The Matsalu Nature Film Festival (MAFF) is an annual nature film event held in Estonia. It has been named after the nearby Matsalu National Park, which is one of largest bird sanctuaries in Europe. The MAFF is organized by the Matsalu Nature Film Festival non-profit organization in cooperation with the Lihula municipal government. The festival promotes nature-oriented and sustainable ways of life and respect for the nature-connected traditions of indigenous people. It showcases a variety of new international films about nature, wildlife, environment, sustainability, biodiversity, conservation - films that depict nature in its diversity and films about the coexistence of man and nature.

Traditionally, the festival features various art and nature photography exhibitions, photo presentations and meetings of both professional and amateur photographers. The program includes also screenings, activities and workshops for schoolchildren, roundtable discussions on different nature-related topics and other cultural events.

The MAFF takes place in the idyllic town of Lihula in Western Estonia. A selection of films are also shown in Haapsalu and Tallinn.

Awards & Prizes

• Festival Grand Prix
• First Prize (one in each category)
• Best Director (one in each category)
• Best Cinematography (one in each category)
• Special Prizes of the Jury
• Highly commended Diplomas
• Special Prizes

Rules & Terms

The 15th MAFF Call for Entries is open from March 1st to June 1st.

MAFF considers creative documentaries or animated films (7+ min) completed after January 1, 2015. The Festival does not accept fiction.

Films can be submitted in one of two categories:
A - NATURE - incorporates films that depict nature in its diversity.
B - MAN AND NATURE - incorporates films that depict the coexistence of human activities and nature, man’s relationship to nature, nature conservation, traditions.

Films may have been previously entered in other, similar festivals.

Films that have been submitted for consideration in previous years are not eligible, not even if the film has changed significantly since the last time it was submitted.

The number of entries by one author is not limited.

Films will be presented with English dialogue or in their original versions with English subtitles. We advise you to also subtitle films if they are spoken in English which is hard to grasp for non-native speakers, i.e. an accent or slang.

Participation at the Festival is free of charge.

Entrant guarantees that third parties have no claim on the submitted films.

Acceptable preview screener must be a private/password-protected and downloadable video file of the English version in any of the following formats: MOV, MP4 or AVI (max 5 GB). We do not accept entries that are viewable in public domain!

Each entry must be accompanied by the items below:
- at least two (2) publicity stills from the film
- full production credits
- director's/presenter's contact (e-mail & postal address)
- film synopsis max 100 words
- trailer (online link)
- script in English (if any)
- list of species in Latin (if any) 

If the film does not meet all of these requirements, it will not be eligible for selection.

It is important to enter your films as early as possible! The Festival is not in obligation to view late entries! 

Selection Process

The Selection Committee appointed by the Organizers will make the selection from the entries. MAFF selects some 100 new nature films each year, divided into competition and regular programs.

Entrants will be notified of their acceptance or rejection to the Festival by August 15, 2017. MAFF is under no obligation to provide comments or feedback regarding the submitted film to the applicant or any other representative of the submitted film.

The Selection Committee will select the competitive films from among all the accepted films. The finalists will be informed about selection and will be asked to provide a high quality copy of the film for screening at the Festival.

Screening copy may be in the following formats: DVD, Blu-ray, DCP or a digital file. File format: MOV, MP4 or AVI.

The screening copies of competing films must reach the Organizers by September 1, 2017 at the latest.

The full list of films admitted to the program will be published on the Festival website www.matsalufilm.ee on September 1, 2017.

Full details on all films and program information will be announced on the Festival website www.matsalufilm.ee on September 8, 2017.

The competitive films are judged by an international jury of six members, who are filmmakers and nature experts. The jury will award the following prizes:
- Festival Grand Prix
- First Prize (one in each category)
- Best Director (one in each category)
- Best Cinematography (one in each category)
- Special Prizes of the Jury
- Highly commended Diplomas
All entries selected to the program will receive a participation certificate.

Screening and Promotion

All films selected to the program will be screened only at the Festival events. Any additional screenings outside the Festival program shall require a separate prior consent expressed by the producer or distributor.

Participant consents to the Organizers publishing information about the film on the festival website as well as in all printed festival (such as the catalogue, the program, leaflets, etc.) and press materials.

Participant consents for noncommercial Festival purposes, media, television stations and partner Internet portals may be granted access to film materials (stills, information), trailers or film excerpts of a max 3 minutes.

Participant shall not withdraw his/her film from the Festival once the selection is confirmed by the Festival.

The films accepted to the Festival shall be available for free viewing at the Festival video library in Lihula during the Festival.

All preview copies will remain in the Festival archives and will be exclusively used for the Festival promotional events and in educational purposes.

Accommodation Expenses

With each film selected to the competition program one person - director, producer, cinematographer, distributor or official representative - is invited to attend the Festival. The Organizers will cover the costs for accommodation during the Festival September 20-24, 2017 and transfers between Tallinn and the Festival places. Contributions to travelling expenses are not included in the payments made to participants.

Final Provisions

The Organizers assume responsibility for the screening copies of films during the Festival. The screening copies will be returned to their owners within two months. The Organizers will meet the costs of return shipping.

Copyright: Submitting the films to the Festival the participants are simultaneously agreed to permit entries to be shown during the Festival without any charge to the Festival Organizers.

1 Review

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    Daniel Rodriguez

    Great Festival, Great People. Thanks a lot. We hope to be back in the Future. Best wishes for the Festival and for its organization team.
    from Takeaway Films (Mónica Gonzalez & Daniel Rodríguez"The Sea of Life").

    October 2016