The Melbourne Doc Fest each year curates world class features direct from some of the hottest most prestigious documentary film festivals in the world like Sheffield Doc Fest, Traverse City Film Festival Doc NYC, SXSW, Doc Edge and IDFA. But what matters to us most is documentaries that are well-made, compelling, thought provoking, passionate and relevant to Australian audiences.

The Melbourne Doc Fest is one of the world newest documentary film festivals and one of the most fun and interesting stop overs on the international documentary film festival circuit.

The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is the only festival in Australasia to provide feedback on submissions (upon request). The feedback is simple, straight forward, positive and constructive (like a review) and gives you an insight into what the curator thought of your documentary and will be provided to you by 22 July 2018 if you want it by applying to

Our categories like Documentary Photography, Documentary Web Series, Micro Docs have never been attempted by a documentary film festival in the southern hemisphere and are ground breaking.

Our values
We want to highlight and promote all documentaries, but in particular:
• Documentaries from Women in Film
• Aboriginal and Indigenous documentaries
• Asian cinema
• LGBTI documentaries

Value for money
While our film submission fee is in line and bench marked against other film festivals our incentives for the submitter are much higher than your average film festival.

Successful entries
1 x Open Access Pass to all festival documentaries
10 x tickets to your session at the festival for crew, friends, and family (not redeemable for cash)
Feedback on your documentary
The opportunity to win cash prizes, distribution deals, wine, and DVD’s
Promo code discount for all documentaries showing at the festival

Unsuccessful entries
Complimentary double pass to selected documentaries at the festival (not redeemable for cash)
Feedback on your documentary
Promo code discount for all documentaries showing at the festival

Post-festival service
We try to find other ways to show case your documentary at other festivals that we are aligned with, which gives you double the exposure for the same submission price (more value for money) and try to find distribution for you in Australia after you have completely finished your world-wide festival run.

The money we raise through sponsorship and submissions goes back into the Melbourne economy as a direct subsidy helping venues, printers, hotels and media partners that rely heavily on events like ours.

The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is Melbourne, Australia's first competitive documentary film festival and Melbourne's own dedicated documentary film festival.

Our mission is to discover and promote independent Australian documentaries, and to showcase the best international documentaries to Melbourne audiences. The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival provides a public forum and supportive platform to allow emerging filmmakers to showcase their work.

The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival aims to feature the freshest and most innovative documentaries from around the world, from short docs right through to feature length, award winning films. the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival looks to promote the best quality independent documentaries cinema has to offer.

The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival team looks forward to bringing you a diverse, challenging slate of documentaries that will entertain, educate and inform, providing our audience with a memorable, world class festival experience. The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is also one of the only film festivals in Australasia that provides feedback on submissions. The feedback is simple, straight forward and constructive (like a review) and gives you an insight into what the curators actually thought of your documentary. Y

The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is a 10 day competitive film festival to be held from 12th - 16th July 2017 at Cinema Nova, Howler and Long Play. For more information email, Follow us on Twitter:

Testimonials from winning entries of the 2016 Melbourne Doc Fest

Melbourne is known worldwide as one of the greatest cultural cities on Earth. It was the birthplace of the longest feature film ever created at that time (The Kelly Gang 1908). People here understand the art of film.

It was great honor to be selected for competition at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival and it was a major career milestone to win Best Director and the Supreme Jury Prize for our movie A Billion Lives.

The amount of media attention this festival gets is unreal. While in Melbourne, I did radio interviews, magazine interviews, and had multiple critics review our film.

The festival is ambitious and well run. Lyndon, the festival director, goes to great lengths to care for the directors he’s chosen. He makes introductions to industry connections.

He helps films find distribution. Not only did I make great industry connections, but I made new friendships with other respected directors from around the world.

I look forward to next time.

Aaron Biebert, director, Supreme Jury Prize Award winner – A Billion Lives

It was an amazing experience to be a part of the Melbourne Doc Fest, winning "Best Australian Documentary" has really helped our film to gain notoriety and being able to connect with and meet all the other film professionals at the festival was an invaluable networking opportunity. We couldn't recommend it more highly to other documentary filmmakers.

Roland Fraval, producer, Best Australian Feature winner - Coffee Man

The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is a competitive film festival and has 14 award categories, known as the Ozstars, which you can enter, they include:

Pool A
Short Awards
Supreme Jury Prize Short Documentary
Best International Short Documentary or Webseries
Best Australian Short Documentary or Webseries
Best Short Director – International /Australia

Pool B
Feature Awards
Supreme Jury Prize Feature Documentary
Best International Documentary
Best Australian Documentary
Audience Choice
Best Director – International / Australia
Best Melbourne Documentary

Pool C
Documentary Photography Awards
Supreme Jury Prize Documentary Photograph
Best International Documentary Photograph
Best Australian Documentary Photograph
Best Documentary Photographer

Castagna Wine
Supreme Jury Prize Award - $1,500
Best Australian Short Documentary - $1,500
Supreme Jury Prize Award - Photography - $500
Open Channel Memberships for Best Australian and Best Melbourne documentaries
AIDC day passes for Best Australian and Best Melbourne documentaries
Melbourne Gin
DVDs from Ronin Films, Antidote Films, Bounty Entertainment
Distribution deals on VOD with Beama Films

The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival supports MIFF and AIDC but is independent and not part of either organisation.

These rules (the “Rules”) apply to all submissions to The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Inc (“MDFF”). By submitting your film (the “Film”) for consideration for inclusion in the festival operated by MDFF (the “Festival”), you (the “Applicant” or “You”) hereby agree to be bound by these Rules.
1. Submission
1.1 MDFF will consider each submission received (a “Submission”) against the Eligibility Criteria (defined below).
1.2 A Film which does not meet the Eligibility Criteria as of the date of screening will not be screened.
1.3 MDFF may, at its absolute discretion, decide to accept a submission which meets the Eligibility Criteria, but is not obliged to screen any particular Film at the Festival even if the Film meets the Eligibility Criteria. MDFF reserves the right to change a decision to screen a Film at its discretion.
1.4 A decision made by MDFF to accept or refuse to screen a Film is final. Under no circumstances will MDFF refund any submission fees paid. Please ensure you check all dates, currency conversions and associated costs before submitting your documentary there will be no refund.
1.5 Successful applicants will be contacted in late May or early June 2017.
1.6 Successful applicants are eligible for six (6) free tickets to selected screenings at the Festival (not redeemable for cash). Unsuccessful applicants are eligible for a double pass to selected screening at the Festival (not redeemable for cash), and may contact for feedback from 12 July 2017. Applicants must contact to redeem their tickets.
1.7 Successful applicants will be forwarded a copy of the MDFF Screening Agreement. Submissions from successful applicants who do not agree to the MDFF Screening Agreement will not be screened.
1.8 You acknowledge that MDFF does not pay screening fees to applicants.
1.9 MDFF provides feedback on submissions after 17/07/2017. Filmmakers must apply to to request feedback
2. Eligibility
2.1 A Submission is eligible if all of the following conditions are met:
a. The Submission is received before the due date of 19 March 2017
b. Production of the Film was not completed prior to 1 January 2013;
c. The Film has never been, and will not be before 12 July 2017, released on DVD, freely available online or theatrically released other than on (however, the Festival may at its discretion accept Films which have been theatrically released or previously screened at other festivals);
d. The Film is in English or contains English subtitles; and
e. The Submission accompanied by the applicable submission fee
(the “Eligibility Criteria”).
2.2 MDFF prefers that Films be submitted in one of the following formats: 16mm, DCP (DCI Compliant), HD CAM, DVD, Blu Ray. All zones are acceptable. MDFF may accept other formats (such as Vimeo): please contact to arrange this.
3. Return of Materials
3.1 Materials submitted will not be returned. We strongly recommend that you do not submit original materials.
4. Warranty
4.1 By submitting your Film, you warrant that:
a. You are free to submit the Film to the Festival;
b. The Film meets the Eligibility Criteria; and
c. You have obtained all necessary clearances in respect of the Film and the Film does not infringe the rights (including without limitation copyright) of any third party.

Good luck filmmakers!

Overall Rating
  • Such a well organised and quality festival! It was a honour to be part of this years competition, I'll sure to try again next year :) Great work everyone!

    July 2017
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    Costa Botes

    Lyndon and the team worked overtime to create a great film-maker friendly event. Great networking opportunity and good media reach. I never got so much critical coverage from much bigger events. Love to see this festival settled into a single friendly venue. It would thrive.

    July 2017
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    mark hellinger

    Wonderful festival, with great people involved. Opportunities to network and learn and see some great films.

    July 2017
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    Kim Mavromatis

    I loved the festival. Our short film "Lingjura" was a finalist in the Best Indigenous documentary category. The festival wasn't only for documentary, it was a film festival for filmmakers. Loved the Q&A's after the film screenings - the master classes were sensational - hospitality was amazing - and films were awesome. Well done Lyndon, to you and your small team, wonderful job. I will submit again next year...Kim Mavromatis

    July 2017
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    Ivan Hexter

    As a filmmaker who's passionate about the art of actuality, I highly recommend this festival. They're passionate about celebrating and promoting compelling work. Thanks Lyndon and your team for such a well organised and attended event. Lots of great media exposure too for our multi-award winning film Tunnel Vision. Cheers

    July 2017