Please note due to COVID-19 the 4th installment of Outer Docs has been postponed to April 28 - May 2, 2021.

Outside the mainstream. Outside the box. That's Outer Docs.

In a world where niche and special interest film festivals have become common-place, counter-culture has become mainstream, and documentary languishes in formulaic presentations of engaging but familiar subject matter.

Outer Docs is a film festival designed to celebrate documentaries that live outside the norm. Come blast off with us to the outer reaches non-fiction filmmaking. Do you have a great documentary that just isn't finding its groove at other film festivals? Whether it's unconventional subject matter, an experimental approach, an unusual opinion or just plain bizarre it might have a home at Outer Docs.

The Outer Docs Film Festival is an annual documentary film festival presented by Veverka Bros. Productions LLC. At Veverka Bros. we believe that different is not just a counterpoint to conventional, but synonymous with outstanding. That's why we've worked hard to ensure that Outer Docs is a film festival way outside the herd. Outer Docs is a one-day film festival held at Cinemapolis in Ithaca, NY.

What makes us different?

We're open: We celebrate the strange, different and unusual and invite documentary films of all styles and subjects.

Low submission fees: Don't like paying fees? Neither do we. So we keep them reasonable.

We award CASH: Yes, that's right! We know filmmaking takes a lot of time, energy and money, so we are proud to be one of a small group of festivals where top winners WALK AWAY WITH CASH PRIZES.

We're a one screen event: There may be a certain glamour associated with large festivals, but at the end of the day, multiple screens mean that films compete for audience attention. At Outer Docs we run all our films one-at-a-time ensuring an inclusive, cohesive and memorable filmmaker and audience experience.

One film, one award: Ever been to a film festival where one film seems to pick up all the awards, despite other deserving contenders? At Outer Docs we use ranked choice voting, ensuring that each of our awards goes to different films!

Our judges are real filmmakers: Films are judged by a jury of passionate, creative and dedicated indie filmmakers who know what is like to dare to be different.

We love our local and visiting filmmakers: We love great films, but we really love great films with great filmmakers in attendance. Filmmakers who attend Outer Docs, whether local or from out of town will be treated with gracious hospitality!

What we are looking for:

Outstanding Independent short or feature length documentaries that live outside the mold. We are open to all forms of subject matter and approach. Films do not need to be experimental, but should be different. What do we mean by different? Different could mean a film on a familiar topic that doesn't conform to audience expectations. It could mean a film that challenges a general consensus. It could mean a topic that people have never heard of. It could mean an unusual viewpoint, or a usual viewpoint from an unusual source. It could mean a film that makes people uncomfortable. Or it could be something so comforting that it gets looked over by festivals only looking for conflict. In other words, different can be anything that doesn't fit anywhere else... as long as its good, but then different often is.

Documentary Features: Awarded to documentaries longer than 40 minutes.

Best Documentary Feature: $100
Best Documentary Feature - Runner Up: $50

Documentary Shorts: Awarded to documentaries shorter than 40 minutes.

Best Documentary Short: $100
Best Documentary Short - Runner Up: $50

Student/Local Documentary (Features or Shorts): Awarded to documentaries of any length produced by student or local filmmakers (local filmmakers are filmmakers residing in the Finger Lakes region of New York State.)

Best Student/Local Documentary: $100
Best Student/Local Documentary - Runner Up: $50

Outside the Box Awards (can be awarded to any category): Awarded to documentaries of any category and length, including student and local.

Outstanding Access Award: Awarded to documentaries that demonstrate a level of access to subjects and locations beyond the norm.

Outspoken Voices Award: Awarded to documentaries that present unusual viewpoints or opinions.

Out of Bounds Award: Awarded to documentaries that challenge conventions of contemporary media.

Out of this World Award: Awarded to documentaries chosen by the festival director.

1) Films can be in any language, but if the primary language is not English, they must have English subtitles.
2) Multiple entries are allowed.
3) Only complete films are accepted; please do not submit works-in-progress.
4) Films must have been completed after January 1st, 2015.
5) All Entries must be submitted by FilmFreeway, and all screeners must be submitted through FilmFreeway (no DVDs, downloads, outside links, etc.)
6) Submission fees are not refundable.
7) Outer Docs reserves the right to refuse entries.
8) Submitters represent that they have obtained all clearances for exhibition and certify that the work is original and no disputes regarding, IP, copyright or ownership exist on the film.
9) By submitting a film to Outer Docs submitters grant Outer Docs the right to utilize an excerpt from the film submitted, as well as the right to utilize promotional artwork, text and video stills for the purpose of promoting the submission.
10) Submitters warrant that they are authorized to commit the film for screening, and understand and accept these requirements, rules and regulations.
11) Submitters agree to indemnify and hold harmless Outer Docs, from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and court costs) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to submissions entered.
12) If a submitted film is chosen for an Outside the Box Award, the filmmaker will be notified, and the film will be listed on the Outer Docs website under Awards. Outside the Box Awards do not guarantee that your film will be screened at the festival. Only Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Feature – Runner Up, Best Documentary Short, Best Documentary Short – Runner Up, Best Student/Local Documentary and Best Student/Local Documentary - Runner Up are guaranteed to screen live at the festival.
13) Submitters whose films are selected to screen at Outer Docs agree to provide, at their own expense, a Screening Copy of their film as a DCP, .MOV or DVD or Blu-ray no later than six weeks before the screening date. Out Docs reserves the right to refuse screening a film whose submitter failed to provide a properly formatted Screening Copy by the deadline.
14) Submitters acknowledge that Outer Docs does not pay screening fees of any sort.
15) Submitters acknowledge that "student" means a student currently enrolled at a university, college, trade school or high school and that Outer Docs has the right to request proof of enrollment.
16) Submitters acknowledge that "local" means a person residing in Tompkins, Cayuga, Seneca, Schuyler, Chemung, Tioga and Cortland counties of New York State and that Outer Docs has the right to request proof of residence.

Overall Rating
  • Lisette Flanary

    Great festival for documentaries that are slightly ʻoutside the boxʻ. I appreciated the communication with the staff and only wish that I could have experienced the festival in person. We were also honored to have received the Outspoken Voices award.

    May 2021
  • Great Festival and great communication. Thank you very much.

    May 2021
  • Aaron Hosé

    Wonderful little fest albeit virtual. Looking forward to an in-person version next year. Great communication and friendly management. All was handled well. We were also thrilled and appreciative to win the "Best Documentary Short" award this year. Thank you!

    May 2021
  • Davide Marino

    Lovely festival and great selection. My film was well cared and well appreciated. Thanks so much for the quality of your platform and the love you put in it. Looking forward having a new film to share with you

    May 2021
  • Jan Paschen

    Thank you really much for the good experience. I feel honored the win the Award "Best Feature Film" for our documentary Strangers in the heart of europe. Nice people, good communication. Love it that our film was screened in New York! :)

    November 2019