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Submissions for AFI DOCS 2021 are now closed.

Dates and deadlines for film submissions:

Opening Date: November 18, 2020
Earlybird Deadline: January 22, 2021
Regular Deadline: February 19, 2021
Late Deadline: March 12, 2021
Extended Deadline: March 17, 2021
Notification Date: May 11, 2021
Event Date: June 22–27, 2021

For fees please visit


What kind of films do you screen at AFI DOCS?
AFI DOCS is exclusively a documentary film festival. We screen a wide-range of documentaries, including personal, political, historical, experimental and biographical stories and many more.

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

Will the festival be in-person or virtual?
The AFI Festivals team is committed to achieve the same high standard of programming and engagement that has defined AFI DOCS over the years, while planning a virtual and/or hybrid in-person festival experience for 2021. During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, AFI DOCS presented a successful virtual event with over 55 films from 11 countries – 61% directed by women – with a lineup that explored social and political issues in the US and across the world. A national audience of 20,000 attended the festival safely from home.

How will I know if my film is selected for the festival?
We will notify the point person you have listed under “Main Contact/Submitter” in May 2021 via email regarding the status of your film.

I submitted my documentary last year and it was not accepted. Can I submit again?
If your film has undergone significant changes since the previous version was submitted (60% or more), then you can request permission to resubmit by sending an email to: If permission is granted, be sure to note on your application that you have previously submitted this film to AFI DOCS.

My film has aired on television. Can I still submit to AFI DOCS?
If your feature 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, it may be eligible. Films that have aired on television, but not within the US, are eligible. Short films do not have a premiere requirement and are exempt from this rule

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. However, if you submit a significantly different version for consideration, it may be eligible. Short films do not have a premiere requirement and are exempt from this rule.

Can I submit more than one film?
Yes. However, you need to treat each film as a unique entry. Please 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 cannot screen works-in-progress.

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

How recently must my film have been completed to be eligible?
Films eligible for AFI DOCS 2020 must have been completed on or after February 28, 2020.

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. 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.

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

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

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

Can I submit an episodic project?
Yes. Your series must contain at least two episodes and must submit at least two episodes for consideration (or one episode if a two-part series).

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

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.

When does the festival take place?
AFI DOCS takes place June 22-27, 2021.