Docs In Progress is a nonprofit organization focused on building community through documentary film. We are proud to be based in a vibrant, diverse , and historic community. Since 2010, we have showcased short documentaries about people and places in our local community made by our adult education and youth camp students. Since 2015, we have expanded the Festival to include more documentaries about local topics by other filmmakers.

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; the Maryland counties of Montgomery, Prince George's, Frederick, and Howard; 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.

* Films must be shorts (which we define as a work which is 30 minutes or shorter).

* Films must be completed. If you have a work-in-progress, it is a better fit for our regular work-in-progress screenings (see

* 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

* 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 CS18 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
  • Rocky McKoy

    Awesome festival. Great films, great people

    November 2018
  • 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.