winner of the new BIFF award will have impressed a jury instructed to reward excellence and to look for work that has “the ability to surprise, entertain, provoke or disturb”.

Richard Moore, head of screen culture at state film agency Screen Queensland, a title that encompasses BIFF director, will be one of the judges.

“BIFF audiences named documentaries as seven of their favourite BIFF films in the 2010 Showtime Top Ten films, with the number one spot going to Phoebe Hart for her Queensland documentary Orchids: My Intersex Adventure,” said the former director of the Melbourne International Film Festival, who moved north to BIFF only last year.

To be eligible, documentaries must have been completed after September 1, 2010, be more than 60 minutes in length and be in English or subtitled in English. Producers must also be able to promise that the BIFF screening will be an Australia premiere.

Documentaries have to be invited to compete for the BIFFDOCS Prize and festival organisers will be scouring the world to find them.

Those same organisers are now accepting submissions — and will be until July 29 — for the general BIFF program, which runs November 3 to 13.

This year is the 20th anniversary BIFF and the second to be held in a new November timeslot. Previously it was held mid-year at around the same time as the Sydney and Melbourne festivals.

The addition of this competition was announced by Queensland Arts Minister Rachel Nolan.