**Note: The final submission deadline for Features and Shorts has passed and we are not considering any late submissions in these categories. Do NOT submit your film in the Only In New York category - this category is ONLY for works-in-progress that will NOT be ready until 2019-2020, not for films that are intended to be considered for screening at DOC NYC 2018. Submissions for the 2019 festival will open in January.

The deadline listed is at 11:59PM EST.

DOC NYC, America's largest documentary festival, is an annual event based in New York City at the West Village’s IFC Center and Chelsea’s SVA Theatre and Cinépolis Chelsea. Voted by MovieMaker magazine as one of the "top five coolest documentary film festivals in the world", the eight-day fest 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.”

"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

“Images that dare you to turn away.” – The New York Times

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

“Bigger isn't always better. But when it comes to DOC NYC, now the largest documentary film festival in the U.S., the five-year-old upstart event has proven itself a worthy new addition [...] By all accounts, screenings have been selling out; the country's top documentary filmmakers, from Albert Maysles to D.A. Pennebaker, are showing up for tributes and events; and sales agents are closing deals on select world premieres." - IndieWire

Within its first five years, DOC NYC quickly became America's largest documentary film festival. In 2017, the festival showcased 237 films & events, presented by 300 filmmakers and special guests. Past guests include Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Michael Moore, Martin Scorsese, Eric Clapton, Whoopi Goldberg, Agnes Varda, Peter Sarsgaard, Itzhak Perlman, Steve Madden, Dan Rather, Ethan Hawke, Susan Sarandon, Danny DeVito, Gale Ann Hurd, Jim Carrey, Sarah Polley, Reverend Al Sharpton, Noam Chomsky, Ricki Lake, Michel Gondry, Errol Morris, Oliver Stone, Estelle Parsons, Sonja Sohn, Eve Ensler, Jonathan Franzen, Dick Cavett, Brian Stelter, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Moyers, L7, Omar Epps, Malik Yoba, Bill Binney, 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, Amy Berg, Morgan Neville, Jim Jarmusch, Ronnie Spector, Steve Miller, Steven Van Zandt, Cissy Houston, Betty Harris, Brenda Reid, Tony Alva, Mayor David Dinkins, Billie Jean King, and The Mekons. Audience attendees have included Harry Belafonte, Michael Fassbender, Carolina Herrera, Valentino, Griffin Dunne, Isaac Mizrahi, Michael Kors, Padma Lakshmi, Mary Louise Parker, Hamish Bowles, Gina Gershon, Rosario Dawson, Fred Armisen, Sandra Bernhard, Marisa Tomei, Thandie Newton, Emma Watson, Michael Stipe, Martha Stewart, Darren Aronofsky, Maggie Q, Joan Jett, Paul Shaffer, Cornel West, Naomi Watts, Bob Costas, Julian Schnabel, Bill Nye, Michael Musto, Cherry Jones, and The Luna Chicks, among others.

2017 grand jury prizes winners included “The Stranger,” “Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco,” and "Traffic Stop," with the audience award presented to "Oh, Rick!," and the DOC NYC PRO Pitch Perfect Award going to "Blue Code of Silence."

Viewfinders – A competition section that covers 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 "Almost There," "Naila and the Uprising," "Mole Man," "The Lure," "The Anthropologist," "The Sunshine Makers," and "Web;" and U.S. premieres of "The Stranger," "Silas," "The Judge," "The Beekeeper and His Son," "Girl Unbound: The War to Be Her," "I Am Sun Mu," "A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers," "P.S. Jerusalem," "The Dark Matter of Love," and "The Wound and the Gift."

Metropolis – A competition section of documentaries about 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 "Oh, Rick!," "Miracle on 42nd Street," "The Iron Triangle," "Vigilante," "All the Rage (Saved By Sarno)," "Rikers," "Woman On Fire," "Daddy Don't Go," "The Lost Arcade," "Patrolman P," "Some Kind of Spark," "More Than the Rainbow," and "To Be Heard;" and U.S. premieres of "Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco," "Winter at Westbeth," "Homme Less," "The Sarnos - A Life in Dirty Pictures," and "Rubble Kings."

Shorts Programs – Selections of nonfiction shorts, organized thematically. Past titles include Laura Poitras and Henrik Moltke's "Project X," Kate Davis' "Traffic Stop," Thomas Lennon's "Knife Skills," Lucy Walker's "Oh, What A Beautiful City (A City Symphony)," Laura Checkoway's "Edith+Eddie," Aaron Schock's "La Laguna," Maxim Pozdorovkin's "Our New President," Jon Alpert's "Mariela Castro's March: Cuba's LGBT Revolution," Irene Taylor Brodsky's "Open Your Eyes," Alison Klayman's "The 100 Years Show," Doug Block's "The Children Next Door," and Lucy Walker's "The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom."

**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 occasionally be made to consider films which have already screened in NYC - contact submissions@docnyc.net to inquire before submitting.

Special Events – High-profile events and guests. Past titles include the World premieres of Netflix sensation "Making A Murderer," the Netflix docuseries "Captive" (with executive producer Doug Liman 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), Amy Berg's "An Open Secret;" U.S. premieres of "Finding Vivian Maier," "The Yes Men Are Revolting," "Do I Sound Gay," "Sing Me The Songs That Say I Love You" (with Rufus Wainwright in person), "Charlotte Rampling: The Look" (with Charlotte Rampling in person), and others.

American Perspectives - Past titles include World Premieres of "Maynard," "Father's Kingdom," "Thank You For Your Service," "Kids for Cash," "A Murder in the Park," "Sex and Broadcasting," and screenings of "12th and Clairmount," "Above and Below," "Only The Young," "Code of the West," "Brooklyn Boheme," and others.

International Perspectives - Past titles include World Premieres of "Lovesick," "Every Last Child," U.S. Premieres of "Soufra," "A Better Man," and screenings of "Ask the Sexpert," "Sacred," "Those Who Jump," "Bolshoi Babylon," "The Babushkas of Chernobyl," and "Oma and Bella."

DOC NYC annually presents several thematic strands, which may change from year to year. Among these have been 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, investigative True Crime, arts-focused Art & Design, performance-based Centerstage, activism-oriented Fight the Power, animal-themed Wild Life, and alternative family-focused Modern Family.

Note: Only in New York is NOT for films that are nearly finished but finalizing post-production. Any soon-to-be-completed films intended to make their public screening debut at DOC NYC should be submitted as Features or Shorts. Works selected to participate in Only in New York do NOT screen publicly.

Only in New York is an opportunity for filmmakers with works-in-progress (either features or series) to have intimate roundtable meetings with industry figures from the fields of distribution, financing, festival programming, and more. Only in New York is open to ALL documentary filmmakers, regardless of their geographic location or that of their subjects or topics; the program is NOT limited to New York-based filmmakers or themes.

Only in New York is part of DOC NYC PRO, the festival’s industry programming component, and aims to curate the most promising documentaries of the future for industry consideration. Last year, participating companies included HBO, A&E IndieFilms, Amazon Studios, Sundance Institute, and over 40 others.

Filmmakers whose projects are selected for Only in New York will be able to participate in meetings over four days, November 12-15. Projects will also be featured on the DOC NYC website. Between 20 to 30 works-in-progress will be selected.

Submissions are open to nonfiction works-in-progress features or series proposals in any genre or style. Works-in-progress must be on track to be completed within 1-2 years, with at least 50% of their budget already in place. Filmmakers must submit a 2-5 minute video work sample, a one-page description that details the film's narrative and your storytelling approach, and a simple budget which breaks down basic anticipated funding sources and preproduction, production, and postproduction expenses. The description and budget may be uploaded to FilmFreeway as part of your submission (in the Files & Attachments section), or emailed as attachments to submissions@docnyc.net.

Projects will be selected based on their artistic merit, ability to engage an audience, and potential for success in the marketplace. Projects that are selected can have up to two representatives participate in Only in New York.

If selected for Only in New York, each participant will need to purchase a DOC NYC PRO badge, which will be offered at a significantly reduced rate, and provides entry to all DOC NYC Pro events for the entire festival of November 8-15 - a robust program of daily panels and workshops, as well as networking events.

Additionally, projects selected for Only in New York will be automatically considered for potential participation in Pitch Perfect, a pitching event that provides a nurturing environment for filmmakers to present works-in-progress to influential industry figures.

Filmmakers whose projects are selected for Pitch Perfect will be given 10 minutes to pitch, including trailer or clip, followed by 15-20 minutes of feedback from an industry panel. In addition to putting filmmakers in front of established nonfiction funders, Pitch Perfect seeks to connect projects to mentors such as producers, post production supervisors, sales agents, publicists, outreach coordinators, marketing directors, and others to strengthen the film’s potential in the marketplace.

Only in New York applicants who are not accepted will also be provided a discount on select DOC NYC Passes, to be determined.

DOC NYC annually presents several awards, with award details to be announced on docnyc.net:

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

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 the features selected for the Viewfinders and Metropolis Competitions.

Pitch Perfect Award
-Open to the works-in-progress selected for Pitch Perfect, part of the Only In New York program.

• 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.
• Promotional, instructional, industrial films, or raw documentation of performances are not eligible.
• At this time, DOC NYC does not have a VR category.
• Generally, DOC NYC preferences newer films for inclusion. For the 2018 edition, we are ideally seeking films which are making their public premiere within calendar year 2018, or, barring that, had their world premiere no earlier than September 2017.
• To be eligible for inclusion, Features must not have screened publicly in NYC prior to the Festival, nor have been broadcast on US television or online before the festival, nor commercially released on DVD/Blu-ray, VOD, or for download to the public.
• For non-competition Feature sections, exceptions may occasionally be made to consider films which have already screened in NYC - contact submissions@docnyc.net to inquire before submitting.
• While a NYC premiere is not a firm requirement for Shorts, preference is given to 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.

• DOC NYC strongly prefers Vimeo links over FilmFreeway’s video uploads.
• If you change your Vimeo link, or the password connected to it, make sure to email the updated information to submissions@docnyc.net.
• Please Note: We do not accept DVD as a submission format. All entries must be submitted by link.
• 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.
• If submitting to Only In New York, you should provide a link to your sample footage via FilmFreeway and also upload your simple budget and one-page project description. If you have any problems doing so, email submissions@docnyc.net with those documents attached.
• Submitted materials will not be returned. Please do not send film prints, master tapes, or other originals.
• While you may update your submitted video link with a revised cut of your film, we generally are only able to view one cut of a submission.
• All entrants in the Features, Shorts, or Special categories will be notified of their status on or around September 21, 2018 via email. Entrants to Only in New York will be notified of their status on or around October 1, 2018 via email.
• Please keep us informed of any changes regarding your contact information by emailing submissions@docnyc.net.
• Due to the number of submissions received, DOC NYC unfortunately cannot provide feedback on entries.
• For questions regarding submissions, see Festival Description or email submissions@docnyc.net.

By submitting this documentary, I understand that I am agreeing to the following:

• I have the legal right to represent and to submit this documentary film to DOC NYC ("DOC NYC"), IFC Theatres LLC (“IFC”), Powershausen LLC (“Powershausen”), and NYC Festivals LLC ("NYC Festivals") and to the best of my knowledge, 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 documentary film or its producers, cast, or crew in connection with this documentary film or otherwise;

• Music and any other third party material clearances and all copyright clearances are my sole responsibility. None of DOC NYC, IFC, Powershausen, or NYC Festivals will be held responsible for any legal disputes regarding the exhibition of this film. Noncompliance may affect, delay, and/or disqualify my entry.

• If this documentary is selected for screening at DOC NYC, I grant each of DOC NYC, IFC, Powershausen, and NYC Festivals the right to screen this documentary at the Festival;

• I understand and agree that my film entry, if selected for the DOC NYC Festival, may be used for promotional purposes for the DOC NYC Festival and/or its partners; and I grant each of DOC NYC, IFC, Powershausen, NYC Festivals, and its partners the rights to use footage (not to exceed 5 minutes), stills and/or titles and information from the film for such promotional purposes;

• Should this documentary win any award, I am authorized and/or empowered by all parties legally representing this film entry to receive all cash prizes and awards and to distribute them appropriately;

• I fully indemnify and hold DOC NYC, IFC, Powershausen, NYC Festivals, 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 my documentary 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 DOC NYC or during the course of DOC NYC Festival's possession of the entry;

o and any claims which may arise in connection with my documentary film.


If your documentary is selected to screen in the DOC NYC 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. DOC NYC 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 or DVD copies for the DOC NYC 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: DOC NYC has the right to change any information contained in this document (including Festival dates, venues, events, awards and eligibility requirements) without further notice.

Overall Rating
  • Stacey Tenenbaum

    Love this festival! Great talks, great films and a really laid back vibe.

    November 2018
  • Yasmin Mistry

    This festival has great venues, full audiences, and fantastic programming of both films and panels. Everything was very well organized and staff communication was excellent. Overall a great experience!

    November 2018
  • Jonathan Napolitano

    This festival knows how to program, bring audiences together and most importantly, celebrate documentary filmmaking. Looking forward to keep submitting and supporting this festival with new work for years to come.

    November 2018
  • Emily Sheskin

    DOC NYC is an amazing festival and I feel so lucky to have been a part of it! I met so many great filmmakers and was able to see so many wonderful films with my filmmaker pass. The volunteers/staff/curation was excellent and I hope to have another film there one day!

    November 2017
  • Fred Riedel

    Very happy to have been included in DOC NYC, a great big, eclectic and major doc fest right in my backyard. Thanks Thom, Basil, Ruth, Dana, DeWitt, Natalie, et al, a serious gang of cineastes and professionals to work, hang and watch and talk about films with.

    November 2017