Melbourne Documentary Film Festival


3rd edition

Jul 06 - Jul 15, 2019
Melbourne, Australia

Open Call Open to Public Competitive Market Special Fees

Festival type Real Venue Festival
Types of films Docu-feature, Documentary, Experimental, Hybrids, Multimedia, Narrative fiction
Film length Mid-length, Short
Genre Alternative, Art, Biography, Environmental, Foreign, Human rights, Independent, LGBT, Medical, Mockumentary, Music, News, Parody, Post modern, Realism, Social issues, Transgender, Underground

Mission / description 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.

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

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 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, Follow us on Twitter:

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
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Festival website

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kindfilmmaker attended as a guest in 2016

/ 5

I attended all 3 days of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival and found it to be well worth my time. I am an avid fan of the documentary genre and I can honestly say that there were some truly excellent films that were shown. It is true that the credits were cut short during the first session of shorts, but after people mentioned it to the manager this did not occur again for the rest of the films that I saw, suggesting the director actually listens to his audience. The selected films were played in a logical order and many of the sessions were well attended. The mix of people attending the screenings was very interesting and I found everyone involved to be very friendly and approachable. I would really like to commend the director for his openess, for his courage for starting this festival, and for his enthusiasm for promoting documentaries. All in all, its an event not to be missed. I look forward to attending again in future years. Michelle Around 2 years ago

MDFF attended as a guest in 2016

/ 5

No additional comment Lyndon Around 2 years ago

carmenholman attended with The Outliers in 2016

/ 5

This was so poorly organised. Films were shown through a laptop and the audience could see the laptop screen projected in between each of the films. Very poor quality screening (used windows media player?!). One film was even shown via the internet and stopped buffering half way through and had to be restarted - so embarrassing! I have passed on my criticism to the organiser but I would advise others in paying the submission fee as it is quite high and I personally felt there was no benefit for me as a filmmaker in entering and having my film screened. There was hardly anyone at the screening either and no industry professionals in sight. This festival is not what it makes itself out to be through its website and marketing. I only write this because I believe the festival should not be charging such high submission fees if they cant deliver a great festival. Hopefully they can make changes for next year but I would not submit again based on my experience. Carmen Around 2 years ago