Presented by the California Film Institute, DOCLANDS Documentary Film Festival brings compelling stories and the provocative insight behind them to Marin County, CA.

With extended dates of May 7-16, the 2021 Festival will reflect and build upon the structure and innovations we introduced during the outbreak of COVID in 2020 while being responsive and respectful of the public health situation. This flexibility means planning for an accessible, inclusive virtual Festival, with the possibility of limited in-theater screenings available while maintaining access to those unable or unwilling to travel. We will continue to deliver a festival that engages our members and patrons, supports filmmakers, our valued partners, and bolsters the documentary film community.

No matter what form screenings and conversations take moving forward, DocLands encourages the exchange of ideas and inspiration through public screenings, engaged conversations, pitching, and grassroots networking events with an aim to build an active, involved, fully supportive community around documentary film dedicated to initiating connections and partnerships that will illuminate and invigorate the business and art of non-fiction filmmaking.

DocLands is a non-competitive, non-juried film festival, with one overall Audience Choice Award.

DocLands is a non-competitive, non-juried festival, with one overall Audience Choice award.

SUBMISSION PROCESS
DocLands entries will be accepted only via upload through the FilmFreeway submission platform. No DVDs or external links will be considered.

PROGRAMMING REQUIREMENTS
Programming emphasizes new works in documentary features, mid-length films and shorts.
• Feature-length entries (60 minutes and over) that have been or will have been exhibited theatrically or otherwise made available to the general public, either for free or for purchase, prior to DocLands dates may not be eligible to submit to this category. This includes, but is not limited to, public theatrical exhibition (festival or otherwise), television broadcast, home video, or any digital platform. Exceptions may be made under special circumstances.
• Entries accepted for DocLands will NOT be eligible for inclusion in the Mill Valley Film Festival.
• DocLands does not pay rental fees. Instead, our resources are invested in the production and promotion of the best possible showcase for your work. Films may subsequently be considered for theatrical runs (in-theater if possible or virtual) at our year-round venue, the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center.
• Films may be screened more than once during the festival
• Industrial, promotional or instructional films are NOT eligible.
• Films must have been completed after October 1, 2019.
• Filmmakers are responsible for providing an exhibition-quality file or if in-theater screenings are possible, a DCP ONLY.
• Filmmakers will be notified via email of entry status by approximately April 16, 2021.
• Once a film is submitted it may not be withdrawn.
• If selected to screen in the festival, you may be asked to provide an electronic press kit.
• Theatrical exhibition prints must be sent to the Festival prepaid. The Festival will cover return shipping via FedEx, DHL, UPS, or US Mail unless other arrangements are requested.
• In case of loss or damage during the Festival, the responsibility of the Festival is limited to the costs of repair or replacement of the theatrical print only. Media are insured for up to $100 per entry when shipped out. While all entries are packaged with extreme care, the Festival is not responsible for loss or damage to prints in transit.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • James Kennard

    We had a great experience with DocLands in a year where everything was suddenly thrown up into the air. What was originally anticipated to be our Spring premiere turned out to be part of our fall virtual festival lineup, but all along the way Joni Cooper (director of programming) was in touch to let us know how they were thinking about the format. As it turned out we had a great response and as the director I really enjoyed the virtual Q&A. In all, a great fest and I hope it continues to grow!

    October 2020
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much, James!
    As spring rolled into fall, we certainly had to roll with the punches -- thank you for rolling right along with us! The virtual Q&A was such a delight. We'll be awaiting your next project, with excitement!

  • harleen singh

    Doclands is an amazing film festival and is a must for all filmmakers. The communication from the get go was clear and quick. It was extremely well organized with everything was in place ahead of time. You can expect an audience of receptive and appreciative filmgoers to view your work. Festival is full of new product and fresh talent. No wonder a lot of film makers attended the screening along with their protagonists and their technical teams. Overall great quality, amazing hospitality and superb communication.

    June 2018
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you for sharing your work -- and your enthusiastic subjects -- with our audiences during our second year, Harleen! We were absolutely delighted that you were able to participate -- and look forward to your next doco! All the very best for future screenings from the whole team here!

  • shane anderson

    "The curation of diverse and impactful films was second to none. It was a true honor to be a part of such an amazing festival. I left educated and inspired." ...Shane Anderson Director/ Producer " A River's Last Chance"

    June 2018
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your wonderful words, Shane -- music to my ears! It was truly an honor for US to screen A RIVER'S LAST CHANCE this year. All the very best with future screenings and distribution moving forward.

  • S. Kramer Herzog

    Doclands encompasses all that is great about film festivals: New and cutting-edge talent, enthusiastic and engaged audiences, and a warm and welcoming vibe. It's a must for filmmakers.
    S. Kramer Herzog (director /producer), "Spark Plug Cowboys"

    May 2018
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much, Kramer -- we can't tell you how this makes us feel! Truly heartwarming to hear we're off to a grand start! All the very best with upcoming screenings, Kramer.

  • Molly Stuart

    DocLands was a fantastic festival experience... The events facilitated wonderful connections between filmmakers, industry professionals, and film connoiseurs. The overall level of organization was top-notch, which I highly appreciated. And it was a delight to see a number of interesting projects garner support through DocPitch. I can't wait for next year!

    May 2018
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Molly! We're delighted to hear we did what we set out to do! We're all looking forward to seeing what's up your sleeve for next year :-)