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Newburyport down town Bullnose

2024 Festival
Our 20th year!





Newburyport Documentary Film Festival

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The Newburyport Documentary Film Festival (NDFF) is held every September, with additional year-round programs, in Newburyport, MA, a destination seaport city 40 minutes north of Boston.

Since 2004 we have been bringing the highest caliber documentary films to our community. In addition to weekend screenings at historic venues, we also hold filmmaker receptions, after-parties, panel discussions, Q&As, and workshops.

September’s festival features the YES Award (Young Emerging Filmmakers Showcase), works by filmmakers who are current or recent graduates of higher education institutions.

Please see our past award winners of our festivals and stay up to date on our latest filmmaker interviews on YouTube.

Cinema Complex

We are the filmmakers' film festival. Our objective is to present thought-provoking, high-caliber, and entertaining documentary films to the vibrant cultural community of greater Newburyport.

 to the Clipper City by curating the best of documentary film. With each showcase, we encourage meaningful interaction with our neighbors about social issues, current and historic events, and sometimes the sheer delight of life on planet Earth.

MANY OF OUR FILM SCREENINGS are enhanced by intimate discussions with relevant experts and, whenever possible, the filmmakers themselves, providing our audiences with a unique immersive experience.

Our Mission
Our History

In 2004, the Newburyport Documentary Film Festival (NDFF) had its humble beginnings with founder Michelle Fino at the helm. Fino's vision was clear - to showcase the best in documentary films, setting the stage for what would become a significant cultural event. The festival's identity underwent several transformations in its early years. From its inception as the Northern Lights Documentary Film Festival, it evolved into the Newburyport Film Society, later becoming the Newburyport Film Festival. Finally, in 2018, the festival officially adopted the name "NBPT DOCU FEST." While "Northern Lights" was a title that resonated, the festival embraced the preference of its supporters, media, and community, officially adopting the moniker "Newburyport Documentary Film Festival" to emphasize the importance of a sense of place. Contributing to the festival's journey were two key figures: Lois Smith and David Kleiler. Lois Smith, a board director, brought her expertise as an entertainment publicist, having represented luminaries including Marilyn Monroe, Martin Scorsese, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Whitney Houston, Warren Beatty, and Liza Minnelli. David Kleiler, co-founder of the Boston Underground Film Festival, played a pivotal role in the nonprofit Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation's founding, contributing significantly to the rescue of the theater. We honored Kleiler's legacy by establishing the David Kleiler Award after his passing in 2019. In 2011, Michelle Fino departed from her role, paving the way for the appointment of a new executive director, Joanne Morris Biggio, who has since led the festival. The festival's commitment to its mission was further solidified in June 2016 when it transitioned into a nonprofit organization, ensuring its sustainability and impact. The challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 did not deter the NDFF. The 16th annual festival persisted in a virtual format, leveraging platforms like Eventive to continue bringing exceptional documentaries to its audience. Over its rich history, the festival has showcased a remarkable 300+ films. With two venues to present films, the NDFF has created a unique space for interaction between filmmakers and the audience. Dubbed the "Filmmakers'Festival," this aspect of the event emphasizes the importance of fostering connections and dialogue within the filmmaking community. The Newburyport Documentary Film Festival stands as a testament to the power of storytelling and the enduring spirit of those committed to the art of documentary filmmaking.

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George Araneo
| Treasurer
Laura Azevedo

Anne Crays
Mark Davis
Joanne Morris | Executive Director
James Sullivan
| Program Director


Michael Azevedo

Kari Bernard

Steve Cahill

Peter Carzasty

Leanne Cavallaro

Anne Crays

Becca Fundis

Ben Fundis

Brian Greenberg

Sharon Kennedy

Sherry Moore


Mark Davis
Rebecca Fundis
Sherry Moore
James Sullivan


Anne Crays | Community Relations

Kari Bernard | Event Planning

Steve Cahill | Technical Director

Michelle Fino | Founder



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