Note: DOC NYC 2023 will take place November 8 – 26, 2023. The Festival will be a hybrid event, with in-person screenings and events scheduled in New York City from Nov 8 – 16, and online screenings continuing until Nov 26.
2023 Film Submissions are now open. The Notification Date will be September 30, 2023.
DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival, is an annual event based in Manhattan at the IFC Center and other venues. Voted by MovieMaker magazine as one of the “top five coolest documentary film festivals in the world,” the nineteen-day event 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 festival badges providing rush access to all regular films as well as to DOC NYC PRO panel programming.
“This cinematic bonanza covers everything new and noteworthy in the world of documentary filmmaking.” – The Huffington Post
“DOC NYC has cemented itself as one of our favorite festivals of the cultural calendar.” – Flavorpill
“DOC NYC has become an essential summit for all kinds of documentary filmmaking.” – Wall Street Journal
Launched in 2010, DOC NYC quickly became America’s largest documentary film festival. The festival has hosted hundreds of world premieres over the years including “Making a Murderer,” “Amazing Grace,” “Far From the Tree,” “Dean Martin: King of Cool,” and “Adrienne.” Click here to see 2022 Festival Award Winners.
PREMIERE STATUS REQUIREMENTS:
DOC NYC gives strong programming priority to World or U.S. premieres for feature films, but the minimum status to participate in the festival for both features and shorts is a New York City (5 Boroughs) premiere. The only exceptions to the NYC premiere policy are for films playing in the Short List or Winner’s Circle sections- these do not require any type of premiere status.
DOC NYC has five competition sections:
U.S. Competition – A spectrum of high quality documentaries produced in the U.S. Of the 11 films chosen in 2021, nine were World premieres including “1946: The Mistranslation That Shifted a Culture,” “26.2 to Life” “The 50” “Who is Stan Smith?” and “Loan Wolves.”
International Competition – A spectrum of high quality documentaries produced outside the U.S. Of the 12 films chosen in 2022, all were World or U.S. premieres including “Lazaro and the Shark: Cuba Under the Influence” “Big Fight in Little Chinatown,” “Ithaka,” and “Children of Las Brisas.”
Kaleidoscope Competition – Documentaries that tend toward the poetic and essayistic. Of the 7 films chosen in 2022 six were World or U.S. premieres, including “White Night” and “Mother Lode.”
Metropolis – Established in the festival’s first year (2010), this section focuses on stories and personalities rooted in New York City. Past titles include World premieres of “Roberta”, “End of the Line,” “Mr. Saturday Night,” “Wojnarowicz,” “Moments Like This Never Last,” “Lydia Lunch – The War Is Never Over,” and “Decade of Fire;” and U.S. premieres of “Hold Your Fire,” “The Photography,” “Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco,” “Winter at Westbeth,” and “The Sarnos – A Life in Dirty Pictures.”
Shorts – Selections of nonfiction shorts, organized thematically. Past titles include Seung-jun Yi’s “In the Absence,” Darius Clark Monroe’s “Black 14,” Rishi Chadna’s “Tungrus,” Lydia Cornett’s “Yves & Variation,” Alison Klayman’s “Flower Punk,” and Laura Poitras and Henrik Moltke’s “Project X.
Note: The DOC NYC Short Film Jury Prize Winner 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.
Special Events – High-profile events and guests. Past titles include the World premieres of “Kevin Garnett: Anything is Possible” (featuring the NBA star in person), the new season of IFC TV’s “Documentary Now!” (with Seth Meyers, John Mulaney, Renee Elise Goldsberry, and Richard Kind in person), “City of Joy” (with Eve Ensler and Thandiwe Newton in person), the Bruce Springsteen concert doc “Darkness on the Edge of Town” (with Max Weinberg and 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;” and 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).
In addition, DOC NYC annually presents several thematic strands, which can change from year to year. Among these have been Sonic Cinema on music films; Game Face Cinema covering the sports world; Fight the Power on activist stories; Photography & Film on stories of image making; and Portraits that encompass biographical work.
SHORT LISTS AND WINNER’S CIRCLE
DOC NYC has three sections meant to showcase films previously released within the year that are leading contenders for the Oscars and other awards. For these sections, it does not matter if the film has already screened in New York City or is currently in release.
Submissions for these three sections will open up separately in Spring 2023. To be eligible for these sections, films must have fulfilled Oscar-qualification requirements by the 2023 Academy deadline.
Short List: Features – This section, launched in 2011, curates 15 features and has been a leading predictor of future Oscar nominees and winners.
Short List: Shorts – This section, first launched in 2018, curates 15 shorts and has quickly established a strong track record for anticipating future Oscar nominees.
Winner’s Circle – This section, introduced in 2019, highlights films that have won major festival awards but might fly below the radar of American audiences. Past films shown in Winner’s Circle include “Writing with Fire,” “The Mole Agent,” “Midnight Family,” and “Advocate” that all went on to make the Oscars’ Short List for Documentary Feature.
Submissions for these three sections will open up separately in Spring 2023. To be eligible for these sections, films must have fulfilled Oscar-qualification requirements by the 2023 Academy deadline. For more information about DOC NYC’s Short List and Winner’s Circle program and how to submit your feature for consideration, please visit: filmfreeway.com/DOCNYCShortListsandWinnersCircle.
WORKS-IN-PROGRESS (NOT TO BE COMPLETE UNTIL 2023-2024):
DOC NYC connects filmmakers who have works-in-progress features or series with industry representatives via our Industry Roundtables program (formerly known as Only In New York), part of DOC NYC PRO, the festival’s industry programming component. Filmmakers whose projects are selected for Industry Roundtables participate in meetings with industry representatives. Past participating companies have included Netflix, HBO, A&E IndieFilms, Amazon Studios, Sundance Institute, Showtime, and over 40 others. NOTE: This is NOT a public-facing program; no public screenings of the WIPs are held.
For more information about DOC NYC’s Industry Roundtables program and how to submit your Work-in-Progress feature or series for consideration when entries open in the Summer, please visit: https://www.docnyc.net/industry-roundtables/
ACCESSIBILITY AT THE FESTIVAL
DOC NYC is committed to working with filmmakers to continually improve accessibility for all audiences.
For online exhibition, we strongly encourage all filmmakers to provide their films with closed captioning via VTT file so all home audience members have the option of watching with captions.
For theatrical play, we strongly encourage all filmmakers to submit their films with closed captioning and descriptive audio. We also welcome open caption versions.
DOC NYC accepts submissions via FilmFreeway for both Features and Shorts.
For rules, terms, and eligibility requirements, please visit our FilmFreeway or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Early Deadline: March 1, 2023
Regular Deadline: April 3, 2023
Late Deadline: May 1, 2023
Final Deadline: July 5, 2023
September 29, 2023