Calling All First Time Filmmakers: Five Festival Deadlines You Can’t Afford To Miss

In the world of filmmaking, simply getting a great idea off the ground can be a challenge. And what happens once you’ve finished your feature or short film and you’re ready to receive some recognition for all your hard work?

If you’re wondering what comes next,  look no further — we’ve got you covered.

We’ve sifted through upcoming festival entry deadlines so you don’t have to, and mapped out the top five international film festivals for new and upcoming filmmakers and directors.

All you have to do is click, submit.


Hamptons International Film Festival – Hamptons, USA



Regular Deadline: May 2, 2016
Final Deadline: May 30, 2016

The Hamptons International Film Festival was founded to provide a platform for independent filmmakers from around the world. The festival hosts three competitions focused specifically on early-career filmmakers for full length, short films, documentaries and fiction narratives, and is an Academy-qualifying event. Festival selections from the Hamptoms IFF play an important role during awards season, with a significant number of titles highlighted every year at shows such as the Golden Globes, Academy Awards and Independent Spirit Awards.

Categories: full length, short films, fiction narrative, documentary



AFI Fest  – Los Angeles, USA


Regular Deadline: May 6, 2016
Short Films – $45
Feature Films – $65

Final Deadline: July 15, 2016
Short Films – $55
Feature Films – $75

Started in 1987, it is the longest running film festival in Los Angeles and one of the most influential film festivals in North America. The festival features international competitions for new filmmakers alongside internationally renowned masters, and features a nightly red carpet premiere. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes the AFI Fest as a qualifying festival for the Short Film category, and is still the only film festival in the US to hold the prestigious FIAPF accreditation.

Categories: full length, short films, fiction narrative



Heartland Film Festival  – Indianapolis, USA

twitter-heartland_1_Regular Deadline: May 13, 2016
Final Deadline: June 3, 2016

Since 1991, the annual Heartland Film Festival has introduced audiences to transformative independent films from around the world. Started as a small event in Indianapolis it has since expanded to become one of the fastest growing film festivals in the US. Each October the festival screens independent films from around the globe and presents more than $125,000 in cash prizes. In addition, it’s a qualifying festival for consideration in the Short Film category of the Annual Academy Awards.

Categories: full length, short films, fiction narrative, documentary


*Entry fees vary per category. See website for more details.


Raindance Film Festival – London, UK


Regular Deadline: May 20, 2016
Final Deadline: June 10, 2016

Since 1993, Raindance has aimed to reflect the visual and narrative diversity of the international independent filmmaking community while also specializing in films by first-time filmmakers and directors. The festival is dedicated to fostering and promoting movies from guerilla style (low to no budget) productions to big budget blockbusters.

Categories: full length, short films,  fiction narrative, documentary, experimental


*Entry fees vary per category. See website for more details.


Edmonton International Film Festival – Edmonton, Canada


Final Deadline: May 30, 2016
Short Films – $50
Feature Films – $80

The philosophy of the Edmonton IFF is about ‘discovery’. It strives to uncover cinematic gems and celebrate unique new voices in independent film. EIFF presents a fascinating mix of feature-length films, documentaries and short films from veteran and up-and-coming filmmakers.

Categories: full length, short films, fiction narrative, documentary




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The Black TV & Film Collective a 501c3 organization that operates as a NYC film collective. In our work, we support all artists of color including but not limited to black filmmakers. We are a collaborative platform that represents diversity in film and supports inclusion in Hollywood and TV. Our professional network of New York City filmmakers gives knowledge to those who want to learn how to produce film, how to make a web series, how to budget film projects and more. We host NYC film workshops that welcome a variety of experience levels from first time filmmakers who are either students in film school or to notables within the television and film industry. See how you can make a difference in the world of cinema by becoming a member of our NYC film collective.

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