Frequently Asked Questions main content.

Film Festival Submissions: FAQ


Q: Who selects the films for the Mead Festival?

A: Mead Festival staff review all submissions and determine the line-up. However, a pre-screening committee reviews all submission and provides feedback to the staff.

Q: My film was made over 3 years ago. Is it still eligible for entry into this year’s festival?

A: In general, the Mead Festival seeks work that was completed in the past three years. However, the Mead Festival may consider works older than 3 years if they have not been screened in the United States.

Q: I am a student.  Can I submit my film?

A: Yes, the Mead Festival is open to anyone.

Q: Will a work-in-progress screening elsewhere disqualify my film?

A: No.

Q: Can I submit my film as a rough cut?

A: Yes, but if selected the final version must be completed before the Mead Festival and festival staff may request screenings of updated versions of the film.

Q: What is your preferred format for submission?

A:  Online Screeners - submit via without-a-box or the online form. See our Submissions page for more info.

Q: Do you accept any of the High-Definition DVD formats?

A: No, we do not accept Blu-Ray screeners.

Q: Can I send you my DVD in PAL format, or do you accept NTSC only?

A: We accept all regions of DVD (PAL, NTSC etc.)

Q: I would like you to send my preview DVD back. Is this possible?

A: Due to the large number of submissions we receive each year, we are unable to return preview copies. We hope you understand!

Q: I don’t have my film in a format that you screen. Will the Mead Festival make a new copy?

A: If your film is accepted into the Festival and you do not have one of the necessary exhibition formats available, the Mead Festival requires that you be responsible for the new transfer in order to ensure filmmaker satisfaction. Please take this into consideration when you submit. In some instances the Mead Festival may be able to accommodate formats not listed.

Q: I want to submit to the Mead Festival but I won’t know if it can show at the festival until I hear back from other festivals. Is this OK?

A: Once you have submitted to the Mead Festival you cannot withdraw your film. If you are interested in other festivals that have a premiere policy, we ask that you please make this assessment before submitting your work to us.

Q: Does the Mead Festival have a premiere policy?

A: The Mead Festival does not have a premiere policy but does take into account what kind of audience the film has already had and if there have been previous screenings in the New York City area. A films premiere status does affect its eligibility for the Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award.  Only films having a US, North American, or World premiere at the Mead Festival are eligible for the award.

Q: My film was rejected last year. Can I submit it again?

A: Yes, but only if it has changed significantly. We do not accept a resubmission of the same cut — it should be a complete reworking of the previous version that was submitted to us. If you are in doubt, it probably hasn’t changed enough.

Q: How many films can I submit?

A: You may submit as many films as you'd like, just be sure to fill out a separate entry form for each.

Q: What kinds of films do you exhibit?

A: The Mead Festival screens a range of non-fiction films and videos including, but not limited to: feature documentaries, short documentaries, indigenous works, community media, essay films, hybrid films, animation, and experimental non-fiction.

Q: Does the Mead Festival show only science-based or ethnographic films?

A: No. The Mead Festival shows films about a variety of themes and topics and aims to screen work that represents a broad spectrum of stories, communities, and geographic locations.

Q: When will I find out if my film was selected?

A: All applicants will be notified via email by the end of August.

The Festival

Q: When was the Mead Festival established?

A: 1977. The Margaret Mead Film Festival is the longest running international documentary film festival in the United States.

Q: Where does the Mead Festival take place?

A: At the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The Museum has multiple theaters within the Museum’s walls and utilizes all of them during the Festival.

Q: Are your venues wheelchair accessible?

A: Absolutely. All of our venues are wheelchair accessible as is the entire Museum.

Q: How can I buy tickets to the Mead Festival?

A: Tickets to the Mead Festival are generally made available approximately one month prior to the festival.  They can be purchased online, by calling 212-769-5200, or by coming in person to the Museum.