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 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 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 institute's annual 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 actresses Emma Thompson and Marion Cotillard, as well as Mark Ruffalo, Alfred Molina, Angela Bassett, and the Grammy-winning rock band System Of A Down.

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


January - September 2018.


On rolling basis, and by 30 September 2018.


DOC LA must receive the screening copy of your film 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.

DOC LA accepts online password protected screeners only.

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, or Bluray) 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, 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
  • Alexandra Kellner

    Didn’t get a chance to go but am so honoured to have been selected to screen and to receive and award! It was so easy to communicate and the Festival director was nice and helpful! Thank you again

    February 2018
  • Giovanni Autran

    I had a great experience screening at Doc LA!

    January 2018
  • 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
  • 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
  • David de Rozas

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

    October 2017