40 Under 40

Co-Presented with Topic Studios

DOC NYC’s second annual 40 under 40 initiative for 2019 is closed for nominations. Sign up for our newsletter to see when our newest class is announced

“40 Under 40” celebrates emerging talent in the documentary world, including directors, producers, cinematographers, and editors. This event is co-presented by TOPIC STUDIOS.

Honorees will participate in exclusive networking meetings with key financiers, distributors, broadcasters and industry figures during the festival’s “Only In New York” sessions, co-presented by SHOWTIME® Documentary Films, during DOC NYC PRO at Cinepolis Chelsea. In addition to being highlighted in the festival’s Industry Guide and on its website, the group will also be special guests at a by-invitation celebratory luncheon with industry leaders.

To have qualified for consideration for the 2019 “40 Under 40” class, nominees must have been born in 1980 or later and be based in the U.S. or Canada. Nominees must have had at least one credit in the position of director, producer, cinematographer or editor on a feature-length documentary with national distribution via theaters, television or a digital platform. Veteran filmmakers and industry figures in the documentary field submitted recommendations and the festival’s programming team evaluated nominations to select a list of 40 honorees representing a wide diversity of talent. The list has now been announced!

To see our 2019 class, please click here.


Topic is the entertainment studio (Topic Studios) and storytelling brand (Topic.com) dedicated to supporting creators at the forefront of culture. From Academy Award®-winning films (Spotlight,) to television (Losers), digital (aka Wyatt Cenac, The Loving Generation) and audio (Anthem, Missing Richard Simmons podcast), we explore a wide range of subject matter, both fiction and nonfiction. Recent documentary projects at Topic include: XY Chelsea with Pulse, FOV BFI about the former U.S. Army intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning, premiering on Showtime June 7; 16 SHOTS from Academy Award® nominated director Richard Rowley, about the 2014 shooting of a 17 year-old Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer and the cover-up that ensued, also premiering on Showtime June 14. Kimberly Reed’s Dark Money (POV, 2018) which explores political corruption in Montana and Patrick Bresnan and Ivete Lucas’ Pahokee (Sundance, SWSW 2019) about teenagers coming of age in the Florida Everglades.


DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival, takes place over 8 days in November; the tenth anniversary edition will be held November 6-15, 2019 at New York’s IFC Center, Cinepolis Chelsea, and the SVA Theatre. The 2018 festival showcased over 300 films and events with more than 350 filmmakers and special guests appearing in person. In addition to premiering feature-length and short documentaries, the festival’s highlights also include DOC NYC PRO—a series of in-depth panels and master classes—and the Visionaries Tribute awards ceremony that honors major figures in the field of nonfiction film. DOC NYC is produced by the IFC Center.