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 exceptionally well. The event takes place in scenic Middlebury, Vermont in late August each year. Our 10th Anniversary Festival will roll out August 21-25, 2024. And our submission window for MNFF10 opens on January 2, 2024.

Over its first nine years, MNFF has been incredibly fortunate to attract a diverse array of passionate new filmmakers from around the world working across all genres who are creating brilliant work. We seek out compelling and memorable stories about underrepresented communities. We encourage risk taking and boundary breaking in the films that we select. We have created innovative partnerships with prestigious organizations like the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Jacob Burns Film Center and the Bali International Film Festival that give our filmmakers truly distinctive opportunities to advance their craft and careers. And, at the heart of it all, MNFF offers a festival environment that is genuinely and deeply supportive of the emerging new voices in independent filmmaking. As one of our fabulous alumni noted in their FilmFreeway review, "MNFF is THE festival to watch. Extremely welcoming, well run, well organized, and a true destination festival, MNFF offers a unique and much needed opportunity for first and second time filmmakers to interact and learn from seasoned industry professionals. Like an early Sundance, MNFF is sensitively curated, highly selective and impeccably organized. Plus it’s set in stunningly beautiful Vermont countryside in summer, when the entire town of Middlebury turns its focus to supporting the festival. The films I saw were consistently excellent: sophisticated, imaginative, surprising. This festival is a powerhouse, devoted to the new filmmaker." Check out our many other positive reviews on FilmFreeway and you'll know why the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival is a Top 100 Best Reviewed Festival for eight years running and a vibrant and joyful destination on the festival circuit.

After successfully concluding our 9th Annual Fest this past August in beautiful Middlebury, with a record 83 filmmakers in attendance from all over the world and an astonishing 4,150 people watching our 118 films over five days, we are now planning MNFF10 with an eye to celebrating a decade of existence and expanding our commitment to new filmmakers in distinctive ways.

We will again run five full days at MNFF10, booking five great venues and six screens to showcase our 2024 selections: the historic Town Hall Theater, the much loved Marquis Theater [two screens], the beautiful and newly renovated Dana Auditorium and the intimate Twilight Hall, the latter two both at Middlebury College, along with our lovely outdoor venue under the tent at Swift House Inn. We anticipate having as many as 90 slots available for accepted entries and selections will be made by a panel of judges led by the Festival’s Artistic Director, Jay Craven, noted Vermont filmmaker, impresario and educator.

We enthusiastically encourage our selected filmmakers to come to the Festival, engage in Q&A sessions with audiences following their screenings, network with peers in the peaceful surroundings and immerse themselves in the pleasures of small town Vermont. And, we'll once again be housing our filmmakers in the wonderful homes of area residents, an unforgettable experience that distinguishes MNFF from so many other festivals. We will host stimulating Craft Panels and Distribution Sessions at MNFF10, along with welcoming celebrated directors like Alexander Payne, Paul Schrader and Sam Pollard, producers, actors, writers and casting directors to our stages. There will be a lively Champagne Reception for our attending filmmakers, along with a terrific Filmmaker Networking Lounge, plus daily Happy Hours and great Evening Parties at lovely venues around the village of Middlebury. And, of course, we'll wrap up our Tenth Anniversary Fest with the wonderful VTeddy Awards at the Closing Ceremonies, where our winners take home the coveted VTeddy trophy in recognition of their outstanding work. Keep up with all the developments for the 2024 Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival at and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Once again, our MNFF10 submission window opens January 2, 2024. We hope you'll give us the opportunity to consider your fine work.

The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival offers the following Awards and Prizes:

- The VTeddy Award, our coveted and iconic custom made tuxedo-clad Teddy, in the following categories: Best Narrative Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, Audience Award-Feature, Audience Award-Short. Accompanying cash award: $500.
- The Hernandez/Bayliss Prize for the feature film that best captures the triumph of the human spirit and honors the inspirational power of independent filmmaking. Value: $1000.
- The Clio Visualizing History Prize for the Advancement of Women in Film, honoring a woman filmmaker whose feature film boldly portrays the story of a person or events of historical significance. Value: $1000.
- The Gaia Prize for Environmental Filmmaking, honoring a feature film with exceptional insights into environmental issues. In recognition of Gaia, Mother Earth in Greek mythology, this award seeks to encourage new filmmakers from around the world to bring widespread attention to global sustainability, environmental justice and climate change concerns. Value: $1000.
- The Shouldice Family Prize for Best Vermont-Made Film, honoring a Vermont-based filmmaker whose short or feature length film is of exceptional significance. Value: $1000.
- The Kate Hearst Prize, given to a feature or a short film that explores human connectivity in our increasingly interdependent world by revealing vital relationships between individuals, local communities, global collectives and/or species who share our planet. Value: $1000.
- The Gamble-Paison Prize for Best International Feature Film, recognizing excellence in feature narrative or documentary filmmaking by a first or second time international director. Value: $1,000.
- The Swift House Prize for Best Depiction of the Arts, presented to either a feature or short film that best portrays a story of an artistic creation or endeavor. Value: $1,000.
- The Jeanine Basinger Prize for Best Student Film, awarded to a short film created by an enrolled student [undergraduate or graduate] that best demonstrates the art of filmmaking.  Films made by an enrolled student, either as part of the academic curriculum or independent of the curriculum, are eligible. Value: $1000.
- The Thaddeus Stevens Prize for Social Engagement, in tribute to the heroic Vermonter, Thaddeus Stevens, who played a decisive role in the abolition of slavery and the establishment of free public schooling in America. Value: $500.
- The Ralph Steiner Prize for Poetic Cinema, in recognition of the groundbreaking work of pioneering American documentarian and photographer Ralph Steiner. Value: $500.
- The AICEF Prize for Cross-Cultural Filmmaking, honoring an American filmmaker whose work deftly explores and embraces cross cultural themes, and awarding an all-expenses paid round trip to screen their film at the 17th Annual Bali International Film Festival in Indonesia in May 2025 and a showcase screening at MNFF10 in August 2024. Value: $3,000.
- The Vermont Symphony Orchestra [VSO] Award for the Best Integration of Music Into Film, given exclusively to a short film director. The 2024 award includes an initial screening of the film at MNFF10 in August 2024 and multiple live performances of the winning film’s score by the VSO alongside simultaneous screenings of the film as part of the VSO’s winter/spring events in early 2025. This dynamic performance/exhibition combination will also take place at MNFF11 in August 2025. Travel arrangements will be supported by MNFF to bring the filmmaker to a select VSO performance. A remarkable and clearly distinctive award, by any standard.

- The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival also offers screening fees to a select group of our winning MNFF10 feature filmmakers for allowing us to present their work as part of MNFF's popular Vermont Tour, which brings the work to 6-7 venues around the State in November 2024 The Festival, in addition, underwrites all the costs of booking the Tour venues and marketing the Tour screenings. Fees to filmmakers are determined prior to the start of the Tour.


The 10th Anniversary Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival – August 21-25, 2024

The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival is entirely dedicated to new filmmakers and their dynamic work. We are only accepting first or second features OR first or second short films. If you have already completed three short films, for instance, but you want to submit your first or second feature, we welcome that. You must have completed your submitted film after February 1, 2022, so that it represents current work.

The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival is not accepting works-in-progress.

All submitted films must comply with the Submissions Guidelines including deadlines, exhibition format, entry material, etc., as detailed in our listing. Please check our website for further details (

We are offering secure online screening of submitted films through and we strongly encourage you to take advantage of this fine service. Submission fees vary by deadline so make sure to upload your film prior to a particular deadline to qualify for that fee level. In no case will your film be considered if you upload it after the final deadline of the Extended Window.

We are NO LONGER accepting a physical submission copy of your film, i.e., BluRay or DVD. All submissions must be digital and uploaded via FilmFreeway.

More than one entry may be submitted. However, each entry must be accompanied by a separate entry fee.

Any films submitted without a paid entry fee will be disqualified from the submission review process.

Because of the heavy volume of submissions, we will NOT email you when we receive your submission. Once it is securely up on FilmFreeway, you can safely assume we have been notified by the platform.

Films submitted must be available in English or in the original language with English subtitles.

Submit your film as early as possible, please. This gives us more time to consider your work.

Entry fees are payable by credit card, check or money order to the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival and are non-refundable. Fees for foreign entries should be paid by credit card or international money orders in U.S. dollars, again payable to the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival.

Entrants are responsible for obtaining any necessary licenses, royalties, release forms, clearances and permits necessary to present their work. The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival is not responsible for any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits or royalty infringement related to the work. If your work is accepted into the Festival, we must be able to screen it without any encumbrances whatsoever.

Accepted films must be available in the designated exhibition formats: .mp4, .mov, .h264, ProRes, DCP, BluRay or DVD.

Accepted films may screen in limited engagement theatrically prior to Festival exhibition, but generally cannot already be available due to clearly monetized distribution deals, e.g., iTunes, Vudu, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Apple TV+, HBO & HBO Max, Showtime, Cable VOD, PBS broadcast or cable telecast, prior to the start of the Festival on August 21, 2024. However, films with distribution deals concluded prior to the Festival but not in effect until after the Festival will be considered for acceptance at MNFF.

Notification of acceptance will be emailed through FilmFreeway. We ask you not to call the Festival office. All correspondence will be done through email and only with the original submitter.

If your film is selected, you will be asked to provide a digital press kit which includes: director's headshot and brief bio, color and/or B&W stills from the film, brief description of the film (75 words max) and a downloadable video trailer (cleared for use on the Festival website).

The date, time and location of the screenings of films are solely at the discretion of the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival.

As part of its Vermont Tour, the Festival will award additional screenings to a small selection of our top feature films. These screenings will take place in a variety of venues throughout the state of Vermont in November 2024. The venue booking and marketing costs of this important additional exposure will be borne by the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival and includes the payment of an exhibition fee to the selected filmmakers. The Festival requires that, as a condition of acceptance into the Festival, the filmmaker allow these additional screenings of their work, appropriately compensated, unless barred by an existing distribution agreement.

The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival will take great care in the handling of your entry but will not pay additional charges for originals, masters, or special prints.

DVD/BluRay screeners will not be returned unless the filmmaker is willing to accept the cost of doing this. Please do not send originals or masters.

If an accepted filmmaker provides a DCP exhibition copy, the Festival will return that copy via UPS upon request.

All films selected for exhibition grant the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival the rights to use footage, stills, titles and information from the film for promotional purposes.

All filmmakers will be notified by July 5, 2024 via FilmFreeway email regarding their acceptance into the Festival.


You hereby affirm that you are the authorized representative for the above mentioned film [as noted on the entry form]. You grant the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival all rights necessary to exhibit and promote the above-referenced film, if selected, at the 10th Annual Festival, August 21-25, 2024. You represent that such exhibition will not violate or infringe upon any rights whatsoever (including copyright, trademark, musical or contract right) of any person or entity. You further represent that you are authorized to submit the above-referenced film and, if selected, will deliver the film either digitally or physically to the Festival office no later than July 29, 2024. You also affirm that the film will not be in commercial distribution and will not have aired on broadcast or cable television or on a streaming service in the United States prior to August 21, 2024.

Further, per the specific description in the General Rules, you grant permission to the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival for additional limited and compensated public exhibition of the film for its MNFF Vermont Tour should this film be selected as one of the top features of the Festival. All decisions of the Festival regarding the designation of the films selected for additional exhibition around the state of Vermont will be final and binding on all participants.

You also grant the Festival the right to utilize an excerpt from this film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes. Additionally, you will indemnify and hold harmless the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival from any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening material entered. You have read, understood, and hereby agree to the terms written in the General Festival Rules for submissions to the 2024 Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival.

Overall Rating
  • Liam O'Connor-Genereaux

    This is an excellent festival. I've attended for several years and had a feature here twice. The programming is diverse (and really, really good), the atmosphere is fantastic and the filmmaker community is engaged and absolutely present. The audiences are pretty full (sometimes packed), and there's solid participation in the panels and discussions. It's a very high-value fest, with well-stocked social hours and visiting established filmmakers. For first & second time filmmakers, it is absolutely the nicest festival you could go to. The fest also does a great job of helping work out filmmaker accommodations, and they have a travel fund to assist visiting filmmakers. It is really, really geared for filmmakers, folks from around the world show up. The hospitality is unmatched. Fabulous communication, highly professional, well-staffed festival team. Cannot recommend enough.

    Two things to consider when submitting: the tone and programming of the festival skews towards heavier docs, and by extension serious narrative dramas with a sharp social commentary. The fest certainly programs some comedies and genre fare, but be aware that if that's your jam you're likely to be in the minority when you show up. Going off that, the overall atmosphere of the festival and festival-goers leans very metropolitan. Middlebury is a wealthy college town with very strong ties to NYC and Boston, so if you're thinking Vermont and imagining a rural or "backwoodsy" regional cinema experience, this is not the fest for that.

    Director, "The Butterfly Queen"

    February 2024
  • Aube Giroux

    Even several months after attending, the Middlebury festival still holds a special place in my heart. The town is stunningly beautiful, inviting, and everyone is incredibly friendly. The festival's organization is top-notch. Filmmakers are treated with utmost esteem and respect. The awards are the loveliest in the industry. The film and short selection is excellent. The gift bag with products from the sponsors is incredibly thoughtful. The venues for cocktails and dinners are like something out of a dream. But above all, it's the team behind the festival that truly stands out - they're, quite literally, the highlight of my Middlebury experience. They even went as far as to pair me with a host from my own country, who, by the way, was delightful. Lloyd, Jay, Hanna, Rachel, Leah, and the entire team, thank you for creating an unforgettable experience. I might just have to make another film just to come back and see you all again.

    - Rocio Rodriguez Almaraz (Co-director, This is Fracking)

    November 2023
  • Set Hernandez

    Thank you, Lloyd, Rach, Ana, and team for your generosity in providing our film with a platform at this year's festival! We are especially grateful for the hospitality in helping us find our accommodations with our local host – who we ended up befriending even after our time in the festival. Not to mention: the filmmaker swag bag + teddy bear is probably the best we've had of all the festivals we've attended. So grateful for the opportunity to be with yall at MNFF. Hope this won't be the last!

    October 2023
  • Eri Geroulis

    I really don't now if I can truly put my experience at MNFF into words, but here goes. The attention and care that every filmmaker received from the second we were told that our film was accepted until the very end of the festival was beyond extraordinary. I am eternally grateful that my short film was chosen to play at what I would, without any hesitation, label a top notch festival thanks to Lloyd, Jay, Hanna, John, Rachel and the rest of the amazing team. I will submit my second short in a heartbeat and would recommend that all first and second time filmmakers do the same!

    October 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your very kind words, Eri! We were most grateful for the opportunity to screen The Elements, your brilliant short. And we do hope to host you once again at the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival!

  • Morgan Adamson

    What a special festival. The programmers and staff took great care to create a meaningful experience for filmmakers and to support their work in numerous ways. The whole town of Middlebury seemed to welcome us. As a first time filmmaker, I learned so much and had a wonderful time connecting with new and established filmmakers.

    September 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Morgan! We appreciate your kind words. We thoroughly enjoyed hosting you at MNFF9 and were thrilled to screen your exceptional short!