Awards & Prizes

Every year, the festival offers jury 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. Jurors for these awards represent some of the most talented leaders in the industry, including the likes of Oscar winners Melissa Leo, Tia Lessin, and Luke Matheny; industry writers like Matt Singer of The Dissolve and Nigel Smith of Indiewire; Independent Lens producer Lois Vossen; programmers Charlotte Cook of HotDocs and Sadie Tillery of Full Frame; experimental filmmaker Lynne Sachs; and godfather of Third Cinema Kidlat Tahimik. All official selections of NOFF are eligible for Audience Awards.

Additionally, the recipient of the festival’s Documentary Short Award will be eligible for consideration in the Documentary Short Subject category of the Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules.

Success Stories

In its 25 year history, NOFF has served as a launching board for many successful filmmakers and actors.

In 1990, before he was a famous comedian, Louis C.K. attended NOFF to show his short film “Caesar’s Salad,” which won a prize for Best Short. Another one of NOFF’s earliest winners was Todd Phillips (director of The Hangover and Old School), who won his first award for filmmaking at New Orleans for a documentary that he made in 1993 about punk rocker GG Allin.

One of the stand-out documentaries from the 2013 lineup, The Whole Gritty City, had its world premiere at NOFF and was then picked up by 48 HOURS to receive a national broadcast on the CBS Television Network as a two-hour primetime special.

A number of other films have premiered at NOFF and then gone on to screen at Sundance or get Academy Award attention. Sergio Oksman, for example, had the U.S. premiere of his doc short “A Story for the Modlins” at the 2012 NOFF, and then screened it at Sundance the following year. Additionally, the short film “Asad,” which won Best Narrative Short at the 2012 NOFF, has gone on to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Live Action Short.