About MNFF

General Information

About Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival

MNFF is dedicated to the work of first and second time filmmakers.

Join us and our visiting filmmakers at MNFF8 – in person and on the ground in Middlebury this August 24-28, 2022.

About Us

The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival has a sole focus – to showcase the feature films and short films of talented first- and second-time filmmakers from around the world. Our Festival takes place in scenic Middlebury, Vermont in late August each year. Our 8th Annual event will take place in person and on the ground in Middlebury this August 24-28, 2022. Having successfully staged our 7th Annual event in person in August 2021, we have developed a template that we believe will work quite well even if the specter of another COVID surge lingers in the background.

We anticipate screening more than 120 films at MNFF8, a diverse array of features and shorts across all genres, as selected by MNFF Artistic Director Jay Craven, with screenings at Town Hall Theater, the Marquis Theatre, Dana Auditorium and Twilight Hall [both on the campus of Middlebury College]. Additionally, MNFF8 will offer nightly screenings under the tent at Swift House Inn, a well received innovation that was introduced last summer.

We encourage our filmmakers to come to the Festival, to support each other’s work and to engage in Q&A sessions with audiences following the screening of their film. More than 80 directors, producers, writers and cinematographers from around the world attended MNFF5 in August 2019 and had a wonderful time here in Middlebury. Even with the incursion of the Delta variant this past August, nearly 45 filmmakers came to town and were thrilled to see their work up on the big screen. So, as we plan for MNFF8, we anticipate a robust turnout of creative new filmmakers along with special guest appearances, insightful panel discussions and presentations and great happy hours and evening parties.

The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival is a juried competition and our winning filmmakers all receive the coveted VTeddy Award in the Best Narrative Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, Audience Award-Feature and Audience Award- Short categories. MNFF also offers multiple cash prizes and valuable in-kind awards to selected directors.

With roughly 10,000 film festivals worldwide, MNFF is proud to be consistently selected as a Top 100 Best Reviewed Festival by the principal global film submission and viewing platform, FilmFreeway. Thank you to all our visiting filmmakers who have taken the time to let us know why they enjoy coming to our joyous event in beautiful Middlebury.

Year-Round Screenings & Events

In addition to the main Festival in August, MNFF also presents its MNFF Selects Monthly Film Screening Series in person at Town Hall Theater in Middlebury. Running from October through the following May, the Series thematically curated feature films that blend first and second time filmmakers with long established directors, as well. For the 2021-22 season, MNFF Selects embraced the theme of Humans and Animals: Shared Experiences, Intersecting Worlds, highlighted by My Octopus Teacher, Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street, Duma, Buck and Grizzly Man.

After a COVID induced hiatus in 2021, the Festival also jump started its popular MNFF Vermont Tour this past February, taking two of its top films from the 7th Annual Fest the previous August to multiple geographically diverse venues around the state over the course of one four day weekend. We were pleased to offer the outstanding documentaries Storm Lake and The Ants & The Grasshopper in Burlington, Putney, Woodstock, Rutland, Randolph and Dover. Storm Lake director Beth Levison accompanied her film on tour, holding informative Q&As at several venues. This highly engaging “barnstorming” event allows the Festival to raise awareness for the filmmakers involved and for MNFF itself. We fully anticipate being back with the Vermont Tour in 2023, but may shift the dates to early April to lessen the impact of the sometimes fierce winter weather.

Our Commitment

The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival was formed to support, promote and exhibit the dynamic and imaginative efforts of new filmmakers. The emphasis at MNFF is entirely on filmmakers who have completed (within the 24 months prior to the Festival) either their first or second feature film or first or second short film. All genres are welcome including narrative, documentary, animation, experimental and virtual reality.

Our unwavering commitment at MNFF is to offer a level playing field to the new and emerging voices in independent filmmaking, to give our audiences an opportunity to discover fresh and engaging talent and to give filmmakers a chance to be discovered in a setting that is all about their work, from start to finish. Now in its 8th year, the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival has grown steadily and is widely recognized as a valuable showcase for new filmmakers from around the world.

Our Team

Lloyd Komesar

Producer

Jay Craven

Artistic Director

Sophia Lundberg

Festival Coordinator

Jordyn Southworth

Festival Business Development / Filmmaker Relations InternAssociate

Festival Videography Intern

Emma Johnson

Festival Business Development / Filmmaker Relations Intern

MNFF Board of Directors

Lloyd Komesar

Chair

Lloyd Komesar spent nearly 30 years as a sales, research and distribution exec in the film and television programming industry, first at Blair Television in New York, then, for the next 25 years, at the Walt Disney Company in New York and Los Angeles. Having acquired extensive knowledge of the distribution models of film and television over his rewarding career, he brings a considerable amount of perspective and insight to the MNFF endeavor.

Nathan Williams Pearson, Jr.

Treasurer

Bill Pearson is Managing Director of Gallup Hill, LLC, a strategy and organizational consultancy that works closely with senior executives and private equity investors to achieve material, lasting performance improvements at a wide variety of companies. Over a long and highly successful career, Bill’s clients have included businesses in media, marketing services, industrial supplies and beverages, as well as numerous venture capital firms. He has also been an operating executive, serving as co-CEO and CFO of a publicly held media company and CEO of a technology firm spun out of Motorola.

Jay Craven

Jay Craven is an award-winning director, writer, and producer whose narrative films include High Water (1989); Where the Rivers Flow North (1993); A Stranger in the Kingdom (1997); In Jest (1999); The Year That Trembled (2003), Disappearances (2006), Northern Borders (2012), and Peter and John (2015). Jay also directed, produced, and co-wrote the 2005 Emmy Award-winning public television comedy series, Windy Acres—and the Queen City Radio Hour, a 2009 comedy and music variety show performed before a live audience and broadcast over Vermont Public Radio. His documentaries include After the Fog: Interviews with Combat Veterans (2006), Dawn of the People (1984) and Gayleen (1985).

Jay Parini

Jay Parini is an acclaimed multi-hyphenate: poet, novelist, biographer, critic, screenwriter and Professor of English at Middlebury College.  His five books of poetry include The Art of Subtraction: New and Selected Poems. He has written eight novels, including Benjamin’s Crossing, The Apprentice Lover, The Passages of H.M. and The Last Station – which, utilizing Jay’s screenplay, was made into an Academy Award-nominated film starring Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer. Jay has written biographies of John Steinbeck, Robert Frost, William Faulkner and Gore Vidal. His non-fiction works include Jesus: The Human Face of God and Promised Land: Thirteen Books that Changed America.

Gerianne Smart

Gerianne Smart is a producer, promoter and public relations professional who has made her mark in the cultural scene in Vermont. She is the current President of the Vergennes Opera House, where as Board President and volunteer, she produces several shows a year. Gerianne is also a film producer who co-wrote the award-winning film, The Summer of Walter Hacks, which premiered in 2010. She has written and produced award-winning TV and radio commercials for notable clients such as Amtrak while managing her former ad agency, Smart Communications. She continues to produce commercials for Rutland Regional Medical Center where she has served as Marketing and Public Relations Manager since 2015.

Elizabeth Robinson

An 8th generation Vermonter, Elizabeth graduated from Middlebury College in 1984. She served on the Subcommittee on Education, Arts and the Humanities in Washington D.C., community banking at the Bank of Boston, and in the nonprofit world directing the Convention and Visitors Bureau at the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce in Burlington, VT. She settled with her family in Middlebury in 1994 as the Director of Alumni and Parent programs at Middlebury College.  
Until recently, Elizabeth served as Associate Dean of the College for Creativity, Engagement & Careers.  
Elizabeth currently serves on the boards at VCET and HOPE and the MNFF. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Bill Hart

After an early acting career, Bill Hart, Professor Emeritus of History at Middlebury College, earned a PhD in American Civilization at Brown University. In 1993, he joined Middlebury’s
History Department, where he taught a broad range of American and Atlantic-World history courses. Bill has lectured and published widely on Black Americans and Native Americans
during the Colonial and Early Republic eras. In August 2020, the University of Massachusetts Press published Bill’s book, “For the Good of their Souls: Performing Christianity in
Eighteenth-Century Mohawk Country.” Bill is delighted to serve on the Board of the Middlebury NewFilmmakers Festival.

Serena Kim


Serena Kim is a Korean American writer and editor based in Middlebury, Vermont. A pioneering female DJ in New York City, she rocked the Tunnel on Saturday nights in the early 2000s. Her pop culture journalism credits include the Smithsonian, the LA Times, and the Washington Post. She has also written marketing copy for Apple and Samsung Mobile. She now handles the branding and marketing of Swift House Inn, one of the sweetest boutique hotels in Vermont, which she co-owns with her husband Matthew Robinson.