We screen the best documentaries from around the world for two weeks at the Roxie Cinema, the oldest art house theater west of the Mississippi. Many of our titles end up with calendered runs at the Roxie later in the year. We get great coverage in SF, the second largest film market in the country, plus Variety reviews. The festival was attended by over 8000 doc lovers last year. A 10% increase in attendance over the year before! San Francisco is a very receptive town for documentaries and our fest has built a passionate following over the past 17 years.

SF DocFest is an annual festival devoted to documentary cinema. Since 2001, this two week-long event has brought the most weird and wonderful aspects of real life to the big screen.

“Docfest offers a zippy blend of politics, music, social issues and youth-oriented subcultures. The good news is that DocFest promotes documentaries as a vibrant, irreverent form of entertainment to a younger demographic, blasting the notion of educational films to smithereens. There’s no room for anything approximating — watch it, I’m about to blaspheme – the obsessively measured and utterly somnambulant musings of Ken Burns.” – Michael Fox, KQED

“Since its inception, DocFest (May 31-June 15 at the Roxie and the Vogue, with opening night at Alamo Drafthouse) has compiled a colorful scrapbook of genuine characters in contrast to the current events survey, educational seminar or social-issue forum that defines many documentary series… There are one or two people in Off the Charts you won’t soon forget, which could be said about nearly every film in DocFest. That’s one of the pleasures of scrapbooks.” – also Michael Fox, KQED

Comments about SF DocFest parent organization SF IndieFest:

"Festivals bring unexpected benefits. Festivals are essential for brand creation. Premiering at Tribeca was enough to convince people to at least listen to me, but surprisingly it was the San Francisco Indie Fest that was just as crucial for our theatrical release. Our press from this festival in February ‘08 helped convince the Red Vic to book us in April (I thank the amazing S.F. publicist Karen Larsen for convincing me of this in advance). We also incorporated festivals into our broader theatrical release, and while we did not claim them as cities in our 17-city count, they helped give us something to crow about."


"I've got to tell you that Indiefest was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I tell all filmmakers - and festival organizer friends of mine - how you run your fest and how you run each film twice. Every single time people look at me with shocked disbelief. Truly, Bonnie and I loved being a part of the event.
Thanks again for including us. SF Indiefest really made me feel that making YEAR was worth the whole effort.

Audience Awards and Jury Prizes

LEGAL STUFF: Submitters understand that submission of their work authorizes the Festival to use the work for exhibition, education and/or publicity purposes related to the festival; that the Festival will handle the prints and drives with a maximum of care but cannot be held liable for any damage or loss during shipping, preview, or screening; and that the Festival is also not responsible for any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, or royalty infringement related to the work. Submitters may receive future correspondence from the Festival. The festival will never publish your film online under any circumstances.

Overall Rating
  • A definite must for every doc filmmaker. Jeff and his crew of film lovers curate inspiring films from talented filmmakers. They were gracious hosts in one of the best cities in the world. The Roxie Theatre is a great venue where I've shown two films. Can't wait to come back with my next film.

    June 2019
  • Marco Kyris

    As my film was accepted into the SF Indie film fest, the programmers couldnt have been nicer and more accommodating. They took care of everything and screened it twice. I, unfortunately could not make it, but thanks to Jeff & Fay for making sure it was out there and was an audience pleaser. Thanks again guys. cheers, Marco Kyris.

    June 2019
  • Paul Burke

    SF DOC fest was a fantastic experience. In contrast to the SF Int'l, SF Doc Fest has a more punk rock aesthetic...very fitting for the Doc world. We screened our short film (Shorts Program 2) at the Little Roxie to 2 full houses. The audiences for both screenings were amazing. They were totally engaged and deeply appreciative of the work. Communication and outreach from the festival was also great. This is a fantastic festival and I would love to screen here again in the future.

    June 2019
  • Spencer McCall

    This is perhaps one of the best documentary festivals I've been lucky enough to be a part of. We never had a screening that wasn't entirely packed, the press that came out of it was unbelievable and the program staff are so smart and on top of everything. I'll always continue to submit to this terrific festival.

    June 2019
  • Laurie Coyle

    The spirit of this festival is spunky and fun, the staff warm and welcoming. The publicists (Karen Larsen Associates) do a great job at connecting press to particular stories. I especially appreciate how fast and personable everyone was--director, programmers, publicists, Roxie staff-- in responding to queries before and during DocFest.

    July 2018