Presented by the esteemed Parajanov-Vartanov Institute, DOC LA - Los Angeles Documentary Film Festival - will screen and award outstanding films by students, emerging auteurs, and established masters to give Angelenos an opportunity to see great examples of World and American cinema, and to bring the students and the master filmmakers together to inspire and learn from one another. DOC LA furthers the mission of the annual Parajanov-Vartanov Institute Awards established in 2010.

While the festival’s focus is documentary cinema, we will program films of any genre and length whenever we discover unique or charming work. We are also enthusiastic about unusual, strange and unclassifiable films since the festival presenting institute 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.

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 Beverly Hills and worked on the restoration of the 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, Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Saroyan, French cinema icon Jean Vigo, Oscar ® winning actresses Emma Thompson, Marion Cotillard, Susan Sarandon and Cate Blanchett, as well as Usher, Emilio Rivera, Ice-T, Billy Baldwin, Alfred Molina, Angela Bassett, Mark Ruffalo, and the Grammy-winning rock band System Of A Down.

Best Documentary Award
Best Short Documentary Award
Best Student Documentary Award (Gold, Silver, Bronze)

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
Experimental Award


January - October 2020.


On rolling basis, and appx between 30 September and October 31, 2020.


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


Short films: 1-39 min.
Features: 40-180 min.
LA area film/makers: any length.

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

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

a). if your film is selected, it cannot be withdrawn for any reason.

b). that you will provide DOC LA with the screening copy of your film (MOV/Quicktime file, or DCP) within 7 days from notification of acceptance. 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
  • Zachary Capp

    Max and his team put on an exceptional film festival and treat the filmmakers like royalty from the moment you’re accepted. Easily one of the best documentary film festivals in America and I look forward to submitting future works for consideration.

    November 2019
  • John Duarte

    Great experience at DOC LA.

    November 2019
  • Peter Goltenboth

    We had a wonderful night at Doc LA. Our film was shown together with two exceptional short films that had a similar topic.
    The organizers were lovely and helpful all along and we're grateful for the experience.

    October 2019
  • Jonty Fine

    DOC LA was an absolute wonderful experience. The communication and consideration for the work and filmmakers was above an beyond

    October 2019
  • Miranda Kahn

    I had a great time at doc LA and Max was very attentive and made it a wonderful experience!

    October 2019