Presented by the esteemed Parajanov-Vartanov Institute, DOC LA - Los Angeles Documentary Film Festival - will screen and award outstanding films by students, emerging filmmakers, and established masters of American and World cinema. DOC LA furthers the mission of the annual Parajanov-Vartanov Institute Awards established in 2010.

While the festival’s focus is documentary cinema, we program films of any genre (including animation, experimental, music videos, and fiction) whenever we discover unique or charming work. We are also enthusiastic about unusual, strange and unclassifiable films since the institute that presents the festival is named after the renowned nonconformists Sergei Parajanov (1924-1990) and Mikhail Vartanov (1937-2009), who overcame censorship, persecution and low budgets, and earned praise for their daring point of view from many of cinema’s greatest luminaries, such as Godard, Coppola and Tarkovsky, and inspired the likes of Madonna and Lady Gaga.

The festival’s programmer is their disciple and UCLA alum Martiros Vartanov, who has served as a curator and juror at festivals in Busan and Los Angeles and worked on the restoration of The Color of Pomegranates selected for Festival de Cannes. He also presents the institute's and the festival's annual awards whose recipients include Academy Award ® winning director Martin Scorsese, Werner Herzog, Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Saroyan, French cinema icon Jean Vigo, Oscar ® winning actresses Emma Thompson, Marion Cotillard, Susan Sarandon, Helen Mirren, and Cate Blanchett, as well as Jeff Bridges, Emilio Rivera, Usher, Ice-T, Michael Weatherly, Joe Berlinger, Alfred Molina, William Baldwin, Angela Bassett, Mark Ruffalo, and Grammy-winning rock band System Of A Down.

DOC LA was covered by The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Screen Daily, LA Weekly, LA Times, CBS, FOX, and Deadline Hollywood.

Best Documentary Award
Best Short Documentary Award
Best Mid-Length Documentary Award
Best Student Documentary Award

DOC LA, at its discretion, may award cash prizes and special awards:

Directing Award
Cinematography Award
Screenwriting Award
Editing Award
Composer Award
Producer Award
Animation Award
Audience Award
Music Video Award
Episodic Series Award
Experimental Film Award


On rolling basis and (appx) by September 30.


DOC LA must receive the screening copy of your film within 7 days from notification of acceptance.


Short films: 1-15 min.
Mid length films: 16-39 min.
Features: 40-180 min.

DOC LA accepts online screeners only (ideally, Vimeo, FilmFreeway player, YouTube, etc).

By submitting to Los Angeles Documentary Film Festival (DOC LA) you understand and agree that:

a). you are the creator/owner of the film, or you are authorized by the creator/owner of the film to submit it.

b). you will provide DOC LA Documentary Film Festival with the screening copy of your film (DCP -- or -- Quicktime/ProRes/H264/etc) within 7 days from notification of acceptance. Submission fees are nonrefundable. The festival reserves the right to change any dates, deadlines, terms, format, and venues at its sole discretion.

c). that the festival will not be held liable in case your exhibition materials are lost, stolen or damaged, or for any claims arising from improperly secured rights/permissions for your film.

d). that you have all the necessary rights/permissions for your film.

Overall Rating
  • Marianna Mørkøre

    Fantastic film festival. Very well organized, great communication from start, strong programming and excellent visibility.
    Thanks very much.

    November 2023
  • Thank you Max at DOC LA for having us and choosing our film, 'Blood of Iran' as Best Experimental Short this year! Our team had a wonderful time, at the main screening. Our festival day sold out at a large Regal Theater in downtown LA, which was amazing! Max was great at communicating and making arrangements for all our attendees. The only thing that I think could use improvement is the festival's networking opportunities after the screening and the film pairing. Our film was paired with a feature film that was a really odd match for our short film. Otherwise it was a wonderful opportunity and we were honored to receive the award.

    November 2023
  • Henry Eshelman

    DocLA hosted our LA premiere for FIORETTA, and we could not be happier with the experience. This is a very serious, high-quality festival dedicated to presenting a curated selection of films hand-picked by the festival team -- free of sponsor/distributor influence. DocLA marches to the beat of its own drum, in the spirit of its venerable inspirations of Parajanov and Vartanov, and it shows. It was an honor to screen there for a full house. We're grateful to Max for inviting us, and for for the honors bestowed on the film. --Matthew Mishory, Director, FIORETTA

    November 2023
  • Toddy Eames

    a fantastic experience all around! a wonderful festival with exciting programming and lovely people.

    November 2023
  • Michael Selditch

    Doc LA was a wonderful experience for our entire team. Their staff was hospitable and very communicative. Our screening was well attended and gave our film great exposure in Los Angeles and on social media. I hope to have my next film screen at Doc LA. I highly recommend this festival!

    November 2023