NHdocs: The New Haven Documentary Film Festival was created to bring filmmakers and cinephiles together. We promote local filmmakers by showcasing their work and creating a collaborative space for the community and artists to share, all the while fostering the next generation of filmmakers. NHdocs’s goal is to bring together film enthusiasts and the people who’ve made the films to interact as well as to showcase local films. We are resolutely democratic in our embrace of the documentary tradition on the local as well as the international level.


What we screen: While we love showcasing Connecticut filmmakers and their work, we are a documentary film festival with a world-class twist. We solicit material by filmmakers from around the world. We are looking for films that are superbly made, relevant, and will engage our visitors. If your film is amazing, we will most likely program it, no matter where you're from.

Our student competition is open to students who have either grown up in Connecticut, or who attend school in the state. We have expanded our student workshops to include middle school, high school, and college students.

We offer works-in-progress screening for local filmmakers to get peer-to-peer and audience feedback. We also curate a series of panels for both aspiring and experienced filmmakers, each year bringing new topics along with local and national experts in the field.

Normally the majority of our screenings are within a 5 minute walk from one another. Screenings take place at the New Haven Free Public Library, Cafe 9, Whitneyville Cultural Commons, the New Haven Museum, popup venues and other theaters. Though, that said, things changed because of Covid-19, so we are sure that a number of screenings will happen online. But whether live or online, we promise a first class screening experience.


NHdocs seeks to build a sense of community among documentary filmmakers from the greater New Haven area, around Connecticut, and the world.

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 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 nearby universities to bring us new filmmakers.


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. We realized how desperately New Haven (and Connecticut) needed a film festival that could bring filmmakers together and help build community.
In 2019 The New Haven Documentary Film Festival screened 117 documentary features and shorts, and our guest of honor was Michael Moore, showing the first ever retrospective of his film work.


Gorman Bechard (Executive Director/Lead Programmer) has directed 19 feature films (documentaries and fiction) since 1983, including Color Me Obsessed, a film about The Replacements, Pizza A Love Story, and A Dog Named Gucci.

Katherine Kowalczyk (Director) has been making art for the over 30 years including photography, installations and paintings.

Tony Sudol (Director of Technology & Media) has been involved in film & video production, projection of various formats of film, film archiving, and been involved in numerous film festivals.

Programmer's Award

The Golden Slice award will be given for the best documentary feature and short, as voted on by our directors.

NHdocs Student Competition 2022


1. Student must be a resident of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, or New York state, or attend a school in that state, for their documentary to be eligible. NOTE: Students who attend schools in New York City or Boston are NOT eligible to submit.

2. Documentaries must be completed after January 1, 2021.

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

4. There are three prizes each for college students and middle/high schoool students. A first prize, second prize, third prize as well as a runner up. 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.

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


First Prize: Gear, gift certificates and swag!

Second Prize: Gear, gift certificates and swag!

Third Prize: Swag!

Honorable Mentions: Swag!


We are looking for documentaries completed after January 2021.

Screening MUST be a Connecticut premiere. (Except for student films, which may have been screened previously at their learning institutions.)

Submission fee is non-refundable.

We do NOT pay screening fees.

By submitting a film to NHdocs, the filmmaker/submitter attests to having all necessary rights and clearances for their film to screen publicly.

Selection of films screened is at the discrepancy of the festival directors.

If accepted, you agree to screen your film at NHdocs, you agree to deliver all screening materials promptly as requested, and you likewise agree to the Rules & Terms listed above.

Please DO NOT submit if your film does not meet, and you do not agree to, the above requirements.

Overall Rating
  • Maria Belenkova-Buford

    My very first film festival and I can't say enough how well it went! Thank you to the organizers for the amazing job. You put so much time and effort to create something so important, relevant, and welcoming to everyone! I am looking forward to the next year. For sure, I will come back!!!

    August 2021
  • Azalia Muchransyah

    Thank you for selecting my film as one of the nominees in the student film competition category. I really enjoyed watching the films and attending the workshops. I look forward to attending again in the future!

    August 2021
  • It's a real treat to be a part of this film festival. Amazing guests and screenings and I loved that they powered through and put part of the film festival online during these strange times.

    August 2021
  • I was delighted that my film Fugetsu-Do played in-person at NHdocs, I only wish I could've been there to meet everyone and enjoy the freshly made crepes that were offered at the screening! Gorman was very communicative and enthusiastic throughout the festival - I hope that I'll be able to attend a future edition of NHdocs!

    August 2021
  • Ethan Wilk

    A wonderful group of filmmakers. The atmosphere, quality, and accommodations of this festival receive my highest recommendation.

    November 2020