The NYC Short Documentary Film Festival (NYCSDFF) will be held October 27, 2024, in Midtown, New York City, NY, USA.

Congratulations to all the Winners of the 2023 NYC Short Documentary Film Festival

Best Documentary. Delmar. Audience award

Best Director. Silent Witness. Juried Award

Best Cinematography. Serengeti. Juried Award

Best Script Preschool to Prison. Juried Award

**** This is a short film festival, only for films 20 minutes or less in length!! We will NOT be screening any films longer then 20 minutes in length!!!!****

Documentary film is a genre that is based in truth and told with style. Every second of every day, an infinite multitude of stories are playing out in every nook and cranny of the world - the goal of documentary film is take this sprawling mass of real life and weave it into cinematic art. The purposes of documentary are multifold - to educate, to entertain, to bring attention to important issues or to simply highlight the understated wonders of everyday life.

Join us for the 8th Annual NYC Short Documentary Film Festival and become part of a growing tradition!

Please be sure to review ALL submission guidelines before you mail the entry. We have limited time and resources to correct application mistakes. Please try and be as accurate as possible. We will contact you by e-mail if there are any problems, so please be sure to watch for e-mails from

We only accept online submissions either a FilmFreeway online video or a private/password protected vimeo/YouTube link. If your film is selected we will provide full technical specifications but an .mov, mp4 or .mpg works great. All films will be played from a hard drive. Please note, if accepted, we MUST receive the exhibition media AT LEAST TWO (2) WEEKS before the festival.

If your submission is selected, you will be notified by e-mail in the beginning of February. Accepted filmmakers will be given one free admission pass to the festival. (We cannot help with any transportation, food or lodging costs.)

Certificates with Trophies available.

Best Picture
Best Director
Best Cinematography
Best Score
Best Script

As a condition of entering the NYC Documentary Short Film Fest, hereafter known as NYCSDFF, I/we hereby certify that:

1. I/we am/are the sole creators of the film, script, short stories, poems which I/we have submitted to the NYCSDFF.

2. I/we warrant as sole and exclusive owner(s) of all legal right and title there to have absolute authority to submit the enclosed material to NYCSDFF.

3. I/we understand that the NYCSDFF will not return and is not obligated to return my film or any other materials I/we have submitted to the NYCSDFF.

4. I/we hereby grant the NYCSDFF the nonexclusive right to use my name, photograph, and likeness in connection with any and all publicity and promotional activities regarding the NYCSDFF.

5. For filmmakers: NYCSDFF may transfer the submitted material to a hard drive for screening, if needed, and if the submitted material is selected for screening the submitted material may be used by NYCSDFF for promotional purposes.

6. I/we will indemnify and hold harmless NYCSDFF, its judges, sponsors and partners, individually and collectively, from and against all claims, demands, losses, damages, costs, liabilities and expenses including legal expenses arising out of or in connection with any and all claims, or third party claims based on material submitted to NYCSDFF.

7. I/we shall be solely responsible for taking all necessary steps to establish and protect my/our copyright in the submitted material, and the NYCSDFF shall have no obligation with respect thereto. The NYCSDFF shall have the right to reproduce all or part of said material for use in its publicity and any and all related communication directly associated with NYCSDFF.

8. I/we have read all of the festival rules, regulations and releases,understand them, and have complied with them. I/we understand that the festival rules, regulations and releases may change or be updated, and that it is my responsibility to read, understand and comply with any changes or updates.

Overall Rating
  • Robert Menefee

    Thank you for selecting my film “Climate Emergency.” It was a wonderful experience at the Producers Club Theater in Midtown Manhattan; the other films were excellent and I was proud to be included.

    November 2023
  • Ingrid Price

    How do you review a film festival in the Time of COVID 19?
    The allure of a Festival is the mingling, the schmoozing, the chance to travel somewhere and enjoy watching films together, the meet-n-greets and Q&As. What does a festival organizer do when none of that is possible?
    Kudos to Dennis, who, on a shoestring budget, flying nearly solo, was one of the first festival organizers to attempt an online festival.
    He pre-recorded a group Q&A with the filmmakers in our block. We got to meet, see, and hear from everyone before we'd even seen their films, which was actually very cool. It made us even more excited to watch their docs. We social-media'd the heck out of the fest, hoping to get an audience as excited as we were to try this new thing.
    On broadcast day, our wifi was acting hinky and slow, so some of the films stuttered and had poor sound sync. It didn't matter; we were glued to the screen. The films were terrific! The Q&As that Dennis pre-recorded played afterward and we enjoyed hearing from the other filmmakers.
    This is the little Festival that could. And it did. Congratulations all around, especially to Dennis.
    Next year? Let's do it old school, and get together in a big crowd again! Wishing everyone the best of health.

    March 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for saying that!! We worked hard on getting the steaming done. We figured it was the least we could do for all the filmmakers who worked so hard on their films and then gave us the ultimate complement by submitting their films to our festival.

    I completely agree, please let us have a conventional festival next year and may we all be healthy and happy!

    Thanks for submitting and hope to meet next year! Dennis

  • Gabriel G

    The intimate NYC Short Documentary Film Festival in the heart of Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood was a delight to attend as well as showcase my work. The festival's director Dennis was very accommodating and communicated everything clearly, and the entire staff was a joy to work with. I enjoyed the films and am looking forward to attending next year.

    May 2018
    Response from festival:

    Hi Gabriel, Glad we could screen your film! It was a pleasure to have you join us!

  • H James Gilmore

    I could not attend, but my daughter who lives in NYC went in my place and said it was a strong selection of short films. The audience was relatively small, hence the 4 star review. Nevertheless, I was honored to have my short documentary included in their lineup. Communication was good throughout the process.

    April 2018
    Response from festival:

    Glad she had fun. The films were great and we are working on expanding the festival and audience!