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, sponsored by the CT Department of Film, Television & Digital Media 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. It will now be an ALL-DAY event, Saturday, October 14th, with filmmaking panels focusing on how to turn your filmmaking dreams and degree into a job. PLUS we've added a Connecticut Vegan Student Filmmaker Challenge to the mix. See details below under Awards & Prizes.

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.


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, sponsored by the CT Department of Film, Television & Digital Media


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!


Something new for 2023, NHdocs has joined forced with the Connecticut Vegan Center to give vegan student filmmakers a chance to express themselves. We want you to create a short documentary (under 5 minutes) that encapsulates your take on the vegan lifestyle.

Topics could include:

Animal Advocacy & Rescue – Animal agriculture is cruel, wasteful, and pollutes our environment. Millions of animals are euthanized each year because of the lack of people willing to give them homes. Have you rescued an animal?
Saving Lives – Animals are harmed by our food choices. Living vegan saves the lives of trillions of animals each year.

Being Healthy – A vegan diet is the optimal diet for living a long, happy and healthy life.

Saving Wildlife – Hunting and the loss of wild areas to animal agriculture are causing the mass extinction of wildlife on earth.

Saving the Planet – Animal agriculture is a key driver in climate change. Living vegan is the single biggest action that you can take to reduce your impact on our planet.

Saving our Waterways – Discarded fishing gear is the deadliest pollution in our oceans. Animal agriculture causes ocean dead zones and is a leading polluter of our rivers and streams.

Ending Hunger – A vegan world frees up most of our agricultural land for rewilding and still feeds all of humanity.

Health and nutrition – positive health benefits of a vegan diet

Environmental protection – how veganism will help save our planet

Raising awareness - changing public attitudes and behavior towards animals

The subject matter is up to you. Do you have a vegan friend who struggles with their non-vegan family. Do you wonder why so many restaurants do not have vegan options. Tell us about your rescue dog. The possibilities are endless.

We need your film submitted by September 1st. Submission is FREE. But you must be a student in Connecticut.

Winners will receive cash prizes and cool swag: First place: $250; Second place: $100; Third place: $50

Plus the best films will be screened as part of the Connecticut Dept. of Film, Television & Digital Media / NHdocs Student Film Conference on Saturday, October 14th, and as part of CompassionFestCT screening at this year's New Haven Documentary Film Festival on Sunday, October 15th. The top three films will also be give one additional screening, paired with a feature film, during the run of the festival: October 12th though October 22nd.

The mission of the Connecticut Vegan Center is to inspire people to treat animals with respect and kindness, and live vegan. Vegans care about others. We care about other people, animals, and the environment we share. Join the Connecticut Vegan Center in preventing cruelty to animals and the slaughter of over a trillion lives each year. We invite you to live vegan and treat others the way you would like to be treated.


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
  • So happy my film was able to screen here! such a cool festival in a cool area!

    November 2023
  • Arthur Musah

    Excellent festival, held at multiple venues in New Haven. Great hosts, communications, travel support. Thank you NHdocs for a productive festival experience.

    November 2023
  • Hannah Mootz

    Was so honored to have my documentary, That Time I Got Social Media screen at NHDocs amongst so many outstanding documentaries. The organizers were so welcoming and organized. Will definitely keep submitting here for future films!

    November 2023
  • Simone Brioni

    Great festival! It was an absolute pleasure to present "Beyond the Frame" in New Haven and we had a fantastic q&a session. From the warm message of my film selection, close communication about schedules etc., the TTFF team was excellent. This is the way a film festival should be, I highly recommend it.

    October 2023
  • NHDocs is an absolutely fabulous Film Festival! And I've attended many, many...

    January 2023