DocuWest enters its 15th season ready to expand its screenings while curating selections from our submissions, and as needed by inviting some docs to take audiences for a diverse documentary ride in Denver.
This fall DocuWest continues to presenting an insightful, thought provoking, and awe-inspiring line-up of documentary titles from around the world.

Screenings are centered in the amazing neighborhoods of North Denver. In NoHi, LoHi and The Highlands at the newly re-opened MCA Denver Holiday Theater and at DDS's Outdoor Social Cinema.
These and other amazing screening partnerships TBA will allow us to present audiences with a variety of documentary films in wonderful settings and surroundings in Denver.

Denver Documentary Film Festival. We Have Something for your Mind.
The fest looks to explore the world of our people, our politics, our societies, our history and ourselves through the lens of filmmakers from around the globe. We embrace the idea that cinematic truth revealed in a non-narrative manner can allow the filmmaker to make choices that presents life either surreptitiously or purposely based on the choices they make.

DDFF's objective is to present our audiences with the stories that are not only astonishing and jarring, but awe-inspiring and thought provoking enough to encourage more dialogue and discourse to take place by, over and between, the people, events or subjects attending each screening, or presented in each film.

We belong to the IDA and Documentary Producers Alliance (DPA). We support the work of the Alliance of Documentary Editors (ADE). We mirror the DPA's and ADE's work on proper crediting and sustainability. Documentaries need to be better organized for access and sustainability - for all. It is the only branch of filmmaking that is not organized to support the many. We present juried awards and recognition for editors and producers.

We look forward to receiving your submission to the Denver Documentary Film Festival.

Selected documentary features, Medium length and short films participate in the Festival’s three competitive sections, which are chosen by special juries.

Documentaries are also recognized using

We present the "Women Who Doc" award to a filmmaker in each of our three categories.

We present $250 cash prize as part of the "Focus on The Environment Award" presented by Joseph Cantwell to one film whose story shines a light on the environment.

All submissions are eligible for our Audience Award. They are chosen based on ballots submitted by festival audiences, and are presented in the following categories: Documentary feature, medium length, and short Film.

All films must have been completed after January 1, 2023.

People always comment on our low entry fees. The Denver Documentary Society is founded and run by award winning documentary filmmaker Wade Gardner. Who personally attests to understanding how difficult and costly it is to create independent documentaries. It is why the org continues to keep its submission costs low.

The festival is recognized for screening submitted works. With the exception of a few films we present as part of our invited programming. The vast majority of the lineup is from submissions. It is something we are extremely proud of.

Beginning in 2024:
Please note as part of our diversity efforts we want to communicate, acknowledge & invite our deaf & heard of hearing friends and supporters to attend DDFF.
To all filmmakers: We ask if your movie is selected to do your best to provide subtitles. This will be not a requirement. Just something to consider :)
For each subtitled film that screens, we will communicate to our audiences that the film will be offered to be viewed with english subtitles turned on.

Films in a language other than English must be subtitled in English for Festival presentation.

The festival will not screen any films that screened prior as part of any program offered by the Denver Film Society.

Short films up to 30 minutes. Medium length films must have a running time between 31 and 60 minutes. Feature length films are more than 61 minutes.

Films that have been submitted for consideration in previous years are eligible for re-submission only if significant changes have been made to the film. A detailed list of the changes must be included in the submission packet.

For submission purposes, previews may be works-in-progress, films with temporary soundtracks or digital outputs.

Filmmakers must deliver final format (as indicated) for Festival screenings. No exceptions will be permitted.

Overall Rating
  • Ben Scholle

    DocuWest was a fantastic experience, and I only regret I never took the opportunity to attend before I had a film selected. I saw some great documentaries and met some wonderful people. It was amazing having so many film students from the neighboring school attend the screening, and I especially appreciated the unique addition of trivia contests between screenings.

    October 2023
    Response from festival:

    Hi Ben, thank you so much for the traveling to Denver, from STL. It was a pleasure hosting you and screening you awesome short, "Student of the Game". Thanks for also joining me on stage for the Q&A from the high school film students.


  • A great festival in an arts loving city focusing on documentaries! Good communication from start through end of festival, with regular updates and press materials.

    October 2023
    Response from festival:

    Hi Nicole Emiliana,
    Thank you and it was fantastic screening your movie Bad Child. We hope to receive any other work in the future.

    All The Best,

  • Nick Canfield

    Wade and his team put on a terrific festival, are passionate about independent documentary, and are great people. We had a great screening of our film The Reverend as the opening night film in 2022.

    April 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Nick! We had a wonderful time hosting you and the Rev.

  • Hamilton Pevec

    I really enjoyed participating in this festival, it was my honor. Everyone i spoke to and interacted with was courteous, kind and supportive. I highly recommend it to all doc filmmakers and encourage you to enter your film.

    April 2022
    Response from festival:

    Appreciate ya Hamilton! We loved having you attend and participate.

  • Rebekah Louisa Smith

    A brilliant festival which is perfectly well organsied by Wade and his team. We were thrilled to have our short HELLO SUNSHINE screen and be celebrated by the awesome Denver film community

    April 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much Rebekah. Your words mean the world to us.