NHdocs: The New Haven Documentary Film Festival was created to bring filmmakers and cinephiles together. We promote local directors, editors, and cinematographers 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 from the local to the international level.


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.

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, the Bow-Tie Criterion Cinemas, popup venues and other theaters. We promise a first class and fun 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 screening 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. In 2022, after two years of covid, we returned to all live screenings, 116 films in all, 35 attending filmmakers, and our biggest student competition yet!


Gorman Bechard (Executive Director/Lead Programmer) has directed 20 feature films (documentaries and fiction) since 1983, including Color Me Obsessed: a film about The Replacements, Pizza A Love Story, and Old Friends A Dogumentary.

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 well as best editing and best cinematography, as voted on by our directors.

NHdocs Student Competition 2023


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, 2022.

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 school 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, cash, gift certificates and swag!

Second Prize: Cash, gift certificates and swag!

Third Prize: Cash & Swag!

Honorable Mentions: Swag!


We do NOT pay screening fees.

We are looking for documentaries completed after January 2022.

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.

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
  • NHDocs is an absolutely fabulous Film Festival! And I've attended many, many...

    January 2023
  • Holly Hardman

    I was thrilled to learn that my film had been selected for NHdocs 2022. There is something truly special about this fest. The directors care deeply about documentaries and their potential to make change as well as entertain. They also love fun and celebration, creating spaces to connect and relax during the festival. This was especially important this year as we were easing our way into a new (ab)normal. Their programming is well thought-out and included an array of excellent films we were proud to share company with. A fantastic experience!

    December 2022
  • Hannah Gearan

    I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to show my film at this fantastic festival. NHDocs has a strong commitment to bringing filmmakers--whether for short films or features--to the screenings of their films. This leads to some fantastic discussion, and there are great films selected as well! Everyone at the festival was so welcoming, and the filmmaker panel I went to was engaging and well-centered in what filmmakers were interested in. Thank you for the opportunity to show my student film Toxic Faucets: Five Decades in Durham, CT.

    November 2022
  • Barry Rosenthal

    great run festival and attentive to details

    November 2022
  • Andrew Kirschenbaum

    This was a exactly the intimate but deeply personal venue/atmosphere I had imagined for screening my first doc Nos Vemos Pronto and the festival was fantastic! Many of the screenings were packed and a great range of newbie and seasoned professionals were able to share their cinematic masterpieces. Special festival and shows how much the New Haven community cares about film and cinema.

    November 2022