Now in its 11th year of programming powerful and innovative non-fiction films from around the world the SDFF just opened their doors June 1st with a kicker - a brand new category!

With its reputation as a filmmaker’s festival, for four days each March, DOCS ROCK this quiet wine country outpost as the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival showcases over sixty films in venues across the town. Unique and intimate, the community in and around Sebastopol embraces both festival filmmakers and audience with uncompromising enthusiasm.

In addition to the screenings, informative round tables of industry professionals pop up all over town while the robust filmmaker workshop, Docs in Progress’ Peer Pitch West spills over to informal gatherings throughout the festival.
We look for excellence of craft in non-fiction storytelling in each submitted film. Both short and feature length non-fiction films are accepted. In the 2018 festival, Emerging Filmmakers will be considered for the first time.

The films chosen in the Emerging Filmmaker category will earn up to five spots in the festival lineup. In addition, festival critics will award laurels for the ‘Best New Filmmaker’ at the 2018 SDFF to recognize the best of the creative and gutsy work received in all documentary forms from first time filmmakers.

Awards & Prizes

We give three awards to both feature and short documentaries. Engraved plaques are awarded to the winners. There are no cash prizes at this time. A new award this year will go to the Best New Filmmaker!

Critics Award – Feature
Critics Award – Short
Jury Award – Feature
Jury Award – Short
New Filmmaker Award– Short or Feature

and the popular Audience Awards for Feature + Short

Rules & Terms

Foreign language films MUST have English subtitles burned onto picture.

Submissions will be reviewed by Selection Committee between May and December, 2017. Submissions must be provided in electronic form (we prefer Vimeo password-protected screeners). As our judges are geographically dispersed, we cannot accept physical media (i.e. DVD or BluRay) submissions.

There is no preference given to early submissions except the discounted entry fee. There is equal consideration by the Selection Committee for all submitted films and your chances of acceptance are not diminished by a late entry.

Please choose only ONE category when submitting your film for consideration.

Works in Progress? Please contact our submission coordinators at submissions@sebastopolfilmfestival.org to discuss your work before submitting.

Filmmakers will be notified of selection results by Tuesday January 2, 2018.

By submitting your film through FilmFreeway you acknowledge and agree that, to the best of your knowledge, all of the statements in this form are true and that you are duly authorized to submit this film to the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival. You further agree that if this film is selected, the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival has permission to screen the film during the 2018 Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival event dates of March 22-25, 2018.

3 Reviews

Overall Rating
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    Harris Cohen

    A pleasure to have participated in the 2017 Festival. Every festival person we met was welcoming and helpful. We felt in good company with the other filmmakers, their films and the intelligent audiences. Sebastopol itself - a treat.

    April 2017
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    Gerret Warner

    This is a wonderful festival, filmmaker-friendly and set in a beautiful town among redwoods and vineyards. But it's the selection of docs that makes you proud to be in the lineup.

    April 2017
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    Dan Goldes

    A really well-curated festival with a very well-informed audience. Very worthwhile.

    January 2017