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 Jeff Bridges, 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
Music Video Award
Experimental Film Award


On rolling basis, and appx by 30 September.


DOC LA must receive the screening copy of your film within 3 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).

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 3 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
  • lucia ferrante

    this is a great festival very well organized in a beautiful location in a magnificent city. docla is a gem for indie filmmakers. thak you Max, well done.

    February 2022
  • David Henry Gerson

    DOC LA is a gem of a festival - that cares deeply about the filmmakers. They screen in the beautiful screening rooms at the historic Raleigh Studios, and work closely with the filmmakers to ensure the screenings are impactful.

    December 2021

    Awesome film festival! Great staff and screening! Really felt immersed and it was beautiful to see the films screened in such an amazing way!!

    November 2021
  • DocLA recognizes both quality technique and, especially in our case, the relevance and the timeliness of the subject matter. As a plus, DocLA offers surprisingly thoughtful attention the filmmakers themselves.

    November 2021
  • allegra pacheco

    Making a first time film is SO DIFFICULT! Max at Doc LA made it all feel like a breeze for the first time. I could not recommend this festival more! Needless to say, epic films, great history and heritage, etc, but I am truly blown away and humbled by their care of us film makers and our experience. I hope to be part of their festival again in the future!

    November 2021