About Docs in Progress

Docs In Progress is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that seeks to educate, inspire, and transform the way people view their world through documentary film. Everyone has a story to tell.

Our Vision

Creating community through documentary film.

Our Values

Docs in Progress is committed to...

  • offering opportunities for documentary filmmakers to be immersed in an environment where they can explore the art of cinematic storytelling and have the freedom to make films that reflect a diverse range of topics and viewpoints.
  • maintaining a supportive artistic environment built on honesty, trust, and openness that allows filmmakers to share ideas, learn from others, and develop their individual potential. 
  • connecting the public with documentary filmmakers and their work in the belief that this form of engagement enhances the work of the filmmakers, public understanding of the creative process, and the artistic, cultural, and civic life of the community. 
  • cultivating collaborative community partnerships that encourage and inspire new levels of creativity.

 Our People 

Meet the people of Docs In Progress.

Our History

In early 2004, Washington DC-area documentary filmmakers Erica Ginsberg and Adele Schmidt decided over dinner that it would be great if there were a space where local filmmakers could get and give feedback on each other’s documentary works-in-progress.  The seeds of Docs In Progress (including its name) were noted down on a napkin.

2361656238_04ce473e4f.jpgDocs In Progress held its first work-in-progress screening at the Warehouse Theater on 7th Street NW, Washington DC in May 2004. The films screened were  Swing Legends  (by Tommy Greco and Emily Schwartz) and  Up to the Mountain, Down to the Village  (by Chris Billing). Within a few months, the screenings attracted an eclectic mix of filmmakers, aspiring filmmakers, and people interested in the topics of the films.  

By the end of year one, Docs In Progress's screenings moved to to George Washington University’s Media and Public Affairs Building. Beginning a long-running partnership with The Documentary Center and its then-director, filmmaker Nina Gildea Seavey.  

Less than two years later, Sam Hampton contacted Docs In Progress for a consultation on a documentary he was making about his mother, a civil rights community organizer.  Hampton, in turn, advised how to establish Docs In Progress as a non-profit organization, and in 2008 Docs In Progress officially became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Erica_Sam_Adele.jpg 

Docs In Progress continued to grow its program offerings including a Fellows Program, Fiscal Sponsorship, the Community Stories Film Festival for DMV artists, and  education workshops to assist aspiring, emerging, and established documentary filmmakers in their journey.

In May 2019, we moved into our current space in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland in a partnership with Montgomery County's Housing Opportunities Commission. This space includes offices, an education lab, a screening room, and the same values that have welcomed thousands of documentary filmmakers and aficionados to our community.

As we all emerge from the isolation of covid, Docs has reopened our doors with new programming including for Young Artists, extensive educational workshops and serving as an AVID Learning Partner-Academic.  We look forward to welcoming everyone back to Docs!