The submission window has closed for the 2024 New Orleans Film Festival. Check back in November for submissions to open for NOFF2025!

Please read through all the tabs on this page for important information + dates.

We invite filmmakers from all over the globe to share your films with our programming team for consideration for the 35th New Orleans Film Festival to be held between October 17 – October 27, 2024. In-person: October 17-22. Virtual Cinema: October 17-27.

The Oscar-qualifying* New Orleans Film Festival is one of the largest film festivals in the Southeast, serving audiences numbering upwards of 30,000, hosting as many as 500 filmmakers, and providing cash awards and prizes valued at over $150,000.

Our submissions process makes up the large majority of the NOFF lineup––90-95% of films in our lineup come directly from submissions through FilmFreeway.

We believe in paying artists for their work and beginning in 2020, all filmmakers in our lineup ––shorts and features alike–– receive a screening fee. Screening fees range from $100 to $250.

The festival is committed to lifting up impassioned storytellers who create from spaces of urgency, importance, and a desire to share their unique perspectives. For the NOFF2022 lineup:
– Films from directors of color made up 56% of the lineup.
– Films directed by women and gender non-conforming directors accounted for 57% of the lineup.
– Filmmakers represented 35 different nationalities.
– Films made in the American South represented 50% of the lineup.

To better communicate the guiding principles employed by our programming team in making decisions, we created a document outlining our values and programmatic practices (see it in the left side menu). We strongly encourage all submitters to familiarize themselves with this to see if their work aligns with the kinds of films we seek to support through the New Orleans Film Festival.

*The festival’s Oscar-qualifying status allows 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.

MovieMaker Magazine calls NOFF “One of the 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” and has been including the festival in their annual list of “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” every year for the last 11 years! Read more here.

“Crescent City’s signature film festival, celebrating its 33rd year, scored high in our rankings thanks to its bucket-list location, devotion to launching new filmmakers, a strong commitment to movies that matter, and generosity in helping invited filmmakers get to the festival. It’s also excellent in terms of access to the press, distributors like HBO and Netflix, and prizes: It handed out more than $120,000 last year. Prominent recent screenings included the documentary Socks On Fire, Bo McGuire’s very personal look at a property dispute between his now-homophobic aunt and out-and-proud gay uncle. The fest says it is emblematic of the kinds of films it celebrates — those from marginalized directors with strong connections to their stories, and an emphasis on justice, sensitivity, and a little humor. New Orleans’ diverse 12-member programming team recently created Programming Practices that detail its values and decision-making process. The festival has also started asking filmmakers submitting through FilmFreeway about the inclusivity of their production teams, and personal connections to the communities and stories in their films. The festival says this has led to a significant loss in overall submission numbers, but also allows people who don’t share the festival’s values to save their money.”


Recognizing a need for greater transparency in a values-led programming process and seeking a tool to aid staff in making programmatic decisions for the organization, the curatorial staff of the New Orleans Film Society convened over multiple sessions in 2020 to collectively draft this living document of programming practices, with a specific investment in countering extractive storytelling, championing stories from those living outside of major production hubs, and supporting the creative leadership of storytellers closest to the stories being told. Designed to reflect the practices currently employed, this document is inherently subject to evolve and develop to reflect the ongoing thinking and approach that our team has in relation to our curatorial work.  

We seek work from impassioned storytellers who create from spaces of urgency, importance, and a desire to share their unique perspectives.

  • While we acknowledge and respect that nuanced storytelling can come from many different sources and perspectives, we strive to decenter privilege and whiteness and prioritize artists who have been historically denied access to resources and opportunities within the industry–including Southern artists, women, people of color, LGBTQIA people, people with disabilities, and other marginalized communities.
  • We look for evidence that filmmakers have built their production teams with inclusivity in mind, ensuring a plurality of perspectives and exhibiting a commitment to a more diverse creative landscape.
  • We look beyond stories of struggle and trauma, particularly those featuring Black and brown communities, and instead offer space for narratives of cultural strength, spiritual depth, and shared humanity.

We counter extractive storytelling by championing regionalism and supporting the creative leadership of those closest to the stories being told.  

  • We shift our attention away from the mainstream and toward stories from those working in spaces outside of and often ignored by centers of power.
  • We recognize that South Louisiana and the American South more broadly are sites where stories and inspiration have been thoughtlessly mined by “outsiders,” a harmful practice that sidelines artists with a stronger connection to the region and frequently results in stereotyping and a lack of authentic representation in the work.
  • We believe that important insight and nuance result when filmmakers tell the stories that they’re closest to: films inspired or informed by their own lived experiences, or about communities of which they are a part.  
  • We respect the role of the moving image as a cultural record of our communities, and we seek to ensure that these histories of our region are addressed with care for those whose stories are being told.
  • We hold artists accountable to respecting the subject matter of their work, including the individuals, cultures, and communities they are addressing.

We acknowledge the injustices and deleterious effects of traditional curatorial work of arts institutions like our own and seek new ways of envisioning our programmatic practices.

  • We recognize that qualitative notions of “artistic merit” and “aesthetic quality” are informed by a racist lineage and hierarchical systems designed to maintain a white, ableist, and hetero-normative perspective on art and the world.
  • We seek to expand our understanding of how excellence can reveal itself through artistic approaches and techniques such as language, visual stylings, and culturally-specific storytelling practices that have been historically underappreciated.
  • We involve a multiplicity of voices in our programming process in an effort to eschew unilateral decision-making. 
  • We acknowledge that value is not dictated by prestige or laurels, and thus keep our focus on the potential of the work and the artist and away from institutional affiliations or perceived stature within other filmmaking spaces.
  • We understand that programming and curatorial work is a form of gatekeeping–of inviting some artists in while shutting others out; we seek to combat the exclusive nature of this process by building more accessible bridges of opportunity for artists, connecting them to spaces, experiences, and resources that they’ve not been afforded.  
  • For artistic opportunities including labs and development programs (including Emerging Voices, Southern Producers Lab, South Pitch), we waive all submission fees to ensure access. 
  • We offer film festival submission discounts to those with a stated need, and partner with organizations and individuals to ensure an equitable disbursement of waivers.

We create space for confrontational art and nontraditional artistic approaches. 

  • We invite audiences to engage with work that addresses the social and political inequities of our collective past and present.
  • We welcome nonconformist and misfit films that often get excluded from other exhibition avenues for not adhering to elitist industry standards.
  • We celebrate innovative work that, in its form and construction, offers a rebuke to conventional means of storytelling and forges new storytelling pathways.
  • We lift up exciting projects that empower, transform, and, like all great art, encourage reflection and creative response.
  • Early bird Deadline: January 19, 2024
  • Regular Deadline: March 15, 2024
  • Late Deadline: May 3, 2024
  • Extended Deadline: June 4, 2024
  • Notification Date: July 24, 2024
  • Event Date:
    In-Person – October 17– 22, 2024
    Virtual Cinema – October 17 – 27, 2024

Click to Share Your Film

Submission FAQ

  • Who watched my film?
    You can meet the staff-level members of our programming team here.
  • I submitted a cut without final color and sound. Is that why film wasn’t selected?
    A high percentage of all submissions are shared without final color or sound, and it’s something that our programming team is accustomed to. This is not really a consideration for our team as we make selections, and is not a reason for why your film may not have been selected.
  • My film is so timely and speaks to the moment we’re in right now. Was this considered?
    We are aware that films are often a response to and can speak to world events, with potential to catalyze change and spark shift thinking. That said, we take into consideration multiple aspects of a film when making selections and timeliness alone is not the only consideration.
  • When can I send in an entry to be considered for the New Orleans Film Festival?
    NOFF is accepting submissions through June 17, 2022. We cannot accept any submissions after that date.
  • How do I submit my film?
    FilmFreeway is the exclusive method for submitting films for festival consideration. We do not accept submissions via emailed links.
  • If I submit, what are my film’s chances of being selected?
    In 2022, we received 3600+ submissions and selected 138 of those films to screen at NOFF.
    In 2021, we received 3018 submissions and selected 164 of those films to screen at NOFF.
    In 2020, we received 4655 submissions and selected 160 of those to screen at NOFF.
    In 2019, we received 5600+ submissions and selected 218 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 2022, 93% of the lineup came from submissions; 91% of the lineup in 2021; 95% of the lineup in 2020; and 92% of the lineup in 2019. Each year, the other percentage of the lineup represents end-of-year locally-related, new, and/or “prestige titles” that we curate with studios and distributors.
  • Will someone actually view my submission?
    Yes. We take the screening process extremely seriously. Every submission is viewed from start to finish at least once by a staff-level member of the NOFF programming team in addition to one to three times by a member of our volunteer screening corps, comprising film industry professionals, filmmakers, avid moviegoers, film students, longtime festival submissions screeners, and New Orleans Film Society staff members.
  • 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, filmmakers based in countries that cannot legally send money to the U.S.; financial duress). We also work with a number of partner organizations to ensure that underrepresented communities in filmmaking are able to submit free of charge. We are also very generous with offering discounted submission fees, and these are granted on a case-by-case basis. All inquiries regarding discounts should be addressed to 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?
    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. We encourage you to read our “Programming Practices”. The full document is available on our website and an abbreviated version is available above. As for genre, NOFF has no preferences and programs from all genres of film. We regularly screen horror films, comedies, dramas, period dramas, thrillers, etc. No matter what genre you’re working in, your film will be given equal weight and consideration.
  • NOFF strives to decenter privilege and whiteness. Does that mean that films by white filmmakers will not be considered seriously?
    By “decentering privilege and whiteness,” we don’t mean to imply that there is no room in the festival for white filmmakers or white perspectives. In 2021, 39% of films in the lineup had at least one director who identified as white. When we talk about decentering privilege and whiteness, we are acknowledging that historically, this lens has been favored and prioritized by institutions within our field. We seek to disrupt that pattern and ensure that the perspectives in our lineup are representative of the diverse world we live in.
  • 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.
  • My project is episodic –– do you have a category for that?
    We encourage filmmakers of episodic work to submit the pilot episode in either the narrative short, documentary short, or animated short category, depending on where it best fits. In the past, NOFF has programmed both longer, television-length pieces as well as shorter webisodes and other formats. If selected, our programming team will work with the filmmaking teams to determine how many episodes to screen at the festival if more than the pilot is available.
  • My project is a music video –– do you have a category for that?
    While we don’t have a category-specific for music videos, if you feel that your project fits under another short film category, we encourage you to submit it.
  • 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 including a cover letter on FilmFreeway 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? do you think that your film aligns with what we stated we seek out in our Programming Practices? 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 FilmFreeway, where it can be assigned and tracked throughout the season. It is not helpful to reach out directly through email to members of our programming with information about your film or with a link.
  • 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, 2020. If your film doesn’t meet this requirement and you would like to petition for an exception, email us with more information at
  • 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. 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, go ahead and submit. We do not, however, feel comfortable assessing films that are not picture-locked or are missing major scenes.
  • 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 how far along 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 considered. That said, we often revisit 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. Submitting later in the submissions cycle will not hurt your chances.
  • 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 our 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. We want your film to reach the audiences it deserves and do not wish to hold it back from that by requiring any kind of premiere status.
  • What if my film has already been in virtual festivals?
    Not a problem. We’re happy for your film to receive virtual screenings prior to NOFF.
  • Is my film still eligible if it’s available online?
    Yes. We regularly program submissions that have already gone live on Vimeo or YouTube.
  • If selected, will my film be screened in person or online?
    We believe in the power of communal viewings that festivals offer and seek that out when possible. In 2020, we launched a series of outdoor screenings for about half of our lineup, and all selections were also made available through an online platform. In 2020, only a limited number of films screened in-person. In 2021 and 2022, all selected films screened in-person. In 2023, we are planning to continue a hybrid model, with a combination of in-person screenings and virtual screenings.
  • When will I find out if my film has been selected to screen at the festival?
    Our target notification date is August 11, 2023. 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?
    Yes! In 2020, NOFF launched an initiative to pay all accepted filmmakers a screening fee. Short filmmakers receive $100, and feature filmmakers receive $250. We intend on continuing to offer screening fees to exhibiting filmmakers in 2023.
  • If accepted, will I be able to view other films at the festival?
    Yes! 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 different categories. The total value of prizes awarded in 2020 was over $100,000 in camera packages, film stock, production services, cash 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 Joker.)
  • 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.
  • Tell me more about the festival’s Oscar-qualifying status?
    NOFF’s Oscar-qualifying status allows 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.
  • Have a question that’s not covered here?
    Email us at, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

New Orleans Film Society is committed to making films and other events accessible to ALL audiences, and we ask the filmmaking community to join us in making this happen. 

NOFF REQUIREs all films to offer closed captions for both virtual and in-person exhibitions. Audio Description is strongly encouraged but not required, as the costs of these investments are much higher–but we will make it mandatory in the future.  

Captions are either OPEN or CLOSED. Open captions always are in view and cannot be turned off, whereas closed captions can be turned on and off by the viewer.

CLOSED CAPTIONS: provide a visual description of all audio in a film, including dialogue, narration, sound effects, and music descriptions. They are made for people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. 

SUBTITLES: Standard subtitles assume the viewer hears the audio. Therefore they only translate the dialogue from one language to another. They don’t include the interpretation of sounds that are not spoken words. They are made for people who don’t speak the language of the film. 

Typical costs of services that provide captions range between $1-3/minute, so a 90-minute feature typically costs $90-$270.   

AUDIO DESCRIPTION: enables blind and low vision viewers to hear what the characters are doing. For example, by describing important visual aspects of a film, audio description lets blind and low vision viewers know where scenes are taking place, what characters look like, what important actions are taking place, and more.

Typical costs of services that provide audio description range between $10-30/minute, so a 90-minute feature can cost between $900-$2700.   

New Orleans Film Society is a proud member of THE FILM EVENT ACCESSIBILITY WORKING GROUP (FEAW), which works to create a more accessible environment for film festival attendees. FEAW has extensive resources for filmmakers, event organizers, and attendees. They have a Vendor List that can be used by filmmakers seeking to implement accessibility features into their films.    

Resources for Captioning


Resources for content warnings


Other Resources: