Submissions are now open for DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival! Our 10th-anniversary edition of DOC NYC will take place on November 7-14, 2019. 2019 entrants will receive their selection decisions by our notification date, September 21.
DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival, is an annual event based in New York City at the West Village’s IFC Center and 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 2018, the festival showcased over 300 films & events, presented by 500 filmmakers and special guests. Past guests include Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Seth Meyers, Wim Wenders, Jean Claude Christo, Michael Moore, Martin Scorsese, Eric Clapton, Whoopi Goldberg, Agnes Varda, Rashida Jones, Peter Sarsgaard, Itzhak Perlman, Steve Madden, Dan Rather, Ethan Hawke, Susan Sarandon, Danny DeVito, Olympia Dukakis, Gale Ann Hurd, Jim Carrey, J Cole, Sarah Polley, Reverend Al Sharpton, Noam Chomsky, Ricki Lake, Michel Gondry, Errol Morris, Oliver Stone, Estelle Parsons, Darrell Hammond, Sonja Sohn, Jakob Dylan, Eve Ensler, Jonathan Franzen, Dick Cavett, Brian Stelter, Omar Epps, Malik Yoba, Sonia Sanchez, Jonathan Lethem, Gilbert Gottfried, Yvonne Rainer, Beau Willimon, Kathleen Hanna, Spandau Ballet, Greil Marcus, Bela Fleck, Mariska Hargitay, Nat Hentoff, Chuck Workman, Frederick Wiseman, Barbara Kopple, Amy Berg, Morgan Neville, Jim Jarmusch, Ronnie Spector, Steve Miller, Steven Van Zandt, Cissy Houston, Betty Harris, Brenda Reid, Tony Alva, Mayor David Dinkins, Billie Jean King, and The Mekons. Audience attendees have included Harry Belafonte, Chris Rock, Michael Fassbender, Lucas Hedges, Alia Shawkat, 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, Kevin Kline, Heather Graham, Emma Watson, Michael Stipe, Martha Stewart, Darren Aronofsky, Maggie Q, Joan Jett, Paul Shaffer, Cornel West, Naomi Watts, Bob Costas, Julian Schnabel, Bill Nye, Michael Musto, Cherry Jones, and The Luna Chicks, 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 “Almost There,” “Naila and the Uprising,” “Cooked: Survival by Zip Code,” “The Kleptocrats,” “The Smartest Kids in the World,” “Mole Man,” “The Lure,” “The Anthropologist,” “The Sunshine Makers,” and “Web;” and U.S. premieres of “The Stranger,” “Silas,” “The Judge,” “The Beekeeper and His Son,” “Girl Unbound: The War to Be Her,” “I Am Sun Mu,” “A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers,” “P.S. Jerusalem,” “The Dark Matter of Love,” 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 “Jay Mysel,” “Decade of Fire,” “Oh, Rick!,” “Miracle on 42nd Street,” “The Iron Triangle,” “Vigilante,” “All the Rage (Saved By Sarno),” “Rikers,” “Woman On Fire,” “Daddy Don’t Go,” “The Lost Arcade,” “Patrolman P,” “Some Kind of Spark,” “More Than the Rainbow,” 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,” Lucy Walker’s “Oh, What A Beautiful City (A City Symphony),” Laura Checkoway’s “Edith+Eddie,” Aaron Schock’s “La Laguna,” Maxim Pozdorovkin’s “Our New President,” 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 sections 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 email@example.com to inquire before submitting.
Special Events – High-profile events and guests. Past titles include the World premieres of Netflix sensation “Making A Murderer,” a preview of IFC TV’s “Documentary Now!” (with Seth Meyers, John Mulaney, Renee Elise Goldsberry, and Richard Kind in person), 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,” “Do I Sound Gay,” “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,” “Thank You For Your Service,” “Kids for Cash,” “A Murder in the Park,” “Sex and Broadcasting,” and screenings of “Hillbilly,” “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 “Afterward,” “New Homeland,” “Lovesick,” “Every Last Child,” U.S. Premieres of “Soufra,” “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, alternative family-focused Modern Family, photo-focused Photography on Film, institutional portraits In the System, and love and romance-oriented True Love.
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 11-14. 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 7-14, 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 docnyc.net.
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 filmsa 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 the 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
• Please Note: We do not accept DVD as a submission format. All entries must be submitted via Filmfreeway.
• 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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, 2019 via e-mail.
• Please keep us informed of any changes regarding your contact information by emailing email@example.com.
• Due to the number of submissions received, DOC NYC, unfortunately, cannot provide feedback on entries.
• For questions regarding submissions, see Festival Description or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Early Deadline: February 15, 2019
Regular Deadline: March 22, 2019
Late Deadline: May 3, 2019
Extended Deadline: July 1, 2019
Only In New York:
Early Deadline: February 15, 2019
Regular Deadline: March 22, 2019
Late Deadline: May 3, 2019
Extended Deadline: August 30, 2019