Frequently asked questions

Here are the answers to some of the questions we've received most often from filmmakers and attendees at past Festivals.

Is the American Documentary Film Festival open to only American filmmakers?

No.  We accept submissions from around the world and from filmmakers everywhere. We pride ourselves on having an international film festival and our audiences cherish different cultures and new experiences.  The only part of our Festival that requires US citizenship is our Film Fund competition, where filmmakers compete for funding to complete unfinished projects.  The Film Fund competition is open only to American filmmakers.  However, the more than 100 films that comprise the Festival itself always includes both American and international films.  From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and every country in between, we gladly welcome your film submissions.



If I'm a filmmaker and my film is selected, am I required to attend the Festival?

No.  A filmmaker is never required to attend the Festival, and we understand it is not always possible for a filmmaker to appear at the event.  However, we strongly encourage filmmakers to attend the Festival if their films are selected.  We believe the in-person experience of attending the Festival is highly rewarding, and we generally cover the cost of accommodations to those whose films are selected.  Moreover, we have unique partnerships where discounts are offered to crew, friends and family of filmmakers, as well.  We encourage filmmakers to attend our Festival to become a part of a larger family of filmmakers. Our team of volunteers and staff have become friends for life with past alumni of AmDocs, and it's been a life-changing experience for many who visit us in Palm Springs.  Filmmakers are given the opportunity to hold a brief Q&A session with audiences after the screenings of their films, as well.  As our crowds include legions of documentary film buffs, this has become a valuable part of our Festival and a big hit with both audiences and filmmakers. 



What is the atmosphere like at your Festival?  Is it more formal or casual?

We are nestled in an area often referred to as "Hollywood's playground."  Palm Springs is a laid-back environment of fun and frolic.  Things are much more casual here, and the vibe is a cool and free one.  We encourage filmmakers and attendees to dress any way you like.  If you are a more formal person who likes to dress up, our Opening Night Gala is perfect for that.  But we also have many attendees who come in t-shirts and shorts.  There are no rules.  Be yourself.  Prepare for warm weather. Even though our Festival is held in late March, temperatures can fluctuate from the 70s to near 100 degrees.  If you want to escape winter cold elsewhere, Palm Springs is probably the place you want to be during our best weather season of the year.

If I submit my film, when will I hear if it has been selected to screen at the Festival?

Generally, all filmmakers will learn in mid-February 2016, whether or not their film has been selected to screen at the 2014 American Documentary Film Festival.  With our Festival taking place March 31-April 4, 2016, this allows ample time to arrange travel plans if necessary. It is important to remember that the regular deadline for submitting your film to our 2016 Festival via the Withoutabox link on this web site is November 15, 2015.



What about industry networking opportunities?  And are there any hidden costs?

The numerous networking opportunities available for filmmakers is a major reason why the American Documentary Film Festival has been such a success.  Read our testimonials section to see what past filmmakers have said.  With our ideal location just east of Los Angeles, many industry experts and insiders attend our screenings and events.  Every filmmaker whose film is selected will receive an ALL ACCESS PASS to every event, function, party and screening associated with the Festival.  This includes private parties and events solely for filmmakers and industry representatives, our Opening Night Event with special guests (previous AmDocs Film Festivals have included the likes of Oliver Stone and Dionne Warwick, among others), red carpet events, social hours, meet-and-greets, and much more.  Once a filmmaker's film has been deemed an Official Selection at our Festival, she or he is guaranteed admission to every Festival event at no additional cost.


Do you actually watch every film that is submitted?

Yes! We guarantee you that every submitted film is viewed in its entirety and evaluated by our selection committee.  We pride ourselves on this fact, since our Festival was created, founded and conceptualized by a filmmaker himself (Teddy Grouya).  You will be notified, no later than mid-February 2016, whether or not your film has been selected to screen at our 2016 American Documentary Film Festival.  As a reminder, the late deadline to submit your film is December 15, 2015.