The New Orleans Film Festival is thrilled to announce a new partnership with Tribeca Film Institute to stimulate the art of short-form documentary storytelling.

Tribeca Film Institute, in partnership with the New Orleans Film Festival, is currently seeking short documentary projects directed by filmmakers living or working in the American South for the IF/Then Short Documentary Program. IF/Then is a new program developed by Tribeca Film Institute with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Its goal is to discover and empower more inclusive voices in short film storytelling and give wider access to thoughtful stories from people of all backgrounds.

Up to six projects will be selected for a pitch competition, to be held in New Orleans during NOFF on Friday, October 13, 2017, as part of the festival’s “Pitch Perfect” program. The winner, selected by a professional jury, will be eligible for up to $20,000 in production support from IF/Then, as well as ongoing mentorship year-round, in person or virtually, and will participate in a year-long distribution initiative managed by Tribeca Film Institute that offers creative control, revenue potential and career development.


You are a filmmaker living or working in the American South, and are telling stories of the American South. These states and one federal district include: Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

Eligible projects must meet the following criteria:

  • Be an original short documentary with a final duration (TRT) under 40 minutes
  • Be completed within 3-6 months of receiving the IF/Then grant
  • Be factually accurate, follow best practices in documentary ethics and be designed for a U.S. audience
  • Be driven by (a) compelling character(s), with access to the character(s) secured
  • Be presented in English or subtitled in English
  • Have no prior distribution attached and be able to participate in the IF/Then distribution initiative

Projects that IF/Then DOES NOT support:

  • Student projects
  • Feature-length documentaries, series or cut-downs of completed films
  • Films that are made to support an advocacy campaign
  • Films with distribution attached

Projects will be prioritized based on the following criteria:

  • Artistic quality
  • Originality and social relevance
  • Robust storytelling that brings new facts, perspectives and under-represented stories to light
  • Financial feasibility
  • Potential to travel

Applications are only accepted via our online submission form at this link

Final Application deadline: Friday, August 4, 2017

We urge you to have the following ready before you begin the online application process:

  • Working title and project basics (TRT, languages, etc.)
  • Logline (75 word max)
  • Project description (250 word max)
  • Synopsis/treatment (500 word max)
  • Project status (250 word max)
  • Funding status (250 word max)
  • Distribution and rights status (250 word max)
  • Name and contact info for up to 2 pitch members, including 175 word bio each.
  • Link to video sample (3 minutes max) presenting the project/characters
  • Link to photo that best represents the project


Up to six projects will be selected to enter the IF/Then pitch competition during NOFF on October 13, 2017. Finalists will be notified in late August, early September.

If chosen as a finalist, it is mandatory that you participate in the event. You will have to finance the flight and hotel expenses yourself; however, you will receive an Industry accreditation for NOFF free of charge.

On October 13, 2017, each pitch team will have a maximum of 7 minutes to present their project. All visual material will be part of your 7-minute presentation, and the material can be no more than 3 minutes long.

Each pitch is followed by a short, moderated discussion with a tailored jury.


Online registration opens: June 1, 2017

Project application deadline: August 4, 2017

Notification of project selection: early September

IF/Then pitch competition in New Orleans: October 13, 2017


Please check the F.A.Q. here.

If you have any remaining questions regarding IF/Then at NOFF, contact

We will be posting more details regarding other Pitch Perfect programs soon. Stay tuned for more info.