➜ Call for Entries is open for SDFF 2019 ⬅︎
This is our 12th year of exhibiting non-fiction work of independent filmmakers. Each film we program has characters of extraordinary presence, whether animate or not, and compelling stories. Each is a signature of excellence in craft that bridges a filmmakers’ desire to reach an audience. We are known for programming work to this discerning audience that enjoys being challenged as well as entertained.

SDFF 2019, an iconic program of Sebastopol Center for the Arts, continues its tradition of using film as art to highlight all arts. There are topical panels made up of attending filmmakers who focus on filmmaking craft and issues. Docs In Progress offers Peer Pitch West: an opportunity to give documentary pitches a test run in a supportive environment with fellow filmmakers providing feedback.

Sebastopol is in Sonoma County, California. On a good day, we’re only an hour north of San Francisco. We are a mix of small town folk, organic farmers, prize-winning vintners, environmentalists, old hippies and more artists per acre than most. We’re curious, engaged, opinionated and welcoming to all. Take some time to see if this is the Festival that fits your film. The Documentary film community knows us. Ask around. Here is the experience of a Director who was with us last year:

"What makes a film festival great? Well, there are many answers to that, and some are logistical, have to do with panels, number of screenings, etc. but there is always a certain je ne sais quoi that sends a festival into an entirely different realm. Your festival has that. Somehow when you add up the films, the theaters, panels, and the volunteers and their endless smiles and patience, and the filmmakers in attendance, you come up with a weekend that feeds the heart and soul. That is what you accomplished. Thank you."

Jury Award Feature: 40 minutes & over
Jury Award Short: 10-39 minutes
Jury Award Mini-Doc: Under 10 minutes

Critics Award – Feature
Critics Award – Short
Critics Award – Mini-Doc

Audience Awards

Rules & Terms

If accepted for screening, your film will screen 28 – 31 March 2019 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* prior to the festival.
*Excludes films curated for special programs

Films must be submitted via online screener ONLY through the following portals:
- FilmFreeway and its video player;
- Vimeo with its current password protected private link;
- YouTube as an unlisted link.
Passwords must not be changed until submissions have closed and notification of program films is announced.

If you absolutely cannot upload your film please email programming@sebastopolfilm.org for instructions on mailing a physical screener.

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 accepted.

Each accepted film may be screened more than once during the Festival. It can be selected and exhibited once again during Best of the Fest, a series of 6 monthly screenings following SDFF 2019, until year’s end.

There are no fee waivers. 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.

Format Requirements:
Exhibition Formats:
Acceptable exhibition formats vary by venue and include DCP and Blu Ray disc. SDFF requests DVD and/or Blu Ray disc back-up copies for each title. By entering your film, you agree to provide compatible exhibition format(s) and back-ups.

Foreign language films must be made available with English subtitles.

Before sending your DVD, please try it on several machines, including traditional DVD players and computers. Do not include menus, trailers and other special features.

All entry deadlines are postmark deadlines. Entries postmarked after the final deadline may not be considered. Submission fees are non-refundable.

Each entry, by any means, needs to include the following contact information:

Director: Full name, email address, phone number, mailing address
Rights Holder [if different]: Full name, email address, phone number, mailing address
Distributor Contact: Full Name, email address, department, phone number, mailing address

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

By submitting this documentary, I understand that I am agreeing to the following:
I am currently the copyright owner of this work. Should ownership or rights to my film change, this agreement to screen at the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival 2019, if accepted, will be upheld and not be infringed. I own or control the copyright and am duly authorized to submit this documentary film to Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival 2019.
If my film is selected for screening at SDFF 2019 up to two minutes of footage from the film and materials accompanying my entry may be used for promotional purposes


Overall Rating
  • Jan Millsapps

    One of my best-ever festival experiences. The staff, including many volunteers, is gracious and generous with their time and expertise. They support and value the filmmakers from start to finish. Screenings were well organized and clearly publicized, and films I saw there were excellent.

    April 2019
  • David Auerbach

    I loved being at the Festival with my short documentary. I stayed with a lovely cinephile host family, saw some inspiring films and made some new friends among the international and local film community. I hope I can come back. Thank you SDFF!

    April 2019
  • Radu Sava

    We had a blast at the festival. The workshops with top professionals were very inspiring. Our hosts were very generous. We made a lot of new filmmaker friends.

    April 2019
  • Deborah Craig

    I wasn't able to be there because of a scheduling conflict, but had a great experience working with festival. Everyone was quick to respond, friendly, supportive and helpful. One of my film participants was there at the festival and was made to feel very welcome. Thanks to all of you for your great work!

    April 2019
  • Annie O'Neil

    An absolutely wonderful film festival! I highly recommend you go if you are accepted. Great films, great filmmakers, and wonderful hosts!

    October 2018