Call for Entries: SDFF 2022

Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival is a bridge for independent non-fiction filmmakers from anywhere in the world to reach their audience. Since our beginning in 2007, each film programmed for SDFF is a signature of excellence in craft, character and storytelling. We are driven by an immense curiosity to learn and understand the lives of others, lives different from our own.

After two virtual years, we are all looking forward to celebrating our 15th gathering together in town around film, friends and food. SDFF 2022 will continue to offer streamed content: films, interviews, conversations and meet-ups. It was great fun to enable people from all over the world to participate and lifted everyone’s spirits.

Within its overall programming SDFF encourages Environmentalism, Journalism, Arts, LGBTQI+ and Social Justice topics.

SDFF is an Academy Award® qualifying festival for the Documentary Short Subject category.

Throughout our history we have programmed Oscar® nominees, Peabody and Pulitzer Prize recipients, Jury Award winners, premieres and audience favorites from the festival circuit. Over 90% of films programmed enter through this open Call for Entries.

SDFF has become known for programming work to a discerning audience that enjoys being challenged as well as entertained. Take some time to see if this is the Festival that fits your film. The documentary film community knows us. Ask around.

Sebastopol is in Sonoma County, California. On a good traffic day, we’re only an hour north of San Francisco. We are a mix of small-town folk, organic farmers, prize-winning vintners, musicians, environmentalists, old hippies and more artists per acre than we can count. We’re curious, engaged, opinionated and welcoming to all. Come join us in continuing the ageless tradition of storytelling circles.

Awards & Prizes
Jury Award Feature: $1,000 - 40 minutes & over
Jury Award Short: $750 - 10-39 minutes
Jury Award Mini-Doc: $750 - Under 10 minutes
Audience Award: TBD - Feature
Audience Award: TBD - Short

All films selected for SDFF 2022 are considered eligible for competition except those titles curated and invited for special programs.

If accepted for the program, your film will screen March 24 - 27, 2022 at the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival.

Films of any completion date are eligible for submission. However, accepted films must not have been shown commercially anywhere in Northern California* within 60 days prior to the festival.
*Excludes films curated for special programs


Films Must be submitted via FilmFreeway and its video player.
Submission fees are non-refundable. We are sensitive to this issue and keep our fees low. They offset a portion of our administrative costs in bringing you and your audience together.
Passwords must not be changed until submissions have closed and notification of program films is announced.

We do not accept rough cuts, subsequent cuts or more complete versions of submitted films, therefore changing or updating the originally submitted link is not permitted.

Each accepted film may be screened more than once during the Festival. Programming is at the discretion of SDFF.

■ Exhibition Formats:
SDFF has multiple screening venues. Some require DCP; others do not.
You will be informed of the required screening format when the program is locked.
Acceptable exhibition formats are QuickTime or ProRes files which can be delivered as a download link or mailed to SDFF on a SD card, flash drive or hard drive.

Foreign language films must be made available with English subtitles.

By entering your film, you agree to provide compatible exhibition format(s) at least 30 days before the start date of the festival to give SDFF print traffic manager time to QC your doc.
Before sending your media, please verify that your film plays correctly. Do not include menus, trailers and other special features.

SDFF will not pay shipping costs to or from the festival. If you want your materials returned or shipped on to another address, please provide postage with your addressed shipping container. Put the title of your film on all shipping materials.

All films selected for SDFF 2022 are considered eligible for competition except those titles curated and invited for special programs.

■ Communication:
Each entry needs to include the following contact information:
➯ Director: Full name, email address, phone number, postal mailing address
➯ Rights Holder [if different]: Company name; Contact name, email address, phone number, postal mailing address
➯ Distributor Contact: Company name, Contact Name, email address, department, phone number, postal mailing address.

You are responsible for updating SDFF directly regarding any change to your contact information and ensuring that emails from are not blocked by spam filters.

■ Additional Terms of Entry
By submitting this documentary, I understand that I am agreeing to the following:
I own or control the copyright and am duly authorized to submit this film to Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival 2022. Should ownership or rights to my film change, this agreement to screen at the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival 2022, will be honored, upheld and not be infringed.

■ If accepted, I will not withdraw my film from SDFF 2022. Upon selection for screening at SDFF 2022 up to two minutes of footage from the film and materials accompanying my entry may be used for promotional purposes.

■ Deadlines:
All entry deadlines are postmark deadlines. Entries postmarked after the final deadline might not be considered.

NOTIFICATION DATE: January 5 , 2022
EVENT DATES: March 24 – 27, 2022

Overall Rating
  • Sean Burch

    SDFF is hands down one of the best documentary film festivals out there! Their selection of films were stellar, and we were honored to be a part of in 2021. Thank you Jane and the team at SDFF for showcasing stories that were more than just entertainment… those particularly told with unique voices. Thank you for letting those films find visibility and acceptance for the viewing audience.

    June 2021
  • Richard James Allen

    We were so honoured to have Karen Pearlman's 'I want to make a film about women' screen at the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival. And it was a special thrill to win a Jury Prize!! Lovely to collaborate with this passionate, committed group of screen artists!

    June 2021
  • Mirra Bank

    I'm thrilled that my newest feature documentary, No Fear No Favor, was a Jury Award Finalist at this year's SDFF. From the moment we were invited to SDFF, the outreach, enthusiasm and generosity of all involved was exceptional. Co-director/lead programmer, Jean McGlothlin, and her team, did a hugely insightful Q+A with me, that shed added light on anti-poaching & community empowerment work in Africa.
    I can't wait to come back to SDFF with another film, hopefully, 'live' the next time!

    June 2021
  • Kristin Atwell Ford

    Sebastopol is a class act in a region known for its powerhouse documentary festivals. We were over the moon to screen "Riders of the Purple Sage: The Making of a Western Opera" at SDFF and received stellar communication from the staff, especially Olga. It was an honor to be programmed with so many provocative films and Peter Coyote's new series. We hope to be with you all in person one of these seasons.

    June 2021
  • Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu

    Having shown four films here, I can honestly say this is the best little doco festival Iʻve ever been to. Very engaged audiences, interesting and diverse programming, super friendly staff... and oh yes itʻs in the middle of wine country but less than 2 hours from SFO. Plus they have good side programming including a pitch session.

    Really glad they got Academy Award status. Well deserved.

    June 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for bringing your moolelo to SDFF 2021 ... in spirit if not in person. We're hoping to be live in 2022 ... maybe you could leave your paradise for a few days to visit ours.