UPDATE: In light of Corona-virus, we have moved the start date of NHdocs2020 to August 18, 2020. Hopefully the world will be in a better place by that time...

All films submitted MUST be a NEW HAVEN area premiere.

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 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, Curating a series of panels for both aspiring and experienced filmmakers, each year brings 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 Museum, Cafe 9, The Statehouse, Whitneyville Cultural Commons, New Haven Free Public Library, popup venues and other theaters.


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.


NHdocs Executive Director Gorman Bechard is a veteran filmmaker, Festival Director Katherine Kowalczyk is an artist. Lindsay Thompson is the Educational Coordinator.

Bechard has directed 17 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.

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

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

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

Prizes will be awarded for the best documentary feature and short, as voted on by our panel of programmers.

NHdocs Student Competition 2020


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, 2019.

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. 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: $250 plus selected gear

Second Prize: $100 plus selected gear

Third Prize: Selected gear

Honorable Mentions: Selected gear

We are looking for documentaries completed after January 2019.

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
  • JC Barone

    #NHdocs2019 was AMAZING-- the films, networking, panels, parties, and Michael Moore! Can't wait till next year's documentaries!

    June 2019
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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