We are seeking original, bold, and provocative films from storytellers who have something to say. We are particularly interested in considering work from those underrepresented in the film landscape: last year’s festival saw 60% of its slate from women and gender non-conforming directors and 54% of directors of color.
New Orleans Film Festival is Oscar-qualifying in all three Academy-accredited categories: Narrative Short, Documentary Short, and Animated Short.
Submission Dates & Deadlines:
Earlybird Deadline: January 11, 2019
Regular Deadline: March 15, 2019
Late Deadline: May 10, 2019
Extended Late Deadline: June 21, 2019
Notification Date: August 2, 2019
Please visit one of our online submission platforms for submission fee information, rules and regulations, and to submit your film.
When can I send in an entry to be considered for the New Orleans Film Festival?
NOFF is accepting submissions through June 21, 2019. We cannot accept any submissions after that date.
If I submit, what are my film’s chances of being selected?
In 2018, we received just over 5000 submissions and selected 213 of those to screen at the festival.
What percent of the NOFF lineup comes from submissions?
We strive to program as much of the lineup as possible from submitted films. In 2018, 238 films screened at NOFF. Of those, 213 came from submissions. So, just about 90% of the 2018 festival came from submissions.
Will someone actually view my submission?
Absolutely. We take the screening process extremely seriously. Members of our programming team watch every single film from start to finish, and every film is considered and discussed by the staff before a final decision is made.
Who will watch my submission?
Each film is viewed by multiple individuals on our 65-member selection committee, comprising film industry professionals, filmmakers, avid moviegoers, film students, longtime festival submissions screeners, and New Orleans Film Society staff members.
Why does NOFF charge a submission fee?
The short answer is because we need the money. Throwing a world-class festival takes a lot of resources, and although we make the most of in-kind donations, community partnerships, and our vast and tireless volunteer corps to produce a huge event on a shoestring, at some point the question of whether we can make the fest happen for another year comes down to a dollar amount. Revenue from submission fees is crucial in allowing us to continue putting on NOFF.
Although your submission fee is quite simply necessary to keep us afloat, we’re doing our part to ensure that it’s earned. We’re absolutely confident that our attention to each submission during the screening process and our stewardship of filmmakers’ work is exceptional. Even as submission numbers have risen 625% since 2010 we’ve maintained a high standard of service in exchange for your fee. We also only issue a tiny number of fee waivers (mostly to projects directed by NOFF alumni directors and a small handful of other exceptions), so your fee is not subsidizing other films that we invite to submit. Finally, we are always keeping an eye on where other festivals are setting their fees, in order to make sure that ours are equal to, or lower than, most other festivals in our class.
Do you offer any waivers or discounts on entry fees?
We only offer a small number of fee waivers each year, to special cases (e.g. alumni filmmakers). However, we make a practice of offering discounted submission fees whenever we can. These are granted on a case-by-case basis. All inquiries regarding discounts should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, NOFF incentivizes filmmakers to submit early (so that we can start the review process early). The earlier you submit, the more inexpensive the submission price.
What kinds of films are you looking for?
All types of films are welcome—features, shorts, fiction, documentary, experimental, animated, episodic, virtual reality, and music videos. We seek to program a diverse slate that represents a variety of themes and content. We are particularly interested in new work from filmmakers from different backgrounds. As for genre, NOFF has no preferences and programs from all genres of film. We habitually screen horror films, comedies, period dramas, thrillers, etc. No matter what genre you’re working in, your film will be given equal weight along with the thousands of others that we watch every year.
Do you have a special category for films made by youth?
No, NOFF does not have a designated youth-produced category, but youth are encouraged to submit their work and we regularly program student work.
What are the guidelines for episodic submissions?
Submissions of episodic material must include the pilot or first episode and may include as many episodes as you would like to share. NOFF programs both longer, television-length pieces as well as shorter webisodes and other formats. If selected, our programming team will determine how many episodes to screen at the festival.
Would it help if I sent a press kit for my film?
No. In fact, most press kits submitted with films will be skipped over in favor of simply watching the film itself. However, we do suggest sending a cover letter explaining why you’re interested in sharing your film with NOFF (do you have some connection to New Orleans? are you especially interested in reaching a New Orleans audience? have you heard good things about NOFF from fellow filmmakers? were you drawn in by our description on a website?). We also like to know more about who is behind the film (what’s your background? why are you telling this story?). That information can be helpful as we make our final decisions.
Can I email you a Vimeo link as part of my submission?
Because our submission review process involves almost 70 staff and volunteers, we need the screener of your film to be accessible directly through either Withoutabox or FilmFreeway, where it can be assigned and tracked throughout the season. You may additionally email us a direct link to your film on Vimeo or a similar platform, however this likely won’t be used by NOFF for selection review purposes.
My film was completed last year. Is it still eligible?
In order for the film to be in competition, it must have been completed on or after June 1st, 2017. If your film doesn’t meet this requirement and you would like to petition for an exception, email us with more information at email@example.com.
I submitted my film last year, but it wasn’t accepted. Could I re-submit this year?
We discourage filmmakers from re-submitting their films unless substantial changes have been made to it. Do you feel that your film is effectively a different film than the version you submitted last year? If not, we suggest that you don’t re-submit it.
Does NOFF consider works-in-progress?
Yes, we often consider films for selection that aren’t 100% complete, especially cases where films are picture-locked but awaiting final color and/or sound. If you’re confident that your film will shine even with incomplete or missing elements, then submit away!
Can I send an updated edit of my submitted film?
If you make substantial changes to your film after it is submitted, you may send us an updated version. However, depending on where the film is in our selection process, we cannot guarantee that the newer version will be screened. If you submit a film and then send us a new version months afterward, chances are that the original version will have already been seen by a member of our team, and we don’t have the resources to re-screen a film that’s already been watched and reviewed. That said, we often re-visit films in the final stages of the selection process, so it is possible we will want to see the newer cut. In short, there are no guarantees, but you’re welcome to send it just in case.
If I submit later in the year, are my film’s chances of getting selected lower?
Our programmers keep all selection slots open until after every film has been screened. So, while we screen and review and discuss submissions continuously, all season long, we don’t make any final decisions about what will screen until after everyone has seen everything and we’re about to announce our lineup for the year. So, no, you won’t hurt your chances by waiting until later in the year to submit.
Is it possible to get feedback on my film once it has been screened?
Our policy is not to offer written evaluations of films submitted to NOFF. The purpose of our review process is to allow our programmers to discover new voices and exciting films with a strong point of view, so it would be against our best interests (and yours) to offer one-size-fits-all advice with the goal of making your film “better.” This is a subjective process, and the decisions of our programming team reflect their own opinions, thoughts, and values. Just because we decide to pass on a film does not mean that we think it is a “bad” or “weak” film.
Does my film have to be a world premiere?
No, NOFF does not require world premiere status. However, we do ask that films be New Orleans premieres (in that they can’t have already screened in the greater New Orleans area). Also, in order for a feature film to be considered in competition for a jury prize, it must also be a Louisiana premiere. We typically reserve competition slots in the feature categories for films that have not yet received major festival attention and are having a regional, U.S., or world premiere at NOFF, but we also have non-competition slots for features that do not meet these requirements.
Is my film still eligible if it’s available online?
Short answer: Yes. We regularly program submissions that have already gone live on Vimeo or YouTube.
When will I find out if my film has been selected to screen in the festival?
Our target notification date is August 1. You can expect to receive an email from us by that date about your film’s status.
If accepted, will NOFF offer a screening fee for my film?
No, we do not offer any screening fees for films that screen during the New Orleans Film Festival. Instead, we put our resources into producing the best possible festival to showcase your work.
If my film is accepted, what do I get in terms of hospitality from the festival?
NOFF is happy to offer accommodation to filmmakers from all accepted films—both shorts and features. Provided that you live outside the greater New Orleans area, your project will be entitled to two complimentary hotel nights at a partner hotel, as well as discounted hotel rates for any additional days you’d like to stay. Additionally, all accepted films receive two complimentary All-Access Passes to make the most of the festival, with additional passes for your team members available for purchase at a deep discount.
Are there any awards offered by the festival to filmmakers?
Every year, the festival offers jury awards to films in seven different categories. The total value of prizes awarded in 2018 was over $90,000 in-camera packages, film stock, production services, and software. (Fun fact: One of NOFF’s earliest winners was a documentary by first-time director Todd Phillips, who has gone on to direct The Hangover and Old School.)
Who decides which films win the jury awards?
Three jurors are chosen for each film category and they come to a decision regarding which film will win the jury prize. Jurors for these awards represent some of the most talented leaders in the industry, including the likes of Oscar winners Melissa Leo and Tia Lessin; producer Effie Brown (Dear White People); industry writers like Aisha Harris, Nigel Smith, and Manuel Betancourt; Independent Lens producer Lois Vossen; Charlotte Cook of Field of Vision; producers Michael Gottwald and Josh Penn (Oscar-nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild); and godfather of Third Cinema Kidlat Tahimik.
Have a question that’s not covered here?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
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