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Showcase for independent filmmakers

When you think about New York and the arthouse cinema scene, names pop-up easily: Jim Jarmusch, John Cassavetes, Sofia Coppola, Woody Allen, Charlie Kaufman, Edward Burns, Hal Hartley, Nora Ephron, Spike Lee, Noah Baumbach, Chloé Zhao, Steve Buscemi, Paul Morrissey, Martin Scorsese, John Turturro, Abel Ferrara, Ben Stiller, Lloyd Kaufman and so many more.


All of them shared a passion for the big screen and, although all human and therefore potentially flawed, each of them added value to the rich and long film history of New York.


The Manhattan Independent Film Festival discovers, supports, and develops new talent in filmmaking, providing a platform for emerging and established filmmakers from around the world, and a unique focus on stories tied to Manhattan, and NYC. Recognizing the important role independent films have in the history of filmmaking, storytelling, and culture, the annual Manhattan Independent Film Festival wants to help empower the next generation of artists.


The festival is open to all forms and genres. We welcome filmmakers from around the world to submit their work. In addition to narrative, documentary, animated, experimental and underground work, the festival welcomes films that take place in Manhattan for their unique section ‘Manhattan Stories’.


Originally founded in 2015, the first two editions took place at The Producer’s Club and Videology. Starting 2022, the festival has found its new location at the 500 Park Avenue Screening Room. A cozy 55 seat, extremely well-situated venue with a great history and infrastructure. The ideal home for the next generation of filmmakers.

Previous editions

Find out more about the award winners of the previous editions of the Manhattan Independent Film Festival here:

Proud partner of The Bigger Screen

Manhattan Independent Film Festival is supported by The Bigger Screen, an organization that aims to make film as an art form more accessible and more inclusive. 

Supporting Film Festivals: Film festivals are not only a place to share films, but they are a safe haven for film makers to connect, share, and learn. The Bigger Screens supports and engages with over 25 respected international film festivals from mainstays like the 61st Ann Arbor Film Festival and the Brussels Independent Film Festival to emerging events such as the Venice Film Week and The Producer’s Night Los Angeles. These events bring filmmakers and filmgoers together, providing that place to connect and engage in a comfortable setting, away from Hollywood glitz and glamour.

Connecting Cultures Program: Each year, The Bigger Screen selects ten countries and grants filmmakers from those areas the ability to submit their work free of charge to partner festivals all over the world. This opens the door of film exposure to those who may not otherwise be able to enter. As we support inclusivity and shareable films, this program exemplifies our mission.


Local Filmmakers Program: We understand that the cost of making a film can be taxing, so to encourage rising talent, we waive the festival submission fee to local talent. With numerous worldwide locations for festivals, this provides great opportunity for filmmakers around the world to enter the international film scene. This opportunity opens the world of film. Think global, act local, right?


Inclusive Audience Program: Our screenings are always low or even free of charge to provide opportunity for interested film goers to view up and coming, challenging, and inspiring pieces of art, encouraging students, seniors, and those in underprivileged environments to share the experience of film and cinema. We welcome film goers, regardless of income and financial status.


The Tarkovski Grant: All selected filmmakers will receive The Tarkovski Grant, a film festival submission fee waiver package with an average value of about $250. This not only saves you a lot of money, but it also recognizes your work as something to watch for during the selection procedure, making a selection with another partner film festival more likely - but of course, never guaranteed. The Tarkovski Grant supports hundreds of filmmakers each year in their challenging journeys as independent filmmakers, by promoting existing films, no matter the genre, style or length.

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