The submission season for the 6th Annual Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival is now closed. We thank all our submitting filmmakers for their support. Your films have been reviewed by our screening committee.

MNFF6 will take place online AUGUST 27-SEPTEMBER 3, 2020.

We hope your film will be among the titles that we present to our enthusiastic online audiences during the Fest. Thanks for considering us as part of your festival submission strategy and good luck!

Looking to the future, the MNFF7 submission season will begin on Monday, January 4, 2021. Check this space for more details.

The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival is all about showcasing the outstanding work of first and second time filmmakers. It’s our sole focus and it’s what we do really well. Our goal is to create a peer festival, a level playing field, a place to be discovered and talked about in a joyous environment. The event takes place in scenic Middlebury, Vermont in late August each year. We want you to feel at home here in Middlebury as we celebrate the dynamic and emerging new voices in independent cinema.

Submission Criteria

1. The work must be either your first or second film, whether it’s a feature or a short. For example, if you have already made three short films, but you would like to submit either your first or second feature, then go right ahead. Or, if you have made a couple of features, but recently completed your first or second short film, then by all means submit the short. We are open to any genre, be it narrative, documentary, animation, experimental and VR.

2. Feature films should be at least 40 minutes long. Shorts can range in length from 3 minutes to 30 minutes. Extended shorts from 30 to 40 minutes will also be considered, although, if a 40 minute short is accepted, it may possibly be classified as a feature. MNFF will also consider web series if the entire series does not exceed 60 minutes.

3. The work must have been completed after March 1, 2018, i.e., roughly within the past 2.5 years. We would like your work to be current.

4. In the event that your film is selected, we would love for your film to premiere at MNFF, but it is fine with us if you have shown your work elsewhere, i.e., at another festival or for a short theatrical run. If the film is already out commercially as a DVD/Blu-Ray, up on a transactional platform like iTunes or Vudu, on an SVOD platform like Netflix or Amazon Prime, a VOD platform like Comcast Xfinity or on a broadcast or cable network, e.g., PBS or HBO or Showtime, we may still consider the work, but it does complicate the selection process.

5. MNFF typically does not pay screening fees to filmmakers whose work is accepted from the submission pool.

6. We are not accepting works-in-progress at MNFF.

Additional Screenings

A selection of MNFF6’s best features and/or shorts will receive valuable additional screenings in various venues around Vermont in the February following the Festival, as part of our MNFF Vermont Tour. The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival asks that our selected filmmakers allow us to screen their work at these venues as we create greater visibility for their films in the state of Vermont. Compensation for these screenings will be paid by the Festival directly to the filmmakers, and travel and lodging arrangements are covered as well should the participating filmmaker wish to attend particular screenings.

Awards & Prizes

In addition to Awards for Best Feature Documentary, Best Short Documentary, Best Feature Narrative, Best Short Narrative, Audience Award Feature and Audience Award Short, MNFF supports short film creators with a highly coveted award:

  • The Vermont Symphony Orchestra Award for the Best Integration of Music Into Film, which includes the pairing up of a rising composer selected and compensated by the VSO with the winning filmmaker in the making of her/his next short film. In addition, the Award includes multiple live performances of the film’s original score simultaneous with the film’s screening beginning with the 2020 MNFF and as part of the VSO’s statewide and always anticipated Made in Vermont Tour. A remarkable and clearly distinctive award, by any standard.

MNFF also supports feature film creators with four cash prizes of $1,000 each, all to be awarded at the 5th Annual Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival.

  • The Hernandez/Bayliss Prize for the feature film that best captures the triumph of the human spirit.
  • The Clio Visualizing History Prize for the Advancement of Women in Film, presented to a woman filmmaker whose feature film boldly portrays the story of a person or events of historical significance.
  • The Gaia Prize for Environmental Filmmaking, honoring a feature film that delivers exceptional insights into environmental and sustainability issues.
  • The Shouldice Family Prize for Best Vermont-Made Film, honoring a feature film [or a short film] created and filmed in Vermont.

All four of these cash prizes represent an ongoing effort by MNFF to expand its core mission of financially supporting the work of distinguished first and second time filmmakers.

New to MNFF this year is a remarkable opportunity for a feature filmmaker to participate in a cross cultural exchange:

  • The AICEF Prize for Cross Cultural Filmmaking, underwritten by the American-Indonesian Cultural & Educational Foundation, will be presented each year to two first or second time filmmakers whose work robustly embraces cross-cultural themes either in the narrative or documentary genre. One Indonesian filmmaker will be selected by the Bali International Film Festival to present her or his work at the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival in late August 2020 and one filmmaker will be selected by the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival to present her or his work at the Bali International Film Festival [the Balinale] in late September 2020. All travel and lodging costs associated with this exchange of filmmakers will be covered through a generous grant from the American-Indonesian Cultural & Educational Foundation [AICEF].

Submission Windows & Fees*

  • Early Bird: Closed. Submission fees – $50/feature and $35/short
  • Regular: Closed. Submission fees – $55/feature and $40/short
  • Late: Closed. Submission fees – $60/feature and $45/short
  • Extended: Closed. Submission fees – $65/feature and $50/short

*All submitting filmmakers who are FilmFreeway Gold Members receive submission fee discounts during any window.

How to Submit

The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival is working exclusively with FilmFreeway for film submissions. Secure uploading and online screening will be available on FilmFreeway for MNFF submissions. Please email us should you need to submit in an alternative format.

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