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 4th Annual festival will roll out August 23-26, 2018.

Over its first three 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 and the Jacob Burns Film Center 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 Barbara Kopple, Bill and Turner Ross, Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg, Hemal Trevedi, Alexandra Dean, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Murphy, M. Emmet Walsh, Russell Banks, Dick Lehr, John Nichols, David Laub 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 reviews from filmmakers and you'll know why Middlebury is such a worthwhile and essential destination.

We are already planning MNFF4 and look forward to presenting another innovative and exciting event. We have booked four great venues to screen our 2018 selections: the historic Town Hall Theater, the recently renovated Marquis Theater, the beautiful Dana Auditorium and the Axinn 232 Screening Room, 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 more Craft Panels as well as a Producers Workshop this coming year and welcoming other celebrated directors, actors and writers to our stages. To round out the Festival experience, there will be multiple parties happening during the event at lovely 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 2018 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. Our winning films - Best Narrative Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, Audience Award -Feature, Audience Award - Short - will be booked into great venues around our home state of Vermont in the winter months 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 is completely supports this process.

Awards & Prizes

The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival offers the following Awards and Prizes:
- The VTeddy Award, our coveted and iconic custom made tuxedoed 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 Vermont Symphony Orchestra Award for the Best Integration of Music Into Film, given to a short film director. Value: In-kind support from the VSO that includes the pairing up of a rising composer with the winning filmmaker in the making of her/his next short film and multiple live performances of the film's score simultaneous with the film screening as part of the VSO's statewide and always anticipated Made in Vermont Tour. A remarkable and clearly distinctive award, by any standard.
- The Jacob Burns Film Center Creative Culture Award, given to a short film director. Value: In-kind support from the prestigious Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, New York, as part of its Creative Culture initiative, including a one month residency at the Burns' facility, ongoing access to professional mentoring and continued use of all state of the art in-house equipment in connection with the making of that filmmaker's latest film. A highly valued award that brings considerable recognition to the awarded filmmaker.
- The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival also offers screening fees to 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.

Rules & Terms


The 4th Annual Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival – August 23-26, 2018

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, 2016.

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 involved in clearly monetized distribution deals, e.g., iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Cable VOD, PBS broadcast or cable telecast , prior to August 23, 2018. Distribution deals concluded prior to the Festival but that don't go into effect until after the Festival do not affect consideration for acceptance at MNFF.

Notification of acceptance will be emailed. 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 each of the top three features and top three short films in the Narrative, Documentary and Audience Favorite categories. 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 6, 2018 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 2018 Festival, August 23-26. 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, 2018. 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 23, 2018. 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 three feature films and top three short 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 Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival 2018.

15 Reviews

Overall Rating
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    Ciara Lacy

    This is a beautifully curated festival with lots of charm. The focus on cultivating new talent is obvious and the dedication put into the festival is palpable. Would love to come back again in the future with new work!

    November 2017
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    Emily Sheehan

    I've never been so cared for at a film festival (I wish I could put six stars next to Hospitality!!) It was a true pleasure. My host family welcomed me with open arms - they made me delicious coffee in the morning, kicked back and drank a beer with me on the back porch in the evening, and even came to my screening! (I didn't want to leave!)

    In addition to the wonderful hospitality, overall the films were quite good and expertly curated. I 100% recommend applying to this festival! The people are wonderful and the movies are delightful. A really great experience.

    September 2017
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    Lance Warren

    A wall of five-star ratings might seem suspect. But here, it's spot-on. The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival is a delight, a must, a very worthwhile experience.

    First off, the quality level is top-notch. If the phrase "new filmmakers" brings to mind amateur auteurs badly in need of development, fear not: you won't find that here. We're talking first- and second-time makers of shorts or features—so talent abounds. For example, we saw QUEST, the first feature of its director, which premiered this year at Sundance and won the Grand Jury Prize at Full Frame en route to a slew of well-deserved festival honors. This is what happens in Middlebury.

    Then there are the many, many opportunities for networking in intimate settings with fellow filmmakers, facilitated by a skilled, clearly communicating, genuinely warm and friendly staff -- and all of this happens in a seriously charming Vermont town with rolling Green Mountain backdrop. The awards come in the form of tuxedoed teddy bears. You should apply, now.

    September 2017
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    Shawn Convey

    MNFF was a delight. The town and townspeople are charming, welcoming and grateful for the festival and its attendees. The programming was incredibly good with a huge percentage of filmmakers in attendance. The venues were all fantastic & the screenings were packed. As others have stated for a young festival it sure was impeccably put together, curated and organized. I met and became friends with so many likeminded filmmakers (future collaborators?) that it became great for networking as well... My only regret is as a first time filmmaker I can only apply to the festival one more time!

    September 2017
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    Richard Angers

    What a wonderful festival to live! Close relationship between filmmakers and public. Incredible hospitality in this beautiful town. Great programming team that makes you discover new talents. A place to be every year!

    September 2017