Submissions are now open for DOC NYC! The 11th edition will take place on November 11-19, 2020. 2020 entrants will receive their selection decisions by our notification date, September 30.
DOC NYC, New York’s documentary festival, is an annual event based in Manhattan at the IFC Center, SVA Theatre, and Cinépolis Chelsea. Voted by MovieMaker magazine as one of the “top five coolest documentary film festivals in the world”, the nine-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.” Filmmakers whose projects are selected to screen at DOC NYC will receive badges providing rush access to all regular films as well as to DOC NYC PRO panel programming for the duration of the nine-day festival.
Launched in 2010, DOC NYC quickly became America’s largest documentary film festival. In 2019, the festival showcased over 300 films & events, presented by 500 filmmakers and special guests. Past guests include Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Martin Scorsese, Seth Meyers, Agnes Varda, Wim Wenders, Jean Claude Christo, Michael Apted, Michael Moore, Eric Clapton, Whoopi Goldberg, 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, Darrell Hammond, Sonja Sohn, Jakob Dylan, Eve Ensler, Jonathan Franzen, Dick Cavett, Brian Stelter, Omar Epps, 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, Jim Jarmusch, Ronnie Spector, Steve Miller, Steven Van Zandt, Cissy Houston, Betty Harris, Tony Alva, Mayor David Dinkins, Billie Jean King, and The Mekons.
2019 grand jury prizes winners included “City Dream,” “Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back,” and “Bob of the Park,” with the audience award presented to “I Am Not Alone,” the DOC NYC PRO Pitch Perfect Award going to “After Sherman,” and the Kanopy DOC NYC U Award Winner going to “Kostya.”
The inaugural Short List Awards included recognition for “The Edge of Democracy,” “American Factory,” “Apollo 11,” “The Elephant Queen,” and “Stay Close.”
Viewfinders – A competition section recognizing distinct 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,” and “The Kleptocrats;” and U.S. premieres of “City Dream,” “Sing Me a Song,” “Symphony of the Ursus Factory,” and “The Judge.”
Metropolis – A competition section focusing on 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 “Lydia Lunch – The War Is Never Over,” “i’m gonna make you love me,” “Jay Myself,” and “Decade of Fire;” and U.S. premieres of “Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco,” “Winter at Westbeth,” “Homme Less,” and “The Sarnos – A Life in Dirty Pictures.”
Shorts Programs** – Selections of nonfiction shorts, organized thematically. Past titles include Alison Klayman’s “Flower Punk,” Laura Poitras and Henrik Moltke’s “Project X,” Kate Davis’ “Traffic Stop,” Thomas Lennon’s “Knife Skills,” Laura Checkoway’s “Edith+Eddie,” Irene Taylor Brodsky’s “Open Your Eyes,” 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 very rarely be made to consider films which have already screened in NYC – contact firstname.lastname@example.org 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), “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), and Amy Berg’s “An Open Secret;” U.S. premieres of “Finding Vivian Maier,” “Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band” (with Robbie Robertson in person), “Sing Me The Songs That Say I Love You” (with Rufus Wainwright in person), and “Charlotte Rampling: The Look” (with Charlotte Rampling in person).
American Perspectives – Past titles include the World premieres of “Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope,” “Maynard,” “A Murder in the Park,” and “Sex and Broadcasting;” as well as screenings of “Scandalous,” “12th and Clairmount,” “Above and Below,” and “Only The Young.”
International Perspectives – Past titles include the World premieres of “Ganden: A Joyful Land,” “Afterward,” “New Homeland,” and “Lovesick;” North American or U.S. premieres of “School of Seduction,” “Golda,” “Kosher Beach,” and “Soufra;” and screenings of “Red Penguins,” “In My Blood It Runs,” “Ask the Sexpert,” and “Sacred.”
In addition, DOC NYC annually presents several thematic strands, which often change from year to year. Among these have been Masters, focusing on new work from acclaimed documentarians; environmentally-themed Green Screens; 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; arts-focused Art & Design; performance-based Centerstage; activism-oriented Fight the Power; animal-themed Wild Life; photo-focused Photography on Film; institutional portraits In the System; and love and romance-oriented True Love.
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 (subtitling is preferred).
• 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 2020 edition, we are ideally seeking films which are making their public premiere within calendar year 2020, or, barring that, had their world premiere no earlier than September 2019.
• 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 very occasionally be made to consider films which have already screened in NYC in certain cases – contact email@example.com to inquire BEFORE submitting.
• While a NYC premiere is not a firm requirement for Shorts, strong preference is given to short 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.
• All submissions MUST be made via FilmFreeway. We do not accept submissions made by email.
• When submitting your video, DOC NYC prefers that you link your film from Vimeo to your FilmFreeway project rather than upload your video directly to FilmFreeway.
• If you change your Vimeo link, or the password connected to it, make sure to email the updated information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Please Note: We do NOT accept DVD as a submission format. All entries must be submitted by link connected through your FilmFreeway entry.
• 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.
• Submitted materials will not be returned. Please do not send film prints, master tapes, or other originals.
• While you may update your submitted video link with a revised cut of your film, please note that we generally are only able to view one cut of a submission. If your update takes place after we have already reviewed the previous cut of your film, we cannot guarantee that we will watch the revised cut.
• All entrants will be notified of their status on or around September 30, 2020 via email.
• 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.
• Unless your film is officially selected for inclusion in the festival, DOC NYC’s name or logo may not be used in any of your film’s marketing and/or promotional materials.
• Filmmakers cannot submit Features to specific competitive or thematic sections. The DOC NYC programming team determines section placement after film selections have been made.
• For questions regarding submissions, see Festival Description or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Early Deadline: February 21, 2020
Regular Deadline: March 20, 2020
Late Deadline: May 1, 2020
Extended Deadline: July 1, 2020