The Community Stories Festival, produced by Docs In Progress, spotlights contemporary and historical documentaries about our people, places, and events of Maryland, Washington DC, and Northern Virginia.

What began in 2010 as a one night showcase of Docs In Progress student work has grown to become a week-long series of public screenings of films by everyone from professional filmmakers to first-time adult and youth filmmakers, sharing stories from our local community. Each year, more than 500 people engage with filmmakers, those who have been filmed, and scholars at screenings, discussions and community workshops.

Past screenings have taken place at the AFI Silver Theatre, the Takoma Park Community Center, the Silver Spring Civic Building, the Sandy Spring Museum, Blackrock Center for the Arts, Story District, and Docs In Progress.

Please see "Rules & Terms" for additional guidelines since ours are rather specific. Submissions which do not meet these guidelines will be automatically disqualified. Submission fees will not be returned if you do not follow the guidelines.

All submissions must be:

* Documentary videos. We cannot accept fiction work, celluloid films, or scripts.

* We ONLY show films about people, places, history, or current events in Greater Washington DC (Washington DC; Maryland; and the Virginia counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William, and Loudoun, or the Virginia cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, and Falls Church). If your film is about some other place, that's nice, but we are not the festival for you.

* In 2019, we are accepting short documentaries, feature documentaries (up to 90 minutes maximum), and documentary works-in-progress (the latter for a feedback screening).

* We prefer films created within the past two years, but will also consider older works.

* Entries must be submitted online through FilmFreeway, Vimeo, or YouTube. We do not accept DVD submissions. If you include a password-protected link, please ensure that the password stays the same through October 31. If our review committee is unable to access a film because the password has been changed, it will not be considered.

* If selected for the festival, we will require you to send us the film as an .MP4 or .mov file.

* Filmmakers must have rights to use all music and images presented in the films or be using under fair use (see http://www.cmsimpact.org/fair-use/best-practices/documentary-filmmakers-statement-best-practices-fair-use#statement).

* At least one of the filmmakers must be able to attend the festival in person since what makes this festival special is the interaction between the audience and the filmmaker. While we accept submissions from filmmakers based outside of our region, this is a community festival with a limited budget, so we cannot cover travel by filmmakers to attend the festival.

* Films with non-English dialogue must be submitted with English subtitles.

* While we show a submission fee to discourage random submissions of fiction films and films which do not meet these guidelines, if your film does meet all of the guidelines, you can qualify for a waiver. Simply use the waiver code CS19 and you are good to go.

* Submissions which do not meet these guidelines will be automatically disqualified. Submission fees will not be returned if you do not follow the guidelines.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Rocky McKoy

    Awesome festival. Great films, great people

    November 2018
    Docs in progress community stories graphic
    Response from festival:

    So enjoyed sharing your film with the community. Thanks for participating.

  • Andrew Shankman

    It was a wonderful festival of local artists. I truly enjoyed their stories and meeting the filmmakers.

    August 2017
    Docs in progress community stories graphic
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Andrew. We really enjoyed sharing your film at the festival.