Years running: 33 (since 1989)
International Film Festival. Oscar-Qualifying in three short categories.
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.
Now in 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 seven 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, 2018’s festival saw 54% of its films helmed by filmmakers of color and 60% 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 gumbo. To encourage filmmaker attendance, NOFF offers lodging to each out-of-town filmmaker and a travel stipend to all feature films in competition. Additionally, the festival works hard to offer guests countless 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 2018 we scheduled nearly 400 such meetings. In 2018, we were proud to partner with the Tribeca Film Institute's If/Then Program for the second year in a row to award $20,000 in production assistance to a documentary short in development.
Past attendees and honorees have included Patricia Clarkson, Julie Dash, 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. 2018’s total awarded prize value was over $90,000 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; programmers Penelope Bartlett of The Criterion Channel and Jeffrey Bowers of Vimeo ; 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 complies with the Academy rules.
- Entries may not publicly screen theatrically in the greater New Orleans area or be televised anywhere in the US prior to the festival.
- Entries must have been completed on or after June 1, 2019.
- Foreign language films must be subtitled in English.
- Entries must be submitted via an online platform and include a working screener accessible via that platform in order to be considered.
- Films selected for screening will be notified on or around August 2, 2020.
REQUIRED SUBMISSION MATERIALS
- 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.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
- 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.
Regional premiere required.
Jury and Organizers
Past NOFF Jurors:
1215 Prytania Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
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*Oscar®-qualifying category* Non-fiction films that are under 40 minutes. In 2018, 26 documentary shorts were selected to screen at NOFF.
*Oscar®-qualifying category* Fiction films that are under 40 minutes. In 2018, 36 narrative short films were selected to screen at NOFF.
NOFF's new media partner Cinema Reset is looking to bring new and interactive media artworks to the 2018 New Orleans Film Festival with an emphasis on virtual reality and 360 video.
Projects that are 30 minutes or less and explore new and creative uses of film and video, whether in technique, form, or both.
Narrative works of fiction that are 40 minutes or longer. Feature films must be Louisiana premieres.
This category is designated for content that is episodic in nature. Submissions must include the pilot or first episode and may include as many episodes as you would like to share.
Music videos under 12 minutes. In 2018, 16 music videos were selected to screen at NOFF.
Non-fiction films 40 minutes or longer. Feature films must be Louisiana premieres.
*Oscar®-Qualifying Category* Projects under 40 minutes, animated by any means. In 2018, 20 animated shorts were selected to screen at NOFF.