We stand in solidarity with people of color and anti-racists protesting police violence and other forms of state-sanctioned white supremacy. In support of this ongoing movement, and in-keeping with our belief in the power of documentary to help us look beyond ourselves and to foster critical thinking, we’ve added a permanent, evolving section to this website, dedicated to social justice in documentary media. This section is intended to supplement, not supplant, the inclusion of these issues in the festival’s film selections, news updates and other content, and to provide a central place for our audience to find information and resources. Click Here to see the current iteration of this page.



SDFF 2023 DATES: MARCH 16-19


A Doc Festival for All

In 2020, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences named SDFF a Qualifying Festival for the Documentary Short Subject category. Recipients of the SDFF Jury Award for Short Subject and Jury Award for Mini-Doc are now eligible for consideration in the Documentary Short Subject category of the Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules.

An all-volunteer Steering Committee of filmmakers, film scholars and critics, and film lovers run SDFF. MovieMaker magazine named SDFF “One of the Coolest Film Festivals” twice. While that was a nice feather in our cap, seeing the raves of filmmakers, festival attendees, and our community is our greatest satisfaction.

The inspiration behind the founding of the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival in 2007 was an immense curiosity into lives and experiences outside of our own. In the years since, we’ve worked to serve as a bridge for independent non-fiction filmmakers to audiences keen to explore and learn. 

SDFF brings the best documentaries and filmmakers from around the world to northern California for an annual celebration of non-fiction films. We’ll exhibit 70 to 75 films over four days on six screens in Sebastopol. Our audience includes documentary film lovers, industry professionals, filmmakers and curious bystanders.

News from SDFF

22 NOVEMBER 2022 AWARDS. HONORS. FESTIVALS. SPECIAL SCREENINGS Congrats to Gabriela Oslo Vanden, Jack Weisman and the crew behind Nuisance Bear (The New Yorker, 2021),...

Nuisance Bear (The New Yorker, 2021), Gabriela Oslo Vanden and Jack Weisman’s unconventional, visually arresting, and surprisingly moving study of polar bears migration in the...

Sebastopol Doc Nite wraps up on Dec. 12 with the heartwarming Operation Santa Doc, Dear Santa, followed by a Q&A with director Dana Nachman and cinematographer Mike Abela.

15 NOVEMBER 2022 AWARDS. HONORS. FESTIVALS. SPECIAL SCREENINGS The Beauty President (Whitney Skauge, 2021) is one of around 50 films selected for the SF Trans Film...

8 NOVEMBER 2022 AWARDS. HONORS. FESTIVALS. SPECIAL SCREENINGS A retrospective of documentarian’s Jacqueline Zünd’s work, titled Distance and Intimacy, will be screened at the Hong Kong...

Sebastopol’s Fall Doc Nite series will continue on November 14 with a screening of Not Without Us (2016) at 7 p.m. at Rialto Cinemas® Sebastopol,...

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