Thin Line Fest - Texas' International Documentary Film Festival is held in Denton - just north of Dallas / Fort Worth. The 10th Annual Thin Line Film Fest is April 19-23, 2017.

We are very excited to announce that Thin Line will award over $20,000 in cash and prizes to the best feature and short documentaries of the year including Best Feature and Short, Best Student, and new in 2017, the Minerva Awards.

Thin Line Fest will give your documentary our undivided attention during the review process. We review documentaries on any topic, of any length, shot on any format, and completed in any year. We want relevant stories with compelling characters and told in a creative way. We not only want traditional docs, but also mockumentaries, docufictions, docudramas, or any film that pushes the boundaries of the documentary genre. This year, we are expanding our categories to also include "True-to-life" narratives, or, films based on real life events.

2014 marked the beginning of a multi-year journey to expand the Thin Line brand. That year we introduced Thin Line Music Fest. Running concurrently with the film festival, the music fest hosted over 100 bands across 6 downtown locations! Festival headliner was Sebadoh, but the rest of the fest was all local and some regional acts. It was a true salute to the North Texas music community.

In 2015 we launched a photo festival, Thin Line Photo Fest that also runs concurrently with the film festival. Thin Line Photo curates and exhibit up to 400 images at dozens of locations around downtown Denton, TX. Visit our website ( to submit your work to Thin Line Photo.

2017 marks our 10-year anniversary and we are giving back by going free this year. That's right, we are going to maximize your viewing audience by getting rid of ticket prices. We hope to see full theaters for every film.

Thin Line Fest is set in the historic downtown square of Denton, TX. Denton is a progressive community with two universities. The music scene is one of the best in the country with plenty of places to catch a jazz ensemble or an indie rock band within a block or two of festival venues. We screen at the historic Campus Theatre while other events are held throughout the historic and lively downtown square. Surrounded by a lively and safe night scene, Thin Line Fest truly is one-of-a-kind.

Awards & Prizes

Unless otherwise agreed by the Festival in writing, awards will be fulfilled approximately 10-14 weeks after the closing date of the festival.

Award eligibility is subject to any restrictions or conditions imposed by applicable laws and regulations (international, federal, state or otherwise), and the award recipient is responsible for all applicable taxes, customs, tariffs, insurance and similar charges or costs (if any).

2017 Awards listed in the below Festival sections are subject to change.

The Minerva Awards
A series of awards given across all festival disciplines and sponsored by Texas Woman's University. For film, a $5,000 cash prize will be given to the documentary that best gives voice to the issues affecting the lives of women.

Thin Line Best Documentary Award
The overall best documentary will be determined by a jury. Only films pre-selected by the festival programming committee will be eligible for this award. The winner will be chosen based on the following characteristics: 1. Be technically and creatively well-rounded and consistent. 2. Contain innovative elements that utilize the array of directorial decisions and creativity including, but not limited to: interview techniques (if there are interviews), narrative flow (traditional or not), overall style and approach to subject matter, as well as interest and importance of the content, subject, and people or things involved in the film. 3. Judges will NOT judge based on personal beliefs about the subject matter itself or any ethical concerns privately held by any one jury member. Feature winner will receive a $10,000 credit with Panavision. Short winner will receive a $5,000 credit with Panavision.
Value of Goods/Services: 15,000 U.S. Dollar

Denton Award
The Denton Award is a $1,000 cash prize for the best feature or short documentary with a 'connection' to Denton County, Texas. A 'connection' can be any tie-in related to the People, Places, and Spirit of Denton County. Here are a few clear-cut examples: the filmmaker was born or currently resides in Denton County, the film's main character was born in or currently resides in Denton County, or the film features a Denton County location or individual city/community. Here are a few not-so-clear-cut examples: the film uses Denton County locations but they aren't featured or identifiable, the film's subject matter deals with a topic or issue currently affecting the people of Denton County, or the film's subject went to school in Denton County. All of the above examples would be eligible for this award. The criteria are meant to be broadly applied; but if you have a question send us an e-mail.
Cash Award Value: 1,000 U.S. Dollar

Best Student Short Doc Award
The Best Student Short Doc Award is based on the same criteria used in the Thin Line Best Documentary Award except it only applies to short documentaries which are labelled as a Student project in your submission. Student projects are only eligible for student awards.
Cash Award Value: 500 U.S. Dollar

Rules & Terms

Submission fees are in US Dollars and are non-refundable. Thin Line reserves the right to disqualify a submission, without a refund or credit, if eligibilty requirements are not met or if eligibility status changes. Each entry must be accompanied by the appropriate fee. One submission is defined as one film, one band or musician, and one photo. Submission fees may be paid by credit card only (Visa, MasterCard, Discover).

NOTE: Students get 50% off submission fees. Your submission must be flagged as 'student' and your submission profile must include a photo/copy of your student ID. Any issues email

-Student works are accepted.
-Entrant confirms and warrants required legal authority to submit the entry into the Festival and to use all music, images, and content in the entry.
All entrants will be notified by e-mail or phone of their submission status no later than February 28, 2017.
Multiple entries are allowed. If submitting multiple works across different festivals (Film & Photo, etc); you will be required to submit two transactions, one for each festival.
-Make sure to tell us any special info about you or your submission. Some key points could be that you are a Texas-based artist. Or does your work have anything to do with the University of North Texas, Texas Woman's University, or Denton County?
-All three festivals accept (and prefer) digital submission materials.
-Submission materials will not be returned.

If You Are Selected

-You must execute a release agreement wherein you (i) accept responsibility for obtaining any and all clearances necessary to exhibit your film, photo, or music at Thin Line 2017; (ii) warrant that you have the rights necessary to exhibit your film, photo, or music at Thin Line 2017; and (iii) indemnify and hold harmless Thin Line Fest, its parent company, its affiliates, and subsidiaries and any of their respective directors, officers, employees, and representatives against any claim arising out of exhibition of your film, photo, or music at Thin Line 2017.
-You must authorize Thin Line Fest to exhibit your selected work during the 2017 festival.
-You must authorize Thin Line Fest to use your selected work for festival promotion purposes.
-You must deliver to the festival (i) one exhibition copy of the invited film [preferably a digital file format (h.264 @ 25Mbps or Apple ProRes)]; and (ii) any marketing or press materials.
-All invited filmmakers are provided housing for the night of their screening. Feature filmmakers are provide one additional night.
-All filmmakers are encouraged to attend their screening.

Invited Works/Artists

-Thin Line, at its sole discretion, may invite select films/musicians/photographers to participate in the festival.
-All invited works are ineligible for competitive awards.

5 Reviews

Overall Rating
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    Could not have possibly been nicer! They were also very, very organized with the slightest details taken care of such as rides to the festival with no wait. . . even had a Green Room to network with other filmmakers. Great staff who were accomodating and hospitable and made being in their festival a real pleasure. Thank you to all of them! It was an exceptional festival.

    May 2017
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    Ramsey Denison

    Stanton Brasher and his team at the Thin Line Film Festival go out of their way to make the filmmakers feel welcome. When my plane landed, they had someone at the airport to pick me up. The hotel they put me up in was first rate. Stanton and the projectionist Jonathan even showed me around Denton, which is a pretty awesome town. Made great new friends and had a blast. Would love to go back.

    May 2017
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    John Bennardo

    This was a fantastic festival hosted by some great people. I was provided transportation to and from the airport, my hotel was free for two nights, the theater was impressive and the city offered lots to do. Oh, and did I mention a filmmaker green room near the theater, which provided complimentary food & drinks all day? The Program Director is a class act and all the volunteers are into making it a great experience for the filmmaker. Next film I make, I hope to go back.

    April 2017
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    Damien Patrik

    This is one of the festivals I wasnt able to make it to and really wish I had. The communications and hospitality offers were exceptional. Promotion of the fest was excellent. Festival Program Director is a great guy. If I am lucky enough to get in again I will do whatever I can to get there, including stealing candy from children and mugging old ladies. Highly recommended.

    December 2016
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    Ted Fisher

    A documentary film festival in Texas? You bet your ten-gallon hat. A good one, too. Excellent venue (the Campus Theater), excellent programmers and organizers. Great volunteers, definitely. Valuable Q+A sessions. Excellent support for filmmakers, smart and interested audiences, and a very fun setting. No problem finding great food or drink between films. Live music, too. Only concern: keep the focus on documentary if possible. Mockumentaries have a place in this world, as do hybrid films. Still, keep the docs as the main dish, and other formats as a little bit of spicy seasoning.

    June 2016