Submit on Withoutabox







The film festival that provides a manageable amount of the truth.

SF DocFest is an annual festival devoted to documentary cinema. Since 2001, this two week-long event has brought the most weird and wonderful aspects of real life to the big screen.

“Docfest offers a zippy blend of politics, music, social issues and youth-oriented subcultures. The good news is that DocFest promotes documentaries as a vibrant, irreverent form of entertainment to a younger demographic, blasting the notion of educational films to smithereens. There’s no room for anything approximating — watch it, I’m about to blaspheme – the obsessively measured and utterly somnambulant musings of Ken Burns.”  – Michael Fox, KQED

“Since its inception, DocFest (May 31-June 15 at the Roxie and the Vogue, with opening night at Alamo Drafthouse) has compiled a colorful scrapbook of genuine characters in contrast to the current events survey, educational seminar or social-issue forum that defines many documentary series… There are one or two people in Off the Charts you won’t soon forget, which could be said about nearly every film in DocFest. That’s one of the pleasures of scrapbooks.” – also Michael Fox, KQED


Welcome to the 16th San Francisco Documentary Festival! The world hasn’t fallen apart, even though there are days it feels that way, so the festival goes on.

With recent political events, some film festivals are seeing it as their responsibility to get more serious.  We don’t think that approach always leads to showcasing the best or most interesting films, so in the punk rock spirit that berthed this fest we have decided to double-down on the fun. 

For 16 days we will experience real life stories about rock n roll, activism, art, sport, animals, business, disability, the environment, spirituality and the just plain weird. We’ll meet local filmmakers and filmmakers from afar. We are honored to have the opportunity to present the World Premiere of Corbett Redford’s Turn It Around: The Story Of East Bay Punk before the film goes on tour with its producers Green Day. Rory Kennedy’s new surf doc Take Every Wave: The Life Of Laird Hamilton kicks off our Roxie Theater run, and Lynn Hershman Leeson will take the stage to introduce and talk about her new film Tania Libre to launch our week of films at the Vogue Theater.

This year we honor the awesomely undefinable Jamie Meltzer with our Non-Fiction Vanguard Award by showing his newest film, True Conviction, coming right off its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, plus a retrospective screening of his first documentary, Off The Charts: The Song-Poem Story. Join us at the Bad Art Gallery for the open bar after-party on Saturday, June 3rd celebrating Meltzer and his work.

Join us for a special live screening with San Francisco’s own Stephen Parr of Oddball Films on Tuesday, June 13th as he showcases his video jockeying talents with Sonic Oddities accompanied with live musical score by bran(…)pos.

Parties during the festival include live local rock n roll on Opening Night, a Smiths Sing-A-Long party, the return of our regular Bad Art Gallery show with an all new collection of found art, and the presentation of Ferris Bueller Bingo, which is exactly what it sounds like.

There is something in this year’s festival for everyone, both die hard documentary fans and also anyone with an interest in what makes our world turn.

Jeff Ross

SF DocFest





518 Gallery 518 Valencia at 16th

Alamo Drafthouse 2550 Mission St at 21st

Roxie Theater 3117 16th at Valencia

Vogue Theater 3290 Sacramento St at Presidio

Founder/Director: Jeff Ross; Programming: Chris Metzler, Jennifer Junkyard Morris; Volunteer Coordinator/Roxie House Manager: Catie Roads; Vogue House Manager: Laureen “Lulu” Briggs; Social Media Marketing Manager: Megan Goldfarb; Development: Nadja Mark; Production Assistance: Nina Ramos, Lulu, Robert Meyer; Box Office: Box Cubed; Publicity: Larsen & Associates; Graphic Design: Fabian Falconett and Melissa Martin


If you look forward to SF DocFest every year, please consider donating to support the festival: SF IndieFest is a 501c3 non profit arts organization.



First announcement for the 17th San Francisco Documentary Film Festival

Posted by sfindie April 2, 2018 32 views

SF DocFest, May 31- June 14, 2018 Roxie Theatre, Brava Theater and New People Cinema in San Francisco The San Francisco Documentary Film Festival (SF DocFest) returns to San Francisco May 31-June 14, 2018 for the 17th edition of the festival. SF DocFest will screen acclaimed documentary feature and short films from around the world […]

Congrats to the DocFest Award Winners!

Posted by sfindie June 20, 2017 549 views

AUDIENCE AWARDS Best Feature Documentary: RESISTANCE IS LIFE Best Short Documentary: MOTHER’S DAY JURY PRIZES Best Feature Documentary: CHARGED Best Short Documentary: THE WIZARD OF OZ  

SO MANY filmmakers in attendance at SF DocFest!

Posted by sfindie May 24, 2017 964 views

When you attend one of San Francisco’s fabulous film festivals not only do you get a chance to discover interesting and occasionally life changing new films, you also get a chance to meet the folks who made the film, starred in the film or in the cse of documentaries, who the film is about. These […]

DocFest Binge Passes Available

Posted by sfindie May 17, 2017 531 views

Like to binge watch your docs? DocFest offers a day pass on the weekends that gets you into any screening with seats available all day for only $35. These are in limited supply, so if you like to binge, grab one now.

16th SF DocFest Press Links (so far)

Posted by sfindie May 15, 2017 582 views

SF DocFest in Photos — Mission Local Overview Laura Waxmann —- Mission Local Mention in ARRESTED AGAIN feature Laura Waxmann —– Indiewire Mention in Film Festival round up Kate Erbland —– Remezcla Overview Manuel Betancourt —- KQED TURN IT AROUND — SF Bay Times  Reviews of LGBT films Gary […]

Older Posts >>