About MNFF

General Information

About Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival

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

Join us and our visiting filmmakers at our 10th Anniversary Festival – in beautiful Middlebury, Vermont this coming August 21-25, 2024.

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 10th Anniversary event will take place in beautiful Middlebury this coming August 21-25, 2024.

We anticipate screening more than 120 films at MNFF10, 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, Wilson Hall and Twilight Hall [the last three all on the campus of Middlebury College].

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 MNFF9 in August 2023 and had a wonderful time here in Middlebury. We anticipate a very large turnout of new filmmakers for MNFF10 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 2023-24 season, MNFF Selects embraced the theme “Great Stories, Well Told” with films centered on compelling stories presented in memorable fashion.

The Festival will also deliver a second version of its popular Vermont Tour this November 17-19, offering four outstanding documentaries from its MNFF9 program in seven towns around the state of Vermont: Burlington, Woodstock, St. Johnsbury, Randolph, Greensboro, Dover and Brattleboro.

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 and experimental.

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 entering its 10th year, the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival has grown steadily and is widely recognized as a valuable showcase and supportive environment for new filmmakers from around the world.

Our Team

Lloyd Komesar

Producer

Jay Craven

Artistic Director

Hanna Loeffler

Associate Producer

John McCulloch

Production Intern

Rach Peck

Production Intern

Jisan Haque

Videography Intern

Lauren Sayula

Videography Intern

MNFF Board of Directors

Elizabeth Robinson

Board Chair

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. 

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.

Serena Kim

Recorder/Archivist

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.

Lloyd Komesar

Producer

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.

Jay Craven

Artistic Director

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).

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 New Filmmakers Festival.

Maggie Keith

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.

Linda Rossi

Linda Rossi is the State Director of the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) and just concluded six years on the national America’s SBDC board of directors, the last two as Chair. Linda serves on the America’s SBDC Accreditation committee, traveling around the U.S. visiting other programs and is a board member of the Vermont Employee Ownership Center (VEOC). Prior to joining the SBDC, Linda spent 20 years in the private sector as a national project manager for IBM and business manager for four start-up and growing small businesses. Linda holds a degree in business management, marketing, and psychology, and certifications in leadership, project management, entrepreneurship education and workforce development. She settled in Vermont with her husband in 1995 where they enjoyed raising two daughters and being active in their local community.