Trenton Documentary Film Festival solicits submissions of both feature-length and short
documentary films from the Mid-Atlantic Region, that is, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Delaware. The festival offers filmmakers the opportunity to interact with audiences and connect with other filmmakers from the area at various stages in their careers. Located half-way between New York City and Philadelphia, Trenton is a small city with easy access to one of the largest film markets in the world, yet intimate enough to give a new film exposure that might be hard to achieve in a larger place or festival.

The festival organizers encourage filmmakers to attend the festival and participate in post-screening Q&A’s, panel discussions and the prize-awarding reception that offers them a chance to share their love of film with each other and our audience members.

Prizes will be awarded at the Closing Night Ceremony for:

Best Feature Documentary
Best Short Documentary
Audience Award
Audience Favorite

Prizes do not include a monetary award.

To be considered, films must have been completed after 1/1/2023.

Films must be submitted online prior to submission deadlines. By submitting a film you agree that if your film is selected, the Trenton Film Society (TFS) may screen your film at the Trenton Documentary Film Festival (April 9–11, May 18, 2023) without payment of screening fees and may include your film in festival publicity and publications. Should your film need to be withdrawn for any reason, please do so no less than 30 days before festival date.

TFS charges admission to screenings to provide a portion of funding required to produce events such as the Trenton Documentary Film Festival; by submitting a film you agree that TFS may charge admission to screenings that include your film and represent that this does not violate any agreements that you have with third parties.

Films must be submitted via on-line screener.

If your film is selected, high definition digital .mov or .mp4 file is the requested format for presentation copy. We do not have equipment to present your film in 35MM or DCP.

For digital files, .mp4 or .mov files must be compressed with the H.264 or H.265 codec at 24, 25 or 30 frames per second, 1080p or 4k for high definition, and 2-channel (stereo) audio.

Do not submit originals; we will do our utmost to care for your media, but can not accept responsibility for loss or damage.

Presentation copies must be sent with shipping charges prepaid. Presentation copies will be returned if pre-paid shipping envelope is provided for USPS, FedEx, UPS or DHL.

Please Note: As a small organization that relies on volunteers, we cannot provide airfare or cover transportation to or from the festival. We are sorry for the inconvenience. Please be mindful of this when submitting films from overseas.

Overall Rating
  • I was thrilled to show my film, "The Anxieties of a Reluctant Japanophile," at the Trenton Film Festival. Communication was excellent and although I was unable to attend, I looked up the venue and it seems like the perfect place to watch a film.

    June 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Justin. We all enjoyed your film and were sorry we didn't get to meet you.

  • Lorna Johnson-Frizell

    A true gem of a festival. The festival truly values filmmakers and the work. It was wonderful to be selected to screen and to discuss the film with the audience. I was beyond pleased that Seven Square Miles won Best Feature Documentary. It was evident that they value independent filmmaking. A great small festival.

    June 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Lorna! It was an honor to meet you and show your wonderful film.

  • Dan Preston

    A real honor for us to be included in a lineup of wonderful films, and for "Bone Ladies" to be awarded the best experimental prize in 2023. Over the years, the TFF has introduced us to some of our favorite films of all time, ones that we would have missed otherwise. The curation and programming is thoughtful, and it was a treat to meet some of the other filmmakers, volunteers and audience members.

    June 2023
  • Russell Emanuel

    Great film festival that treated us well! Thank you so much!

    July 2022
  • It was an honor to be in your Festival!

    September 2020