By filmmakers, for filmmakers

REAL Documentary Festival will champion the work of independent filmmakers and production companies: a place to be inspired, challenged, and entertained. In the vibrant city of Leicester every April, at our brand new state of the art venue, a film festival that exists to serve the needs of independent documentary filmmakers. We will provide a platform to showcase your work and create fertile ground for new networks. Much more than a filmmakers meet-up, a conference on the business of independent filmmaking.

25-27 April 2024

Every filmmaker that submits a feature documentary will be entitled to a free festival pass, whether your film is selected or not.

A. General Festival Rules

1) Eligibility

All submissions
• Must be completed from 1 January 2023 onward
• The submitting party ("the Submitter") must have the authority to submit the film to REAL Documentary Festival and the exclusive rights (including all music clearance rights) to screen theatrically in the United Kingdom.

2) Submission Requirements

REAL Documentary Festival accepts documentary films for selection in the following categories.

Feature Documentaries
• Over 45 minutes

Short Documentaries
•Under 20 minutes

Deadlines and Fees (£GBP)

Feature Documentaries
Regular: 14 Mar 2024 £25

Short Documentaries
Regular: 14 Mar 2024 £7.50

• All submissions must include a secure working online screener link.
• All films not in the English language must have English subtitles and where available closed captions. Dubbing is not acceptable.
• Incomplete entries cannot be accepted.
• Works In Progress may be accepted with prior consent from us.
• The Festival is under no obligation to provide comments or feedback regarding the submitted film to the applicant or any other representative of the submitted film.
• It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to secure clearance from all copyright holders of materials and music included in the submitted film.
• The Submitter warrants to keep the Festival indemnified against all claims for the unauthorised inclusion of copyrighted materials or music within or relating to the submitted films.
• The Festival reserves the right to disqualify any film with unauthorized copyrighted materials or music.
• Submitters will be notified of programming decisions by 1st April 2023. The Festival’s decision is final.

3) Selected Films

Screener Link
The Submitter must supply the Festival with a screener and password one week after selection is confirmed and valid until the end of the Festival. The Submitter acknowledges that the screener link will be used for reviews, ratings, promotional purposes and the jury.

Screening Fees
The Submitter acknowledges that the Festival is run by a not-for-profit charitable organisation. Fees (if any) will be advised once a film is confirmed.

The Festival is entitled to at its discretion schedule:
• up to two festival screenings

Film Exhibition Format
Complete details will be provided upon selection to the Submitter in due course.

Film Withdrawal Policy
Once the Festival confirms in writing the film's selection:
• The Submitter can only withdraw the Film from the Festival with mutual agreement in writing
• The Submitter must communicate this policy to the film's sales agent/s and/or distributor/s when negotiating the sales or distribution of the film and ensure that all parties comply with this policy

Changes to Film Status
The Submitter must give REAL Documentary Festival prior notice in writing of any changes that may affect the selection or legality of any such screenings of the film. Failure to do so may result in the film being removed at the Festival's discretion.

Upon selection, the Festival is authorised to use the publicity materials related to the film (i.e. press kits, posters, trailer, stills and/or clips from the film) in full, or as part of edited montages to promote the film, the Festival and/or its events.

B. Agreement
I, the Submitter, have the sole and exclusive ownership of all rights related to the submitted production and/or have the full authority to submit the production to the Festival and bind all other third parties with an interest in the film (director, producer, sales agent or film distributor) to this Agreement.

I also confirm that all rights and clearances have been obtained and we will indemnify the Festival should any dispute arise as a result of the public screening of the film by the Festival pursuant to these rules and regulations.

I undertake that the information provided in this Entry is complete and correct. By submitting the film, I understand, accept, and agree to comply with this Agreement.

Overall Rating
  • Excellent festival. Great venue for screenings and networking.

    July 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Michelle, it was brilliant to have you with us in Leicester. Your film 'Energy: A Documentary About Damo Suzuki' is excellent ★★★★★

  • Jeremiah Quinn

    Superb festival. Some of the top documentary filmmakers in the country were in attendance and we all spent time together. The venue is fantastic, projection excellent. My only complaint is that it was hard to work out what to do and see each day as the festival was so rich in content. Cannot recommend highly enough.

    May 2023