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. The event takes place in scenic Middlebury, Vermont in late August each year. Our 6th Annual festival will roll out August 27-30, 2020.

Over its first five 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 partnerships with prestigious organizations like the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Jacob Burns Film Center and now the Bali International Film Festival that give our filmmakers truly distinctive opportunities to advance their craft and careers. Our stages have been graced by an amazing and eclectic array of talented directors, actors, producers, writers and distributors, including Paul Schrader, Barbara Kopple, Steve James, David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco, Mohammed Naqvi, Bill and Turner Ross, Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg, Alexandra Dean, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Bruce Greenwood, Michael Murphy, M. Emmet Walsh, Allan Nicholls, Sally Roy, Beth Levison, Russell Banks, Dick Lehr, Marc Mauceri and many others. 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. Check out our many reviews from filmmakers and you'll know why Middlebury is such an essential and enjoyable destination on the festival circuit.

We are already planning MNFF6 and look forward to presenting another innovative and exciting event. We have booked four great venues to screen our 2020 selections: the historic Town Hall Theater, the recently renovated Marquis Theater, the beautiful Dana Auditorium and the inviting Twilight Hall, the latter two both at Middlebury College. We anticipate having as many as 85 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 always encourage our 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 house our filmmakers in the wonderful homes of area residents, an unforgettable experience that distinguishes MNFF from so many other festivals. We'll be offering stimulating Craft Panels this coming year and welcoming celebrated directors, actors and writers to our stages. To round out the Festival experience, there will be multiple happy hours and night time parties happening during the event at vibrant venues around the Middlebury area. And, of course, we cap it all off with the wonderful VTeddy Awards at the Closing Ceremonies, where our winners take home the coveted VTeddy in recognition of their outstanding work. Keep up with all the developments for the 2020 MNFF at and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Finally, what further sets the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival apart is what comes after the event. The MNFF has created the Vermont Tour that will give our top filmmakers valuable additional exposure. Now in its third year, a selection of our best films will be booked into welcoming venues around our home state of Vermont in early February 2020 following the Festival. We offer screening fees to our participating filmmakers and encourage them to personally go on Tour and present their work all over the state. Getting out there and getting recognized is a big boost to new filmmakers and the MNFF actively supports this process.

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
- 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 in the global community of emerging filmmakers. 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, and representing a significant new dimension in MNFF’s support of women filmmakers from around the world. 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 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 quality. Value: $1000.
- New this year, the AICEF Prize for Cross-Cultural Filmmaking, honoring an American filmmaker whose work deftly explores and embraces cross cultural themes with an all-expenses paid trip to screen their film at the 14th Annual Bali International Film Festival in Indonesia in September 2020 following their showcase screening at MNFF. Value: $1800.
- The Vermont Symphony Orchestra Award for the Best Integration of Music Into Film, given to a short film director. Value: includes screening the winning film with live performances of the film’s original score by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, beginning with a high profile performance at MNFF6 in late August and then as part of the VSO’s major February concert in early 2021 at the 1,400 seat Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Vermont’s premiere live music venue located in Burlington. The filmmaker and composer will receive complimentary round-trip transportation and lodging in Burlington should she or he choose to attend the February 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 filmmakers for allowing us to present their work as part of MNFF's Vermont Tour. The Festival, in addition, underwrites all the costs of booking the Tour venues and marketing the Tour screenings. Fees are determined prior to the start of the Tour.


The 6th Annual Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival – August 27-30, 2020

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, 2018, 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 do not recommend that you submit a physical copy of your film but, If you do opt to send us a DVD or BluRay copy of your entry, it must be postmarked by the final deadline of the Extended Window for it to be considered for acceptance into the Festival. If you are submitting with a secure online screener, you do not have to mail us a DVD/BluRay unless later requested by the Festival.

If you choose to submit a physical DVD/BluRay, the material must be labeled with:

Film Title
Running Time
Contact information clearly displayed on the face of the DVD.

Please only mail DVDs/BluRays in paper or plastic jewel cases (no standard DVD cases). We want to avoid breakage, if possible. And kindly put the FilmFreeway Tracking # of your film on the package so we can quickly identify it.

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

Any films submitted without a paid entry fee by the given deadline will be disqualified from the submission screening 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: BluRay or DCP.

Accepted films may screen in limited engagement theatrically prior to Festival exhibition, but cannot already be publicly available due to clearly monetized distribution deals, e.g., iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, Cable VOD, PBS broadcast or cable telecast, prior to the start of the Festival on August 27, 2020. However, films with distribution deals concluded prior to the Festival but that don't go into 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: headshot and brief bio of director, color and/or B&W stills from the film, brief description of the film (75 words max) and a video trailer (downloadable and 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, where possible, to a selection of our top films. These screenings will take place in a variety of venues throughout the state of Vermont in the months following the conclusion of the Festival. 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 winning filmmakers. The Festival requires that, as a condition of acceptance into the Festival, the filmmaker allow these additional screenings of his/her work.

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 FedEx 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 10, 2020 via 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 2020. Festival, August 27-30. 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 screening print to the Festival office no later than August 1, 2020. 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 27,2020. Further, per the specific description in the General Rules, you grant permission for additional limited public exhibition of the film to the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival should this film be selected as one of the top three features or top three short films of the Festival. 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. All decisions of the Festival regarding the designation of the top films selected for additional exhibition around the state of Vermont will be final and binding on all participants. You have read, understood, and hereby agree to the terms written in the General Festival Rules for submissions to the 2020 Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival.

Overall Rating
  • Allison Mattox

    Middlebury was one of the very top highlights of my festival run. For a young festival, they run an exceptionally smooth program with the utmost care taken with filmmakers. The town is beautiful and hospitable, the screening venues are great, and there are wonderful events and parties every night.

    October 2019
    Midd new filmmakers fest logo ff
    Response from festival:

    We so appreciated you being here, Allison, and for giving us the opportunity to screen your outstanding short, Échappé. We can't wait to see your new work!

  • Matthew Dixon

    Of the over 30 festivals that I was fortunate to have my film selected for, MNFF was among my very favorite. The organization, communication, appreciation and support for film and filmmakers is evident before, during and long after the festival. Upon arrival, the energy, excitement, buzz is invigorating. The screening venues are great, the audiences engaged and thoughtful, the Q&As seemed fresh again, and the social/party/networking get-togethers were fun and productive. It doesn't come by chance -- the hard work, smart choices, considered programming, and vision for the festival that it wants to be is obvious. I'm grateful to have been included. It's an already great festival that is clearly on the rise and headed for the top. And, wow, in beautiful Vermont no less!

    September 2019
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    Response from festival:

    Genuinely appreciate your kind and thoughtful words, Matthew! We hope to see you back at MNFF in the near future!

  • I had a great time at Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival, thank you for inviting my film. I really enjoyed the interesting talk after my screening, with a really greart moderation and interesting audience. Super friendly and fast communication with the festival team, the accomodation was really beautiful and there was a strong vibe in the community. Hope to come back next year!

    September 2019
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    Response from festival:

    We thoroughly enjoyed having you with us at MNFF5, Oliver, and were thrilled to screen Benzin, a fine first feature. We look forward to seeing the next great Oliver Mohr film!

  • Charlotte Juergens

    Sharing my first feature length documentary at MNFF was an extraordinary experience. Several filmmaker friends of mine had encouraged me to apply, praising the festival as fun and well-run. I’d also had a lovely time corresponding with MNFF folks leading up to the festival, including an awesome opportunity to take over the festival’s Instagram for a week. I went into MNFF with very positive expectations. Still, nothing could have prepared me for the truly warm, familial environment of this festival. That warmth came from both the festival organizers and from my fellow filmmakers. Festival folks (especially Lloyd, who is the BEST) worked to promote and uplift my film in every possible way and made me feel genuinely valued and honored. Moreover, they helped forge an introduction to an amazing independent distributor that is now distributing my film. Seriously, what a dream come true! I’m so thankful to MNFF for making that deal possible. I’m just as grateful, though, for the chance to have met so many amazing filmmakers who I hope to stay in touch with and collaborate with in the years to come. I don’t know if it’s a common experience to come away from one’s first film festival with new friendships created through mutual respect and admiration for each other’s work and through having a ton of fun together at social events. I have the feeling this is not common—that it’s the magic of MNFF. If you’re a first or second time filmmaker, DO NOT MISS THIS FESTIVAL! I can’t recommend it highly enough.

    September 2019
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    Response from festival:

    So gracious of you, Charlotte! Many thanks, congrats on the distribution deal and all the best going forward with Sunken Roads and the many films you will no doubt direct down the line!

  • Hannah Craig

    I very-much enjoyed MNFF—both attending and having my film screened there. The festival is professional, fun, interesting, engaging, and well-programed.

    September 2019
    Midd new filmmakers fest logo ff
    Response from festival:

    We are grateful that you attended, Hannah! We hope to see another H.P. Craig in the near future!