"The nation’s leading documentary festival." –The Washington Post
"The preeminent U.S. documentary festival." –Screen International
"The premier showcase for documentary film." –The Hollywood Reporter
Now in its 18th year, AFI DOCS will be held June 17-21, 2020, at Washington, DC venues and the historic AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, MD. The five-day program presents the very best of contemporary documentary filmmaking from across the globe, including world and international premieres, and works by master and emerging filmmakers alike. In 2019, AFI DOCS presented 72 films representing 17 countries, and numerous special events to an audience of over 12,000.
Each year, AFI DOCS presents a slate of filmmaker engagement programs to create additional opportunities for documentary filmmakers to enhance both their careers and the impact of their films. The AFI DOCS Forum includes filmmaker-focused panels, presentations and informal meetings, as well as other networking opportunities. The AFI DOCS Impact Lab is a two-day, intensive program for filmmakers with issue-driven documentaries who aim to create broader social and political change. The Lab provides select filmmakers with unique training opportunities in the areas of advocacy, grassroots communications and grasstops engagement.
Since its inception in 2003, the leading documentary storytellers of our day have embraced AFI DOCS as the place for nonfiction films to catalyze a national conversation. The AFI DOCS Advisory Board includes Ken Burns, Davis Guggenheim, Chris Hegedus, Werner Herzog, Rory Kennedy, Barbara Kopple, Spike Lee, Errol Morris, Stanley Nelson, D A Pennebaker and Frederick Wiseman.
Contemporary documentaries from around the world - more than 40 minutes long - that demonstrate a bold commitment to subject matter, excellence in cinematic craft, and innovation in storytelling.
Contemporary documentaries from around the world - 40 minutes in length or less - that demonstrate a bold commitment to subject matter, excellence in cinematic craft, and innovation in storytelling.
AFI DOCS winners have consistently been nominated for Academy Awards®, Emmy Awards® and other major recognitions.
Each year, AFI DOCS audiences select winners for Best Feature and Best Short. In 2019, CHASING THE MOON, directed by Robert Stone, was selected as Best Feature, and ST. LOUIS SUPERMAN, directed by Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan, was selected as Best Short.
Features and shorts are contemporary documentaries from around the world that demonstrate a bold commitment to subject matter, excellence in cinematic craft and innovation in storytelling.
Feature documentaries are 41 minutes or longer.
Shorts are 40 minutes or less, including all credits.
Virtual Reality projects of any length may be submitted.
Feature documentaries must have been completed on or after February 28, 2019.
Features must not be available online as a DVD or digital download/link for purchase. They also must not have been broadcast on television in the United States or screened theatrically in the United States prior to June 22, 2020.
Features must not have screened publicly in Washington, DC prior to June 22, 2020.
Features that have screened in the Washington, DC region (Maryland and Virginia) prior to June 22, 2020, will be eligible to apply. However, feature documentaries that have not screened previously in the region may be given priority.
Short documentaries (40 minutes and under) are eligible to apply regardless of television broadcast history and online availability. However, short documentaries that have not screened previously in the region may be given priority.
Shorts must have been completed on or after February 28, 2019.
If the documentary is in a language other than English, it must be subtitled in English.
Documentaries submitted to previous AFI DOCS festivals will not be accepted, unless the film has undergone significant content changes (60% or more) and meets all other submission requirements. Permission to reapply is required.
Promotional, instructional or industrial films, and raw documentation of performances are not eligible.
The entry fee is nonrefundable.
All film entries selected for the festival grant AFI DOCS the rights to use footage, stills and/or titles and information from the film for promotional purposes.
All films submitted must be free from any legal disputes and the filmmaker must have cleared all rights for music and exhibition.
AFI DOCS reserves the right to change any information contained in this document (including festival dates, venues, events, awards and eligibility requirements) without further notice.
Filmmakers may submit more than one documentary. Each documentary must be accompanied by its own entry form and fee.
Please submit a secure online screener.
All filmmakers will be notified of their status by mid-May 2020 via the submission contact email address. Please keep us informed of any changes regarding your contact information by emailing docsprogramming@AFI.com.
Due to the number of submissions, AFI DOCS cannot provide feedback on any entries.
Questions regarding submissions? E-mail docsprogramming@AFI.com with "ENTRIES" in the subject line.
If your documentary is selected to screen in the festival, you will need to provide the following:
• A DCP by the required deadline. Each filmmaker is responsible for the delivery costs of the DCP, including any applicable customs fees. AFI DOCS will cover the costs of the return shipping after the Festival
• Press kits, trailers, promotional materials and additional screeners for preview
Note: AFI DOCS reserves the right to change any of this information (including festival dates, venues, events, awards and eligibility requirements) without further notice.
TERMS OF ENTRY:
You hereby grant AFI DOCS 2020 (“festival”) all rights necessary to exhibit and promote the submitted film at the 2020 festival. You represent that such exhibition will not violate or infringe upon any rights whatsoever (including copyright, trademark, musical or contract right) of any person or entity. You further represent that you are authorized to submit the submitted film and, if selected, will deliver the DCP to the festival office no later than May 11, 2020. Additionally, you indemnify the festival from any and all claims, demands, losses, costs, damages, and attorney's fee arising out of or in connection with third parties in regards to the screening of said film. Further, you hereby agree that you have read and agree to the General Rules and Regulations for submissions to AFI DOCS 2020.