In 2025, SDFF will be 18 years old and catching its stride – a Curtain Raiser Screening and SDFF Streaming  were added to the live festival last year, expanding audiences, while being an Academy Award® Qualifying Festival attracts the work of excellent documentarians to our screens. The combination of these two additions translates directly into more visibility for each of our partners as logos are viewed on every screen at every event.

Join us in bringing the work of non-fiction story tellers to appreciative audiences while increasing your company’s revenue possibilities.

The SDFF team really made the best of a difficult situation when the pandemic forced them to go virtual. Their Docs Makes House Calls was a brilliant pivot. Hope to screen in-person someday!

– Jon Osaki, Director: Alternative Facts – SDFF 2020


“SDFF is hands down one of the best documentary film festivals out there! Their selection of films was stellar, and we were honored to be a part of it in 2021. Thank you, Jane and the team, at SDFF for showcasing stories that were more than just entertainment… those particularly told with unique voices. Thank you for letting those films find visibility and acceptance for the viewing audience.”

– Sean Burch, Director, The Icefall Doctor – SDFF 2022

Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival is more than just an event. Festival weekend fills Sebastopol with filmmakers, their crews and subjects, industry pros and enthusiastic fans. Main Street comes alive with chatter and commerce as visitors from all over the world gather to celebrate the power of non-fiction film.  In addition, SebDocs Streaming brings a curated offering of the SDFF program to viewers around the globe.

SDFF is the only film festival north of San Francisco to be accredited as an Academy Award® qualifying festival by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The documentaries that receive SDFF’s Jury Award Short* and Jury Award Mini-Doc* awards are eligible to enter the Documentary Short Subject Oscar® competition. SDFF has hosted many Oscar® nominated films and winners over the years. See Academy Award winner Ben Proudfoot’s SDFF 2022 Jury Award acceptance speech:

Bringing this festival to life is a labor of love for both staff and our fleet of volunteers.  Hard costs also must be covered. We have done it on a shoestring, often from our own pockets.  Growth and success have brought the need for unglamorous necessities: database programs, social media presence, marketing and advertising campaigns. Your investment is essential in keeping the many facets of the festival organization up and running.  It provides the capital which makes it possible for us to continue supporting documentarians and lovers of documentary in their endeavor to remain informed and aware of current events.

This was one of the best experiences I’ve had as a filmmaker. The staff at SDFF is beyond wonderful. After two years of virtual events and screenings, our Q&A at Sebastopol was the first in-person event to attend and I’m so glad it was at this special venue!

– Mimi Chakarova, Director, The Mirror – SDFF 2022

SDFF Doc Topics Include:
Abortion – Vessel, 2009. On The Divide, 2022
Disability Rights – Crip Camp, 2020
Asylum Seekers – Lifeboat, 2020
Civil Rights – For Love and Legacy, 2022
LGBTQ+ –Fanny: The Right to Rock, 2022
War – For Sama, 2020
Music – The Groove is NOT Trivial, 2015
Art – Can Art Stop A Bullet, 2021
Environment – River Blue, 2013

Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival is a year-round program dedicated to supporting independent non-fiction filmmakers, their issues and their audience.  Through its website, SDFF encourages diversity in stories and storytellers, covering social justice, environmental, lifestyle and life choices, filmmaking craft and industry news.   In collaboration with Trim Tab Media and Rialto Cinemas®, it  presents “Doc Night”, a monthly documentary screening & discussion series.  In partnership with OUTwatch Film Festival, SDFF programs critically acclaimed films with LGBTQI content and focus. SDFF has joined with Santa Rosa Junior College Department of Communication Studies in bringing filmmakers to campus for special screenings and discussions.

SDFF 2023 is continuing to keep the conversation relevant by involving a cohort of students from West County School District Media Studies. They will review festival submissions and rate them as the programmers would, in order to learn how their own work will be judged in the festival world. Watching films from all over the world in various styles, voices and experiences adds a rare opportunity to their studies. During the festival this student group will meet with filmmakers to extend their participation and understanding of what it means to follow filmmaking as a profession.

“… This is the only festival where we sit around and talk film in our pajamas.”  

– Thomas Lennon, Academy Award Winning Director,
Sacred (SDFF 2016), Knife Skills (SDFF 2017)


Your investment supports those who are actively engaged in walking their talk by allowing SDFF to continue to bring talent from around the world to Sonoma County for festival weekend and providing them with travel stipends, housing and food while they are in attendance.  It also allows SDFF to expand its team of dedicated professionals by providing salaries and stipends for their work as well as the tools they need to get the job done.


Thank you for keeping filmmaking and free speech alive during this critical time.

– Armin Nasseri, Director, George Hobbs: Stick Figure Wisdom


In short, by addressing many focuses of philanthropic endeavor at once, your investment in SDFF reaches a broader audience of individuals committed to changing our world for the better…and what greater return on investment can there be?


*SDFF Jury award prizes are funded by a generous donation from the Schaffner Family Foundation. One of the leading directors of the “Golden Age” of live TV, Franklin J. Schaffner might best be remembered for directing the feature films Patton, Planet of the Apes, Papillon and Boys From Brazil.

For more information about partnerships and sponsorships,
contact Cynthi Stefenoni –
Movie, TV Show, Filmmakers and Film Studio WordPress Theme.

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