The Melbourne Doc Fest each year curates world class features direct from some of the hottest most prestigious documentary film festivals in the world like Sheffield Doc Fest, Traverse City Film Festival Doc NYC, SXSW, Doc Edge and IDFA. But what matters to us most is documentaries that are well-made, compelling, though provoking, passionate and relevant to Australian audiences.

The Melbourne Doc Fest is one of the world newest documentary film festivals and one of the most fun and interesting stop over’s on the international documentary film festival circuit.

Innovative:

The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is the only festival in Australasia to provide feedback on submissions. The feedback is simple, straight forward, positive and constructive (like a review) and gives you an insight into what the curator thought of your documentary and will be provided to you by 22 July 2017 if you want it by applying to info@mdff.org.au

We also are looking to simulcast part of the festival in 2017 by taking it online via Beama VOD services and take Melbourne to the world.

Our categories like Documentary Photography have never been attempted by a documentary film festival in the southern hemisphere and are ground breaking.

Our values

We want to highlight and promote all documentaries, but in particular:

  • Documentaries from Women in Film
  • Aboriginal and Indigenous documentaries
  • Asian cinema
  • LGBTI documentaries

Value for money

While our film submission fee is in line and bench marked against other film festivals our incentives for the submitter are much higher than your average film festival.

Successful entries

  • 1 x Open Access Pass to all festival documentaries
  • 6 x tickets to selected documentaries at the festival (not redeemable for cash)
  • Feedback on your documentary
  • The opportunity to win cash prizes, distribution deals, wine, and DVD’s

Unsuccessful entries

  • Complimentary double pass to selected documentaries at the festival (not redeemable for cash)
  • Feedback on your documentary

Post-festival service

We try to find other ways to show case your documentary at other festivals that we are aligned with, which gives you double the exposure for the same submission price (more value for money) and try to find distribution for you in Australia after you have completely finished your world-wide festival run.

The money we raise through sponsorship and submissions goes back into the Melbourne economy as a direct subsidy helping venues, printers, hotels and media partners that rely heavily on events like ours. The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is Melbourne, Australia's first competitive documentary film festival and Melbourne's own dedicated documentary film festival.

Our mission is to discover and promote independent Australian documentaries, and to showcase the best international documentaries to Melbourne audiences. The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival provides a public forum and supportive platform to allow emerging filmmakers to showcase their work.

The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival aims to feature the freshest and most innovative documentaries from around the world, from short docs right through to feature length, award winning films. the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival looks to promote the best quality independent documentaries cinema has to offer.

The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival team looks forward to bringing you a diverse, challenging slate of documentaries that will entertain, educate and inform, providing our audience with a memorable, world class festival experience. The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is also one of the only film festivals in Australasia that provides feedback on submissions. The feedback is simple, straight forward and constructive (like a review) and gives you an insight into what the curators actually thought of your documentary. You can apply for feedback on your documentary and it will be available 12/07/2017.

The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is a 5 day competitive film festival to be held from 12th - 16th July 2017 at Cinema Nova, Howler and Long Play. For more information email info@mdff.org.au, Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mdffest

Testimonials from winning entries of the 2016 Melbourne Doc Fest

Melbourne is known worldwide as one of the greatest cultural cities on Earth. It was the birthplace of the longest feature film ever created at that time (The Kelly Gang 1908). People here understand the art of film.

It was great honor to be selected for competition at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival and it was a major career milestone to win Best Director and the Supreme Jury Prize for our movie A Billion Lives. The amount of media attention this festival gets is unreal. While in Melbourne, I did radio interviews, magazine interviews, and had multiple critics review our film.

The festival is ambitious and well run. Lyndon, the festival director, goes to great lengths to care for the directors he’s chosen. He makes introductions to industry connections.

He helps films find distribution. Not only did I make great industry connections, but I made new friendships with other respected directors from around the world. I look forward to next time.

Aaron Biebert, director, Supreme Jury Prize Award winner – A Billion Lives

It was an amazing experience to be a part of the Melbourne Doc Fest, winning "Best Australian Documentary" has really helped our film to gain notoriety and being able to connect with and meet all the other film professionals at the festival was an invaluable networking opportunity. We couldn't recommend it more highly to other documentary filmmakers.

Roland Fraval, producer, Best Australian Feature winner - Coffee Man

Key dates

Earlybird Deadline

  • December 31, 2016
  • $25 USD Short Documentaries
  • $30 USD Feature Documentaries

Regular Deadline

  • February 28, 2017
  • $30 USD Short Documentaries
  • $40 USD Feature Documentaries

Late Deadline

  • March 19, 2017
  • $40 USD Short Documentaries
  • $55 USD Feature Documentaries

Extended Deadline

  • April 16, 2017
  • $50 USD Short Documentaries
  • $60 USD Feature Documentaries

Notification Date

  • May 14, 2017
  • $30 USD Short Documentaries
  • $40 USD Feature Documentaries

Event Date

  • July 12 – 16, 2017

All dates for film submission are quoted in Eastern Standard Time

Awards & Prizes

The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is a competitive film festival and has 18 award categories, known as the Ozstars, which you can enter, they include:

  • Supreme Jury Prize Winner 
  • Best International Documentary 
  • Best Australian Documentary 
  • Best Australian Short Documentary 
  • Best International Short Documentary 
  • Best Melbourne Documentary (short and feature)
  • Best Indigenous Documentary
  • Best Music / Art Documentary
  • Best Environmental Documentary
  • Best Emerging Director
  • Audience Choice Award (short and feature)
  • Wildcard / Avante Garde Award
  • Best Expanded Interdisciplinary Project
  • Documentary Photography

Award Categories:

  • Supreme Jury Prize Award - Photography
  • Photo-Journalism: The news that doesn't make the news.
  • Street Photography: All the dark nooks and crannies we see every day.
  • Landscape: From concrete jungle to vast horizons.
  • Portraiture: Is this my best side?

Prizes:

  • Castagna Wine
  • Supreme Jury Prize Award - $1,000
  • Best Australian Short Documentary - $1,000
  • Supreme Jury Prize Award - Photography - $500
  • Open Channel Memberships for Best Australian and Best Melbourne documentaries
  • AIDC day passes for Best Australian and Best Melbourne documentaries
  • Matsos Beer
  • Melbourne Gin
  • DVDs from Madman, Antidote Films, Monster Pictures
  • Distribution deals on VOD with Beama Films
  • Rules & Terms

    MELBOURNE DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL
    SUBMISSION RULES

    The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival supports MIFF and AIDC but is independent and not part of either organisation.

    These rules (the “Rules”) apply to all submissions to The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Inc (“MDFF”). By submitting your film (the “Film”) for consideration for inclusion in the festival operated by MDFF (the “Festival”), you (the “Applicant” or “You”) hereby agree to be bound by these Rules.

    • 1. Submission
      1.1 MDFF will consider each submission received (a “Submission”) against the Eligibility Criteria (defined below).

    • 1.2 A Film which does not meet the Eligibility Criteria as of the date of screening will not be screened.  

    • 1.3 MDFF may, at its absolute discretion, decide to accept a submission which meets the Eligibility Criteria, but is not obliged to screen any particular Film at the Festival even if the Film meets the Eligibility Criteria. MDFF reserves the right to change a decision to screen a Film at its discretion.  

    • 1.4 A decision made by MDFF to accept or refuse to screen a Film is final. Under no circumstances will MDFF refund any submission fees paid. Please ensure you check all dates, currency conversions and associated costs before submitting your documentary there will be no refund.  

    • 1.5 Successful applicants will be contacted in late May or early June 2017.  

    • 1.6 Successful applicants are eligible for six (6) free tickets to selected screenings at the Festival (not redeemable for cash). Unsuccessful applicants are eligible for a double pass to selected screening at the Festival (not redeemable for cash), and may contact info@mdff.org.au for feedback from 12 July 2017. Applicants must contact info@mdff.org.au to redeem their tickets.

    • 1.7 Successful applicants will be forwarded a copy of the MDFF Screening Agreement. Submissions from successful applicants who do not agree to the MDFF Screening Agreement will not be screened.

    • 1.8 You acknowledge that MDFF does not pay screening fees to applicants.

    • 1.9 MDFF provides feedback on submissions after 17/07/2017. Filmmakers must apply to info@mdff.org.au to request feedback

    • 2. Eligibility
      2.1 A Submission is eligible if all of the following conditions are met:
      a. The Submission is received before the due date of 19 March 2017
      b. Production of the Film was not completed prior to 1 January 2013;
      c. The Film has never been, and will not be before 12 July 2017, released on DVD, freely available online or theatrically released other than on www.tugg.com (however, the Festival may at its discretion accept Films which have been theatrically released or previously screened at other festivals);
      d. The Film is in English or contains English subtitles; and
      e. The Submission accompanied by the applicable submission fee
      (the “Eligibility Criteria”).

    • 2.2 MDFF prefers that Films be submitted in one of the following formats: 16mm, DCP (DCI Compliant), HD CAM, DVD, Blu Ray. All zones are acceptable. MDFF may accept other formats (such as Vimeo): please contact info@mdff.org.au to arrange this.

    • 3. Return of Materials
      3.1 Materials submitted will not be returned. We strongly recommend that you do not submit original materials.  

    • 4. Warranty
      4.1 By submitting your Film, you warrant that:
      a. You are free to submit the Film to the Festival;
      b. The Film meets the Eligibility Criteria; and
      c. You have obtained all necessary clearances in respect of the Film and the Film does not infringe the rights (including without limitation copyright) of any third party.
      d: “Withoutabox logos are trademarks of Withoutabox, a DBA of IMDb.com
      Inc. or its affiliates.”

    Good luck filmmakers!

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      GET IN TOUCH

      +61390154965
      info@mdff.org.au
      The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival
      GPO Box 4007
      Melbourne 3000

      "Melbourne's own competitive documentary film festival."

      "Australasia's only feedback documentary film festival."