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 Museum, Cafe 9, The Statehouse, Whitneyville Cultural Commons, New Haven Free Public Library, popup venues and other theaters. Though, that said, we will probably still be living a Covid-19 World when August 2021 rolls around, 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 18 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.

Lindsay Thompson (Educational Coordinator) joined NHdocs after screening her feature Travel Light at the festival. She is currently working on several new projects.

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.

Haley Copes (Festival Coordinator) is an enthusiast of the obscure, with films whose topics range from fetishes, abortions, rock n roll, and a city without pizza. She is currently working on the feature documentary In The Shadow of the Cross.

Karyl Evans (Programming Coordinator) is a 6 time Emmy Award winning historical documentary filmmaker. Ms. Evans has taught all aspects of documentary filmmaking, lectures widely, and is a Yale Fellow.

Cassandra Roos (Programming Coordinator) - is a lifelong cinephile, who has been working with NHdocs for four years.

Audience Award

Prizes are awarded for the best documentary feature and short, as voted on by our audience members. Films in competition for the audience awards will be decided upon by the festival programmers.

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 2021


1. Students must be a resident of Connecticut or attend a school in the state, for their documentary to be eligible.

2. Documentaries must be completed after January 1, 2020.

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 age group, as well as for the New Normal Challenge. 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. This will include a .mov file or Blue-Ray.

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 2020.

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.

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 you do not meet and agree to the above requirements.

Overall Rating
  • Ethan Wilk

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

    November 2020
  • Tory Estern Jadow

    We were honored to be accepted and found communication excellent. Tough year to have an in-person screening though. The audience was was very limited but Gorman did his best to keep it upbeat. Some tech difficulties with the projector but again, this was a weird year. I hope to be back someday in a non-pandemic environment. I'm sure it will be a top-notch experience!

    October 2020
  • Sky Bergman

    As a filmmaker, it has been challenging to get our films out there in the world, but when festivals are able to pivot in this virtual world, I actually think that more people might be seeing our films.
    Thanks again for the opportunity.

    October 2020
  • Sophia deBoer

    We had a blast sitting outside at Sally's Apizza and social distancing (in the middle of the Covid pandemic) while our movie, Guerilla Bunny, was screened at the New Haven Documentary Film Festival! Gorman's enthusiasm and communications were always appreciated. The audience's rapt attention was also a highlight! Thank you for including us in this year's festival. A 5 star experience!!

    September 2020
  • James Taing

    was able to put on a physical screening for our film under Covid which was very nice.

    September 2020