The New Orleans Film Festival celebrates cinema like only New Orleans can, with brass bands, second-line parades, gumbo, and Mardi Gras beads for every filmmaker. It’s a city known the world over for its hospitality—and it’s also a city that knows how to party. NOFF is no exception—but the festival never loses sight of what it’s celebrating: exciting new films from bold, passionate storytellers.

Now in its 28th year, the New Orleans Film Festival has grown into an internationally respected annual event. It is one of the few film festivals that is Oscar-qualifying in all three Academy-accredited categories: Narrative Short, Documentary Short, and Animated Short—and it’s been recognized by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the “Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” every year since 2012 (one of only two fests to receive that recognition for six straight years).

The festival’s growing reputation is built upon a commitment to discovering new and diverse voices, with 95% of the lineup coming directly from submissions. Paste Magazine praised the festival for offering “a platform to voices that still fight to be heard,” and indeed, last year’s festival saw 36% of its films helmed by filmmakers of color and 45% from female filmmakers.

For the past several years, the festival has played host to around 400 filmmakers who come to show their work and lend their artistic voice to the festival gumbo. To encourage filmmaker attendance, NOFF offers lodging to each out-of-town filmmaker and a travel stipend to all feature films in competition. Additionally, the festival works hard to offer guests countless opportunities to connect with the industry presence at the fest, facilitating meetings with distributors like The Weinstein Company, Array, FilmBuff, Paramount, and The Orchard; as well as funders, agencies, broadcasters, and other film organizations like Firelight Media, Cinereach, Vimeo, Kickstarter, Film Sprout, the National Black Programming Consortium, ITVS, Seed&Spark, and the International Documentary Association.

Last year’s festival doled out over $120,000 in cash and prizes to filmmakers. Some of the prizes included Panavision camera packages, Kodak film stock, post-production services, and cash prizes from the New Orleans Film Society.

Past attendees and honorees have included Julie Dash, Rob Reiner, Lupita Nyong’o, Woody Harrelson, Alfre Woodard, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel, Steve McQueen, Sarah Paulson, and countless others. Add your name to this impressive list and share your new film with our festival—we would love to see it.

Awards & Prizes

Every year, the festival offers jury awards to films in seven different categories. Last year's total value was over $80,000 in camera packages, film stock, cash prizes, and software. Jurors for these awards represent some of the most talented leaders in the industry, including the likes of Oscar winners Melissa Leo, Tia Lessin, and Luke Matheny; industry writers like Matt Singer of The Dissolve and Nigel Smith of Indiewire; Independent Lens producer Lois Vossen; programmers Charlotte Cook of HotDocs and Sadie Tillery of Full Frame; experimental filmmaker Lynne Sachs; and godfather of Third Cinema Kidlat Tahimik. All official selections of NOFF are eligible for Audience Awards.

Additionally, the recipient of the festival's Documentary Short Jury Award, Narrative Short Jury Award, and Animated Short Jury Award will be eligible for consideration in their respective categories of the Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the films otherwise complies with the Academy rules.

Rules & Terms


Prior Screenings:
- Entries may not publicly screen in the greater New Orleans area or be televised anywhere in the US prior to the festival.

Completion Date:
- Entries must have been completed on or after October 25, 2015.

- Foreign language films must be with English subtitles.


- All entries must be postmarked by the deadline date for which you are paying.

- Entries must be submitted via secure online links only.

- Films selected for screening will be notified on or around August 5, 2017.

- Entry Fee paid by credit card, money order, or check in US funds to: New Orleans Film Society. Entry fees are non-refundable.

- Secure online link to your completed film. Trailers are not accepted.


- NOFF reserves the right to disqualify any submission without refund of submission fees.

- Films must not have publicly screened in the greater New Orleans area prior to the festival. While world premieres are not requirements for NOFF, this information is taken into consideration when making final programming decisions.

- All accepted films may be screened more than once, and are scheduled at the discretion of the New Orleans Film Festival staff.

- Films produced or financed by a major motion picture studio are eligible for festival screenings but are not eligible for competitive awards. Films that have acquired distribution are eligible for festival screenings but are not eligible for competitive awards.

- New Orleans Film Festival is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the festival for promotional purposes. The festival is hereby also granted the right to utilize image(s) and/or biographical information of the filmmakers for promotional purposes. The festival reserves the right to fill in any information not supplied by the filmmaker from whatever source available and will not be responsible if incorrect information is entered.

- It is the responsibility of the filmmaker to secure authorization for any copyrighted material that may be used in the film. The filmmaker shall indemnify and hold harmless New Orleans Film Festival from and against 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 videos entered.

- NOFF does not pay screening fees or guarantee travel or distribution for filmmakers.

- By submitting your film, you expressly acknowledge and agree that you shall be bound by the terms of this agreement.

11 Reviews

Overall Rating
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    Brian Rhodes

    Very friendly host. Great venues as well as accommodations. A very generous festival in a notoriously magical city.

    February 2017
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    Victoria Greene

    The New Orleans Film Festival is the best I've attended, both as a film enthusiast and as a filmmaker. The parties are fabulous, the films terrific, panels informative and the volunteers and staff always available to assist. My film screened during NOFF2017 and was treated as if I were the most important filmmaker in attendance. They made me feel special, going out of their way to ensure that my two screenings were successful, and they were. NOFF2017 is already on my calendar!

    February 2017
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    Donna Dees

    What a well-organized and powerful film festival. Thank you NOFF2016 so much for screening "Five Awake" at the beautiful, historic and packed Orpheum Theater. We were honored to win "Best Louisiana Feature" from the jurors, particularly since this documentary short on a tough topic (domestic violence) was up against tough competition.

    December 2016
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    Vincent Harris

    Great festival. Team really rolled out the red carpet to be accommodating to our crew. Obvi, great town as well

    November 2016
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    Kenna J. Moore

    AMAZING, as usual. You guys step it up every year with a very skilled ability to delicately curate films, panels, private meetings for filmmakers with key industry plus so much more. Will Always Return. Love You Guys!

    November 2016