Melbourne Documentary Film Festival (10)


16 Jun 2024
Call for entries

28 Feb 2025
Early deadline

31 Mar 2025
Standard deadline

30 Apr 2025
Late deadline

20 May 2025
Extended deadline


20 Jul 2025
Notification date

01 Jul 2025
31 Jul 2025


gpo 4007,  3000, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Festival description
Short film festival 40'<
Feature film festival >41'

Festival requirements
 Film festival
 Music Video
 Any Genre
 Any Theme
 Has submission fees
 International Festival
 Physical Location
 January 2013
 Production countries: Any
 Shooting countries: Any
 Director nationalities: Any
 Debut Films 
 School projects 
 Short Films  40'<
 Feature Films  >41'
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Photo of Melbourne Documentary Film Festival
Photo of Melbourne Documentary Film Festival

Photo of Melbourne Documentary Film Festival
Photo of Melbourne Documentary Film Festival


Festival start: 01 July 2025      Festival end: 31 July 2025


Vivienne Westwood, King Crimson, Tendechi Trucks, Penelope Spheeris, Jason Mamoa, Rosario Dawson, Mel Brooks, Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Guillermo Del Toro, Paton Oswalt, Nichola Meyer, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, Banksy, Octavia Spencer, Liza Minelli, Marlee Matlin and that's just the 7th edition. Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is an indie festival providing support and encouragement and helping propel filmmakers onto Netflix, SBS, ABC through their own talents, hard work and determination!

The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is a popular and beloved institution. We have grown over the last 7 years to become an important and essential Australian film festival, showcasing the world's best and most innovative cutting-edge documentaries. If accepted, you are guaranteed to be part of an incredible, world class line up. The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is a forerunner event in July before Melbourne's premier event Melbourne International Film Festival which starts in August. Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is Australia's biggest indie doco fest - 150 + documentaries over 31 days. We are currently recruiting for local Melbourne, Australian, and International Feature Documentary, Short Documentary, Documentary Web Series, Video Essays, Documentary Photography, VR and Interactive Documentaries to compete in our Australian Documentary Awards held during our July 2022 festival.

Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is a festival where you and your documentary are the star of our festival! Thousands of people attend each year online, in-cinema and outdoors.

Melbourne Documentary Film Festival has a community feeling about it and genuinely cares about the filmmakers and their documentaries with alumni helping out with judging and masterclasses.

We Support:
Australian, BLM, Indigenous, Women in Film, LGBTIQ, Diversity, Disabled Filmmakers, Equality, Refugees, Environmental Issues and Freedom of Speech.

We are against:
Asian Hate, Racism, Islamophobia, Antisemitism, Ageism, Sexism, Bullying, Fascism, xenophobia, Inequality and Discrimination.

Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Has:

- Premiered over 700 + documentaries in Australia
- 4 x Best in the World Documentary Film Festival - Film Daily
- 1 x Best in the Southern Hemisphere Documentary Film Festival - GuideDoc
- In 2020 we created the Southern Hemisphere's biggest online documentary film festival with over 150 documentaries showcased
- Australia's first competitive documentary film festival to go online

In short, over the course of the past 7 years, Melbourne Documentary Film Festival has become established as a rare treasure in the crowded and increasingly homogenous festival scene, without remaining in the slipstream.

What We Are Looking For:
Ideally, we want to see your locally and internationally produced Feature, Short, VR documentaries, Video Essays and Documentary Web Series to showcase in our competition in Melbourne, Australia in 2022. All countries, all ages, all abilities, all genres of documentary are encouraged to apply and can be considered.

The Hottest Postcode:
Melbourne, Australia has consistently been voted one of the worlds happiest and most liveable cities. Our competition represents a great opportunity and reason to visit Australia. In 2019 we had 41 guests to our festival from overseas and across Australia. This was made possible through a combination of the festival paying for the filmmakers to attend, filmmakers paying for themselves to attend, consulates, embassies and film commissions paying for filmmakers to attend and people crowd funding to attend. The festival is a great networking opportunity.

The Toughest Competition:
Go head-to-head in Melbourne, Australia and test your mettle with the world’s best, and most prestigious documentary film schools and film festivals such as Tribecca, Sundance, Sydney Film Festival, TIFF, Venice Film Festival, American Documentary Film Festival, Raindance, Slamdance, Sheffield Doc Fest, Hot Docs, New Zealand International Film Festival, Traverse City Film Festival Doc NYC, SXSW, CPH:Dox, IDFA, and many more. You're in it to win it.

Make it Australian: The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is an encouraging and supportive platform for local filmmakers. We commit to playing at least 45% Australian content in our 2021 fest to support the local industry. Screen Australia, Film Victoria, Create NSW, Screen West, Screen QLD, Screen NT, Screen Tasmania, Documentary Australia Foundation, AIDC, and Goodpitch Australia productions are encouraged to apply. MDFF wants to have the very best Australian competition drawing from local industry and indie talent. SBS, NITV and ABC productions are also eligible to apply to compete, provided that the production submitted contains new material and is effectively a director’s cut.

The Coolest Cinemas:
Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is currently part of the Cinema Nova family of festivals including Transitions Film Festival, Melbourne Queer Festival, Monster Fest. Cinema Nova is one of Australia's best cinemas and is the southern hemispheres largest independent cinema with 16 screens in inner city Melbourne and one of the coolest cocktail bars around. Cinema Nova is the go-to-venue to premiere documentaries down under including exclusive Australian premieres like the Sparks Brothers, Billie Holiday VS USA. All feature, shorts, video essays and documentary web series in competition will be played in DCP on a 4k projector at 24 FPS in Dolby surround sound. The cinema's we will be utilizing for the competition will be 147 to 240 seat capacity. All Q&A's will be conducted by a Film Critics Circle of Australia or Australian Film Critics Association member. We even have curated cocktails at the cinema bar and unmissable parties and networking events.

The Best Festival:
MDFF premieres, screens and showcases more quality local Australian and International documentaries each year than any other documentary only film festival in Australia and gives more talented Indie Filmmakers a chance to compete and screen to a big, receptive audience in Melbourne, Australia. The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is consistently featured on SBS, ABC, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, Time Out, Concrete Playground, and Weekend Notes and had additional short documentaries featured in Federation Square.
The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival presents a unique opportunity and supportive platform to showcase YOUR documentary Down Under in one of the coolest and most liveable cities in the world - Melbourne, Australia. We are looking for exclusive World, Australian or Melbourne premieres. for feature documentaries to showcase in our competition. Let our 45 media partners, and publicist get behind and help promote YOU and YOUR project Down Under and get just the right momentum and exposure behind your project launch in Australia.

In Short:
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 and industry documentaries cinema has to offer.

Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Showcases The Best Entries From the Best Festivals Going Head-To-Head in Melbourne Australia Like:
American Documentary Film Festival, Big Sky Film Festival, Cannes, CPH:DOX, Doxa, Full Frame, Hot Docs, IDA, IDFA, Slamdance, Sundance, SXSW, Sydney Film Festival, The New York Film Festival, RIDM, Harlem International Film Festival, DocAviv, ImagineNative, Shanghai International Film Festival, The Muslim Film Festival, TIFF, Tribecca, Venice, Hot Springs Doc Fest, Telluride Film Festival, Tokyo Docs, AFI Docs, Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival, Rotterdam International Film Festival, Doc N Roll, and Cork International Film Festival.

Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Showcases Top Submissions from Top Organisations:
ESPN, Time Magazine, HBO, The Atlantic, Story Hive, Loading Docs, Australian Cultural Fund, Environmental Victoria, Creative Victoria, Regional Arts Victoria, Australia Rise Fund, BFI, Kartequinn, National Geographic, Screen Australia, Film Victoria, Screen West, Screen Tasmania, Screen Ireland, Doc Society, CBC, BBC, NL Film Fonds, NFB, IDA, Documentary Australia Foundation, Wild Angle Tasmania, AIDC and NITV.

Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Has Seen Massive Ongoing Success and Distribution For Filmmakers:
Netflix, Apple +, Amazon, Stan, SBS, ABC, NITV, Waterbear, The New York Times, The New Yorker, MTV Films, Foxtel, Redbull TV, National Geographic, iWonder, Docplay, The Guardian Documentary Channel, Films for Change, Rialto Channel.

Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Has Been Featured In:
Channel 9, Channel 10, The Project, ABC, SBS, NITV, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Triple RRR, PBS, Time Out, Broadsheet, Concrete Playground, 3CR, Kiss FM, 60 Minutes, Film Daily, Weekend Notes, IF Magazine, Vimooz, The Australian, Movie Metropolis, Screen Hub, Arts Hub, The Daily Telegraph, Radio National, 3WBC, Plenty Valley FM, 2SER, Filmink, Flicks, and The Conversation.

Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Has Showcased Project From Top Australian Talent:
Warwick Thornton, Jack Thompson, Bruce Beresford, Rachel Griffiths, Olivia Newton-John, Cate Blanchett, Tommy Emmanuel, Jack Charles, Kutcha Edwards, Tom Zubrycki & Pat Fiske.

Previous Masterclass Topics Include:
History of New Zealand documentary a personal journey with Costa Botes, Asian documentary with Nick Torrens, VOD and distributions with Beama Films, crowdfunding for documentary with Pozible, Self-Distribution with Fanforce, Making the Great Australian Music Documentary, Making a Personal Documentary, Making LGBTIQ and Aboriginal Documentaries, Experimental Documentary, Documentary Filmmakers and Mental Health, Mobile Phone Filmmaking for Documentary Filmmaking.

Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Has Had Submissions Involving Some of the World's Top Directors & Big Stars Like:
Peter Medak, Werner Herzog, Oliver Stone, Leonardo Di Caprio, Bruce Beresford, Richard Linklater, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Lawrence Kasdan, James Cameron, Errol Morris, Barbara Kopple, Anjelica Huston, Susan Sarandon, Sharon Stone, Cynthia Nixon and Joan Baez.

Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Showcases The Best Music Docos from Men at Work, Tommy Emmanuel, Placebo, Grace Jones, The Sonics, Agnostic Front, George Michael, Van Duran, Terry Pendergrass, Ronnie Wood, the Velvet Underground, Strange Tenants, Head Like a Hole, The Swans, The Beatles, Jonny Greenwood and Beverley Glenn-Copeland.

Melbourne, Australia Most Anticipated Festival

The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival team looks forward to bringing you a diverse, challenging slate of documentaries that will entertain, educate and inform you. So let’s make some Melbourne film history together!

The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is a competitive film festival and has 21 award categories, known as the Australian Documentary Awards, which you can enter, they include:

Pool A

Short Awards
Supreme Jury Prize Short Documentary
Best International Short Documentary, Video Essay or Webseries
Best Australian Short Documentary, Video Essay or Webseries
Best Melbourne Short Documentary, Video Essay or Webseries
Best VR / Interactive Documentary
Best Short Director – International
Best Short Director - Australia

Pool B
Feature Awards
Supreme Jury Prize Feature Documentary
Best International Documentary
Best Australian Documentary
Audience Choice - Feature
Best Music Documentary
Best Environmental Documentary
Best Director - Australia
Best Director – International
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 (Feature) - $1,500
Best Australian Short Documentary - $1,000
Best International Short Documentary - $1,000
Supreme Jury Prize Award - Photography - $500
Best Director - $500
Other prizes TBA June 2023



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

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. Due to the amount of submission received individual feedback is not possible, but we can suggest registering for our next Documentary Open Mic by emailing

1.5 Successful applicants will be contacted in late May or early June 2025.

1.6 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.

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 20th May 2025

b. Documentaries that commenced production from no earlier than 1st January 2013;

c. The Film has never been, and will not be before 12 June 2025, released on DVD, freely available online or theatrically released other than on Fanforce (however, the Festival may at its discretion accept Films which have been theatrically released or previously screened at other festivals) exceptions to this are Video Essays, Documentary Web Series and some Short documentaries, ABC, SBS, NITV feature documentaries which must contain new material;

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 for assessment for our competition via Festhome.

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.

5: Specs:

Feature, Short, Video Essay, will be played in DCP at 24FPS (not 25 FPS)
360 / VR Docs
-360 microscopic
-4k resolution, 2 by 1 aspect.

-Stereo-Attached to the .mp4 video
-Spatial- Separate file Audio.tbe (41khz only) Video in this case to have no audio attached.

Good luck filmmakers!



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