Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival Attains Coveted Academy Recognition

Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival is proud to announce that it has been approved by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as an Academy qualifying festival for the Documentary Short Subject category.

Currently in its 13th year, the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival’s mission to bring the best in documentary film to Sonoma County has just been enhanced by its inclusion as an Academy Award ® qualifying festival. Of more than 8,000 film festivals currently listed on Film Freeway's entry portal, only 158 of those festivals have Academy Award® Qualifying status. Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival is honored to be in their company. Recipients of the SDFF Jury Award for Short Subject and Jury Award for Mini-Doc are now eligible for consideration in the Documentary Short Subject category of the Academy Awards ® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules.

Jury Awards for SDFF 2020 were scheduled to be announced on March 25 at Opening Night ceremonies. With the advent of the pandemic, those ceremonies were postponed. The award winners have been notified. It is with great pride that we list these winners below, noting that both the Short Subject and the Mini-Doc are eligible for consideration in the Short Subject Category of the 93rd Academy Awards ® .

SDFF2020 Jury Award for Best Feature

Midnight Family

Mexico, 2019, 90 minutes

Director: Luke Lorentzen

Watch Trailer

SDFF2020 Jury Award for Best Short

Night Cleaners

USA, 2019, 24 minutes

Director: Hanna Nordenswan

Watch Trailer SDFF2020 Jury Award for Best Mini-Doc

The Whale

Poland, 2018, 8 minutes

Director: Iza Pajak

Watch Trailer


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. During the time of COVID-19, SDFF 2020 has pivoted from its usual live event toprovide virtual curated screenings of its scheduled films via its online program Docs Make House Calls. To learn more, visit and socially on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Designed for independent documentary filmmakers–the voices of our culture–SDFF 2020 celebrates its 13th year under the umbrella of the SEBASTOPOL CENTER FOR THE ARTS.

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