Sebastopol film festival

About the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival

Every one of the 430 films submitted to SDFF 2020 came from a filmmaker who gave us a story: images and circumstances caught by a lens.  These 72 films chosen for the program preserved something real, and skillfully presented it within a context that would have us notice and add to our own deliberation.  In our 13 years SDFF has become known for programming work to a discerning audience that enjoys being challenged as well as entertained.

Sebastopol is in Sonoma County, California. On a good day, we’re only an hour north of San Francisco. We are a mix of small-town folk, organic farmers, prize-winning vintners, environmentalists, old hippies and more artists per acre than most. We’re curious, engaged, opinionated and welcoming to all.

The Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival exhibits on six screens simultaneously at Sebastopol Center for the Arts and Rialto Cinemas® Sebastopol, presenting an average of 70 – 75 films per year to a combined audience of 5,500 to 6,000 documentary film lovers, industry guests, and fellow filmmakers. Thanks to the Franklin J. Schaffner Fund, festival filmmakers’ travel is sponsored from Cape Town, S. Africa; Warsaw, Poland; Brisbane, Aus., Seattle, Oslo, Rome, Toronto, Miami, New York and, yes, Berkeley.

Conversations at SDFF 2020 include craft talks with Will Storkson on Sound As Your Leading Actor and Jim Browne, founder, Argot Pictures leads us through Distribution, Exhibition & Film Festivals – finding the right place for your film. By overwhelming demand, film editing returns to center stage as Vivien Hillgrove urges Cut, Cut, Cut that film to save it.

Continuing our commitment to fact based, investigative journalism we present the film, Bellingcat – Truth in a Post-truth World. Immediately following is Robert Evans, a conflict journalist and a podcast host. He’s worked in Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine, as well as protests all around the United States. He covers the far-right and online radicalization for Bellingcat.

We are witness.  Documentary filmmakers bring us the opportunity to look and learn beyond ourselves.  They are history’s seed savers for a future that nourishes critical thinking. They provide the touchstones of reality from the past and present that can guide us into an enlightened future.

SDFF was founded by passionate indie filmmakers as an arts program of Sebastopol Center for the Arts. The Festival is run by an all-volunteer Steering Committee.  Each year the team produces an event that has become an internationally respected destination for documentary enthusiasts and filmmakers alike.  Great stories; great movies.

Welcome to SDFF 2020.

Our Mission

The mission of the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival is to bring the best independent documentary films in the world, and their filmmakers, to Sonoma County audiences.

Film Festival Staff and Steering Committee

Jean McGlothlin, Co-Director/Lead Programmer

Jane Winslow, Co-Director/Education & Technical Manager

Cynthi Stefenoni, Co-Director/Producer

Corella Di Fede, Associate Director/Filmmaker Liaison/Web & Information Manager

Lori Solomon, Producer/Filmmaker Liaison

Kathryn Davy, Volunteer Manager

Jeffrey Zankel, Filmmaker Liaison Manager

Olga Browning, Filmmaker Liaison/Housing Manager

Eve Lindi, Information Systems/Catalog Coordinator

Anthony Marchitiello, Print Traffic Manager

Emmy Scharlatt, Programmer

Farinella LLC, Social Media

Amanda Lott & Taylor Ploy, Box Office

Dennis Bolt, Catalog

Eliza Hemenway, Founder

Tommie Del Smith, Co-Founder

Teresa Book, Co-Founder