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Documentary Film Festivals

Documentary Film Festivals screen hundreds of films each year and provide unparalleled opportunities to see a wide range of films and videos, and congregate with filmmakers and critics. Each documentary film festival has its own mission and ambience. Here, you will find information on the world's leading, largest and most dynamic documentary film festivals.

Documentary Film Festival Calendar
A list of 25 top documentary festivals in the USA, Canada and Europe, with links to festival Websites, 2014 schedules, and overviews.

IDFA 2013: Documentaries in Feature-Length Competition

IDFA 2013 - Documentaries to Watch List
A list of my favorite films from IDFA 2013

IDFA 2013 Award Winners

Ally Derks Interview @ IDFA 2013
A Conversational Catch Up With IDFA Director Ally Derks, November 23, 2013, in Amsterdam

Hot Documentaries @ New York Film Festival 2013
A list of recommended documentaries presented at the 51st New York Film Festival taking place from September 27 to October 13, 2013

Top Documentary Film Festivals Calendar for 2012
An annotated list of important documentary film festivals and their dates for 2012.

Nordisk Panorama 2013 - A report From the Festival
Nordisk Panorama 2013 is a Scandinavian film festival that focuses on documentaries and shorts that were made in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2013 Expands Pitch Opportunities for Filmmakers
Sheffield Doc/Fest 2013 is offering more opportunities for filmmakers to pitch nonfiction film and digital projects for funding. Seven pitch platforms compliment MeetMarket, Sheffield Doc/Fests flagship pitch forum. Read more...

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival Award Winners 2013
The 16th annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival presented awards in ten categories. Here's the annotated list.

Full Frame 2013: Special Programming
A report about the 2013 Full Frame International Film Festival's annual filmmaker tribute, filmmaker-curated Theme Program, and this year's Advocate Award winner.

Salem Film Fest 2013
The sixth annual Salem Film Fest takes place from March 7 to 14 in Salem, Massachusetts. This is a preview of the week-long festival's highlights.

Hot Docs Special Presentation Program - 2013
Hot Docs 2013 is presenting a program of special screenings, including premieres, festival award winners and an anniversary showing of The War Room. Here is the annotated list of films being shown.

Tribeca Film Festival Documentaries in Competition
An annotated list of the twelve films in the Documentaries Competition at the Sixth Annual Tribeca Film Festival, held from April 17 to 28, 2013.

Tribeca Film Festival 2013 - Documentaries in the Viewpoint Program
A list of feature length documentaries included in the Viewpoint Program of the sixth annual Tribeca Film Festival held from April 17 to 28, 2013.

MoMA's Documentary Fortnight - 2013
The Museum of Modern Art's (MoMA) Documentary Fortnight 2013 takes place from February 15 to March 4 this year, presenting some 50 outstanding nonfiction films in its program.

Documentary Distribution - The Film Festival Effect
Documentary filmmakers and distributors are faced with the constant challenge of developing new audiences for nonfiction films. Festivals are very effective in helping them to do so. Here's how...

The Importance of Documentary Trailers
Documentary trailers are shown at documentary film festival pitch forums to garner financial support from potential funders.

Sheffield Doc/Fest Youth Jury
Sheffield Doc/Fest opens up the world of documentaries and nonfiction filmmaking to youngsters with its annual Youth Jury.

International Documentaries Film Festival Amsterdam - IDFA - Awards 2012
IDFA, celebrating its 25th anniversary edition from November 14 to 24, 2012, awarded almost $60,000 in prize money to winners of juried competitions. Here is the annotated list of winners.

IDFA - 2012 Competitions and Special Program Sections
A list of competitions, awards and special programs at the 2012 IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam), held from November 14 to 24 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

IDFA 2012 - Juried Feature Length Competition
An annotated list of documentaries slated for the 2012 IDFA Feature Length Documentaries Competition.

Palo Alto International Film Festival (PAIFF) - Overview - 2012
An overview of the Palo Alto International Film Festival, with listings of 2012 documentaries in competition for the festival's Tech Doc Award.

Sheffield Doc Fest's Crowdfunding Initiative
Sheffield Doc/Fest launched the first festival-based crowdfunding pitch for independent documentary filmmakers in 2010. Two years later, the festival is launching its own crowdfunding initiative to supplement its own budget for the 2013 Sheffield Doc/Fest.

Impact Film Festival 2012 - Documentaries Program
Held every four years, the Impact Film Festival screens important issue-oriented documentaries for delegates to America's national political conventions, showing the films 'across the aisle' to both Democrats and Republicans.

National Geographic's All Roads Film Festival
An overview of National Geographic's All Roads Film Festival, dedicated to films that tell stories from and by indigenous peoples and under-represented minority cultures around the world.

IDA's Docuweeks 2012 - Part One: Feature Length Documentaries
The International Documentary Associations annual Docuweeks presents theatrical screenings of selected feature length and short documentaries so that they can qualify for consideration for the year's Academy Awards. Here's the annotated list of documentaries on the 2012 Docuweeks schedule and information about screenings in Los Angeles and New...

IDA's Docuweeks 2012 - Part Two: Documentary Shorts
The International Documentary Associations annual Docuweeks presents theatrical screenings of selected feature length and short documentaries so that they can qualify for consideration for the year's Academy Awards. Here's the annotated list of documentaries shorts on the 2012 Docuweeks schedule and information about screenings in Los Angeles...

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2012 Award Winners
a list of winning documentaries in all categories of competitiom at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2012

An Overview of the 2012 Human Rights Film Festival
An Overview of the 2012 Human Rights Watch Film Festival, New York version.

The New York International Latino Film Festival - Overview
The New York International Latin American Film Festival (NYILFF) is the leading Latino film festival in the U.S., presenting a wide range of narrative and documentary features from Latino communities in the U.S. and around the world. Here's an overview, with an annotated list of documentaries presented at the festival's 13th annual edition in August, 2012.

Hot Docs International Film Festival 2012
A report from Toronto's Hot Docs Festival 2012

Hot Docs' 2012 Hot Hacks Workshop
A report from the Hot Hacks Workshop at Hot Docs 2012

Israel's International Student Film Festival Presents First Interactive Feature
'Turbulence,' the first interactive narrative feature, is presented at Israel's International Student Film Festival.

Games 4 Change Festival Winners - 2012
The Games 4 Change Festival announces three winning games that exemplify positive social messaging and impact.

United Nations Association Film Festival Overview
An overview of the annual United Nations Association Film Festival which presents an international program of films that focus on human rights and related issues around the world.

Tribeca Film Festival 2012 - Documentary Films
Tribeca Film Festival 2012 presents twelve films in its World Documentary Feature Competition. Here's the list.

Tribeca Film Festival 2012 - Documentaries Not In Competition
In addition to the twelve documentaries in its World Documentary Competition category, Tribeca Film Festival 2012 is presenting these feature-length documentaries in non-competitive categories.

Salem Film Fest - An Overview
Salem Film Fest is a top-quality annual documentaries-only festival held in Salem, Massachusetts each March. Here is an overview of the festival.

IDFA's 2012 Deadlines
The International Film Festival Amsterdam has announced its deadline for filmmaker submissions for the 2012 festival program and associated events. Here's the schedule.

MoMA's Documentary Fortnight 2012
New York's Museum of Modern Art's Documentaries Fortnight, a two-week festival of nonfiction film and media, with screenings and other events, is on the cutting edge of documentary filmmaking.

Human Rights Watch Film Festival - 2013
On overview of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2013, taking place in New York from June 13 to 23, with a program of eighteen documentaries about human rights issues around the world.

Six Must-See Documentaries at The 2013 Human Rights Watch Film Festival
An annotated list of six must-see films at the 2013 Human Rights Watch Film Festival -- in case you can't see them all.

Festival Director Ally Derks Opens IDFA 2011
Ally Derks opens the IDFA 2011 documentaries festival with a barometric speech about the current atmosphere in the documentaries world.

IDFA International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 2011 Awards
IDFA 2011 distributed about 57,000 Euros to awards winners in juried categories. Here's the list.

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2012 - Corporate Funding Survey and Panel Discussions
Amping up the debate about corporate sponsorship and branding of documentaries, Sheffield Doc/Fest initiates a survey and sets panel discussions to delve into the issues about what filmmakers relinquish when signing on for much-need corporate funding.

Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival Overview
On overview of New York's prestigious Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival, one of the oldest documentary film festivals in the United States.

Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival - 2011 Program
The program of films selected for the 2011 Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival, held November 11 to 14 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

DOC NYC 2011 - A Report About DOC NYC 2011
A report on DOC NYC 2011, the second editon of New York's documentaries film festival.

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2011 - It's A Wrap!
A report from Sheffield Doc/Fest 2011, including coverage of the films and events that made the festival, held from June 8 to 12, a first rate documentary film event.

Traverse City Film Festival - Overview
An overview of the annual Traverse City Film Festival, founded by controversial documentary filmmaker Michael Moore to bring independently produced films -- including documentaries and narrative features -- and cinema classics to the midwest.

Traverse City Film Festival 2011 - Documentary Award Winners
The Traverse City Film Festival, founded by documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, presents 35 awards, of which 13 are designated specifically for documentaries. Here's a list of the awards given to documentaries at the 2011 Traverse City Film Festival, held from July 26 to 31, 2011.

Tribeca Film Institute Launches New Media Fund
Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) and the Ford Foundation's JustFilms have partnered to launch the TFI New Media Fund, a six-year multi-million dollar initiative to find, fund and develop documentary projects that integrate the traditional documentary film format with newer media platforms, including video games and mobile apps, as well as social...

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
An overview of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, held annually in Durham, North Carolina.

Tribeca Film Festival - 2011 Tribeca Film Festival Documentary Awards Winners
Here is a list of the winners in the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival's nonfiction competitive categories, including World Documentary Competition, Best New Documentary Director, and others.

2010 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Documentaries Program
At the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, the all-star documentaries program features premieres of films by Errol Morris, Alex Gibney, Kim Longinotto and Werner Herzog (working in 3-D!), among others. Here's the list.

DOCBOAT Film Festival
DOCBOAT presents about 70 documentaries to online viewers in Poland and around the world, and has a juried and audience prizes.

Documenta Film Festival - Madrid, Spain
Documenta Film Festival presents more than 1000 documentaries from around the world, about 100 of which are featured in three competitive categories with monetary awards totaling more than 70,000 Euros.

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2013 - Award Winners
An annotated list of juried awards presented at Sheffield Doc/Fest 20, at the awards ceremony on June 16, 2013

Documentary Film Festivals: Around the Globe
A list of important international documentary film festivals in Europe, Asia and New Zealand.

Documentary Film Festivals: North America
A list of important Documentary Film Festivals in the United States and Canada.

Documentary Film Festivals: Themed
A list of documentary film festivals that focus on specific themes, notably human rights or short films.

FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival
FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival (SIIFF) is held annually in August in Providence, Rhode Island. Here's an overview.

Hamptons International Film Festival
Hamptons International Film Festival is a leading East Coast film festival that presents annual awards for documentary films as well as independent features. It takes place annually during October in the Hamptons on Long Island, New York.

Hot Docs 2009 Award Winners
Hot Docs, held annualy in Toronto, is the largest documentaries film festival in North America. This is a list of the 2009 awards, including those with monetary prizes.

Hot Docs International Film Festival - Toronto, Canada
Hot Docs annual film festival is North America's largest documentaries film festival, with a comprehensive screening program and opportunities for filmmakers to meet with distributors, marketers and moviegoers.

AWFJ Presents EDA Awards To Documentary Filmmakers
The Alliance of Women Film Journalists presented five EDA Awards for documentary film during June 2013. Read on for details...

Human Righs Watch International Film Festival
Held in March in London, and in June in New York (at Lincoln Center for the Performing Art's Walter Reade Theater), the traveling Human Rights Watch International Film Festival screens documentaries about some of the world's most pressing social, political and economic issues, ranging from abuse of women and children, to the spread of HIV, to...

Human Rights Watch International Film Festival - 2008
The 19th annual festival runs from June 13 to 26, presenting documentaries covering a wide range of current political and social issues, including injustice in Brazil's juvenile courts, child trafficking in China, rape in the Congo, the U.S. health insurance crisis, the murder of a crusading journalist and a human rights lawyer's battle to bring a killer dictator to trial. Several of the films fo…

Human Rights Watch International Film Festival - 2010 Program
The Human Rights Watch International Film Festival is dedicated to bringing public awareness to social and political issues around the world through the medium of film. The 2010 festival, scheduled in New York at Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater from June 10 to 24, presents 30 films from 25 countries. The festival program was also presented in London from March 17 to 26.

Human Rights Watch International Film Festival
The Human Rights Watch International Film Festival, held annually in March in London and in June in New York City, is the leading venue for socially oriented documentary films.

IDFA - International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
IDFA, the acronym for the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, is one of the the world's largest and arguably most prestigious film festivals featuring documentaries exclusively. It takes place in November of each year, in Amsterdam.

Steve James Names Top Ten Films For IDFA's 2011 Top Ten Series
Steve James is the curator for IDFA's Top Ten Documentaries in 2011. Here is the list of documentaries James has chosen for screening at IDFA 2011.

IFP Independent Film Week - Spotlight on Documentaries - 2008
IFP Independent Film Week's Spotlight on Documentaries is one of the world's most important showcases for new and emerging documentary filmmakers and their projects. The IFP Marketplace is held in New York City annually in September. The 2008 dates are September 14-22.

Los Angeles Film Festival 2008 - Documentary Films in Competition
The Los Angeles Film Festival 2008 presents ten feature length documentaries in competition for the Target Documentary Film Award and its $50,000 cash prize. Here's the list.

Nantucket Film Festival - 2010 Documentaries Program
The Nantucket Film Festival spotlights screenwriters, screenwriting and storytelling in contemporary cinema -- including the documentaries genre. This is a list of the festival's 2010 nonfiction program.

National Museum of the American Indian's Film Festival - 2009 - Documentaries
Films selected for this year’s 30th anniversary Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian’s Native American Film and Video Festival reflect the richness and variety of Native American cinematic expressions, as filmmakers share their unique dreams and concerns, as well as those of their varied communities, through the art of the moving image.

New York Documentary Film Festival - Festival dei Popoli
New York Documentary Film Festival is the American extension of the Florence, Italy-based Festival dei Popoli, the oldest documentaries festival in Europe. The third annual festival, set at New York's Anthology Film Archives, presents 18 films in five days from May 26 to 30, 2010.

Profile of the AFI Silverdocs Film Festival
Basic information about the AFI Silver Docs Film Festival, held annually in Silver Spring, Maryland in June. Festival history and programs are included.

San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, held annually in July and August, focuses primarily on Jewish cinema from around the world. The festival promotes awareness, appreciation and pride in the diversity of the Jewish people. The event is intended to create community and strengthen consciousness of Jewish identity, history and culture, and to provide a forum for exploration of and discussion about t…

Silver Docs Film Festival Program - 2010
A list of documentary features in competition at the 2010 Silver Docs Film Festival, held in Silver Spring, Maryland, from June 21 to June 27, 2010.

SILVERDOCS 2009 Award Winners
The list of award winning documentary films from SILVERDOCS 2009 Documentary Film Festival, held in Silver Spring, Maryland from June 15 to 22.

Silverdocs 2010 Film Festival Program
The list of feature length documentaries in AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs 2010 Sterling World Feature Competition. The 2010 Silverdocs festival takes place in Silver Spring, Maryland, from June 21 to 27, 2010.

Sundance 2008: Sixteen World Premieres
The 2008 Sundance Film Festival presents 16 docs in competition, all made by American independent filmmakers. Each is a world premiere. The subjects range from the nation's use of natural resources and political system to intimate portraits of artists and wider studies of cultural trends. The selection was made from 953 submissions, a record-setting number in the documentaries category. Look for…

Sundance Film Festival - 2009
The 2009 Sundance Film Festival, set in Park City from January 15-25, premieres 32 docs in two categories of competition: 16 are by American filmmakers, 16 are from World Cinema. Subjects include current events, political analysis, environmental issues, cultural trends and portraits of iconic artists. The American films were selected from a record-breaking 953 submissions. There were 620 internat…

Sundance Film Festival 2010 - World Documentary Competition
For the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, 12 documentaries selected from 782 submissions from around the world have been selected for the World Documentary Film Competition.

Sundance Film Festival 2010 - U.S. Documentary Competition
Sundance Film Festival 2010 presents the world premieres of sixteen films in its U.S. Documentaries Competition. Included are films by Davis Guggenheim, Alex Gibney, Leon Gast, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, among other leading documentary filmmakers.

SXSW Film Festival 2009 - Documentary Films
SXSW's 2009 line up of documentary films in all categories, including documentary feature competition, SX Global, 24 Beats Per Minute, Lone Star States and others.

Toronto Film Festival - 2009 - Documentaries Program
The Toronto Film Festival is an important North American film festival, premiering documentaries from around the world. This is the list, with descriptions, of documentaries presented at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival (September 10-19, 2009)

Toronto International Film Festival 2008
48 documentaries from 18 countries at Toronto International Film Festival 2008 cover subjects ranging from creation of a Broadway hit musical to finding the next Tibetan lama, and from fighting whaling in Antarctica to watching a cattle auction. Track these films on the festivals circuit, releasing theatrically, television or DVD. They'll inform...

Toronto International Film Festival Programmer Thom Powers - Interview
Toronto International Film Festival programmer Thom Powers is a powerhouse in the documentary film world. His recognition of a film’s qualities can create a film’s festival afterlife. Read his comments about documentary film selection for Toronto International Film Festival 2008.

Tribeca Film Festival
Tribeca Film Festival is a major international film festival that takes place in New York City every April. The festival premieres documentaries and narrative features, as well as documentary and narrative shorts.

Tribeca Film Festival - List of Jurors - 2008
The list of 2008 Tribeca Film Festival jurors for all categories of awards and prizes.

Tribeca Film Festival 2008 - World Documentary Feature Competition
Tribeca Film Fesival 2008's World Documentary Competition's twelve films from seven countries take audiences to a Baghdad high school, a New Jersey prison, behind-the-scenes at The Public Theater and other intriguing places--and present compelling personal stories, investigations of important global events and issues, and new perspectives on...

Tribeca Film Festival 2009 Documentary Film Awards Winners
The Tribeca Film Festival recognizes excellence in documentary filmmaking with awards for Best Documentary Feature, Best New Documentary Filmmaker, Best New York Documentary, Best Documentary Short. In addition, there are special jury mentions. This is a list of the winners in all categories.

Tribeca Film Festival Announces Awards - 2008 - Press Release
2008 Tribeca Film Festival Announces Awards

Hamptons International Film Festival - 2010
Hamptons International Film Festival 2010 features documentaries in several categories, including World Cinema Documentary, Golden Starfish Documentary Competition, Films of Conflict and Resolution in Competition (which includes both documentary and fiction), and Special Screenings. Here you will find the featured documentaries listed by category.

IDFA 2010 - IDFA Director Ally Derks Opening Speech
At the opening of IDFA 2010, Festival Director Ally Derks delivers an impassioned speech that sums up the importance and current state of documentary filmmaking in the Netherlands, and around the world, especially targeting funding cutbacks. IDFA is the largest and arguably most important documentaries-only film festival in the world. Derks...

IDFA 2010 Award Winners
An annotated list of documentary films that won awards at IDFA 2010.

Sheffiled Doc/Fest
An overview of Sheffield Doc/Fest, the noted international documentaries film festival that takes place annualy in Sheffield, United Kingdom.

Sundance Film Festival 2011 - US Documentaries in Competition

Sundance Film Festival 2011 - Award Winning Documentaries
List of 2011 Sundance Film Festival Awards for documentary films in U.S. and World Cinema competitions.

Museum of Modern Art Documentary Fortnight 2011
The Museum of Modern Art in New York City presents its 2011 Documentaries Fortnight, a two-week program of outstanding documentary films from around the world, from February 16 to 28, celebrating the festival's 10th anniversary. The schedule includes 20 feature-length documentary films representing 14 countries, and thematic programming that...

Human Rights Watch Film Festival - 2011 Program
The program of the 2011 Human Rights Watch Film Festival presents 19 films that explore human rights issues around the globe. The Festival takes place from June 16 to 30, 2011, at New York's Lincoln Center.

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2011 Awards
A List of awards presented at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2011

Games For Change - New Media Platforms for Documentaries
The Games For Change Festival (G4C) is an annual gathering at which digital games developers and social activists exchange information, have panel discussions and workshops about how digital and video games, and mobile apps can be used to raise awareness about social, political and economic issues, educate school children and the general public...

Silverdocs 2011 Transmedia Lab
The 2011 Silverdocs Transmedia Lab offered six filmmaking teams the opportunity to compete for a $5,000 grant to develop multiplatform interactive projects -- including Websites, digital games and social media campaigns -- for their documentary films.

Granito: How To Nail A Dictator - Movie Review - 2011
Filmmakers Pamela Yates and Paco de Onis chronicle ongoing international efforts to bring José Efraín Ríos Montt, the Guatemalan dictator and military commander, to justice for his role in the genocide in that country. Yates provides prosecutors with archival footage she shot for a previous documentary as evidence of Montt's guilt.

Camden International Film Festival - Overview
The Camden International Film Festival, focusing exclusively on nonfiction film, takes place annually in Camden and Rockport, Maine. This overview of the festival provides you with all the basic details.

Toronto International Film Festival 2011 - Documentaries Program
An Annotated List of Documentaries Screening at Toronto International Film Festival 2011.

Richard Peña to Leave Film Society of Lincoln Center
Richard Pena, the longterm Film Programmer for the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Chair of of the Selection Committee for the New York Film Festival will leave both posts in 2012.

'To Tell The Truth: A History of Documentary Film' Premieres at DOC NYC 2012
To Tell The Truth: A History of Documentary Film Premieres at DOC NYC 2012

Games For Change Festival 2013 - Overview
This overview of the tenth annual Games For Change festival (June 17 to 19, 2013) gives readers a good look at the latest trends in game development, and how they can be applied to transmedia projects.

The 'straight 8' Competition for Documentary Filmmakers
The annual 'straight 8' documentaries competition gives filmmakers the chance of a screening at Sheffield Doc/Fest and the Cannes Film Festival.

Documentary Film Festivals - List of Documentary Film Festivals
There are hundreds of documentary film festivals around the world. Use this list to find those that are most appropriate and accessible for you.

How to Start a Documentary Film Festival
Slumdance Film Festival founder Brian Flemming's twelve step guide to establishing film festivals is intended primarily for venue-seeking filmmakers, but will work equally well for viewers who can't find festivals that meet their criteria, can't get to or into existing festivals, want to do something wonderful for their community, or are so addicted to docs they simply must have their own show.

ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival

Documentary Impact: The Ongoing Influence of 'My Neighbor, My Killer'

The Documentary Studio System
The documentary establishment provides ways to pitch projects, get funding and distribution, But is it so different from the Hollywood studio system?

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