2021 Call for Submissions opened August 30 and closes November 30, 2020

FAQ: In addition to the information below, we’ve put together Filmmaker FAQ – 2020. We will update this for 2021 soon. If you still have questions, please email  For 2021, the only platform we will use for submissions is Filmfreeway, including for high school filmmakers.. 

We welcome submissions in the following categories:

  • Narrative Features
  • Documentary Features
  • Narrative Shorts
  • Documentary Shorts
  • Animation
  • Experimental; any length up to 2 hours in all categories
  • High School Student Film Showcase and Competition (films up to 20 mins)
  • Student Films

We are open to films of any genre except adult films and in any language (with subtitles). We do not have a section dedicated to family films, but love films that appeal to the child in us all. We always have a horror film section, in honor of a genre that has been an important launching point for independent filmmakers. DCIFF also welcomes open source films, art films and interactive films and the wide spectrum of documentary formats and issues including advocacy films.


August 30, 2020 – Submissions Open
November 10, 2020 – Regular Deadline
November 30, 2020 – Late Deadline
December 20, 2020 – Notification Date
February 26 – March 7, 2021 – Event Date


We put a great deal of effort, time and attention into promoting the films selected for screening and competition and have aided many a filmmaker on the road to success, awards, distribution and networking. For 2021, we will selected fewer films but give each film more attention, more outreach and more opportunity.  These are our requirements please

  • In-Person Metro DC Film Premieres required but films can be available online or can have been screened online before.
  • All films completed within one year of the date of submission to DCIFF
  • If you have distribution for your film, please make sure that you have the right to screen your film at festivals as DCIFF does not pay screening fees.
  • Our reasonable submission fees are entirely used to cover the cost of filmmaker support: press, screenings, seminars and outreach. DCIFF is a volunteer-run festival with an twenty year track record.
To Submit Your Film:
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