Documentary Distribution

If you are seeking distribution, we ask that you take some time to browse our catalogue to make sure your program seems like a good fit for DER's content and background. We specialize in educational, direct-to-consumer and international broadcast markets, not theatrical distribution.

DER looks for documentaries with high technical standards that are committed to their subjects, informative and innovative. We provide a diverse, world-wide network of customers and filmmakers with a wide range of personalized services to suit individual and institutional needs. Before submitting, please also check our list of required materials for distribution to make sure that you can provide appropriate master materials and promotional images if DER agrees to distribute your film.

To submit a film for consideration, email with a synopsis, press material, and if possible, a link to the film's website or trailer. If we are interested in receiving a screener, we will contact you within four to six weeks.

PLEASE NOTE: Unsolicited screeners sent to DER will not be reviewed or returned. DER will not consider or review catalogues or collections of films. We only accept individual submissions. If you have a catalogue or collection, please choose one film to submit that you think best represents you or your company and that meets our distribution requirements.

General Submissions Criteria

The following is a list of general guidelines your film must meet in order to be considered for distribution.

Language – Films must be in English or subtitled in English unless distribution is not intended for North American audience.

Original Production Format - Programs originally produced in film or shot and edited in HD (or film transferred to HD) are preferred.

Running Time – Films may be no shorter than 5 minutes. While there is no limit on the maximum length of a film, the best selling films for our market are either 26–28 min, 52–58 min, or 82–88 min. Please specify if the film is part of a series.

Prior Screenings – Please include a list of prior screenings of film, if applicable.

Required Materials for Distribution

If your film is accepted for distribution, you will be expected to provide the following materials and information:


Master - your film or video must be supplied on one of the following formats (listed in order of preference):

  1. Quicktime file with no additional compression (e.g. Apple ProRes 422) on Mac-formatted hard drive
    Note: We ask that you send materials on a hard drive that can be stored at DER indefinitely.
  2. BetaCam SP
  3. DigiBeta

Additional video content, including trailers, "DVD extras" such as follow-up interviews, or other additional video materials for the website or DVD should be provided, if available, in one of the formats listed above.

Subtitles and/or Closed Captions should be provided in a separate, timecoded file, e.g. STL, XML, SCC or TXT. If your film is subtitled in multiple languages, please provide a separate subtitle file for each language.


All still photos should be print-quality resolution, minimum size of 2100 x 1500 px at 300 pixels-per-inch, in TIFF or high quality JPEG format.

Photos of or relating to the subject of the film with no crew visible (minimum of five)

Production stills (camera crew, sound engineers, etc. may be visible in photo)

Photo of director(s)


Any artwork related to DVD creation, e.g. DVD cover and disc artwork, menu images, etc. in original, unflattened artwork files — Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, After Effects.

Any documents, artwork, or images used for film promotion or educational outreach, e.g. press kits, study or discussion guides, flyers, posters, etc.

Copies of or links to reviews of the film. Pull quotes or excerpts are appreciated.


The following information should be provided in an electronic document:

Film Title (including subtitle, if any)

Total Running Time (in minutes)

Year(s) of Production, Year of Release

Language of Dialogue and Subtitles (if applicable)

List of Credits

Log Line (1 sentence), Short Synopsis (2-3 sentences) & Full-Length Description (350 words or fewer)

Approximate Budget

List of Awards, Festival Screenings, & Broadcasts, with Dates, formatted as follows:

Name of Award (if any), Category (if any), Name of Event, Location, Year
example: Winner, Best Film, Human Rights Category, Mexico City International Film Festival, 2012

Festival List - a list of all other festivals submitted, with results, formatted as follows:

example: PDX Film Festival, Portland, Oregon, 2011

Link to Film Website (if applicable)

Study/Discussion/Teacher's Guide materials (if applicable)


Directors Statement or Background Info (optional)

Directors Date of Birth

Link to Filmmaker's Website(s) (if applicable)

Download a printable list of these requirements in PDF

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