Presented by the esteemed Parajanov-Vartanov Institute, DOC LA [Los Angeles Documentary Film Festival] will screen and award outstanding films by students, emerging auteurs, and established masters, especially those that our city’s other important festivals overlook due to space limitations, thematic issues, or premiere considerations. We want Angelinos to have an opportunity to see great examples of World and American cinema, and to bring the students and the master filmmakers together to inspire and learn from one another. DOC LA furthers the mission of the annual Parajanov-Vartanov Institute Awards established in 2010.

DOC LA doesn’t require a Los Angeles premiere for short films, but we prefer it for features. And, although the festival’s focus is documentary and short cinema, we will program films of any genre and length whenever we discover unique or charming work. We are also enthusiastic about strange and unclassifiable films since the festival presenting institute is named after the renowned nonconformists Sergei Parajanov (1924-1990) and Mikhail Vartanov (1937-2009), who overcame censorship, persecution and low budgets, and earned praise for their daring point of view from some of cinema’s greatest luminaries.

The festival’s programmer is their disciple and UCLA alumnus Martiros Vartanov, who has served as a curator and juror at festivals in Busan and Beverly Hills and worked on the restoration of the The Color of Pomegranates selected for Festival de Cannes. He also presents the annual Parajanov-Vartanov Institute Awards which have honored such icons as the Academy Award ® winning director Martin Scorsese, Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Saroyan, French cinema icon Jean Vigo, Oscar ® winning actress Emma Thompson, and the Grammy-winning rock band System Of A Down.

Awards & Prizes

Best Documentary Award
Best Short Documentary Award
Best Student Film Award

DOC LA, at its discretion, may award cash prizes and special awards:

Directing Award
Cinematography Award
Screenwriting Award
Editing Award
Composer Award
Producer Award
Animation Award
Experimental Award
Audience Award
Student Award - Silver
Student Award - Bronze

Rules & Terms


January - August 2017 (or Sep 2017 with a waiver).


On rolling basis, and by 30 September 2017 at the latest.

Selected films:

DCP+Bluray or Bluray+.MOV file must be delivered to DOC LA within 14 days from notification of acceptance.


Student films: any length.
Short films: 1 to 15 min.
Medium length: 16-39 min.
Features: 40 min and up.

We accept online password protected screeners only.

Selected films must be delivered on DCP and Bluray (or Bluray and .MOV file) to DOC LA within 14 days from notification of acceptance.

The filmmaker assumes the cost of the shipping to the festival. The backup Bluray will not be returned.

By submitting to Los Angeles Documentary Film Festival (DOC LA) you understand and agree that:

a). if your film is selected, it cannot be withdrawn for any reason; the film hasn’t been and will not be available online or as a rental until the conclusion of our festival; the film will not be screened in the Los Angeles and neighboring areas prior to DOC LA in case of features (short films don’t need to be LA premieres, but if DOC LA selects your short film before other festivals in Los Angeles area, you agree to show your film at DOC LA first).

b). that you will ensure the delivery of your film’s DCP+Bluray or Bluray+.MOV file to DOC LA within 14 days from notification of acceptance. The festival reserves the right to change any dates, deadlines, terms, and venues at its sole discretion.

c). that the festival will not be held liable in case your exhibition materials are lost or damaged, or for any claims arising from improperly secured rights/permissions for your film.

d). that you have all the necessary rights/permissions for your film.

3 Reviews

Overall Rating
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    David Lavallee

    A most excellent red carpet experience in the heart of Hollywood- the festival gives Docs the respect they deserve

    November 2016
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    Shawn Convey

    Martiros is a super host and a super nice guy. The festival is still young but his passion for quality doc films and the incredible screening rooms will for sure keep filmmakers and audience members coming. Thanks for the experience!

    November 2016
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    Samuel Sprynczynatyk

    A great festival ran in a professional and friendly way! I was very honored by being a part of it.

    October 2016