Submissions are closed for DOC NYC 2018. Submissions for DOC NYC 2019 will open in January 2019.

Only In New York/Pitch Perfect submissions are open until August 31, 2018. See below for more information.

2018 entrants will receive their selection decisions by our notification date, September 21. The 9th edition of DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival, will take place November 8-15, 2018.

DOC NYC is an annual event based in New York City at the West Village’s IFC Center, Chelsea’s SVA Theatre and Cinépolis Chelsea. Voted by MovieMaker magazine as one of the “top five coolest documentary film festivals in the world”, the eight-day fest showcases new achievements in documentary film along with panels and conversations with acclaimed filmmakers and industry professionals. DOC NYC seeks to make connections that happen “only in New York.”

Within its first five years, DOC NYC quickly became America’s largest documentary film festival. In 2017, the festival showcased 237 films & events, presented by 300 filmmakers and special guests. Past guests have included Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Michael Moore, Martin Scorsese, Eric Clapton, Whoopi Goldberg, Agnes Varda, Peter Sarsgaard, Itzhak Perlman, Steve Madden, Dan Rather, Ethan Hawke, Susan Sarandon, Danny DeVito, Jim Carrey, Sarah Polley, Reverend Al Sharpton, Noam Chomsky, Michel Gondry, Errol Morris, Oliver Stone, Sonja Sohn, Eve Ensler, Jonathan Franzen, Dick Cavett, Brian Stelter, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Moyers, Omar Epps, Malik Yoba, Sonia Sanchez, Jonathan Lethem, Gilbert Gottfried, Yvonne Rainer, Beau Willimon, Kathleen Hanna, Greil Marcus, Bela Fleck, Mariska Hargitay, Nat Hentoff, Chuck Workman, Frederick Wiseman, Barbara Kopple, Amy Berg, Morgan Neville, Jim Jarmusch, Ronnie Spector, Cissy Houston, Tony Alva, Mayor David Dinkins, Bill Nye, and Billie Jean King. Audience attendees have included Harry Belafonte, Michael Fassbender, Carolina Herrera, Valentino, Griffin Dunne, Isaac Mizrahi, Michael Kors, Padma Lakshmi, Mary Louise Parker, Hamish Bowles, Gina Gershon, Rosario Dawson, Fred Armisen, Sandra Bernhard, Marisa Tomei, Thandie Newton, Emma Watson, Michael Stipe, Martha Stewart, Darren Aronofsky, Maggie Q, Joan Jett, Paul Shaffer, Cornel West, Naomi Watts, Bob Costas, Julian Schnabel, Michael Musto, and Cherry Jones, among others.


Viewfinders – A competition section that covers nonfiction perspectives from around the world. Eligibility requires a minimum New York City premiere with preference given to World or U.S. premieres. Past titles include World premieres of “Naila and the Uprising,” “Mole Man,” “Almost There,” “The Anthropologist,” and “The Sunshine Makers;” and U.S. premieres of “The Stranger,” “Silas,” “Girl Unbound: The War to Be Her,” “P.S. Jerusalem,” and “The Wound and the Gift.”

Metropolis – A competition section of documentaries about New York City or New Yorkers. Eligibility requires a minimum New York City premiere with preference given to World or U.S. premieres. Past titles include World premieres of “Oh, Rick!,” “The Iron Triangle,” “All the Rage (Saved By Sarno),” “The Lost Arcade,” and “To Be Heard;” and U.S. premieres of “Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco,” “Winter at Westbeth,” “Homme Less,” “The Sarnos – A Life in Dirty Pictures,” and “Rubble Kings.”

Shorts Programs – Selections of nonfiction shorts, organized thematically. Past titles include Laura Poitras and Henrik Moltke’s “Project X,” Kate Davis’ “Traffic Stop,” Thomas Lennon’s “Knife Skills,” Laura Checkoway’s “Edith+Eddie,” Aaron Schock’s “La Laguna,” Jon Alpert’s “Mariela Castro’s March: Cuba’s LGBT Revolution,” Irene Taylor Brodsky’s “Open Your Eyes,” Alison Klayman’s “The 100 Years Show,” Doug Block’s “The Children Next Door,” and Lucy Walker’s “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom.”

**The winning short film qualifies in the Documentary Short Subject category of the Annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules.**


Remaining festival section are all feature-length and require New York City premieres at a minimum, with a preference for World or U.S. premieres. Note: Exceptions may occasionally be made to consider films which have already screened in NYC – contact to inquire.

Special Events – High-profile events and guests. Past titles include the World premieres of Netflix sensation “Making A Murderer,” the Netflix docuseries “Captive” (with executive producer Doug Liman in person), “Far From the Tree” (with Andrew Solomon in person), “City of Joy” (with Eve Ensler in person), Springsteen doc “The Ties That Bind” (with Thom Zimny in person), “Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?” (with Noam Chomsky and Michel Gondry in person), Amy Berg’s “An Open Secret;” U.S. premieres of “Finding Vivian Maier,” “The Yes Men Are Revolting,” “Sing Me The Songs That Say I Love You” (with Rufus Wainwright in person), “Charlotte Rampling: The Look” (with Charlotte Rampling in person), and others.

American Perspectives – Past titles include World Premieres of “Maynard,” “Father’s Kingdom,” “Kids for Cash,” “A Murder in the Park,” “Sex and Broadcasting,” and screenings of “12th and Clairmount,” “Above and Below,” “Only The Young,” “Code of the West,” “Brooklyn Boheme,” and others.

International Perspectives – Past titles include World Premieres of “Lovesick,” and “Every Last Child;” U.S. Premieres of “Soufra,” and “A Better Man;” and screenings of “Ask the Sexpert,” “Sacred,” “Those Who Jump,” “Bolshoi Babylon,” “The Babushkas of Chernobyl,” and “Oma and Bella.”

DOC NYC annually presents several thematic strands, which may change from year to year. Among these have been the current affairs-oriented New World Order, science/technology-based Science Nonfiction, sports-themed Jock Docs, music-focused Sonic Cinema, films-on-films Behind the Scenes, investigative True Crime, arts-focused Art & Design, performance-based Centerstage, activism-oriented Fight the Power, animal-themed Wild Life, and alternative family-focused Modern Family.


Only in New York (Works-in-Progress Features or Webseries) – Only in New York is an opportunity for filmmakers with works-in-progress (either features or series) to have intimate roundtable meetings with industry figures from the fields of distribution, financing, festival programming, and more. Only in New York is part of DOC NYC PRO, the festival’s industry programming component, and aims to curate the most promising documentaries of the future for industry consideration. Last year, participating companies included HBO, A&E IndieFilms, Amazon Studios, Sundance Institute, and over 40 others.

Filmmakers whose projects are selected for Only in New York will be able to participate in meetings over four days, November 12-15. Projects will also be featured on the DOC NYC website. Between 20 to 30 works-in-progress will be selected.

Submissions are open to nonfiction works-in-progress features or series proposals in any genre or style. Works-in-progress must be on track to be completed within 1-2 years, with at least 50% of their budget already in place. Filmmakers must submit a 2-5 minute video work sample, one-page description, and simple budget. Note: Only In New York is NOT for films that are nearly finished but finalizing post-production. Any soon-to-be-completed films intended to make their public screening debut at DOC NYC should be submitted as Features or Shorts. Works selected to participate in Only in New York do NOT screen publicly.

Projects will be selected based on their artistic merit, ability to engage an audience, and potential for success in the marketplace. Projects that are selected may have up to two representatives participate in Only in New York.

If selected for Only in New York, each participant will need to purchase a DOC NYC Pro badge, which will be offered at a significantly reduced rate, and provides entry to all DOC NYC Pro events for the entire festival of November 8-15, a robust program of daily panels and workshops, as well as networking events.

Additionally, projects chosen for Only in New York automatically will be considered for potential participation in Pitch Perfect, a pitching event that provides a nurturing environment for filmmakers to present works-in-progress to influential industry figures.

Filmmakers whose projects are selected for Pitch Perfect will be given 10 minutes to pitch, including trailer or clip, and 15-20 minutes of feedback from an industry panel. In addition to putting filmmakers in front of funders, Pitch Perfect seeks to connect projects to mentors such as producers, post production supervisors, sales agents, publicists, outreach coordinators, marketing directors, and others to strengthen the film’s potential in the marketplace.

Only in New York applicants who are not accepted will also be provided a discount on select DOC NYC Passes, to be determined.

Awards & Prizes:

DOC NYC annually presents awards for the Viewfinders, Metropolis, Shorts, and Pitch Perfect sections, as well as an Audience Award, with award details to be announced on

Rules & Terms:

• Previously submitted documentaries will not be accepted, unless the film has undergone significant content changes (60% or more) and meets all other submission requirements.
• Feature documentaries are forty one (41) minutes or longer. Shorts are forty (40) minutes or shorter, including all credits.
• If the documentary is in a language other than English, it must be subtitled or dubbed in English.
• Promotional, instructional, industrial films, or raw documentation of performances are not eligible.
• At this time, DOC NYC does not have a VR category.
• Generally, DOC NYC preferences newer films for inclusion. For the 2018 edition, we are ideally seeking films which are making their public premiere within calendar year 2018, or, barring that, had their world premiere no earlier than September 2017.
• To be eligible for inclusion, Features must not have screened publicly in NYC prior to the Festival, nor have been broadcast on US television or online before the festival, nor commercially released on DVD/Blu-ray, VOD, or for download to the public.
• For non-competition Feature sections, exceptions may occasionally be made to consider films which have already screened in NYC – contact to inquire before submitting.
• While a NYC premiere is not a firm requirement for Shorts, preference is given to films that have not yet screened in the five boroughs of New York City.
• DOC NYC will consider Shorts that have had an online presence, though our preference is to spotlight work that has not already reached a large audience.
• DOC NYC strongly prefers Vimeo links over FilmFreeway’s video uploads.
• If you change your Vimeo link, or the password connected to it, make sure to email the updated information to
• Please Note: We do not accept DVD as a submission format. All entries must be submitted by link.
• Filmmakers may submit more than one documentary, but each documentary must be accompanied by its own Entry Form and Entry Fee.
• The Entry Fee is non-refundable.
• If submitting to Only In New York, you should provide a link to your sample footage via FilmFreeway and also upload your simple budget and one-page project description. If you have any problems doing so, email with those documents attached.
• Submitted materials will not be returned. Please do not send film prints, master tapes, or other originals.
• All entrants will be notified of their status on or around September 21, 2018 via e-mail.
• Please keep us informed of any changes regarding your contact information by emailing
• Due to the number of submissions received, DOC NYC unfortunately cannot provide feedback on entries.
• For questions regarding submissions, see Festival Description or email
Earlybird Deadline: February 16, 2018
Regular Deadline: March 23, 2018
Late Deadline: May 18, 2018
Extended Deadline (Features and Shorts): July 16, 2018
Extended Deadline (Only In New York): August 31, 2018


DOC NYC accepts submissions via FilmFreeway or Withoutabox.

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