Note: DOC NYC 2021 will take place November 10-18, 2021. We are planning an in-person event, but may offer an online component or a hybrid model based on public health guidelines. We will announce updates as we have them via our website:


DOC NYC, New York's documentary festival, is an annual event based in Manhattan at the IFC Center, SVA Theatre, and Cinépolis Chelsea. Voted by MovieMaker magazine as one of the "top five coolest documentary film festivals in the world", the nine-day event showcases new achievements in documentary film along with panels and conversations with acclaimed filmmakers and industry professionals. DOC NYC seeks to make connections that happen “only in New York.” Filmmakers whose projects are selected to screen at DOC NYC will receive badges providing rush access to all regular films as well as to DOC NYC PRO panel programming.

"This cinematic bonanza covers everything new and noteworthy in the world of documentary filmmaking.” - The Huffington Post

“DOC NYC has cemented itself as one of our favorite festivals of the cultural calendar." – Flavorpill

“DOC NYC has become an essential summit for all kinds of documentary filmmaking.” – Wall Street Journal

“An essential event on the cinephile's calendar.” - Time Out New York

“The most comprehensive celebration of the nonfiction form in the five boroughs or anywhere else for that matter.” - AM New York

Launched in 2010, DOC NYC quickly became America's largest documentary film festival. In 2019, the festival showcased over 300 films and events, presented by 500 filmmakers and special guests in person. In 2020, when many festivals cancelled or contracted, DOC NYC served as an online showcase for over 200 films, and presented virtual panel programming throughout the year. Past festival guests include Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Martin Scorsese, Seth Meyers, Agnes Varda, Wim Wenders, Jean Claude Christo, Michael Apted, Michael Moore, Eric Clapton, Whoopi Goldberg, Rashida Jones, Peter Sarsgaard, Itzhak Perlman, Steve Madden, Dan Rather, Ethan Hawke, Susan Sarandon, Danny DeVito, Olympia Dukakis, Gale Ann Hurd, Jim Carrey, J Cole, Sarah Polley, Reverend Al Sharpton, Noam Chomsky, Ricki Lake, Michel Gondry, Errol Morris, Oliver Stone, Darrell Hammond, Sonja Sohn, Jakob Dylan, Eve Ensler, Jonathan Franzen, Dick Cavett, Brian Stelter, Omar Epps, Sonia Sanchez, Jonathan Lethem, Gilbert Gottfried, Yvonne Rainer, Beau Willimon, Kathleen Hanna, Spandau Ballet, Greil Marcus, Bela Fleck, Mariska Hargitay, Nat Hentoff, Chuck Workman, Frederick Wiseman, Barbara Kopple, Jim Jarmusch, Ronnie Spector, Steve Miller, Steven Van Zandt, Cissy Houston, Betty Harris, Tony Alva, Mayor David Dinkins, Billie Jean King, and The Mekons.

2020 grand jury prizes winners included “Landfall,” “Five Years North,” and “Sing Me a Lullaby,” with the audience award presented to “La Madrina: The [Savage] Life of Lorine Padilla.“

DOC NYC's Short List Awards included recognition for “Time,“ “Welcome to Chechnya,“ “Boys State,“ “76 Days,“ and “A Love Song for Latasha.“

Viewfinders – A competition section recognizing distinct nonfiction perspectives from around the world. Eligibility requires a minimum New York City premiere with preference given to World or U.S. premieres. Past titles include World premieres of "A La Calle," "The Meaning of Hitler," "Naila and the Uprising," and "Cooked: Survival by Zip Code;" and U.S. premieres of "City Dream," "Sing Me a Song," "Symphony of the Ursus Factory," and "The Judge."

Metropolis – A competition section focusing on New York City or New Yorkers. Eligibility requires a minimum New York City premiere with preference given to World or U.S. premieres. Past titles include World premieres of "Wojnarowicz," "Moments Like This Never Last," "Lydia Lunch - The War Is Never Over," and "Decade of Fire;" and U.S. premieres of "Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco," "Winter at Westbeth," and "The Sarnos - A Life in Dirty Pictures."

Shorts Programs** – Selections of nonfiction shorts, organized thematically. Past titles include Seung-jun Yi's "In the Absence," Darius Clark Monroe's "Black 14," Rishi Chadna's "Tungrus," Lydia Cornett's "Yves & Variation," Alison Klayman's "Flower Punk," and Laura Poitras and Henrik Moltke's "Project X.

**The winning short film qualifies in the Documentary Short Subject category of the Annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules.**

Remaining festival sections are all feature-length and require New York City premieres at a minimum, with a preference for World or U.S. premieres. Note: Exceptions may very rarely be made to consider films which have already screened in NYC - contact to inquire BEFORE submitting.

Special Events – High-profile events and guests. Past titles include the World premieres of Netflix sensation "Making A Murderer," the new season of IFC TV's "Documentary Now!" (with Seth Meyers, John Mulaney, Renee Elise Goldsberry, and Richard Kind in person), "Far From the Tree" (with Andrew Solomon in person), "City of Joy" (with Eve Ensler in person), Springsteen doc "The Ties That Bind" (with Thom Zimny in person), "Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?" (with Noam Chomsky and Michel Gondry in person), and Amy Berg's "An Open Secret;" U.S. premieres of "Finding Vivian Maier," "Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band" (with Robbie Robertson in person), "Sing Me The Songs That Say I Love You" (with Rufus Wainwright in person), and "Charlotte Rampling: The Look" (with Charlotte Rampling in person).

American Perspectives - Past titles include the World premieres of "Chasing Childhood," "Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope," "Maynard," and "Sex and Broadcasting;" as well as screenings of "Scandalous," "We Believe in Dinosaurs," "Pahokee," and "Only the Young."

International Perspectives - Past titles include the World premieres of "Ganden: A Joyful Land," "Afterward," "New Homeland," and "Lovesick;" North American or U.S. premieres have included "School of Seduction," "Golda," "Kosher Beach," and "Soufra;" and screenings of "Once Upon a Time in Venezuela," "Red Penguins," "In My Blood It Runs," "Ask the Sexpert."

In addition, DOC NYC annually presents several thematic strands, which often change from year to year. Among these have been Masters, focusing on new work from acclaimed documentarians; true crime-focused Investigations; environmentally-themed Green Screens; the current affairs-oriented New World Order; science/technology-based Science Nonfiction; sports-themed Jock Docs; music-focused Sonic Cinema; films-on-films Behind the Scenes; arts-focused Art & Culture; performance-based Centerstage; activism-oriented Fight the Power; animal-themed Wild Life; photo-focused Photography on Film; institutional portraits In the System; and love and romance-oriented True Love.

DOC NYC connects filmmakers who have with works-in-progress features or series with industry representatives via our Only In New York program, part of DOC NYC PRO, the festival’s industry programming component. Filmmakers whose projects are selected for Only In New York participate in meetings with industry representatives. Past participating companies have included Netflix, HBO, A&E IndieFilms, Amazon Studios, Sundance Institute, Showtime, and over 40 others. Note: This is NOT a public-facing program; no public screenings of the WIPs are held.

For more information about Only In New York and to submit your Work-in-Progress feature or series for consideration when entries open in the Summer, please visit:

DOC NYC annually presents several awards, with award details to be announced on

Metropolis Jury Prize
-Open to the features selected for the Metropolis Competition.

Shorts Jury Prize
-Open to all selected short films screening in festival-curated shorts programs or before feature presentations.

DOC NYC Audience Award
-Open to all new features screening in any section of the festival, with the exception of films in the Short List, Winner's Circle, Special Events, or retrospective films in the Redux section.

Pitch Perfect Award
-Open to the works-in-progress selected for Pitch Perfect, part of the Only In New York program. For more information and to submit your Work-in-Progress project, visit:

• Previously submitted documentaries will not be accepted, unless the film has undergone significant content changes (60% or more) and meets all other submission requirements.
• Feature documentaries are forty one (41) minutes or longer. Shorts are forty (40) minutes or shorter, including all credits.
• If the documentary is in a language other than English, it must be subtitled or dubbed in English (subtitling is preferred).
• Promotional, instructional, industrial films, or raw documentation of performances are not eligible.
• At this time, DOC NYC does not have a VR or interactive category, so these kinds of projects are not eligible for consideration. Should that change for a future edition, we will include information on requirements and eligibility on both the DOC NYC website and FilmFreeway.
• Generally, DOC NYC preferences newer films for inclusion. For the 2021 edition, we are ideally seeking films which are making their public premiere within calendar year 2021, or, barring that, had their world premiere no earlier than September 2020.
• To be eligible for inclusion, Features must not have screened in-person publicly in NYC prior to the Festival, nor have been broadcast on US television or made available online before the festival, nor commercially released on DVD/Blu-ray, VOD, or for download to the public. Note: Because of the pandemic's impact, for 2021's festival we *will* consider Features that have participated in other online festivals/series/events, provided that the organizers of those events are not based within the five boroughs of NYC. If you have questions about the eligibility of your Feature, please email BEFORE submitting.
• For non-competition Feature sections, exceptions may very occasionally be made to consider films which have already screened in NYC in certain cases - contact to inquire BEFORE submitting.
• While a NYC premiere is not a firm requirement for Shorts, strong preference is given to short films that have not yet screened in the five boroughs of New York City.
• DOC NYC will consider Shorts that have had an online presence, though our preference is to spotlight work that has not already reached a large audience. Note: Again, we will consider the pandemic's impact when making selection decisions.

• All submissions MUST be made via FilmFreeway. We do not accept submissions made by email.
• If you change your Vimeo link, or the password connected to it, make sure to update this in your FilmFreeway entry and to email the updated information to
• While you may update your submitted video link with a revised cut of your film, please note that we generally are only able to view one cut of a submission. If your update takes place after we have already reviewed the previous cut of your film, we cannot guarantee that we will watch the revised cut.
• Please Note: We do not accept DVD as a submission format. All entries must be submitted by link connected through your FilmFreeway entry.
• Filmmakers may submit more than one documentary, but each documentary must be accompanied by its own Entry Form and Entry Fee.
• The Entry Fee is non-refundable.
• Mailed materials will not be returned. Please do not send film prints, master tapes, or other originals.
• All entrants will be notified of their status on or around September 30, 2021 via email.
• Please keep us informed of any changes regarding your contact information by emailing
• Due to the number of submissions received, DOC NYC unfortunately cannot provide feedback on entries.
• Unless your film is officially selected for inclusion in the festival, DOC NYC's name or logo may not be used in any of your film’s marketing and/or promotional materials.
• Filmmakers cannot submit Features to specific competitive or thematic sections. The DOC NYC programming team determines section placement after film selections have been made.
• For questions regarding submissions, see Festival Description or email


By submitting this documentary film (the “Film”), I understand that I am agreeing to the following:

• I have the legal right to represent and to submit this Film to the DOC NYC film festival (the "Festival”) and IFC Theatres LLC (“IFC”) and all statements on this document are true;

• There is no action, suit, claim or proceeding pending, affecting or, to the best of my knowledge, threatened against this Film or its producers, cast, or crew in connection with this Film or otherwise;

• Unless the film is officially selected for inclusion at the Festival, I understand that I cannot use the DOC NYC name or logo in any of my film’s marketing and/or promotional materials;

• Music and any other third party material clearances and all copyright clearances are my sole responsibility and, if selected for the Festival, I agree that the Film will be fully cleared prior to the first screening at the Festival and no part of the Film will violate or infringe upon the rights of any third party. None of the Festival or IFC will be held responsible for any legal disputes regarding the exhibition of the Film. Noncompliance may affect, delay, and/or disqualify my entry.

• If the Film is selected for screening at the Festival, I grant each of the Festival and IFC the right to screen the Film at the Festival;

• I understand and agree that the Film, if selected for the Festival, may be used for promotional purposes for the Festival, IFC and/or its affiliates, partners and sponsors; and I grant each of the Festival and IFC, and its affiliates, partners and sponsors, the right to use provided footage (not to exceed 5 minutes), stills and/or titles and information from the Film for such promotional purposes;

• Should the Film win any award, I am authorized and/or empowered by all parties legally representing and/or owning the Film to receive all cash prizes and awards and to distribute them appropriately;

• I fully indemnify and hold the Festival, IFC, and each of their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, affiliates, sponsors, licensees and assigns harmless from and against any and all claims, damages, liabilities, costs and expenses in connection with the Film, including:

o reasonable attorneys’ fees and other expenses of defense arising from or in connection with any breach of any of the foregoing agreements, representations or warranties or from or in connection with any litigation or any claim or proceeding commenced by a third party alleging or arising from libel, slander, defamation, invasion of privacy, infringement, unauthorized use or any other right of such third party or wrongful conduct;

o damage to or loss of the film print or videotapes en route to or from the Festival or during the course of the Festival's possession of the entry;

o and any claims which may arise in connection with the Film.


If the Film is selected to screen in the Festival, you will need to provide the following:

o Projection print or video by required deadline. Filmmaker is responsible for the delivery costs of the print shipment to the Festival, including any applicable customs fees. The Festival will return the print to the supplier or to the next domestic destination as indicated by the supplier at the Festival's conclusion. The Festival does not provide extra insurance for originals or masters.

o Press kits, trailers, promotional materials, and additional screeners for preview;

o Screener links for the Festival press liaison (optional).

Please do not send these materials until your Film is selected for the program. The Festival reserves the right to complete any information not supplied by the filmmaker from whatever source available and will not be responsible if incorrect information is entered.

Note: The Festival has the right to change any information contained in this document (including Festival dates, venues, events, presentation format, awards and eligibility requirements) without further notice.

Overall Rating
  • Robert Ford

    DOC NYC was a top notch event for indie doc filmmakers such as myself. Communication was 10 out of 10 and it provided a great networking avenue for the film. Shout out to Brendan Harrison for programming our film. Thank you for having us!
    - The Cannons team

    January 2022
  • Kudos to the DOC NYC team for the amazing festival in 2021! Great communication with film makers, including some helpful webinars prior to the festival. Thanks for all that you do to bring one of the best selections of documentaries to NYC audiences and beyond!

    January 2022
  • Emily Nixon

    Such an amazing festival. The speakers were excellent!

    January 2022
  • Odin Wadleigh

    amazing! loved it! legit festival to say the least!

    December 2021
  • patrick dyksterhouse

    DOC NYC was by far and away the best film festival we have participated in. Thom and Raphaela create an environment where industry and artist are able to meet, exchange information and potentially make deals. Film screenings are diverse and show films from major broadcasters like HBO, Nat Geo, Netflix and Showtime but also include indie films still looking for homes. The attention to detail is second to none, with filmmaker breakfast, happy hour and dinner, incredible swag bags and industry panels that are critical to understanding the business of documentary. DOC NYC also covers every screening w/ photographer and video for Q&A. Most of all though, Thom and Raphaela's leadership, kindness and experience make DOC NYC the top destination for doc filmmakers like myself! An incredible experience, with an incredible team and we highly recommend the festival for experienced and new doc filmmakers, it's a true honor to have been able to screen Warrior Spirit here! Thank you DOC NYC!

    November 2021