The American Documentary Film Festival (commonly referred to as AmDocs) is a 501(c)3 non-profit entity, operating as part of the Palm Springs Cultural Center. Founder Teddy Grouya desired to create a forum to celebrate and promote documentary film – and the independent filmmakers around the world who bring knowledge and awareness throught their stories about real people and issues. It all started in 2011 when the festival was created. Palm Springs was the perfect venue for AmDocs, which is located just 90 minutes east of Hollywood and has a proven track record of viewing audiences that support independent film.
The first festival was held in April 2012, with Academy Award-winning Director, Screenwriter and Producer, Oliver Stone being honored on Opening Night with the “Filmmaker Who Makes A Difference” award and the screening of his provocative documentary “Commandante.” In its inaugural year, AmDocs screened 80 international films in a single theatre in Palm Springs.
Since then, AmDocs has grown exponentially each year, with annual honorees including Dionne Warwick, Peter Coyote and Peter Bogdanovich. The 2013 Festival was the first to feature animated film entries.
The 2015 Festival screened 120+ thought provoking, entertaining and unforgettable films set across six screens in theatres in Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert, attracting thousands of visitors over the Festival’s five day period, as well as over 150 filmmakers and industry guests from all across the U.S. and around the world.
While relatively young, AmDocs has already established important credentials, being recognized internationally as an important venue for filmmakers, being named by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the five coolest documentary film festivals in the world! Over 1500 films were reviewed for screening consideration in the past year, coming from Argentian to Zimbabwe and across the U.S.
Most recently, AmDocs initiated a new and unique film festival alliance, the North-South Doc Network, in which several important international film festivals provide access to films within each of the participating festivals programs, thereby creating a formal circuit of festivals that select films will get to screen at.
In support of its commitment to further documentary film awareness and education, AmDocs also carries out a variety of outreach activities, including the AmDocs Film Fund Pitch Competition. U.S. documentary filmmakers are eligible to participate in the Pitch Competition and submit proposals to compete for financing for new projects, as well as works currently in progress. Film Funds such as this are rare in the U.S. and AmDocs is proud to be able to provide this support. Past recipients included films that went on to be shortlisted for the Oscars as well as win television’s Emmy.
AmDocs is made possible through the generosity of individuals, foundations and businesses that support it by making contributions, buying tickets and providing in-kind services and materials. The Festival is grateful for this support and looks forward to having film lovers join us each year in Palm Springs.