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, especially those that our city’s other important festivals overlook. We want Angelinos to have 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.

DOC LA doesn’t require a Los Angeles premiere for short films, but we prefer it for features. And, although the festival’s focus is documentary and short cinema, we will program films of any genre and length whenever we discover unique or charming work. We are also enthusiastic about 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 some of cinema’s greatest luminaries.

The festival’s programmer is their disciple and UCLA alumnus 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 annual Parajanov-Vartanov Institute Awards which have honored such icons as the Academy Award ® winning director Martin Scorsese, Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Saroyan, French cinema icon Jean Vigo, Oscar ® winning actress Emma Thompson, and the Grammy-winning rock band System Of A Down.

Awards & Prizes

Best Documentary Award
Best Short Documentary Award
Best Student Film 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
Experimental Award
Audience Award
Student Award - Silver
Student Award - Bronze

Rules & Terms


January - August 2018 (or September 2018 with a waiver).


On rolling basis, and by 30 September 2018.

Selected films:

DCP+Bluray or Bluray+.MOV file must be delivered to DOC LA within 14 days from notification of acceptance.


Student films: any length.
Short films: 1 to 15 min.
Medium length: 16-39 min.
Features: 40 min and up.

We accept online password protected screeners only.

Selected films must be delivered on DCP and Bluray (or Bluray and .MOV file) to DOC LA within 14 days from notification of acceptance.

The filmmaker assumes the cost of the shipping to the festival. The backup Bluray will not be returned.

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; the film hasn’t been and will not be available online or as a rental until the conclusion of our festival; the film will not be screened in the Los Angeles and neighboring areas prior to DOC LA in case of features (short films don’t need to be LA premieres, but if DOC LA selects your short film before other festivals in Los Angeles area, you agree to show your film at DOC LA first).

b). that you will ensure the delivery of your film’s DCP+Bluray or Bluray+.MOV file to DOC LA within 14 days from notification of acceptance. The festival reserves the right to change any dates, deadlines, terms, and venues at its sole discretion.

c). that the festival will not be held liable in case your exhibition materials are lost 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.

8 Reviews

Overall Rating
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    Sean McCoy

    I was honored to be included in the exceptional 2016 Doc LA program. Our film had an enthusiastic pubic response and was an overall rewarding festival experience. It’s been exciting to watch the festival evolve and hope to be a part of future Doc LA programs.

    November 2017
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    Caroline Hurwitz

    Professional, courteous and overall enjoyable to coordinate with. A wonderful hub for stellar documentary filmmakers, we are thrilled to have been included and awarded.

    November 2017
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    David de Rozas

    An excellent festival for documentary filmmakers. Honored to be part of this year selection. Highly recommended!

    October 2017
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    Shaana Levy

    Our experience with DOC LA has been fantastic! They were extremely welcoming, kind and hospitable. Communication was stellar! We feel honored to have been a part of this important Festival in the heart of the entertainment industry

    October 2017
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    fabrice sopoglian

    Truly grateful and honored to have been in competition with such talented filmmakers Marion Cotillard, Joe Berlinger, Michael Weatherly and creative minds at the Doc LA Fest.
    We were dreaming and hoping to get one award and we left with 2! Thank you Doc LA Fest!

    October 2017