The Experimental Film Fest 2024 celebrates its 5th fabulous year!

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. Remember that you want an audience for your films so be sensitive to the eyes, ears, and emotions that will experience your work.

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. The submission fee for Student Films is always $10 ($9 Gold) USD.


Be sure to listen to The Experimental Film Podcast and arrange to be a guest.

***Exciting News for 2023***

This year, there are cash prizes for festival winners! Our first year for giving cash prizes to the following:

Festival Winner - $250
Critic's Choice - $100
Audience Favorite - $100
Best Student Film - $100
Best Animation - $100


September 23, 2023

Bank of the Arts 317 Middle St, New Bern, NC 28560

2023 Awards:

Festival Winner - BIG BANG - Laura Munoz - US

Critic's Choice - NAKED CAME THE STRANGER - Rosanna Verdon-Roe - UK

Best Animation - (Woman life freedom) - Sanaz Safaie - Iran/Germany

Best Student Film - Shrub Oak - Sophia Wolfe - US

*** Audience Favorite - Tides - Andre Silva - US

Five Finalists:

second born son: a transsexual documentary - Merit Thursday - US
Shadow - Lu Li - China
The Unseen - John Akre - US
Transmission - Mats Landstrom - Sweden
White Noise - Soyeon Jung - US

Honorable Mention:

Bleach - Eno Enefiok - UK
BOOKANIMA: Dance - Shon Kim - Republic of Korea
Clear Ice Fern - Mark Street - US
Hemorrhage - Ruth Hayes - US
SOULS - Alberto Martin-Aragon - Spain

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

If your film is selected for screening at the festival, you must provide a short (1-2 minute) video that introduces you and your film to the audience. This introductory film is required for screening at the festival.

I have revised what is an Official Selection for the 2024 festival. Only Official Selections will be screened. I apologize for my confusion about the purpose of Official Selection in previous years.

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

Overall Rating
  • Eno Enefiok

    Really cool to get the honourable mention for my little humble film. It's festivals like these that help give up-and-comers like myself the confidence to keep creating and putting our work out into the world.

    September 2023
  • 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