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. 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 (including animation, experimental, and music videos) 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 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

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


On rolling basis, and appx by 30 September 2021.


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 (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 if your film is selected, it cannot be withdrawn for any reason.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
  • Andrew Nethery

    Thank you to DOC LA for including my film in the 2020 selection. I am so grateful for the award of Best Director, truly an honor to have this award for my first feature film. It is already paying off in so many ways for the film and for myself. Can't wait to attend the event in person in 2021.

    May 2021
  • Ari Papargyropoulos

    So grateful to have been part of this festival! They honored my film "Few Hours in Athens" with two awards, best film and best actress. Every single picture I watched over the course of the festival was extraordinary!! To have been included amongst these great filmmakers and celebrities was a great honor. The premiers and screenings took place at the heart of Hollywood!! It was an amazing experience, every movie I'm making from now on, I'm definitely submitting here!

    April 2021

    This festival was very well curated and screened films that had a high narrative quality. The audience was enthusiastic, Max was a very caring host and the whole festival venue felt exclusive and special. We were very happy with our LA premiere. Thank you!

    January 2021
  • corrado caretto

    Doc LA is one of the classiest run festivals out there. They're fair and courteous to their film makers and go out of their way to personalize the experience. From proactive outreach to assistance in filling seats and pairing films by theme, they go out of their way to roll out the red carpet and create an unforgettable event for all those involved. It was a night my team and I will never forget!

    December 2020
  • I was honored to be selected for DOC LA and to receive an award at the festival. Max is a wonderful who believes passionately in all the films they select.

    November 2020