Submissions are now closed, AFI DOCS 2020 will be open for submissions in October.


What kind of films do you screen at AFI DOCS?
AFI DOCS is an exclusively documentary film festival. We screen a wide-range of international films within this genre — including personal, political, historical, experimental, biography and many more.

How do I submit my film to AFI DOCS?
You may submit your film through If you already have a FilmFreeway or Withoutabox account, please go ahead and log in. If you do not, please register your project through either website and follow the instructions on the site.

How will I know if my film is selected for the festival?
We will notify the contact person listed under "Main Contact/Submitter" in May 2019 via email regarding the status of your film.

I submitted my documentary last year and it was not accepted. Can I submit again?
Generally speaking, no. However, if your film has undergone significant changes since the previous version submitted (60% or more) then you can request permission to resubmit by sending your request via email to: [email protected]. If permission is granted, be sure to note on your application that you've previously submitted this film to AFI DOCS.

My film has aired on television. Can I still submit to AFI DOCS?
If your film has aired on television in the US, then that version is not eligible for AFI DOCS. However, if you submit a significantly different version for consideration in the festival, it may be eligible. Films that have aired on television, but not within the US, are eligible.

My feature documentary will be available to purchase online prior to the festival. Can I still submit to AFI DOCS?
If your feature film can be purchased online prior to the festival, either on a digital viewing platform or on DVD, then that version is not eligible for AFI DOCS. However, if you submit a significantly different version for consideration, it may be eligible. Short documentaries are exempt from this rule.

Can I submit more than one film?
Yes. However you need to treat each film as a unique entry, and create a separate application for each.

Can I submit a rough cut of my film?
We strongly encourage you to submit a completed film — but we will accept late rough-cut submissions. Please be sure to indicate what is incomplete: temporary sound, no credits or titles, missing scenes, etc. AFI DOCS only screens completed films during the festival, and unfortunately does not have a venue for works-in-progress.

Does the festival screen films which are a work in progress?
As mentioned above, the Festival screens completed films only.

Can I submit an updated version of my film after I've already submitted to AFI DOCS?
We request that you send only one version of your film for consideration. However, if you feel strongly that a newer version of your film warrants a second look you may contact the programming department to discuss possible arrangements. Please do not send another version of your film without contacting the programming department. If permission is granted, we will do our best to ensure that we view the new version of your film, though that cannot be guaranteed. The programming department can be reached at [email protected].

How recently must my film have been completed to be eligible?
Films eligible for consideration in AFI DOCS 2019 must have been completed on or after May 1, 2018.

How can I be sure you received my submission?
We receive a high volume of film submissions and consequently are unable to notify each individual submitter. If you have applied online through, you can log into your online application and see if your film has been received by the programming department. You may also send us a self-addressed, stamped postcard, which we will mail back to you as confirmation of receipt.

In which format should I submit my film?
The format of your submission should be an online screener, such as a Vimeo link (the password should not expire quickly).

What exhibition formats can you screen during the festival?
We can screen DCP only.

How do you distinguish shorts from features?
Shorts are 40 minutes or less. Features are 41 minutes or longer.

If my film is in a language other than English, do you require subtitles?
Yes, we require either subtitles or dubbing on any film that is in a language other than English. Subtitles are preferred.

How do I alert you if my contact information changes?
Email any contact information to the Programming department at [email protected].

Can AFI DOCS send me feedback or comments on my film?
Unfortunately, because of the high volume of film submissions we are unable to provide feedback on your submission.

Where is the festival located and when does it take place?
AFI DOCS takes place June 19-23, 2019, in Washington, DC, and Silver Spring, MD.


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