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Salem Film Fest 2017

Filmmaker FAQ

Submissions vs. Selections

Salem Film Fest is an “invitation-only” documentary film festival. In contrast to festivals with an open submission policy, Salem Film Fest scouts and researches films before requesting submissions – if a film seems like a good fit for our audience, we will contact filmmakers and ask for screening copies. This approach has helped us create a more curated festival program and also allowed us to avoid charging submission fees to filmmakers. In addition, all feature length documentaries selected to screen at the festival receive honorariums.

What do we look for? We are particularly interested in films our audience may not get a chance to see elsewhere on the big screen. We love films that break the obvious form, create conversation and tell great stories with strong visual and artistic techniques, as well as interesting characters.

If you are a student at a Massachusetts college or university and would like to submit a short documentary or experimental documentary film (25 min. or less, minimum of 3 min.) for consideration for our “Mass Reality Check” college doc shorts showcase, please read our submission guidelines, and if your film meets the criteria please contact us at

If you feel a film should be considered for our festival, please e-mail a link where we can view a sample of the film and read more about it. This will give us a better idea of whether we think it might be a fit for Salem Film Fest. Generally we begin reaching out to filmmakers in mid-September and consider films through early January.

Jeff Schmidt
Salem Film Fest Program Director