The night in March when we postponed SDFF 2020 is now far behind us. It was just days before Opening Night. A set of circumstances none of us could have foreseen as Sonoma County introduced measures to severely restrict public gatherings. Nor could we have imagined the ensuing pandemic that has torn through nearly every habitable place on earth. Postponed was a statement of hope. While it is no longer possible to hold a festival gathering in person for the remainder of 2020, but we retained our hope and let it shape our response to this new set of circumstances.

We have, as so many others, turned to the Internet to present the talented work chosen for SDFF 2020. It is not possible for us to stream the original program of 72 films, and it has been difficult to make choices. Streaming is not free for us—receipts have to cover current costs and those of the festival that didn’t take place. While the chatter, energy and hugs are absent, through our online program, Docs Make House Calls, we have discovered great opportunities, beyond “lemonade,” via digital connection and exhibition.

With that in mind as an extension of possibilities, SDFF 2021 opened its call for entries July 6, 2020 for a festival in Sebastopol, California April 22 – April 25, 2021.

This past year has been marked by global upheaval of outrageous proportions.  That change has only strengthened our commitment to deliver the best independent documentaries that engage, inform and excite to as wide an audience as possible, while preserving the integrity, security and the value of our filmmakers’ endeavors. We relish the opportunity to experience life through another lens; to reveal stories from voices familiar and obscure; and to explore frames of information as a base for critical thought and decisions. However, we also have a commitment to the safety of all who participate. We are optimistic that SDFF 2021 can take place with few restrictions, but are prepared to be flexible in how we fulfill our role in providing exemplary documentary work.

We hope you stay safe and well and that, when it’s possible, we can gather again. No doubt the light of films to come will guide us in determining where we are in this narrative of our generation.

–The Team at Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival

Featured image on this page is a still from SDFF 2020 Jury Award-winning Short Film Night Cleaners by Hannah Nordenswan.

Presenting Docs Make House Calls…


Sebastopol Center for the Arts proudly presents Documentaries Make House Calls from Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival. Docs Make House Calls will be streaming films at intervals, beginning June 19 and ending Nov. 29, 2020.

All of these stories selected for DMHC are in keeping with current circumstances — close to home. While the air we share has become a carrier of danger we stay put to diffuse and defeat the threat. Smog, frantic schedules and routine are lifted. While desperation exists, it’s also a time of introspection and reassessment. Our values and connections rise to the fore: family, charity, recognition and stewardship of that which nourishes and sustains.

Tickets for this exceptional program will cost $12, entitling our audience to view content several times over the 10-day period of the program’s run. Discount DMHC passes are also available. We encourage donations beyond your ticket cost. Consider matching what you might have spent on that medium popcorn plus Milk Duds or Raisinets. Online delivery of films is not free for us.

More extraordinary feature length and short films from SDFF 2020 are coming directly to you online through Docs Make House Calls. Check out to keep up with special interest stories, news and the opportunity to view more movies that matter.

To survey upcoming films in the DMHC online series, click here.