Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival


Years running: 32 (since 1991)

Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival

International Documentary Film Festival.


The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival is the oldest non-fiction festival in North America. 

The mission of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute is to advance the documentary genre as a meaningful art form, to provide unique educational and cultural opportunities, and to establish the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival as the premier documentary film festival in the world.

HSDFF is a volunteer based organization hosted by the Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute, which is a year-round, non-profit organization dedicated to providing unique educational and cultural opportunities using the genre of documentary film. Whether the films are subversive or commercial, the emphasis is on the documentary film as an art form that promotes critical thinking on real life issues. Through symposia, forums, discussion groups and teaching, HSDFI brings cultural and social knowledge to all ages from the gifted work of film professionals. 

All films are screened at the nationally historic Arlington Hotel & Spa, within walking distance of hotels, restaurants, historic bath houses, trails and the scenic beauty of the Hot Springs National Park.


First place in each category.

Winner of The Documentary Short category will be eligible for Academy Award consideration.


  • Feature and short documentary films completed after November 1, 2021 are eligible for HSDFF 2022
  • Feature length films that have been released theatrically or broadcast on television nationally prior to the festival or are available on DVD or VOD are not eligible for competition status and will be considered for non-competitive sections only under special circumstances determined by the festival. 
  • Submissions are to be made via Filnfreeway.
  • Subtitles language: English

Premiere Requirements

National premiere required.

Jury and Organizers

  • Jennifer Gerber (Director);
  • Derek Horne (Festival Programmer);



United States
Hot Springs, Arkansas

Official Website



659 Ouachita Ave.
Hot Springs National Park, AR 71901
United States

Phone: 501-538-0452

Social Networks:

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Dates & Deadlines
  • Opening Date
    December 20, 2021
  • Earlybird Deadline
    February 01, 2022
  • Regular Deadline
    April 01, 2022
  • Late Deadline
    June 01, 2022
  • Extended Deadline
    June 15, 2022
  • Notifications
    September 23, 2022
  • Event Dates
    7 — 15 October 2022
Categories & Fees

Non-fiction, maximum 40 minutes.

  • Earlybird Deadline — $35
  • Regular Deadline — $50
  • Late Deadline — $60
  • Extended Deadline — $70

Non-fiction in all forms, minimum 40 minutes.

  • Earlybird Deadline — $50
  • Regular Deadline — $65
  • Late Deadline — $75
  • Extended Deadline — $85

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