The 31st annual New Orleans Film Festival was originally scheduled to take place October 14-21, but we have made the decision to push it back by a few weeks to November 4-22 to allow us more time to prepare. It's been difficult to plot out a version of such a dynamic event that can connect filmmakers, industry, and audiences in meaningful ways while also keeping at the fore our collective safety and well-being. We hope that the extra few weeks will allow us more time to adequately prepare for this year’s event.

We are also extending the duration of the festival—from 8 days to 18 days—to account for what we're sure will be additional measures required for social distancing and the general well-being of participants.

We are in close touch with other fall festivals, as well as local and regional officials, about what may or may not be possible, and right now we are preparing for a variety of scenarios. We have been really heartened and inspired by the creativity shown by peer festivals during these times. We‘ve attended many online festivals already, used every screening platform imaginable, taken part in filmmaker talks on Facebook Live, attended and presented panels on Zoom (so many panels on Zoom...), and all along the way have continually been impressed with the ingenuity these festivals and events have shown as a response.

We are looking into backup plans of online screenings and events as well, in addition to the potential of drive-in screenings, something that we hope to pilot in the coming months. We remain dedicated to bringing audiences the quality curation and experiences that New Orleans has become known for, and offering participating filmmakers opportunities that are meaningful to their professional development and career pathways.

Regardless of the shape our own festival may take in 2020, it will most definitely move forward, as will the conference-style elements that we produce in order to support the careers of our exhibiting filmmakers—if we must go online, filmmakers can expect the same number of industry panels and curated one-on-one meetings with door-openers, filmmaker roundtables, and deep attention community engagement and community partnerships.

We have also sought out a variety of ways to be supportive of filmmakers during this time, including putting $36,000 of unrestricted funds into the hands of current filmmakers and alumni from our lab programs last month, launching a streaming platform with all proceeds going directly to filmmakers, deepening our discounts for filmmakers requesting submission fee reductions, and participating in and offering various webinars about unemployment benefits and the CARES act.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out at any time to us at, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can!


The New Orleans Film Festival celebrates cinema like only New Orleans can, with brass bands, second-line parades, delicious food, 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 we never lose sight of what we’re celebrating: exciting new films from bold, passionate storytellers.

Having just celebrated its 30th 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 nine straight years). Recently MovieMaker placed us on their even more exclusive list of "The 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World."

The festival’s growing reputation is built upon a commitment to discovering new and diverse voices, with 90% 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, 2019’s festival saw 55% of its films helmed by filmmakers of color and 54% from female filmmakers.

Each year the festival plays host to over 400 filmmakers who come to show their work and lend their artistic voice to the festival. To encourage filmmaker attendance, NOFF offers lodging to each out-of-town filmmaker and a travel stipend to all feature films in competition. Additionally, we work hard to offer guests opportunities to connect with the industry presence at the fest, facilitating meetings with distributors like Array, FilmBuff, Magnolia, Paramount, and The Orchard; as well as funders, agencies, broadcasters, and other film organizations like Firelight Media, CAA, Cinereach, Vimeo, Kickstarter, the National Black Programming Consortium, ITVS, Seed&Spark, and HBO. In 2019 we scheduled nearly 400 such meetings. This past year, we were also proud to partner with the Tribeca Film Institute's If/Then Program for the third year in a row to award $25,000 in production assistance to a documentary short in development.

Past attendees and honorees have included Kim Cattrall, Terence Blanchard, Patricia Clarkson, Chaz Ebert, Rob Reiner, Lupita Nyong’o, Woody Harrelson, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Alfre Woodard, Steve McQueen, Lynn Whitfield, Sarah Paulson, and countless others. We've also hosted special events like a live taping of Slate's Represent podcast with Aisha Harris interviewing Gabourey Sidibe, a conversation with acclaimed filmmakers Julie Dash and Arthur Jafa, and a masterclass with multiple Academy Award®-nominee Agnieszka Holland. Add your name to this impressive list and share your new film with our festival—we would love to see it.

Every year, the festival offers jury awards to films in seven different categories. 2019’s total awarded prize value was over $100,000 in camera packages, film stock, production services, and software. Jurors for these awards represent some of the most talented leaders in the industry, including the likes of Oscar winner Melissa Leo and nominee Tia Lessin; industry writers like K. Austin Collins of Vanity Fair and Monica Castillo of The Washington Post; Independent Lens producer Lois Vossen; producers Effie Brown (Dear White People) and Michael Gottwald & Josh Penn (Oscar-nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild); experimental filmmaker Lynne Sachs; and godfather of Third Cinema Kidlat Tahimik. All official selections of NOFF are also eligible for Audience Awards, which are decided by audience ballot at our screenings.

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 comply with the Academy rules.


Prior Screenings:
- Entries may not publicly screen theatrically 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 June 1, 2018.

- Foreign language films must be subtitled in English.


- Entries must be submitted via FilmFreeway and include a working screener accessible via FilmFreeway in order to be considered.

- Films selected for screening will be notified on or around August 1, 2019.

- Entry Fee paid via FilmFreeway
- A working screener that is accessible via your film’s profile on FilmFreeway. We welcome works in progress, however trailers, reels, or anything other than a screener for the film will not be considered. Likewise, if your submission screener is missing or inaccessible due to a missing or inaccurate password, we cannot guarantee that your film will be considered.


- The filmmaker has read and understood the rules and regulations and to the best of their knowledge, all statements are true. The filmmaker is duly authorized to submit this film to the New Orleans Film Festival.

- 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.

- Upon submission, the filmmaker consents to allowing their screener material to be shared in its entirety with appropriate NOFF staff, including programming staff, volunteer screeners, and other appropriate members of staff; shared with press outlets in efforts to secure press for the film; with final jury members; and with select individuals representing community partners who may be interested in supporting the film’s screening or taking part in a panel or q&a associated with the film.

-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, the filmmaker expressly acknowledges and agrees that they shall be bound by the terms of this agreement.

Overall Rating
  • Andre Rangiah

    New Orleans Film Festival is one of the best! The curation of films and hospitality provided was above and beyond!

    December 2019
  • Florence Young

    Loved everything about this festival! The programming is diverse, the panels were truly informative and they love filmmakers.

    November 2019
  • Kevin Contento

    If you consider yourself a Southern Filmmaker then there is no other festival better than NOFF. It's a hub for Southern storytellers. I am so humbled that our tiny film was included. Met tons of great filmmakers, the industry meetings were fantastic and it was a place to reunite with a ton of friends from previous festivals. I can only hope that we will be back again soon.

    November 2019
  • Sam Probst

    Wonderful festival! They really value their filmmakers and make sure to show them a good time. They created opportunities for networking and had top-notch industry programming with their panels, roundtables, and presentations. The staff and volunteers were friendly, approachable, and thoughtful at every step. The film programming itself was diverse, high-quality, and featured some of the South's best cinema. We will definitely be submitting to this festival from now on.

    -Colby & Sam

    November 2019
  • Absolutely the best film festival experience!!

    November 2019