Submit Your Film

The New Orleans Film Festival submissions are now closed. We will contact filmmakers by August 5 for the 28th edition of the festival, to take place October 11-19, 2017.

Dates & Deadlines

JANUARY 20, 2017
Earlybird Deadline
FilmFreeway, Withoutabox

MARCH 24, 2017
Regular Deadline
FilmFreeway, Withoutabox

MAY 5, 2017
Late Deadline
FilmFreeway, Withoutabox

JUNE 16, 2017
Extended Late Deadline
FilmFreeway, Withoutabox

JULY 31, 2017
Notification Date for non-Louisiana filmmakers

AUGUST 5, 2017
Notification Date for Louisiana filmmakers

Categories & Fees

Earlybird Deadline: $40
Regular Deadline: $50
Late Deadline: $65
Extended Deadline: $75

Earlybird Deadline: $30
Regular Deadline: $40
Late Deadline: $50
Extended Deadline: $65

Earlybird Deadline: $40
Regular Deadline: $50
Late Deadline: $65
Extended Deadline: $75

Earlybird Deadline: $30
Regular Deadline: $40
Late Deadline: $50
Extended Deadline: $60

Earlybird Deadline: $25
Regular Deadline: $30
Late Deadline: $45
Extended Deadline: $55

Earlybird Deadline: $25
Regular Deadline: $30
Late Deadline: $35
Extended Deadline: $40

Earlybird Deadline: $25
Regular Deadline: $30
Late Deadline: $45
Extended Deadline: $55

Earlybird Deadline: $20
Regular Deadline: $25
Late Deadline: $30
Extended Deadline: $35

Earlybird Deadline: $20
Regular Deadline: $25
Late Deadline: $25
Extended Deadline: $30

Earlybird Deadline: $20
Regular Deadline: $25
Late Deadline: $30
Extended Deadline: $40


When can I send in an entry to be considered for the New Orleans Film Festival? NOFF is actively accepting submissions through June 15, 2017.

How do I submit?
You can submit in one of two ways: through Withoutabox and FilmFreeway.

Can I submit a Vimeo link as part of my submission?
Sure, we’re happy to accept password-protected Vimeo link to your film. However, we still need you to formally submit all the required info and payment through one of the two submission channels (Withoutabox, FilmFreeway—see above).

What percent of the NOFF lineup comes from submissions?
We strive to program as much of the lineup as possible from submitted films, and have a strong tradition of doing so:
In 2016, 94.7% of our lineup came directly from submissions: we screened 238 films, and all but 15 were from submissions.
In 2015, 91% of the lineup came from submissions: we screened 196 films with 179 selected from submissions.
In 2014, 90% of our lineup came from submissions: we screened 237 films, and 214 were from submissions.
In 2013, 91% of all NOFF selections came from submissions: we screened a total of 211 films, and 191 were 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 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 NOFS staff members.

Do you offer any waivers or discounts on entry fees?
NOFF does not offer any general fee waivers, but we are very generous with offering discounted submission fees. These are handled on a case-by-case basis. All inquiries regarding discounts should be addressed to <noff [at]>. 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, new media, and music videos. We seek to program a diverse slate that represents a variety of themes and content. We are also looking for new work from filmmakers from different backgrounds.

Would it help if I sent a press kit for my film?
No. In fact, most press kits submitted with DVDs usually make their way to the recycling bin. We’re first and foremost interested in the film itself, not the film’s press kit. 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 always like to know why you would like to be part of our festival.

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 January 1, 2016.

I submitted my film last year, but it wasn’t accepted. Could I re-submit this year?
We discourage filmmakers from re-submitting their film unless changes have been made to it.

Do you have a special category for films made by youth?
No, NOFF does not have a designated youth-produced category. We are, however, seeking films that are appropriate to screen for youth (primarily middle schoolers and high schoolers).

Can I send an updated edit of my submitted film?
Sure, you may send an updated version of a film that has already been submitted. However, depending on where the film is in our selection process, we cannot guarantee that the newer version will be screened. If sending an updated version, please email us at <noff [at]> as soon as possible.

Is it possible to get feedback on my film once it has been screened?
We do not offer evaluations of films not selected for the festival.

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. See below for NOFF’s hospitality offers to accepted filmmakers.

If my film is accepted, what do I get in terms of hospitality from the festival?
NOFF is happy to offer all accepted filmmakers—both shorts and features—who live outside the greater New Orleans area two complimentary hotel nights at a partner hotel (and discounted hotel rates for any additional days you’d like to stay). We also offer all out-of-town feature films competing for a jury award a travel stipend. Additionally, filmmakers from all accepted films receive an All-Access Pass to make the most of the festival.

When will I find out if my film has been selected to screen in the festival?
Our target notification date is August 5. You can expect to receive an email from us by that date about your film’s status.

Does my film have to be a world premiere?
No, NOFF does not require that films be world premieres. However, all films accepted in the festival must 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.

Are there any awards offered by the festival to filmmakers?
Every year, the festival offers awards to films in seven different categories. Last year’s total value was over $80,000 in camera packages, film stock, cash prizes, 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 make all final decisions regarding which film will win the jury prize. Jurors represent some of the most talented leaders in the industry, including the likes of film critic Eric Kohn of Indiewire; Oscar winners Melissa Leo, Tia Lessin, and Luke Matheny; producer Effie Brown (Dear White People); executive director of the International Documentary Association Simon Kilmurry; film critic Matt Singer; Sundance feature film program founder Michelle Satter; producers Michael Gottwald and Josh Penn (producers of Oscar-nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild); Independent Lens producer Lois Vossen; actor Wendell Pierce (The Wire); and godfather of Third Cinema Kidlat Tahimik.

Have a question that’s not covered here?
Email us at, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.


Entries may not publicly screen in a theatrical or festival setting in the greater New Orleans area.

Entries must have been completed on or after January 1, 2016.

Foreign language films must include English subtitles.


All entries must be postmarked by the deadline date for which you are paying.

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Entries must be submitted online via FilmFreeway or Withoutabox. DVDs and paper submissions are no longer accepted.

To be classified as a Louisiana Feature or Louisiana Short, the film must meet two of the following three qualifications:

(1) The director, writer, or producer must be a Louisiana resident and have lived in the state for at least a year at the time of submission.
(2) 75% of the film was shot and produced in Louisiana.
(3) 75% of the film’s cast and crew is from Louisiana.

If you submit as a Louisiana film, your work will automatically be considered for other categories, where appropriate.

Films selected for screening will be notified on or around August 5, 2016.

NOFF reserves the right to disqualify any submission without refund of submission fees.

While world premieres are not requirements for NOFF, this information is taken into consideration when making final programming decisions.

Feature films must not have screened on U.S. television or available to view on the Internet prior to the dates of the festival.

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.

It is the responsibility of the filmmaker to secure authorization for any copyrighted material that may be used in the film.

NOFF is held harmless from any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, or screening of any film.

NOFF does not pay screening fees or guarantee travel for filmmakers.

Programmer Tips

Every year, our programming team considers hundreds and hundreds of submissions. To help potential submitters get a feel for what we’re looking for, we’ve compiled some helpful hints and suggestions for filmmakers.

Make sure that your film has something to say before submitting. If it’s just an exercise in filmmaking, it will come across as such. We are looking for stories with depth and films that have a voice. This doesn’t mean that we’re only looking for message-based films; instead, we’re looking for films that contribute something new, whether in style, structure, subject, or form.

For short films, we suggested trying to keep them under twenty-five minutes.

For short films, please avoid opening credits or an intro title sequence. Elaborate opening credits can be unnecessary.

Avoid too much exposition. Allow viewers to connect the dots themselves.

It seems that the majority of submissions we received need editing down significantly. Focus on what’s essential to the story you’re trying to tell and cut, cut, cut.

What we’re looking for: something different, a film with a strong point of view, a film that takes risks, and filmmaker potential. A question we ask ourselves frequently is, “Do we want to see what this filmmaker does next?” Make us say yes.

Please don’t have your friends email us or call us with their endorsement (even if your friend is a friend of the festival or an alum). We base our decisions on our thoughts on the film, not on what your contacts think of the film.

PLEASE write a cover letter and explain why you want your film to screen as part of NOFF! We are very interested to know: why our festival?

Just because your film features New Orleans (or features New Orleans-area disasters) doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good fit for NOFF.

Do not call the office with questions about your submission or to update us on the film. Please use email for that. The months leading up to the notification date are very busy for NOFF staff and we strongly prefer to handle inquiries and updates via email.

Do not send us a press kit. We simply don’t have time to look at them, and we do not find them helpful in making decisions about submissions. However, film websites and Facebook pages can be helpful if we need to learn more about a particular film. We advise keeping those sites up-to-date.

If we are unable to accept your film, please do not assume that we hated it, did not watch it, or did not “get it.” Every year, there are scores of films that we wish we could screen but simply don’t have the space to include in the festival. As much as we would love to provide individual feedback for every rejected film, we simply do not have the capacity to do so.