The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival is pleased to announce the creation of the MNFF Franklin Film Development Fund to stimulate production of feature length dramas and comedies. The Fund will award $10,000 grants to two filmmakers each year whose narrative scripts are selected by a panel of judges. In recognition of their previous fine work, and their clear connection to the Fest, the submission process will be open exclusively and only to all MNFF alumni, now totaling close to 350 filmmakers.

The MNFF Franklin Film Development Fund originated with a significant donation from Churchill and Janet Franklin, longtime supporters of the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival, and is named in recognition of their extraordinary generosity. An initial goal to raise $100,000 to achieve multi-year sustainability was nearly 60% realized in less than two months. Conceived as early stage “seed funding,” the MNFF Franklin Film Development Fund is intended to add to the Fest’s ongoing commitment to supporting new filmmakers.

“We are thrilled to support this incredible film Festival in our community with a special emphasis on narrative filmmaking for MNFF alumni.”

Churchill & Janet Franklin

Submission Window & Grant Awards

The inaugural submission window for feature film scripts was divided into two parts. Part One, our Fall Wave, opened on September 16, 2019 and closed on November 22, 2019. After a period of panel review, the first winning script was announced on January 6, 2020. The inaugural winner of an MNFF Franklin Film Development Fund grant was Allison Mattox, the director of the short film Échappé that screened at MNFF5 in August 2019. Allison’s script is a feature length treatment of the Échappé short.

Part Two, our Winter/Spring Wave, opened on January 7, 2020 and closed on June 12, 2020. The second winning script will be announced as part of MNFF6: Online Version in late August 2020. All filmmakers who submitted for Part One, but were not selected as the winner, will have their work stay in the pool for the winning selection from Part Two.

The $10,000 grants will be awarded on a matching basis and the selected filmmakers will have up to eight months, following the announcement of their grant, to raise the $10,000 matching amount. A successful match will trigger the release of the Fund grant. Subsequent rounds of funding will follow the same cycle, with the exact dates of the ’20-21 script submission Fall and Winter/Spring Waves to be announced soon.

All scripts should be sent via email to Lloyd Komesar, MNFF Producer.

A Distinct Need

Why is MNFF so focused on narrative filmmaking as a point of emphasis?  We think there is a lack of balance between narrative and documentary filmmaking among new filmmakers and we would like to help address this.

“Independent narrative feature films need support. Speaking candidly, we consistently see more and better feature documentaries than narratives in the selection process. It is time for us to encourage narrative filmmakers, who must launch herculean efforts to make good and effective films, only to find themselves stranded by a hyper-commercialized distribution process. Our Fund won’t change this distribution issue, but it’s a solid step in the right direction – one that we hope will stimulate other offers of support.”

Jay Craven, MNFF Artistic Director

Help Sustain the Fund

MNFF welcomes contributions to the Franklin Film Development Fund from those who believe that good dramas and comedies by new filmmakers ought to be made.

“With the funding that began with the Franklins’ groundbreaking donation, and has grown quickly, we are gearing up for a continuous infusion of funds to deserving narrative filmmakers intent on telling compelling stories with great characters. We hope that generous individuals and like-minded organizations will step forward with donations that will get us to our goal and beyond. And for filmmakers trying to decide which festivals to enter, let the potential of an MNFF Franklin Film Development Fund grant be a guiding factor.”

Lloyd Komesar, MNFF Producer

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