DOC NYC, America's largest documentary festival, is an annual event based in New York City at the West Village’s IFC Center, Chelsea’s SVA Theatre and Cinépolis Chelsea. Voted by MovieMaker magazine as one of the "top five coolest documentary film festivals in the world", the eight-day fest showcases new achievements in documentary film along with panels and conversations with acclaimed filmmakers and industry professionals. DOC NYC seeks to make connections that happen “only in New York.”
"This cinematic bonanza covers everything new and noteworthy in the world of documentary filmmaking.” - The Huffington Post
“DOC NYC has cemented itself as one of our favorite festivals of the cultural calendar." – Flavorpill
“DOC NYC has become an essential summit for all kinds of documentary filmmaking.” – Wall Street Journal
“An essential event on the cinephile's calendar.” - Time Out New York
“Images that dare you to turn away.” – The New York Times
“The most comprehensive celebration of the nonfiction form in the five boroughs or anywhere else for that matter.” - AM New York
“Bigger isn't always better. But when it comes to DOC NYC, now the largest documentary film festival in the U.S., the five-year-old upstart event has proven itself a worthy new addition [...] By all accounts, screenings have been selling out; the country's top documentary filmmakers, from Albert Maysles to D.A. Pennebaker, are showing up for tributes and events; and sales agents are closing deals on select world premieres." - IndieWire
Within its first five years, DOC NYC quickly became America's largest documentary film festival. In 2016, the festival showcased 214 films & events, presented by 300 filmmakers and special guests. Past guests include Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Michael Moore, Martin Scorsese, Ethan Hawke, Susan Sarandon, Danny DeVito, Jim Carrey, Sarah Polley, Noam Chomsky, Ricki Lake, Michel Gondry, Errol Morris, Oliver Stone, Eve Ensler, Jonathan Franzen, Dick Cavett, Brian Stelter, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Moyers, L7, Omar Epps, Malik Yoba, Bill Binney, Sonia Sanchez, Gilbert Gottfried, Yvonne Rainer, Beau Willimon, Kathleen Hanna, Spandau Ballet, Greil Marcus, Bela Fleck, Nat Hentoff, Chuck Workman, Frederick Wiseman, Barbara Kopple, Amy Berg, Morgan Neville, Jim Jarmusch, Ronnie Spector, Steve Miller, Steven Van Zandt, Cissy Houston, Betty Harris, Brenda Reid, Tony Alva, Mayor David Dinkins, Billie Jean King, and The Mekons. Audience attendees have included Harry Belafonte, Rosario Dawson, Fred Armisen, Sandra Bernhard, Marisa Tomei, Thandie Newton, Emma Watson, Michael Stipe, Martha Stewart, Darren Aronofsky, Maggie Q, Joan Jett, Paul Shaffer, Cornel West, Naomi Watts, Bob Costas, Julian Schnabel, Bill Nye, Michael Musto, Cherry Jones, and The Luna Chicks, among others.
2016 grand jury prizes winners included “The Islands and the Whales,” “Off the Rails,” and "Bedside Manner," with the audience award presented to "Death by a Thousand Cuts," and the DOC NYC PRO Pitch Perfect Award going to "Untitled Women Leaders of the First Intifada Project."
Viewfinders – A competition section that covers nonfiction perspectives from around the world. Eligibility requires a minimum New York City premiere with preference given to World or U.S. premieres. Past titles include World premieres of "Almost There," "The Lure," "The Anthropologist," "The Sunshine Makers," and "Web;" and U.S. premieres of "The Beekeeper and His Son," "Girl Unbound: The War to Be Her," "I Am Sun Mu," "A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers," "P.S. Jerusalem," "The Dark Matter of Love," and "The Wound and the Gift."
Metropolis – A competition section of documentaries about New York City or New Yorkers. Eligibility requires a minimum New York City premiere with preference given to World or U.S. premieres. Past titles include World premieres of "All the Rage (Saved By Sarno)," "Rikers," "Woman On Fire," "Daddy Don't Go," "The Lost Arcade," "Patrolman P," "Some Kind of Spark," "More Than the Rainbow," and "To Be Heard;" and U.S. premieres of "Winter at Westbeth," "Homme Less," "The Sarnos - A Life in Dirty Pictures," and "Rubble Kings."
Shorts Programs – Selections of nonfiction shorts, organized thematically. Past titles include Laura Poitras and Henrik Moltke's "Project X," Aaron Schock's "La Laguna," Maxim Pozdorovkin's "Clínica de Migrantes: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness," Jon Alpert's "Mariela Castro's March: Cuba's LGBT Revolution," Irene Taylor Brodsky's "Open Your Eyes," Alison Klayman's "The 100 Years Show," Doug Block's "The Children Next Door," and Lucy Walker's "The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom."
**The winning short film qualifies in the Documentary Short Subject category of the Annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules.**
Remaining festival section are all feature-length and require New York City premieres at a minimum, with a preference for World or U.S. premieres. Note: Exceptions may occasionally be made to consider films which have already screened in NYC - contact email@example.com to inquire.
Special Events – High-profile events and guests. Past titles include the World premieres of Netflix sensation "Making A Murderer," the Netflix docuseries "Captive" (with executive producer Doug Liman in person), "City of Joy" (with Eve Ensler in person), Springsteen doc "The Ties That Bind" (with Thom Zimny in person), "Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?" (with Noam Chomsky and Michel Gondry in person), “Darkness on the Edge of Town” (with Max Weinberg in person), Amy Berg's "An Open Secret," "Can't Stand Losing You" (with Andy Summers in person); U.S. premieres of "Finding Vivian Maier," "The Yes Men Are Revolting," "Do I Sound Gay," "Sing Me The Songs That Say I Love You" (with Rufus Wainwright in person), "Charlotte Rampling: The Look" (with Charlotte Rampling in person), and others.
American Perspectives - Past titles include World Premieres of "After Fire," "Sky Line," "Thank You For Your Service," "Wilhemina's War," "Kids for Cash," "A Murder in the Park," "Sex and Broadcasting," and screenings of "The Fear of 13," "Above and Below," "Only The Young," "Code of the West," "Brooklyn Boheme," and others.
International Perspectives - Past titles include World Premieres of "All Rise," "Every Last Child," U.S. Premieres of "On the Rim of the Sky," "Things Left Behind," "The Mosuo Sisters" and screenings of "Sacred," "Those Who Jump," "Bolshoi Babylon," "The Babushkas of Chernobyl," "Perdida," and "Oma and Bella."
DOC NYC annually presents several thematic strands, which may change from year to year. Among these have been the sports-themed Jock Docs, music-focused Sonic Cinema, films-on-films Behind the Scenes, investigative True Crime, arts-focused Art & Design, performance-based Centerstage, food-focused Doc Eat Doc, activism-oriented Fight the Power, animal-themed The Wild Life, and alternative family-focused Modern Family.
Only in New York is a showcase for filmmakers with works-in-progress (either features or series) to have intimate roundtable meetings with industry figures from the fields of distribution, financing, festival programming, and more. Only in New York is part of DOC NYC Pro, the festival’s industry programming component, and aims to curate the most promising documentaries of the future for industry consideration. Last year, participating companies included HBO, A&E IndieFilms, Amazon Studios, Sundance Institute, and over 40 others.
Projects selected for Only in New York will be able to participate in meetings over four days, November 13-16. They will also be featured on the DOC NYC website. Between 20 to 30 works-in-progress will be selected.
Submissions are open to nonfiction works-in-progress features or series proposals in any genre or style. Works-in-progress must be on track to be completed within 1-2 years, with at least 50% of their budget already in place. Filmmakers must submit a 2-5 minute video work sample, one-page description, and simple budget.
Projects will be selected based on their artistic merit, ability to engage an audience, and potential for success in the marketplace. Projects that are selected can have up to two representatives participate in Only in New York.
If selected for Only in New York, each participant will need to purchase a DOC NYC Pro badge, which will be offered at a significantly reduced rate, and provides entry to all DOC NYC Pro events for the entire festival of November 9-16, a robust program of daily panels and workshops, as well as networking events.
Additionally, projects selected for Only in New York will be automatically considered for potential participation in Pitch Perfect, a pitching event that provides a nurturing environment for filmmakers to present works-in-progress to influential industry figures.
Projects selected for Pitch Perfect will be given 10 minutes to pitch, including trailer or clip, and 15-20 minutes of feedback from an industry panel. In addition to putting filmmakers in front of funders, Pitch Perfect seeks to connect projects to mentors such as producers, post production supervisors, sales agents, publicists, outreach coordinators, marketing directors, and others to strengthen the film’s potential in the marketplace.
Only in New York applicants who are not accepted will also be provided a discount on select DOC NYC Passes, to be determined.
Awards & Prizes
DOC NYC annually presents several awards, with award details to be announced on docnyc.net:
Viewfinders Jury Prize
-Open to the features selected for the Viewfinders Competition.
Metropolis Jury Prize
-Open to the features selected for the Metropolis Competition.
Shorts Jury Prize
-Open to all selected short films screening in festival-curated shorts programs or before feature presentations.
DOC NYC Audience Award
-Open to the features selected for the Viewfinders and Metropolis Competitions.
Pitch Perfect Award
-Open to the works-in-progress selected for Pitch Perfect.
Rules & Terms
• Previously submitted documentaries will not be accepted, unless the film has undergone significant content changes (60% or more) and meets all other submission requirements.
• Feature documentaries are forty one (41) minutes or longer. Shorts are forty (40) minutes or less, including all credits.
• If the documentary is in a language other than English, it must be subtitled or dubbed in English.
• Promotional, instructional, or industrial films, and raw documentation of performances are not eligible.
• At this time, DOC NYC does not have a VR category.
• Generally, DOC NYC preferences newer films for inclusion. For the 2017 edition, we are ideally seeking films which are making their public premiere within calendar year 2017, or, barring that, no earlier than May 2016.
• To be eligible for inclusion, films must not have screened publicly in NYC prior to the Festival, nor have been broadcast on US television or online before the festival, nor commercially released on DVD/Blu-ray, VOD, or for download to the public.
• For non-competition sections, exceptions may occasionally be made to consider films which have already screened in NYC - contact firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire.
• DOC NYC strongly prefers Vimeo links over FilmFreeway’s video uploads.
• If you change your Vimeo link, or the password connected to it, make sure to email the updated information to email@example.com.
• Please Note: We do not accept DVD as a submission format. All entries must be submitted by link.
• Filmmakers may submit more than one documentary, but each documentary must be accompanied by its own Entry Form and Entry Fee.
• The Entry Fee is non-refundable.
• Submitted materials will not be returned. Please do not send film prints, master tapes, or other originals.
• All entrants will be notified of their status on or around September 18, 2017 via e-mail.
• Please keep us informed of any changes regarding your contact information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
• Due to the number of submissions received, DOC NYC unfortunately cannot provide feedback on entries.
• For questions regarding submissions, see Festival Description or email email@example.com.