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Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival wrapped

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The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival recently concluded a successful presentation of its 6th Annual event, MNFF6: ONLINE, showcasing 26 feature films and 33 shorts, thanks in part to a CARES Act grant from the Vermont Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. MNFF7 is currently scheduled to take place in Middlebury August 26-29, 2021.

The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival is a 501[c][3] non-profit organization with E.I.N. 47-1462141. 

The Festival (consistently ranking in Top 100 Best Reviewed status on FilmFreeway) is dedicated solely to first and second time filmmakers entering the seventh submission season beginning January 4, . 

 

We just completed a successful 6th Annual event, going virtual on CineSend to deliver MNFF6: ONLINE, which featured a robust lineup of features and shorts from outstanding new filmmakers.  We also honored Ken Loach and Dawn Porter this year and invited back our previous honorees Barbara Kopple and Mohammed Naqvi to screen their latest work.

Our Best Documentary Feature award went to Finding Yingying, Jiayan "Jenny" Shi's brilliant first feature, and our Best Narrative Feature award went to Murmur, from first time director Heather Young, a truly exceptional film from Nova Scotia, Canada, made on the slimmest of budgets.  In the shorts category, Lance Edmands' gripping film Whiteout took Best Narrative Short and Teranga: Life in the Waiting Room, a dazzling directorial collaboration from Daisy Squires, Lou Marillier and Sophia Seymour, won Best Documentary Short. 

 

An important adjunct to our Festival is the MNFF Franklin Film Development Fund, created in August of last year to advance the development of independent narrative feature films.  The fund, open only to MNFF alumni filmmakers, awards two $10,000 grants each year to promising scripts submitted by our filmmakers. 

The festival just recently completed a successful inaugural year of grantmaking.  

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Begun in August 2019, the Fund was created to stimulate the production of feature length narrative films through a script submission process. The process is open exclusively and only to MNFF alumni, now totaling 350 filmmakers. The Fund awards $10,000 grants to two MNFF alumni filmmakers each year whose narrative scripts are selected by a panel of
judges comprised of industry professionals.
The MNFF Franklin Film Development Fund originated with a significant and groundbreaking donation from Churchill and Janet Franklin, longtime supporters of the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival, and is named in recognition of their
extraordinary generosity. An initial goal to raise $100,000 to achieve multi-year sustainability has been 72% realized in the Fund’s first year, thanks to the contributions of the Franklins and many other supportive donors. Conceived as
early stage “seed funding” for independent films, the MNFF Franklin Film Development Fund adds substantially to the Festival’s ongoing commitment to supporting new filmmakers.
In Wave One of the inaugural grant season last Fall, thirteen original narrative drama or comedy scripts were submitted for consideration from our pool of alumni filmmakers. After a careful, multi-stage review, Échappé, a script by Allison Mattox, based on her short film of the same name, was selected as the winner of our first $10,000 Fund grant in early January 2020. Here is a brief description: telling a compelling story of two sibling members of an elite Soviet
ballet company whose trip to the United States in the early 1970s is fraught with intrigue and fears of defection, Échappé provides a sharp focus on the social and political world of dance through the lens of a particularly charged period in U.S.-Soviet relations.
Ms. Mattox’s short film, Échappé, won the 2019 Film Pipeline Short Film competition.
In Wave Two this past Spring, MNFF received sixteen more original narrative drama or comedy scripts for consideration and the twelve unselected scripts from Wave One remained in competition as well. Following a thorough review process, Sayonara, a script by Nikhil Melnechuk, was selected by the panel of judges in mid-August as the next winner of a $10,000 Fund grant.
Here is a brief description: when New York novelist Isabel finds a mysterious cache of photographs in her boyfriend Will’s apartment, she sets out to investigate the wild suspicion that he is secretly planning her death aboard his prized antique
yacht, the Sayonara. Her journey takes her across the country and into the past as she discovers that years ago the Sayonara was the scene of an unsolved murder. Is Will a psychopath out to recreate a crime from the past, or has Isabel
let her novelist’s mind get the best of her?
 
Mr. Melnechuk’s recent documentary, Don’t Be Nice, won the Best Documentary Feature award at the 5th Annual Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival in 2019.
MNFF heartily congratulates the Fund’s first year grantees, Allison Mattox and Nikhil Melnechuk, for their accomplishment and wishes them success in their next stages of film development.
The MNFF Franklin Film Development Fund begins its second season of grant making on October 1 and welcomes additional donations from individuals wishing to support the creation of strong independent narrative films. Please
contact Lloyd Komesar, MNFF Producer, for details about donations or communicating with either of the grantees: lk@middfilmfest.org.

 

The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival recently concluded a successful presentation of its 6th Annual event, MNFF6: ONLINE, showcasing 26 feature films and 33 shorts, thanks in part to a CARES Act grant from the Vermont Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. MNFF7 is currently scheduled to take place in Middlebury August 26-29, 2021.
The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival is a 501[c][3] non-profit organization with E.I.N. 47-1462141.

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