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 9th Annual festival will roll out August 23-27, 2023.

Over its first eight 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 seven years running and an essential and enjoyable destination on the festival circuit.

After successfully concluding our 8th Annual Fest this past August in beautiful Middlebury, with 55 filmmakers in attendance from all over the world and 2800 people watching our 138 films over five days, we are now planning MNFF9 with an eye to expanding on the several innovations that we have implemented. And we are very optimistic that by August of 2023, there will be an even greater degree of interest in participating in and experiencing what we have to offer.

We will again run five full days at MNFF9, booking five great venues to screen our 2023 selections: the historic Town Hall Theater, the recently renovated Marquis Theater [two screens], the beautiful and newly renovated Dana Auditorium and the inviting Twilight Hall, the latter two both at Middlebury College, and 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 will 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 MNFF8, along with welcoming celebrated directors, producers, actors and writers 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 vibrant outdoor venues around the Middlebury area. And, of course, we'll wrap up MNFF8 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 2022 Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival at and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And do give us the opportunity to consider your fine work by submitting your film beginning January 3, 2022.

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. 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 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 quality. 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 first or second time international directors. Value: $1,000.
- 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 16th Annual Bali International Film Festival in Indonesia in May 2023 and a showcase screening at MNFF8. Value: $2000.
- The Vermont Symphony Orchestra Award for the Best Integration of Music Into Film, given exclusively to a short film director. The award includes multiple live performances of the winning film’s score by the VSO alongside a simultaneous screening of the film as part of the VSO’s winter events in early 2023. This dynamic performance/exhibition combination will also take place at MNFF8 in August 2022. Travel arrangements will be made and underwritten by the VSO and 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 filmmakers for allowing us to present their work as part of MNFF's popular Vermont Tour, which will roll out in April 2023. 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 8th Annual Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival – August 24-28, 2022

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, 2020, 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 form and 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, DCP or BluRay.

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, Apple TV+, HBO, Showtime, Cable VOD, PBS broadcast or cable telecast, prior to the start of the Festival on August 24, 2022. 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 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 small selection of our top films. These screenings will take place in a variety of venues throughout the state of Vermont in February 2023. 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 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 8, 2022 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 8th Annual Festival, August 24-28, 2022. 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 August 1, 2022. 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 24, 2022.

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 top 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 2022 Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival.

Overall Rating
  • The Middlebury Film Festival was incredible. The organization, the quality of programming, the kindness and interest of the audiences, the amazing hosts! It was a great honor to screen American Thief to a packed theater. I recommended this festival to many filmmaker friends. It was absolutely wonderful. Not to mention that I got to meet Karen Allen, one of my heroes, as well as many wonderful filmmakers who are now good friends. One note for improvement: Not all the screening rooms have the same fantastic quality. The one we screened at was very problematic, unfortunately. With this said, the bad projection didn't take away from one of our best experiences screening the film. Thank you Middlebury!

    September 2022
  • Laina Barakat

    What a lovely experience it was to screen Light Attaching to a Girl at Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival this year! It is a marvelous and very unique festival. We are so grateful.

    September 2022
  • Ligia Ciornei

    It is a festival to which I would return every time. I felt wonderful! I made new filmmaker friends with whom we will collaborate in the future, I met distributors and producers who are open to new collaborations. The festival director managed to gather around him a young and talented team, and the parties and meetings every day of the festival managed to bring us together. Everything was well organized and promoted, and the halls were full of spectators. Thank you so much for this unforgettable experience!

    September 2022
  • Aaron Asis

    MNFF8 provided a remarkable festival experience for filmmakers and festival goers alike! It was well coordinated, well attended, and well executed — with a standard of professionalism and community that create a truly inspiring experience unlike any other festival. It was an honor to be a part of MNFF8 and am already looking forward to MNFF9. A million thanks!

    September 2022
  • Leo Sacks

    Un milione grazie to my new friends at the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival. My welcome was warm and heartfelt. My gracious hosts genuinely made me feel like family. The staff and the volunteers are cineastes; they love and respect the art of the craft. Volunteers Annika Ellis and Emma Johnson went beyond the call to build a buzz for my screening. And the feedback for my film -- about a murdered gospel icon from New Orleans -- was honest and open. A hundred huzzahs to festival founders Lloyd Komesar and Jay Craven for nurturing such a vibrant community. Long may they run.

    September 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for your gracious review, Leo. It was our true pleasure both to host you here in Middlebury and to screen your vibrant documentary!