Getting Real Documentary Film Conference

Unlike any other event on the documentary calendar, Getting Real is a unique gathering of filmmakers and industry professionals. It provides a much-needed space for the field to hold constructive conversations, build lasting relationships, and tackle ethical, sustainability, creative, production and distribution challenges facing our growing community.

Produced by the International Documentary Association’s (IDA) since 2014, the biennial conference hosts three days of inspiring keynotes, practical workshops, interest group convenings, dynamic presentations, roundtables, case studies, structured networking and receptions.

As a field-building incubator, Getting Real has served as the launchpad for the Documentary Core Application Project, the State of the Documentary Field studies, the inaugural Documentary Sustainability Summit and Documentary Preservation Summit, the Asian American Documentary Network (A-Doc), FWD-Doc: Documentary Filmmakers with Disabilities, and the Documentary Producers Alliance.

SAVE THE DATES: the fifth edition of #docsgetreal returns September 27-29, 2022.


397 participated in the inaugural conference—launching a unique, field-wide gathering in North America.


  • 700 participants

  • 31,390 website views

  • #docsgetreal reached 700,833 social accounts and generated 3,763,260 impressions

  • First-ever convening of Asian American documentary filmmakers, leading to the formation of A-Doc, the Asian American Documentary Network


  • 1,015 participants

  • 42,382 website views

  • 33% of the 84 sessions in 2018 provided information specifically for groups underrepresented in the documentary filmmaking community, such as women, visible minorities and filmmakers with disabilities

  • First-ever convening of documentary filmmakers with disabilities, leading to the formation of FWD-Doc: Documentary Filmmakers with Disabilities.

  • Enhanced participation of filmmakers of color through collaborations with Firelight Media, Brown Girls Doc Mafia, National Association of Latino Independent Producers and the Los Angeles Asian American Film Festival

  • Programming collaborations with Women Make Movies, Outfest, The Collective of Documentary Women Cinematographers, True False Film Festival and Sundance Institute


  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IDA reimagined the convening in a digital space and made registration free. The 2020 edition drew the largest conference audience to date: 3,157 participants from 54 countries.

  • Attendees helped raised $18,070 in total for comunity parnters: A-Doc (Asian American Documentary Network), BADWest, Black Documentary Collective, Brown Girls Doc Mafia, FWD-Doc (Documentary Filmmakers with Disabilities), and Undocumented Filmmakers Collective; as well as $5,980 in scholarships for NextDoc Fellows to attend the next in-person Getting Real.

  • IDA conducted a full audit of its online event platforms with accessibility partner All Senses Go, enabling access for many who may not have been able to join an in-person event. Conference sessions were delivered through an equity and inclusion framework: We provided moderators with in-depth training on how to lead by consent; ensure that accessibility details are articulated appropriately and prominently; and prioritize awareness and care for all.