Celebrating its 28th anniversary this year, the Oscar®-qualifying New Orleans Film Festival has firmly established itself on the regional film fest circuit as one of the most reputable in the country. The festival's short film categories of Narrative, Animated, and Documentary are all Academy Award®-qualifying.

New Orleans was named by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the "50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee" in their 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 editions (one of only two festivals to receive that honor five years running), and it was named by Premium Beat as one of the "Fifteen Fests You Should Enter." Born in a city known for its eclecticism and artistic vibrance, NOFF seeks out bold and passionate storytellers. With top-notch programming in one of the world's most cinematic cities, NOFF serves up a dose of Southern hospitality that's hard to beat.

Festival guests often reference the camaraderie among attendees, something that the festival nourishes through receptions, parties, one-on-one mentoring sessions, and opportunities to interact with local audiences. Filmmakers find themselves hatching plans for future projects over red beans & rice and praline bacon, learning about funding and distribution opportunities at our industry meet-ups, and rubbing elbows with industry leaders at mansion parties in the city's French Quarter. We are dedicated to nurturing new voices and making our filmmakers feel like they've found a second home here in New Orleans. Given this commitment, we offer two complimentary nights of lodging to every film with a representative coming in from out of town, along with a Festival All-Access pass for each filmmaker to make the most of the fest.

Last year's festival screened more than 200 films over the course of eight days and reached over 20,000 attendees, including over 350 filmmakers who attended to show their work. NOFF also hosts a number of panels and conversations, featuring representatives from major U.S. distributors (like Magnolia Pictures, Variance, The Weinstein Company, Paramount, Factory 25, and FilmBuff) and other leaders in the industry (like Michelle Satter, founder of the feature film program at Sundance; Eugene Hernandez, founder of Indiewire; Effie Brown, producer of Dear White People; and Simon Kilmurry, executive director of the International Documentary Association).

The festival's growth has dovetailed with the region's continued expansion as a major film and television production hub. The city is, after all, home to Court 13, the filmmaking collaborative responsible for Beasts of the Southern Wild, as well as The Ross Brothers, who have made acclaimed documentaries like Western and Tchoupitoulas. It's also where an increasing number of big-budget and small-budget Hollywood films and TV shows are shot (including Trumbo, 99 Homes, Our Brand Is Crisis, Django Unchained, 12 Years a Slave, and True Detective, American Horror Story: Coven & Freak Show). NOFF taps into this local talent pool and industry presence, allowing festival goers to benefit from the experience and knowledge that the filmmaking community in New Orleans has to offer. Jurors have included local residents Michael Gottwald and Josh Penn (producers of Beasts of the Southern Wild), Eric Overmyer (writer/producer on shows like "The Wire" and "Treme"), and Wendell Pierce (actor, Four and "The Wire").

Recent festivals have welcomed guests like Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o, Oscar nominees Woody Harrelson, Rob Reiner, Patricia Clarkson, Alfre Woodard, and Steve McQueen, and Golden Globe nominees Faith Ford and Sarah Paulson.

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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    Susan Willis

    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