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South African Film Festivals


    Encounters is a film festival focusing on documentary films and gives young documentary filmmakers a platform to showcase their work.
    Out In Africa, the South African Gay and Lesbian film festival, is South Africa’s longest running film festival. It provides a platform for international and South African gay and lesbian themed stories.
    The Durban International Film Festival is a large film festival held in one of South Africa’s less publicised regions. It represents the coming alive of arts in some of South Africa’s most culturally desolate places.
    The Three Continents Festival brings together films from three of the worlds most disadvantaged but most promising continents – Africa, Asia and South America.
    The Jozi Film Festival in September is an annual event that showcases the latest films made by South African and international filmmakers in one of Africa’s most vibrant cities – Johannesburg.



International Documentary Only Festivals


  • Academia Film Olomouc – Annual festival of documentary and popular scientific films & multimedia.
  • Amnesty International Film Festival
  • Australian International Documentary Conference – Held in early November.
  • Denver Jazz on Film Festival – Won’t be a venue for most documentary filmmakers, because this festival only shows films about jazz, but if your film meets that criteria you should get in contact with them. They show historical jazz footage and documentaries. A must for any jazz fan with the time and the money to get to Denver in mid-February when this festival occurs.
  • Docfest – New York International Documentary Festival. An annual international non-competitive event spanning 5 days of screenings in New York City. docfest is held in late April, early May. All screenings are held at The Directors Guild of America Theater 110 West 57th St., New York City.
  • DocSide Film Festival – Put on by the Documentary Film Project this documentary-only festival will be held in San Antonio, Texas in August. No web site.
  • DoubleTake Documentary Film Festival This competitive festival is held in May at the Carolina Theatre in Durham, NC, with a submission deadline in late December.
  • Doxa: Documentary Film and Video Festival – Canada based festival held in May.
  • Fairfax Documentary Film Festival – No entry fee. The festival is regional and only features filmmakers working in northern California. No web site.
  • Festival dei Popoli – International documentary film festival in Florence.
  • Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival – A competitive festival, held in early May in Toronto, featuring Canadian as well as International documentaries.
  • The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival – Held in October, Submission Deadline April 30.
  • International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam – Held in late November.
  • International Documentary Film Festival (DOCtober)
  • Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival
  • Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival – Held in early November in New York, submission deadline early May. No entry fee. No restriction on subject matter, length, or year of production. Each year a selection of titles from that year’s Mead Festival travels to independent film and community centers, museums, and universities throughout the nation. Since 1997, the Traveling Festival has been featured at international sites as well. Held by the American Museum of Natural History.
  • The Museum of Television & Radio’s Television Documentary Festival – A non-competitive festival showcasing the most interesting and notable television documentaries of the previous year — and of the year to come.
  • One World International Human Rights Film Festival – People in Need Foundation, a relief and humanitarian organization, puts on the first and largest Central European human rights international documentary film event. The One World festival is widely regarded as one of Prague’s most important cultural and media events. It takes place in early April.
  • queerdoc – Billed as the world’s first lesbian & gay documentary film festival when it started in 1998, it has continued to host an annual festival dedicated entirely to documentaries that are about, of interest to, or made by queers: transsexual, transgender, bisexual, lesbian or gay. The festival is held in early September.
  • Samos Mediterranean Documentary Film Festival – Atene (Grecia) Info. Tel : 30.1.8253065 Fax : 30.1.8253065
  • Sheffield International Documentary Festival
  • SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival – June festival held in Silver Spring, Maryland.
  • Sunny Side of the Doc – An international market for documentary professionals including independent producers, distributors, buyers, commissioning editors, and institutional partners specializing in documentaries. The market screens more than 100 documentaries each year. Held in mid-June in Marseilles, France.
  • Thessaloniki Documentary Festival – Annual film festival founded in 1999 and held in Greece. Screens films from around the world with an obviously large number of Greek filmmakers represented. The festival draws a large audience, and a real effort is made to get as many people as possible to see the documentaries presented.
  • United Nations Association Film Festival
  • Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival



Still more Festivals with deadlines at



Film Schools


Eastern Cape








Western Cape



South African Film Organisations


South African Screen Federation
South African Guild of Editors
Writers’ Guild of South Africa

Contact Person Position
Nhlanhla Hlongwane
+27 11 714 5364
 Commissioning Editor – Factual
Desmond Naidoo
+27 11 714 5375
 Commissioning Editor – Factual
 Khanya Ngwenya
+27 11 714 6307
 Commissioning Editor – Factual
Thando Shozi
+27 11 714 6117
Commissioning Editor – Factual