Saratov Sufferings International Film Festival of Documentary Drama is the only film festival in the world which deals with the genre of documentary drama. Saratov Sufferings was created 20 years ago and takes place every year in September in Saratov (Russia). The city is situated in a beautiful place at the bank of the longest river in Europe – The Volga River. The city has long cinema traditions. The famous Russian war cinematographer and documentary filmmaker Vladislav Mikosha did his first step in profession here at the Lower-Volga Newsreel Studio. It’s the oldest film studio in the country which has existed since 1927. Now here is the cinema theater and the main host of film festival.

The title of the film festival is taken after the old aged folk music genre of Saratov «suffering», which means the emotional refrain and rhyme. This is the low-budget film festival, we can’t offer screening fee but we can repay your costs by warm and friendly atmosphere and incredible films from all over the globe. Helena Trestikova, Maria Kravchenko, Alexander Nanau, Marina Razbezhkina, Kim Longinotto, Dmitriy Kubasov, David Kinsella, Rodion Ismailov, Laura Herrero Garvin, Uli Gaulke, Till Harms and etc. took part in different years in festival. Every year we prepare a diverse out of competition events for our guests and audience: special section for children and young people, exhibitions, discussions, cinema discos, open air events, lectures and etc.

Saratov Sufferings are looking for wonderful independent documentary films from all over the world. We try to join traditional and innovation modes of documentaries at the festival. We like poetic, experimental, provocative and traditional films with stark stories. The theatrical style documentaries are required conditions. The festival doesn’t accept television documentaries and reports. We tend towards new films that have received minimal exposure in Russia. The Russian premiere is desirable for all foreign films in the competition programs.

The festival is highly interested in person's life as the greatest value and the price each one has to pay for it in modern world. Including the man himself, his house, his city, his country and the people living nearby.

For our special competition programm ''Saratov - open city'' we are looking for both experimental and music films and clips, where the city is the main hero or the background.

In 2024's edition the festival will hold several meetings and master-classes with famous Russian filmmakers, writers, artists and musicians.

We are waiting for your documentary for the next festival edition in September 2024.

* Jury Grand Prix
* Jury Award for the Best Documentary – the 1st Prize
* Jury Award for the Best Documentary – the 2d Prize
* Jury Award for the Best Documentary – the 3d Prize
* Jury Award for the Best Cinematography n.a. Vladislav Mikosha
* Jury Award for the Best Debut
* Special Jury Award
* Audience Award for the Best Documentary

Saratov Sufferings International Film Festival of Documentary Drama exhibits in a variety of program categories. Not all categories are competitive.

* Short Films: 40 minutes or less
* Features: Over 40 minutes
* Fees are non-refundable
* Competition is open to Russian and International entries
* Films not in English must be subtitled in English
* All films must have English srt. subtitles
* Screening fee is not available

ELIGIBILITY: Feature and short documentary films completed after January 1, 2021 are eligible for Saratov Sufferings with preference given to films premiering after January 1, 2022. The premiere is not required but preference given to films with open Russian premiere. Feature length films that have been released theatrically or broadcast on television nationally prior to the festival or are available on DVD or VOD are not eligible for competition status and will be considered for non-competitive sections only under special circumstances determined by the festival.

SUBMISSIONS will be received between April 2022 and June of 2022, with notification of acceptance no later than April 1st.

SUBMISSION FORMAT: ENTRIES MUST BE SUBMITTED FOR PRE-SCREENING WITH VIMEO OR YOUTUBE LINK. You are required to keep us updated with passwords must be availed up to the end of September 2022.

SCREENING FORMAT: ONLY mp4 (H264) as 1920x1080 and DCP.

You may submit multiple entries but must fill out a separate entry form and PROVIDE an entry fee for each.

UPDATED CUTS: Our programming team will review the original screener received. The festival is unable to guarantee a review of the updated versions of your film, but links to new cuts can be emailed to

Overall Rating
  • A very interesting festival, with a special theme - suffering. I am glad that I could be part of the official selection program this year, with my feature documentary film Time Travel - From Bonn To Speia. I deeply regret that unfortunate circumstances have made it impossible for me to physically participate in this wonderful celebration of documentary film.

    September 2023

    Thank you very much, I am impressed with the organization of this film festival.

    September 2023
  • Отличный фестиваль. Мы взяли приз зрительских симпатий

    September 2022
  • Chandan Chatterjee

    No doubt the intention of festival is wonderful. But they should share the results with the nominated film makers. Particularly thoe who are outside of Russia. Am happy that my documentary was nominated in this festival but they have not showm any interest to share the event results. Feeling sad.

    September 2022
  • Yi Wu

    it is a great film festival! and it is a special and respectable film festival! it enable us to face up to the suffering of human around the world!
    I am honored that my documentary <Fikirte> won the best of debut award.

    September 2022