SF IndieFest is a founding member of the FILM FESTIVAL ALLIANCE

We screen the best documentaries from around the world at the Roxie Cinema, the oldest art house theater west of the Mississippi. Many of our titles end up with calendared runs at the Roxie later in the year. We get great press coverage in San Francisco, the second largest film market in the country, plus industry reviews.

San Francisco is a very receptive town for documentaries and our fest has built a passionate following over the past 24 years.

LAST YEAR'S PRESS COVERAGE: https://sfindie.com/press-coverage

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

"What makes the scrappy San Francisco Documentary Film Festival a treasure to SF Bay Area filmgoers is its willingness to take that extra step to show films a little more out there than bog standard documentaries." - Peter Wong, Broke Ass Stuart

“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

Michael Fox just loves DocFest, here's another:

"Welcome to SF DocFest, the beloved annual compendium of odd, unusual nonfiction films from every nook and corner of our bizarro country and beyond. Waving off the pedigreed, high-profile docs that premiere at Sundance, get theatrical releases (or these days, national virtual releases) and chart a course for the Academy Awards, SF DocFest’s programmers opt for poignant, intimate works that miss the mainstream by dint of their iconoclasm and/or lack of a marketing hook." -KQED

"This week brings the kickoff to the 20th edition of SF Docfest, the rapidly-becoming-venerable nonfiction showcase that nonetheless continues to put the fun in documentary cinema appreciation. While other such showcases tend to be soberly issue-themed, focusing on the environment, activism, or some such, Docfest pursues—though not exclusively—colorful human interest stories, musician profiles, and other subjects on which there will not be a class quiz afterward." - Dennis Harvey, 48Hills

A couple of comments from participating filmmakers:

"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.

"Thanks for these amazing photos (kudos on composition, lighting, and hyping up the crowd - what a great gift to filmmakers!). A million thanks to you both for pulling off an amazing event. We love the ethos of SF IndieFest and we're so honored to have participated. Thanks for your dedication to uplifting local filmmakers and for putting our all-female team (and our unexpected and important story) in the spotlight. Looking forward to seeing and working with you both again in the future!!" - Leslie Tai, How To Have An American Baby

"I want to thank you for having our film in your festival, it was an amazing experience and seriously one of my favorite screenings." - Antonio Conteras, The Girl From 7th Avenue

"I just wanted to say thank you for a great festival experience overall and screening." - Brendan Geraghty, Motel Drive

"Thanks, Jeff, Chris, and the rest of the SF DocFest team, for having 'Before Us!' The screening went well, and I appreciated all the care and thought that went into the festival. I'm honored to be in such good company, I watched quite a few of the features, and all were excellent." - Heidia Maron, Before US

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
  • Michael Hudecek

    We are very grateful, that the festival invited our film. We had a very nice Q&A meeting in zoom and hope, that some people were touched and inspired by the film.

    June 2023
  • I thank the Festival for the selection of my Film "Tell me Iggy".
    The discussions were professional and very motivating.
    Thank you team!!!

    June 2023
  • Really appreciate the in-person screening for my short film and having it as part of a lovely shorts program virtually. The in depth Q&A for the virtual program was wonderful and the feature I was paired with for the Roxie screening was thematically well chosen. Very thought provoking programming all around! Thank you for sharing my family's story and supporting independent filmmakers!

    June 2023
  • Tamara Perkins

    San Francisco DocFest was an incredible experience for our team and delivered a phenomenal screening for our documentary Clarissa's Battle. Chris and Jeff are brilliant filmmakers and programmers. I would highly recommend this festival!

    July 2022
  • Derek Knowles

    I consider SF DocFest to be one of the great remaining torch-bearers of independent, non-fiction storytelling, and with screenings at the Roxie, it's hard to imagine a better venue for the preservation and continuation of cinema...something not to be taken for granted these days!

    June 2022