Docs In Progress screens documentary works-in-progress to the general public and moderate a feedback session between the audience and the filmmaker(s). If you have an almost-done documentary and want feedback from a smart, articulate, media-savvy, honest but helpful audience before you lock picture, submit your rough cut to Docs In Progress. While we accept submissions on a year-round rolling basis, if you are interested in being considered for a specific screening, please note our deadlines below:


December 15, 2015: For WIFV/Docs In Progress Documentary Roundtable in February 2016.  We are accepting documentary trailers or pitch videos (up to 10 minutes max).  Submit Your Film.

February 15, 2015: For Docs In Progress Screening at George Washington University in Washington DC in April 2016.  We are accepting rough cuts of short or feature documentaries (up to 90 minutes max).  Submit Your Film.

Before submitting, please read the FAQ below. 


Where are screenings held?

Work-in-Progress screenings are usually held in Washington DC through a partnership with Documentary Center at the George Washington University in Washington DC.  We also partner once per year with the Utopia Film Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The WIFV/Docs In Progress Documentary Roundtable is a small group session for filmmakers only and is held at Docs In Progress in Silver Spring, MD.

What kind of films are eligible to submit?
For the work-in-progress screenings, Docs In Progress considers submissions of independent documentaries at the rough cut stage (no six hour first assemblies, trailers or completed works). We accept submissions of both shorts and features (no longer than 90 minutes).  While preference is given to filmmakers in the Washington DC Metropolitan area, we will accept submissions from other filmmakers elsewhere in the country as long as the filmmaker is willing to cover his/her own travel to Washington DC if the film is accepted.  We cannot accept submissions from filmmakers based in other countries.

For the WIFV/Docs In Progress Documentary Roundtable screenings, we only accept documentary trailers or 10 minute sequences. Filmmakers must be based in the Washington DC Metropolitan area.

Although we define “documentary” rather broadly and may screen documentaries with dramatized, experimental, political, or advocacy elements, we do not screen pure fiction films, mockumentaries, music videos, industrials, or works that are purely promotional in nature. We have screened everything from students works to films by well-established filmmakers.

The preview copy of a film must either be available in DVD or on YouTube or Vimeo. (If selected, the screening copy must be available in DVD – a real DVD, not Quicktime or MPEG files) which will need to be sent at least one week ahead of the screening. While we accept submissions of documentary works-in-progress on a rolling basis, if you are interested in screening during a specific month, we would need to receive your submission at least two months before the screening month.

How do I know if I’m ready to submit my film for a work-in-progress?

  • Is it at the rough cut stage?
  • Do your friends, family, and pets think your film’s the best thing since sliced bread, but you’re not so sure?
  • Are you unsure if anyone is interested in your film?
  • Are you confident that there would be a huge interest in your film, but just want that last reality check before submitting to festivals?
  • Are you struggling with the ending of your film?
  • Are you unable to be objective any longer?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your film is probably a good candidate for a work-in-progress screening. If you have a film at the trailer stage or just have one or two segments cut,  it might be a better fit for the WIFV/Docs In Progress Documentary Roundtable.

If in doubt, contact us at 301-789-2797 or contactATdocsinprogressDOTorg to discuss. We also have other options for filmmakers, including one-on-one consultations on films at all stages of production.

How are the films selected?

Once the film is received, at least three members of the Docs In Progress® Screening Committee review the submitted films and evaluate them for consideration for screening. Some of the criteria we are looking at:

  • Has the filmmaker provided a synopsis?
  • Is there story development and/or character development over the course of the film?
  • Does the film have a beginning, middle, and end? Or at least seem like it is approaching an ending?
  • Is knowledge transmitted through the use of interviews, sequences, and a visual approach?
  • Is the context of the story clear?
  • Is the filmmaker open to feedback from an audience and willing to consider making recommended changes to the film either through reshoots or re-editing?
  • Will the filmmaker(s) be able to attend the screening?
  • Is the film at a stage where it can most benefit from feedback from an audience?

Do you only accept submissions from Mid-Atlantic region filmmakers?
For most of our screenings, filmmakers may be based anywhere. While we have been great supporters of our strong local film community from Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia, we have also screened works by filmmakers from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Colorado, Massachusetts, California, and New York. Out-of-town filmmakers must be able to attend the screening night at your own travel expense. We discourage filmmakers from other countries from submitting since we cannot sponsor visas. Note that our WIFV/Docs In Progress Documentary Roundtable screenings is intended for filmmakers from Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia only.

TO SUBMIT: Complete our online submission form here. If mailing a DVD, send it  (clearly labeled with the title of the film and name of the filmmaker on the DVD) to:

Docs In Progress
8700 First Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Tel: 301-789-2797

If sending a DVD, it must be RECEIVED by the submission deadline noted to be considered for that round. If it is not, it will be considered for the next round.  DVDs will not be returned.