NHdocs is a festival that celebrates the art of the documentary with a decidedly local flavor. Our goal is to bring together and celebrate both the filmmakers and film lovers of Connecticut but show exciting, innovative, thought-provoking, controversial films from the best filmmaker in the area, and beyond.

All films submitted MUST be a NEW HAVEN area premiere.

MISSION & OBJECTIVE

NHdocs seeks to build a sense of community among documentary filmmakers from the greater New Haven area (and we are quite inclusive in our reach!). Many of these filmmakers work as independents, some teach at universities in the area, while others rely on various kinds of day jobs. We look forward to showing work that has been or will be shown at prominent International Film Festivals, but we also want to show work being done in the city’s schools and by students at nearby universities. We are resolutely democratic in our embrace of the documentary tradition on the local as well as the international level. We can learn from and support each other.

ABOUT THE FESTIVAL

What we screen: We are a regional documentary film festival with a world-class twist. We solicit material by filmmakers from Connecticut and Rhode Island, and beyond. We also screen films about Connecticut made by non-local filmmakers. If your film is amazing, we will most likely program it, no matter where you're from.

Our student competition is limited to students who have either grown up in Connecticut and Rhode Island or who attend college in these two states.) Our final weekend consistently features a retrospective by a renowned filmmaker(s), whose current work brings then renewed, timely attention. In 2016 it was Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney. For 2017, we featured recent documentaries by Academy-Award winning filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker and his partner Chris Hegedus, concluding with their animal-rights documentary Unlocking the Cage (2016). We also offered a works-in-progress screening for local filmmakers and a series of panels for both aspiring and experienced filmmakers on such topics as Guerilla producing/fund-raising, digital cinematography, and post-production.

Where we screen: The vast majority of our screenings take place at Yale’s Whitney Humanities Center 240-seat auditorium, 53 Wall St, New Haven, CT. We can show DCP, Blu-ray, 35mm and16mm film and regular DVD. We also screen documentaries in other rooms at the Humanities Center, and at the New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm St., New Haven, CT. On Saturday and Tuesday evenings, we screen a music documentary in conjunction with a live musical performance at Café Nine, 250 State St, New Haven, CT. This year we are looking for additional venues to expand our reach and audience.

Our philosophy: NHdocs seeks to build a sense of community among documentary filmmakers from the greater New Haven area (and we are quite inclusive in our reach!). Many area filmmakers work as independents, some teach at local universities, while others rely on various kinds of day jobs. We look forward to showing work that has been or will be shown at prominent International Film Festivals, but we also want to show work being done by local filmmakers whose work has not found the kind of recognition it deserves. We also look to faculty and students in the city’s schools and at nearby universities. We are resolutely democratic in our embrace of the documentary tradition on the local as well as the international level.

Our Audience: NHdocs wants to help filmmakers find audiences for their documentaries. And we are presenting documentaries for audiences with a wide range of interests. This has included historical documentaries; music docs; portraits of artists; documentaries about social issues such as immigration, mental health, animal rights, and LGBT students in New Haven schools. We want to engage a variety of social and political issues such as mass incarceration or computer geeks seeking to undermine the world of government secrecy. Our line up is filled with remarkable surprises. People are encouraged to come and not only see but discuss what your neighbors have been doing.

Our Origins: NHdocs came together in 2014 when four filmmakers from New Haven gathered together for the first time . . . in Missoula, Montana. That’s right: The Big Sky Documentary Festival in Missoula. And despite being from the same town, a few of us had never met before. It made us realize how desperately New Haven (and Connecticut) needed a film festival that could bring filmmakers together and help build community.

In 2018, The New Haven Documentary Film Festival showed 85 documentary features and shorts. Most were local if not world premieres.

The Organizers: NHdocs co-directors Gorman Bechard and Charlie Musser are veteran filmmakers who span the infamous town-gown divide. New Haven-born Bechard has directed 14 feature films (documentaries and fiction) since 1983. Charlie Musser has been teaching documentary filmmaking and a range of courses on film history/theory and criticism at Yale since 1992. Our two other co-founders (Lisa Molomot and Jacob Bricca) taught at Wesleyan but have moved to Arizona. Now we have been teaming up with other local New Haveners as our organization continues to grow.

NHdocs Student Competition 2017

Rules:

1. Students must be residents (out - Residents) of Connecticut or Rhode Island or attend schools in these two states for their documentary to be eligible.

2. Documentaries must be completed after January 1, 2017.

3. Students must have begun their documentary before graduation and completed it within six months of graduation. Collective efforts (multiple producers, directors, etc) are encouraged but (out- submissions will be reviewed for eligibility:) the submitted documentary must be made predominantly by a student or students who meet the criteria for eligibility.

4. There are three prizes. A First Prize of $250 plus a My Passport portable hard drive and a Second Prize of $100 and a My Passport portable hard drive, and a third prize of a My Passport portable hard drive. All films screened at the festival will receive a certificate of participation. An awards ceremony will follow the screening of student films.

5. Documentaries will only be officially accepted once the requisite media for the screening has been received. This will include a .mov file or Blue-Ray plus a regular DVD.

6. Works in Progress in an advanced stage may be considered. Acceptance is contingent upon the final documentary being completed two weeks before the festival begins.

7. DVDs of student documentaries will be donated to the Yale Film Archive after the festival screening.

We are looking for documentaries made by Connecticut/Rhode Island-based filmmakers only. Shorts and features. You must be a Connecticut/Rhode Island filmmaker OR the film must be about a subject related specifically to Connecticut/Rhode Island. Completed after January 2015.

Screening MUST be a New Haven area premiere.

Please DO NOT submit if you do not meet the above requirements.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • A great festival with creative curation in terms of matching my film with other films shown on the night the film was screened.

    June 2018
  • Martha Gorzycki

    Informative festival, well organized and very welcoming. Gorman and Charles do a fantastic job fostering a community that encourages dialog among audience and filmmakers. Thank you for a great festival experience!

    June 2017
  • John Follis

    The films, programs, and staff, were amazing and made some great new connections.

    June 2017
  • Fred Cantor

    Superb festival run by two veteran filmmakers with as nice a screening venue as I have been in: the auditorium at Yale's Whitney Humanities Center. The icing on the cake was a brunch for filmmakers featuring D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

    June 2017
  • Jim O'Connor

    Great festival, amazing workshops, venue was incredible! Hope to be back here in the future!

    June 2017