Melbourne Documentary Film Festival 2019

From July 19, 2019 until July 29, 2019


Important dates:
 December 31, 2018 - Earlybird Deadline
 February 25, 2019 - Regular Deadline
 March 25, 2019 - Late Deadline
 April 22, 2019 - Extended Deadline
 May 31, 2019 - Notification Date
 July 19 – 29, 2019 - Event Date

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 2019.
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 for feedback from 17 July 2019. But must have registered by 30th April 2019 by emailing Applicants must contact 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 17/07/2019. Filmmakers must apply to 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 22 April 2019 
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 2019, released on DVD, freely available online or theatrically released other than on (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 (DCICompliant), HD CAM, DVD, Blu Ray. All zones are acceptable. MDFF may accept other formats (such as Vimeo): please contact 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.
Good luck filmmakers!

Awards & Prizes
The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is a competitive film festival and has 14 award categories, known as the Ozstars, which you can enter, they include:

Pool A
Short Awards
Supreme Jury Prize Short Documentary
Best International Short Documentary or Webseries
Best Australian Short Documentary or Webseries
Best Short Director – International /Australia

Pool B
Feature Awards
Supreme Jury Prize Feature Documentary
Best International Documentary
Best Australian Documentary
Audience Choice
Best Director – International / Australia
Best Melbourne Documentary

Pool C
Documentary Photography Awards
Supreme Jury Prize Documentary Photograph
Best International Documentary Photograph
Best Australian Documentary Photograph
Best Documentary Photographer

Supreme Jury Prize Award - $1,500
Best Australian Short Documentary - $1,500
Supreme Jury Prize Award - Photography - $500
Other prizes TBA June 2019

Short Documentary

Late submission deadline: March 25, 2019 for 35.00 €

Feature Documentary

Late submission deadline: March 25, 2019 for 48.00 €

Documentary Web Series

Late submission deadline: March 25, 2019 for 43.00 €


This Festival was founded in 2015

Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is currently rated as Documentary Film Festival of the Year (2018) by FilmDaily.

The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival presents a unique opportunity and supportive platform to showcase YOUR documentary, down under at one of the best post codes on the planet Melbourne, Australia.

The Melbourne Doc Fest each year curates world class features direct from some of the hottest most prestigious documentary film festivals in the world such as Sundance, Slamdance, Sheffield Doc Fest, Hot Docs, Venice Film Festival, New Zealand International Film Festival, Traverse City Film Festival Doc NYC, SXSW, Doc Edge, CPH:Dox and IDFA.

Each year we feature documentaries, directed, produced, narrated by or starring celebrities like Madonna, Sharon Stone, Anjelica Huston, Shia La Beouf, Kevin Smith, Grace Jones, George Michel, Doug Liman, Ed Burns, Stellan Skarsgård, Noam Chomsky, Tony Bennett, Mary J Blige, Naomi Campbell, Whitney Houston, Elton John, Nile Rogers, Bryan Ferry, Stevie Wonder, Christy Turlington, Ricky Gervais and Matthew Modine.

What matters to us most is that documentaries are well-made, compelling, thought provoking, passionate and relevant to Australian audiences. The Melbourne Doc Fest is very much a filmmaker’s film festival.

The Melbourne Doc Fest is one of the world newest documentary film festivals and one of the most fun and interesting stopovers on the international documentary film festival circuit. All our international guests genuinely have a good time at the festival, as well as seeing the sites of Melbourne.

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.

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

Screenings at the Festival
84% of films screened at the festival are from film submissions
16% are from distributors

Each year we programme, Masterclasses, Seminars and Talks geared towards helping Documentary Filmmakers get ahead. Previous classes have included:
1: History of New Zealand documentary a personal journey with Costa Botes
2: Asian and Singapore documentary with Nick Torrens
3: VOD and distributions with Beama Films
4: Crowdfunding for documentary with Pozible
5: Self-Distribution with Fanforce

Over the last 3 years we have seen:
6 Feature documentaries picked up by Netflix
5 feature documentaries that became Oscar eligible
4 documentaries picked up by Redbull.TV
1 documentary picked up by National Geographic

The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is the only festival in Australasia to provide feedback on submissions (upon request). 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. If you are interested in receiving feedback you need to apply separately for it at by no later than 30th April 2019. Feedback will be provided to you by 31 July 2019.
Our categories of Documentary Photography, Documentary Web Series, and Micro Docs have never been attempted by a documentary film festival in the southern hemisphere and are ground breaking.

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 Feature Entries to the Competition
1 x Open Access Pass to all festival documentaries
10 x tickets to your session at the festival for crew, friends, and family (not redeemable for cash)
Feedback on your documentary
The opportunity to win cash prizes, distribution deals, wine, and DVD’s
Promo code discount for all documentaries showing at the festival
% of the Box Office or % of Box Office donated to charity of your choosing

Successful Short Entries to the Competition
1 x Open Access Pass to all festival documentaries
5 x tickets to your session at the festival for crew, friends, and family (not redeemable for cash)
Feedback on your documentary
The opportunity to win cash prizes, distribution deals, wine, and DVD’s
Promo code discount for all documentaries showing at the festival

Unsuccessful entries
Complimentary double pass to selected documentaries at the festival (not redeemable for cash)
Feedback on your documentary
Promo code discount for all documentaries showing at the festival. If the documentary scores an 8/10 or higher and does not end up being selected for this year’s competition, the filmmaker will be entitled to a fee waiver for a future edition of the festival.

Post-festival service
We try to find other ways to show case selected documentaries 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 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 experience.


The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival
GPO BOX 4007