The Experimental Film Fest features Avant-Garde and Experimental films in any sub-genre. We want the unusual, the macabre, the offbeat, the beautiful, the ugly, and the truly experimental film. We want you to explore the medium in ways that are not only unconventional but entertaining.

Student films are judged with all other films for awards but are also judged separately for Best Student Film. This award is meant to encourage young filmmakers to participate in film festivals and to bring new talent to the screen for audiences.

September 2023 (Exact date TBA)
Bank of the Arts 317 Middle St, New Bern, NC 28560

2022 Awards:

Festival Winner - Dreams - Douglas Alves Ferreira - Brazil

Critic's Choice - The Stream XII - Hiroya Sakurai - Japan

Audience Favorite - 30 Second Thoughts: Volume One - David Baeumler - US

Five Finalists:

MÓÐIR - Heidrik Heygum - Faroe Islands
Three Sisters - Lenny Gonzalez - United States
Good Listeners Anonymous - Stefan Kei DiMuzio - United States
Haptic Memory - Mike Enright - United States
Dream Hunters - Alma Mudrov - Bosnia and Herzegovina

Best Student Film: Are Dandelions Really So Bad? - Zach Robinson - United States

Honorable Mention:

Collage 38.2 - Luis Carlos Rodríguez - Spain
Are You Listening? - Jörg Schrezenmeir - Germany
Galaxias tou Gala - Colette Copeland - United States
Infusion No. 1 - Lauren Henschel - United States
30 Second Thoughts - David Baeumler - United States

Films must be downloadable via FilmFreeway. If your film is password protected, please provide the password with your submission.

Selection for the festival does not guarantee screening during the festival. We may contact you for permission to include your film on special film event nights as festival selections.

This year there is a 15-minute time limit for films.

Overall Rating
  • What a honor to be a part of the Experimental Film Fest. It was an absolute pleasure speaking with Ken on his Experimental Film Podcast as well. I will be submitting my future projects with this festival from now on. I wasn't able to be there in person but I will make plans to do that so I can experience this fest and the lovely town of New Bern for myself. Thank you, Ken!

    November 2022
  • David Baeumler

    I had the pleasure of attending the Experimental Film Fest in person in New Bern, North Carolina. It was a terrific screening of an exceptional program of shorts. The films came from all over the world and ran the gamut of many different styles. The quality of each film was really impressive. The festival director, Ken Hess, did a fantastic job of putting the show together and making sure there was time for filmmakers to meet each other and the audience. The audience was really great too - many folks told me it was their first exposure to experimental film and I was impressed at how open-minded and appreciative they were throughout the program. Overall, it was a wonderful event and I'd definitely encourage experimental filmmakers to submit and attend the fest!

    October 2022
  • Lenny Gonzalez

    It was a privilege having my little experimental film from Texas Three Sisters considered as a finalist in a dedicated showcase to the genre. Unfortunately I was not able to attend but the communication was excellent as was the experience working with the organizers. This festival will definitely be on my list of festivals to watch for.

    October 2022
  • Caren Messing

    Experimental Film Fest is a wonderful festival. Great communication, professional and thoughtfully curated. I wish I could have attended in person and most certainly will submit to this blossoming festival in the future.

    September 2021
  • Hing Tsang

    Ken did an excellent job organising the festival and maintaining excellent communication at all times. The festival has a clear identity and is run with enthusiasm

    September 2021