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 9th Annual event will take place in person and on the ground in Middlebury this coming August 23-27, 2023.
We anticipate screening more than 125 films at MNFF9, 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, MNFF9 will offer nightly screenings under the tent at Swift House Inn.
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 50 directors, producers, writers and cinematographers from around the world attended MNFF8 in August 2022 and had a wonderful time here in Middlebury. We anticipate a robust turnout of new filmmakers for MNFF9 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 curates feature films that blend first and second time filmmakers with long established directors, as well. For the 2022-23 season, MNFF Selects embraced the theme of Larger Than Life, with films centered on individuals whose cultural and social impact has been genuinely significant. Among the film screening are Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time, Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song and Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am.
The Festival also plans to present its popular MNFF Vermont Tour in a new time frame this coming year, shifting to early/mid-April from February in hopes of avoiding some of the very challenging weather conditions of years past. Films and venues for the Tour will be announced in January 2023.
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 9th year, the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival has grown steadily and is widely recognized as a valuable showcase for new filmmakers from around the world.
MNFF Board of Directors
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.
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 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).
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.
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.
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 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.
Maggie Keith is the president and co-founder of little seed COFFEE ROASTERS, a roasting house and community centric coffee shop in Middlebury, Vermont. Her pivot to entrepreneurship was spurred following a career in development at not-for-profit independent schools in New York City, most recently as a Director of Annual Giving. Over the course of her time in advancement, Maggie’s achievements have included executing a robust annual fund while bolstering community participation, developing and managing a large team of fundraising volunteers, as well as planning a multitude of campaign-oriented fundraising and stewardship events.
Now, as co-owner of little seed COFFEE ROASTERS, Maggie has brought what started as a passion project — roasting coffee out of her Brooklyn apartment with her husband, Anthony Gerakos — to life, here in Vermont. Originally from Baltimore, MD, she lived in Memphis, TN while attending Rhodes College, before moving to New York City where she resided up until the move to Middlebury in July 2021, and now calls Bristol, VT home.