The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival is all about the work of first and second time filmmakers. It's our single minded focus. The event takes place in scenic Middlebury, Vermont in late August each year. Our 3rd Annual festival will roll out August 24-27, 2017.

MNFF2 was a huge success with filmmakers and audiences alike. More than 45 filmmakers from around the world joined us in Middlebury for the Festival and nearly 3,000 people attended the films, special events, panels and parties. We were joined by the great documentarian and two time Academy Award winner, Barbara Kopple, who screened three of her films, including her first, the monumental 1976 release "Harlan County, USA." The actors Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard joined us for a lively "Coffee With. . " session on the essence of acting. Renowned American author Russell Banks appeared to discuss "Book To Film." The New York Times and The Nation were well represented in panels on "Film As Journalism" and "The Changing Face of Journalism in the Age of New Media." And we proudly awarded our new Vermont Symphony Orchestra award for Best Integration of Music Into Film as part of our long term alliance with this wonderful organization.

We are already planning MNFF3 and look forward to presenting another innovative and exciting event. We have booked three great venues to screen our 2017 selections: the historic Town Hall Theater, the recently renovated Marquis Theater and the beautiful Dana Auditorium at Middlebury College. We anticipate having as many as 80 slots available for accepted entries and selections will be made by a panel of judges led by the Festival’s Artistic Director, Jay Craven, noted Vermont filmmaker, impresario and educator.

We encourage our filmmakers to come to the festival, engage in Q&A sessions with audiences following the screening of their work and immerse themselves in the pleasure of small town Vermont. And we house our filmmakers in the wonderful homes of area residents, an unforgettable experience that distinguishes MNFF from so many other festivals. We anticipate offering craft workshops this coming year and welcoming other celebrated writers and directors to our stages. To round out the Festival experience, multiple parties will be scheduled during the event at lovely venues around the Middlebury area. And, of course, we cap it all off with the wonderful VTeddy Awards at the Closing Ceremonies, where our winners take home the coveted VTeddy in recognition of their outstanding work. Keep up with all the developments for the 2017 MNFF at and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

What further sets the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival apart is what comes after the event. The MNFF has created the The New England Tour that will give our top filmmakers valuable additional exposure. Our six winning films - Best Narrative Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, Audience Award -Feature, Audience Award - Short - will be booked together into great venues in each of the six New England states following the Festival. We offer screening fees to our winning filmmakers and encourage them to personally go on the Tour and present their work all over New England. Getting out there and getting recognized is a big boost to new filmmakers and the MNFF is completely supportive of this process.

Awards & Prizes

In addition to the VTeddy Awards, the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival offers screening fees to our winning filmmakers for allowing us to present their work as part of The New England Tour. The Festival also underwrites all the costs of booking the venues and marketing the events.

Rules & Terms


The 3rd Annual Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival – August 24-27, 2017

The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival is entirely about new filmmakers and their dynamic work. We are only accepting first or second features OR first or second short films. If you have already completed three short films, for instance, but you want to submit your first or second feature, we welcome that. You must have completed your submitted film after February 1, 2015.

The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival is not accepting works-in-progress.

All submitted films must comply with the Submissions Guidelines including deadlines, exhibition format, entry material, etc., as detailed in our listing. Please check our website for further details (

We are offering secure online screening of submitted films through and we strongly encourage you to take advantage of this fine service. Submission fees vary by deadline so make sure to upload your film prior to a particular deadline to qualify for that fee level. In no case will your film be considered if you upload it after the final deadline of the Extended Window.

If you opt to send us a DVD or BluRay copy of your entry, your film must be postmarked by the final deadline of the Extended Window for it to be considered for acceptance into the Festival. If you are submitting with a secured online screener, you do not have to mail us a DVD/BluRay unless later requested by the Festival.

If you choose to submit a DVD/BluRay, the material must be labeled with:

Film Title
Running Time
Contact information clearly displayed on the face of the DVD.

Please only mail DVDs/BluRays in paper or plastic jewel cases (no standard DVD cases). We want to avoid breakage, if possible. And kindly put the FilmFreeway Tracking # of your film on the package so we can quickly identify it.

More than one entry may be submitted. However, each entry must be accompanied by a separate entry form and entry fee.

Any films submitted without a paid entry fee by the given deadline will be disqualified from the submission screening process.

Because of the heavy volume of submissions, we will not email you when we receive your submission. Once it is securely up on FilmFreeway, you can safely assume we have been notified by the platform.

Films submitted must be available in English or in the original language with English subtitles.

Submit your film as early as possible, please. This gives us more time to consider your work.

Entry fees are payable by credit card, check or money order to the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival and are non-refundable. Fees for foreign entries should be paid by credit card or international money orders in U.S. dollars, again payable to the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival.

Entrants are responsible for obtaining any necessary licenses, royalties, release forms, clearances and permits necessary to present their work. The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival is not responsible for any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits or royalty infringement related to the work. If your work is accepted into the Festival, we must be able to screen it without any encumbrances.

Accepted films must be available in the designated exhibition formats: BluRay or DCP.

Accepted films may screen in limited engagement theatrically prior to Festival exhibition, but cannot already be involved in distribution deals, e.g., Redbox, iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, VOD, broadcast or cable television, prior to August 24, 2017.

Notification of acceptance will be emailed. We ask you not to call the Festival office. All correspondence will be done through email only with the original submitter.

If your film is selected, you will be asked to provide a digital press kit which includes: headshot and brief bio of director, color and/or B&W stills from the film, brief description of the film (75 words max) and a video trailer (downloadable and cleared for use on the Festival website).

The date, time and location of the screenings of films are solely at the discretion of the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival.

The Festival will award six additional screenings to each of the top three features and top three short films in the Narrative, Documentary and Audience Favorite categories. These screenings will take place in each of the six New England states in the months following the conclusion of the Festival. The booking and marketing costs of this important additional exposure will be borne by the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival and includes the payment of an exhibition fee to the winning filmmakers. The Festival requires that, as a condition of acceptance into the Festival, the filmmaker allow these additional screenings of his/her work.

The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival will take great care in the handling of your entry but will not pay additional charges for originals, masters, or special prints.

DVD/BluRay screeners will not be returned unless the filmmaker is willing to accept the cost of doing this. Please do not send originals or masters.

If an accepted film provides a DCP exhibition copy, the Festival will return that copy provided the filmmaker furnishes the Festival with a UPS or FedEx account number to facilitate that return.

All film entries selected for the festival grant the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival the rights to use footage, stills, titles and information from the film for promotional purposes.

All filmmakers will be notified by July 10, 2017 via email regarding their acceptance into the Festival.


You hereby affirm that you are the authorized representative for the above mentioned film [as noted on the entry form]. You grant the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival all rights necessary to exhibit and promote the above-referenced film, if selected, at the 2017 Festival, August 24-27. You represent that such exhibition will not violate or infringe upon any rights whatsoever (including copyright, trademark, musical or contract right) of any person or entity. You further represent that you are authorized to submit the above-referenced film and, if selected, will deliver the screening print to the Festival office no later than August 1, 2017. You also affirm that the film will not be in commercial distribution and will not have aired on broadcast or cable television in the United States prior to August 24, 2017. Further, per the specific description in the General Rules, you grant permission for additional limited public exhibition of the film to the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival should this film be selected as one of the top three features or top three short films of the Festival. You also grant the Festival the right to utilize an excerpt from this film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes. Additionally, you will indemnify and hold harmless the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival from any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening material entered. All decisions of the Festival regarding the designation of the top three feature films and top three short films selected for additional exhibition around New England will be final and binding on all participants. You have read, understood, and hereby agree to the terms written in the General Festival Rules submissions to the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival 2016.

14 Reviews

Overall Rating
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    Emily Sheehan

    I've never been so cared for at a film festival (I wish I could put six stars next to Hospitality!!) It was a true pleasure. My host family welcomed me with open arms - they made me delicious coffee in the morning, kicked back and drank a beer with me on the back porch in the evening, and even came to my screening! (I didn't want to leave!)

    In addition to the wonderful hospitality, overall the films were quite good and expertly curated. I 100% recommend applying to this festival! The people are wonderful and the movies are delightful. A really great experience.

    September 2017
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    Lance Warren

    A wall of five-star ratings might seem suspect. But here, it's spot-on. The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival is a delight, a must, a very worthwhile experience.

    First off, the quality level is top-notch. If the phrase "new filmmakers" brings to mind amateur auteurs badly in need of development, fear not: you won't find that here. We're talking first- and second-time makers of shorts or features—so talent abounds. For example, we saw QUEST, the first feature of its director, which premiered this year at Sundance and won the Grand Jury Prize at Full Frame en route to a slew of well-deserved festival honors. This is what happens in Middlebury.

    Then there are the many, many opportunities for networking in intimate settings with fellow filmmakers, facilitated by a skilled, clearly communicating, genuinely warm and friendly staff -- and all of this happens in a seriously charming Vermont town with rolling Green Mountain backdrop. The awards come in the form of tuxedoed teddy bears. You should apply, now.

    September 2017
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    Shawn Convey

    MNFF was a delight. The town and townspeople are charming, welcoming and grateful for the festival and its attendees. The programming was incredibly good with a huge percentage of filmmakers in attendance. The venues were all fantastic & the screenings were packed. As others have stated for a young festival it sure was impeccably put together, curated and organized. I met and became friends with so many likeminded filmmakers (future collaborators?) that it became great for networking as well... My only regret is as a first time filmmaker I can only apply to the festival one more time!

    September 2017
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    Richard Angers

    What a wonderful festival to live! Close relationship between filmmakers and public. Incredible hospitality in this beautiful town. Great programming team that makes you discover new talents. A place to be every year!

    September 2017
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    Martha Gregory

    Golly what a lovely few days! Such a welcoming atmosphere. The fiercest competition seemed to be amongst the audiences in their quest to support each filmmaker's work even more than the one before. It was amazing. The producers and organizers were some how able to run the festival flawlessly while finding time to mingle and help the filmmakers network. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Middlebury.

    September 2017