Because of COVID-19, we are currently focusing on our online screenings and planning on having physical screenings when it is possible.

Essex DocFest is an ethical and modern documentary festival that works to change the festival industry.​ The festival industry has not changed much in decades, even though the world has. We want to give a platform to important stories in a sustainable way that benefits filmmakers, audiences, and, most importantly, the people whose stories are being told. Essex DocFest is a new type of festival that blends online and offline events and works to support low-budget and indie documentary filmmaking.

We start to change festivals at the beginning of the submission process. Filmmakers often pay large submission fees to be considered for festivals, but rarely hear anything back about their films. We work to change this, by ensuring that everyone who submits to Essex DocFest will receive feedback on their submission and we will be transparent about the reasons why it was or it was not selected.

We also want to give back to the filmmakers, so profits will be reinvested in new films and new voices. We are all about building a supportive community of filmmakers and giving them a platform to make their stories heard. We are not just a festival, we run events throughout the year bringing audiences and filmmakers together, both online and offline.

WHY YOU SHOULD SUBMIT:

Access to an online community: all submitting filmmakers will have access to a private group of other submitting filmmakers, creating a year-round community

You don't have to worry about fitting into our festival: we are a new festival and we want to do things right. If you submit a film that doesn't fit the categories very well or the theme of the festival, we will still find a place for it. We will have online screenings and q&as and when it is possible we will also have physical screenings. If you have a documentary, you should submit, don't worry about fitting in.

You will get feedback for your film: we will always contact you and let you know what our decision is and why. You will not have to wonder if your film was not selected because of some obscure reason. We are transparent about our selection process and we will do everything we can do find a way to screen (online or offline) your film.

Expert reviewers: Festivals often get volunteers to watch films and decide whether they should make it to the next step, being reviewed by a panel or a jury of experts. We skip the first step and all the films submitted will be reviewed by experts in film studies or filmmakers and they will give you feedback on their decision.

Year-round events: We are building our community and we will be screening films online and offline throughout the year. This way we can show your film more often and to a larger audience than a normal festival would.

Profits will go back to filmmakers and films: we will not spend our money on huge parties and huge names attending. We want to invest back into you. Keep an eye on the festival website to see what the profits will be funding.

There will be an award-winner in each category.

1. All submissions must be documentaries.
2. Filmmakers may submit more than one film
3. Submissions are open to filmmakers from all countries.
4. Films must either be English language or have English subtitles.
5. By submitting a film for consideration to Essex DocFest the filmmaker/production company grant Essex DocFest the right to screen the film before and throughout the duration of the festival in any capacity - both online and offline. Essex DocFest will never upload a completed film to the Internet without the filmmakers' consent.
6. Essex DocFest retains the right to hold a copy of films submitted for archival purposes and to show to non-commercial audiences to promote the festival.
7. The applicants declare that they have obtained all necessary rights and permissions to present the film at Essex DocFest. The filmmaker must own or have cleared copyright of all aspects of the submitted film. This includes all music and images used. Essex DocFest accepts no responsibility, financial or otherwise, in regards to clearing copyrighted material.
8. All decisions regarding festival acceptance are final.
9. Written comments describing entries are beneficial.
10. Emerging Filmmakers category is open to anyone who is a student OR a filmmaker who has not made more than 3 films AND they do not have the support of an institution. The film should be low-budget.
11. By submitting to our festival you agree to receive occasional emails from us. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • It was a great honor to be selected for Essex DocFest. I wish much success for future editions.

    November 2020
  • Thank you for selecting "Mother Tongue". I look forward to collaborating with you again in the future.

    November 2020
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you for sharing your work with us. Keep in touch!

  • Roman Gerodimos

    This is a fantastic film festival worth participating in. Great communication from the organisers who put together an impressive line-up of online screenings because of the pandemic.

    November 2020
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Roman! It was great to meet you and showcase your film.

  • Paul Kelly

    Submitting to the Essex DocFest was a wonderful experience. Thank you for including Wishful Keep in your program. I encourage all filmmakers to submit their films to this phenomenal festival. The professionalism of the organizers is outstanding.

    November 2020
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful film with us!

  • Claudia Villalon

    Very exciting time with them, well organized!

    November 2020
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Claudia! We loved your film <3