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

The fully in-person, in-theatre DocLands is scheduled to take place May 11-14, 2023 to again deliver an inspiring slate of events that engages our members and patrons, supports filmmakers and our valued partners, and bolsters the documentary film community. As we have throughout the past three years, we will remain responsive and respectful of the public health situation.

DocLands film slate of recently completed films is non-competitive and non-juried, with one overall Audience Choice Award. Dedicated to building connections and partnerships to invigorate the business and art of nonfiction filmmaking, DocLands aims to build an active, inclusive, and fully supportive community around documentary film through public screenings, engaged conversations, and grassroots networking and pitching events. It showcases documentary film with a diversity of content, within three main programming sections: Art of Impact, The Great Outdoors, and WonderLands.

DocLands film slate of recently completed films is non-competitive and non-juried, with one overall Audience Choice Award.

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

Programming emphasizes new works in documentary features and shorts.
• Feature-length entries (45 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 release or exhibition, 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, 2021.
• Filmmakers are responsible for providing an exhibition-quality file for online or for in-theater screenings, a DCP ONLY.
• Filmmakers will be notified via email of entry status by approximately April 14, 2023.
• Once a film is accepted 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. Online transfer of DCPs is strongly preferred. Generally we do not accept shipments of drives outside of North America.
• 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.

All invited participants must comply with the California Film Institute Code of Conduct:

Overall Rating
  • Ghislaine Couvillat

    We had a fabulous welcome at DocLands where we had the World Premiere of Savage Waters as the festival opening film in May 2022. Joni Cooper is a wonderful Director of Programming and beautifully curates the film selections. The location of the festival is in stunning Marin County but it is also an area with a lot of Academy members residents and a good place to get your film noticed.

    May 2022
  • Niobe Thompson

    After bringing two shorts to Doclands virtually during the pandemic, we finally participated in person in 2022 with our feature doc "Carbon - the unauthorized biography". The festival is doing a tremendous job getting their audience back in theatres and resurrecting a dynamic in-person event. Doclands has an incredible selection of films, they really make an effort to bring filmmakers to their screenings, the home venue is fantastic, and the parties, panels and events are lots of fun. If you have a chance to attend Doclands, don't miss it!

    May 2022
  • 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
    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
    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
    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.