The American Documentary and Animation Film Festival and Film Fund (AmDocs) is one of the largest Docs and Animation only festivals in the United States, located near the media capital of Hollywood in beautiful Palm Springs. This unique event focuses on international films in both the short and feature categories as well as showcasing animation. Recipients of the festival’s qualifying awards will be eligible for consideration in the Documentary Short Film category of the Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules. In conjunction with the festival is the American Documentary Film Fund where U.S. filmmakers compete for start-up or finishing funds in order to complete their film masterpieces. AmDocs, seeing the bigger picture.

For the Film Fund, competing filmmakers can win up to $50,000 in cash and post-production prizes.

Additionally, submitting filmmakers will have the opportunity to join our on-line screening platform, DocsNow+!

New for 2022! $1,000 cash prize offered by Lightbeam distribution platform, focused on uplifting stories from 2-5min.

The festival is open to all categories within the documentary and animation film genres. The film should not be more than 3 years old, though in certain circumstances, a retrospective may be screened and/or a "hidden gem" never seen before by public.

Festival shall screen films digitally and, therefore, you must submit film as a media file in order to be transferred to a Digital Cinema Projection file for screening purposes if you do not already have a DCP file for exhibition. Filmmaker is RESPONSIBLE for the Digital Cinema Projection file. Festival shall do all it can to negotiate discounted rates for filmmaker if they do not have their own DCP file. Filmmaker shall also be required to provide a rendered disc of their film as a blu-ray back-up.

If you are sending a "work-in-progress" please note how long you are from completion and approximately when you are sending completed version. (Please note on completed copy your original reference number provided by FilmFreeway.)

Filmmakers are encouraged to attend festival if their film is invited. They shall receive an "all festival" pass, including films and events. Moreover, housing shall be provided either in resident homes or hotel discounts near theaters.

Any payment by check must be made out to:

American Documentary Film Festival

Please make certain that when submitting you note your tracking number on all relevant materials, i.e., shipping envelope and disc(s). Also, each disc must have the contact information of the submitter. The festival is not responsible for returning submitted materials. We do not dispose of submitted material, it will remain in our festival archives unless instructed otherwise.

Film submissions must not have played at any other festivals within a 70 mile radius of Palm Springs, California.

FILM FUND SUBMISSIONS:
Filmmakers should provide for their works-in-progress for aid in completion funding or works to be begun :
1. Outline of the story/film; 2. An exact Three (3) minute excerpt or promo of said film, even if not started, we require this trailer-teaser; 3. A budget of said film, what has been paid, what is required for the completion funds, i.e., $2,500 for coloring; 4. (for FilmFreeway submission, we only need the three (3) minute trailer teaser via upload- if invited to finals, Budget and Outline as well as disc(s) will have to be sent to AmDocs via hard-copy);
5. If invited, filmmakers must attend the Film Fund's pitch competition in person and take part in said pitch to jury as well as potentially, the live audience in attendance at film festival.
6. If project wins a prize, filmmaker(s) agree to these basic criteria in order to receive prize: 1. "The American Documentary Film Fund" will receive a title card within the credits, either at beginning or end; and, upon completion of the film, it will screen at the soonest American Documentary Film Festival from said completion.

American Documentary Film Fund is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes.
The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations.

The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless American Documentary Film Festival from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.

American Documentary Film Festival is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes. The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations. The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless American Documentary Film Festival from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered. FILM FUND SUBMISSIONS: American Documentary Film Fund is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes. The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations. The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless American Documentary Film Festival from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.

For Lightbeam distribution prize:

Submission Guidelines:
-Films must be short documentaries that shine a light on a person or organization helping others selflessly in order to make the world a better place.
-Films must have a running time between 2-5 minutes and be in English or have English subtitles.
-Films must have all requested clearances including, but not limited to, chain of title, personal and location releases, music licenses and music cue sheet, and closed captions.
-Films must have been completed after January 1, 2019.

Terms & Conditions:
-Filmmaker or Submitting Party must acknowledge that they are the filmmaker or duly authorized by the filmmaker(s) to submit the film for consideration for the cash prize of $1,000.
-Filmmaker/Submitting party retains all intellectual property rights in their submissions, including copyright.
-Filmmaker/Submitting party agrees that their submission is their own original work, does not infringe upon the intellectual property rights of others, and is in compliance with all copyright laws.
-By submitting a film to Lightbeam for consideration, the Filmmaker/Submitting Party represents that he, she, or they have obtained consent from any and all owners, creators, writers, producers, and/or other authorized representatives of the film whose consent is required to submit the film to Lightbeam.
-Filmmakers must consent to all of Lightbeam's Terms & Conditions for the cash prize and distribution.
-Films may have previously appeared in other festivals or competitions.
-Filmmakers may submit multiple films.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Connie Tais

    Honored to have been part of AmDocs! Fantastic selection of films and communication. Thank you to all the organizers.

    May 2021
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    Response from festival:

    Connie, we were honored to have had you be a part of our event. Keep making films!

  • Andrew Bystrom

    It was great to have my film selected to AmDocs. They had an outstanding selection of high quality films that I enjoyed watching. It was fun! They did an excellent job in these trying times.

    April 2021
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    Response from festival:

    We did and will always try to do what is best for our filmmakers- thank you, Andrew!

  • Anna Sokolova

    Amazing Festival! Great individual approach. Teddy Grouya was online 24 hours and always responding no matter of the time difference between countries, opposite continents. We were so happy to be part of this marvellous festival!

    April 2021
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    Response from festival:

    Being filmmakers we understand the importance of communicating with respect and in a timely manner. You produced a great and important film, Anna, keep up the great work!

  • yoo lee

    Very well organized and it was an honor to be part of the festival. Thank you!

    April 2021
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    Response from festival:

    Yoo Lee, you are so talented! We were honored to have your work be a part of our festival.

  • An honor to be selected with my Animated Short: WIENER DOG BLUES: Longfellow in Concert to this terrific festival. Difficult to network in the pandemic - but a joy to be included and there were some amazing documentary and animated films in the festival. Thank you.

    April 2021
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    Response from festival:

    Linda, thank you for creating your work, it was so fun! We hope that in the near future you will be able to come to AmDocs and network in person versus virtually. Keep it up!