San Francisco Documentary Festival (23)


10 Oct 2023
Call for entries

01 Oct 2023
Early deadline

17 Mar 2024
Standard deadline

07 Apr 2024
Late deadline

07 Apr 2024
Festival closed

07 May 2024
Notification date

30 May 2024
09 Jun 2024


530 Divisadero St #721,  94117, San Francisco, CA, United States

Festival description
Short film festival >1' 39'<
Feature film festival >40' 120'<

Festival requirements
 Film festival
 Music Video
 Any Genre
 Any Theme
 Has submission fees
 International Festival
 Physical Location
 Production date: Any
 Production countries: Any
 Shooting countries: Any
 Director nationalities: Any
 Debut Films 
 School projects 
 Short Films  >1' 39'<
 Feature Films  >40' 120'<
 Any language
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Photo of San Francisco Documentary Festival
Photo of San Francisco Documentary Festival
Photo of San Francisco Documentary Festival
Photo of San Francisco Documentary Festival


Festival start: 30 May 2024      Festival end: 09 June 2024

We screen the best documentaries from around the world at the Roxie Cinema, the oldest art house theater west of the Mississippi. Many of our titles end up with calendared runs at the Roxie later in the year. We get great press coverage in San Francisco, the second largest film market in the country, plus industry reviews.

San Francisco is a very receptive town for documentaries and our fest has built a passionate following over the past 24 years.


SF DocFest is an annual festival devoted to documentary cinema. Since 2001, this event has brought the most weird and wonderful aspects of real life to the big screen.

"What makes the scrappy San Francisco Documentary Film Festival a treasure to SF Bay Area filmgoers is its willingness to take that extra step to show films a little more out there than bog standard documentaries." - Peter Wong, Broke Ass Stuart

“Docfest offers a zippy blend of politics, music, social issues and youth-oriented subcultures. The good news is that DocFest promotes documentaries as a vibrant, irreverent form of entertainment to a younger demographic, blasting the notion of educational films to smithereens. There’s no room for anything approximating — watch it, I’m about to blaspheme – the obsessively measured and utterly somnambulant musings of Ken Burns.” – Michael Fox, KQED

“Since its inception, DocFest (May 31-June 15 at the Roxie and the Vogue, with opening night at Alamo Drafthouse) has compiled a colorful scrapbook of genuine characters in contrast to the current events survey, educational seminar or social-issue forum that defines many documentary series… There are one or two people in Off the Charts you won’t soon forget, which could be said about nearly every film in DocFest. That’s one of the pleasures of scrapbooks.” – also Michael Fox, KQED

Michael Fox just loves DocFest, here's another:

"Welcome to SF DocFest, the beloved annual compendium of odd, unusual nonfiction films from every nook and corner of our bizarro country and beyond. Waving off the pedigreed, high-profile docs that premiere at Sundance, get theatrical releases (or these days, national virtual releases) and chart a course for the Academy Awards, SF DocFest’s programmers opt for poignant, intimate works that miss the mainstream by dint of their iconoclasm and/or lack of a marketing hook." -KQED

"This week brings the kickoff to the 20th edition of SF Docfest, the rapidly-becoming-venerable nonfiction showcase that nonetheless continues to put the fun in documentary cinema appreciation. While other such showcases tend to be soberly issue-themed, focusing on the environment, activism, or some such, Docfest pursues—though not exclusively—colorful human interest stories, musician profiles, and other subjects on which there will not be a class quiz afterward." - Dennis Harvey, 48Hills

Audience Awards and Jury Prizes

Submitters understand that submission of their work authorizes the Festival to use the work for exhibition, education and/or publicity purposes related to the festival; that the Festival will handle the prints and drives with a maximum of care but cannot be held liable for any damage or loss during shipping, preview, or screening; and that the Festival is also not responsible for any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, or royalty infringement related to the work. Submitters may receive future correspondence from the Festival. The festival will never publish your film online under any circumstances.



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