Call For Entries

What if I don't want to submit through FilmFreeway or Withoutabox?

We encourage entrants to submit their films through FilmFreeway or Withoutabox for a streamlined, efficient submission process. For more information on how to submit through FilmFreeway, check out their FAQ page here. For more information on how to submit through Withoutabox, check out their Support page here.

As an alternative, we also invite entrants to submit through our direct online submission platform, right here on the CIFF website. To submit through our Online Entry Form, click here, fill in the digital form completely, and pay the corresponding entry fee by credit card.

What's the deadline for submitting my film?

All entries must be postmarked by December 10th, 2016, our extended deadline. Early submission discounts apply until November 30th, 2016 – please see our fee schedule on FilmFreeway, Withoutabox, or our Online Entry Form.

Can I get the submission fee waived?

The CIFF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Fees collected through the Call for Entries process assist in our operations. Entry fee payment is required; exceptions will NOT be made so please do not request a waiver.

How do I know that you received my submission?

If submitting through the CIFF Online Entry Form, you’ll receive an immediate confirmation email that we’ve received your submission, as well as a copy of receipt of payment.

If submitting through FilmFreeway, please check your account after submitting to make sure the submission was successful. Within one week after your submission date, you'll receive a confirmation email that we've received your submission, as well as any potential notifications of further information we need from you.

If submitting through Withoutabox, please check your account after submitting to make sure that your submission meets our requirements and has been accepted for consideration.

If your Withoutabox submission has a BLUE dot with a checkmark, we have received your online submission and your submission has met all our requirements.

If your Withoutabox submission has a YELLOW dot, your submission has only partially met our requirements and is considered an INCOMPLETE SUBMISSION. Please contact our Special Projects Director Beth Steele Radisek at beth@clevelandfilm.org to see what is needed to move your submission into consideration.

If your Withoutabox submission has a RED circle, we have not successfully received your submission. If you submitted online and it’s been more than 10 days, please contact us.

Do you accept online screeners?

We do! It's actually the only way you can now submit to CIFF.

If submitting an online screener through FilmFreeway, please review each point on their FAQ page here. Through FilmFreeway, we accept HD uploads, Vimeo, and YouTube links.

If submitting an online screener through Withoutabox, please review each point in the Secure Online Screeners section of the Withoutabox support page here.

We also accept online screener submissions through our CIFF online submission platform. Please click here to submit an Online Entry Form and include your password-protected Vimeo link. Vimeo links are the ONLY online screeners we will accept outside of FilmFreeway and Withoutabox, for security reasons. Both the Vimeo link and password you provide MUST be valid and accessible through April 10th, 2017. CIFF takes the security of our submitted films very seriously, and all Vimeo links will be shared only with our Selection Committee members in a secured setting.

Can I submit my film on a DVD or Blu-ray?

Sorry! CIFF no longer accepts submissions on DVD or Blu-ray - we will only consider films submitted through Vimeo links or online screeners on FilmFreeway or Withoutabox.

What are your definitions of feature and short films?

All linear films with a total runtime of 45 minutes or over are considered feature films. All linear films less than 45 minutes are considered short films.

What genres do you accept?

All genres! The CIFF exhibits short and feature length films of all genres - including Midnight, Sci-Fi, LGBT, and Family - and categories - including Narrative, Documentary, Animation, and especially International – we screened films from over 70 countries last year!

Do you accept MUSIC VIDEOS?

We do! All Music Video submissions must be 15 minutes or under and are subject to the same pricing and rules as short films.

If you would like to submit your work in the music video category, your work must be created for a specific piece of original music that you or an associate have the legal rights to.

Do you accept WEB SERIES?

We do! And it's free to submit! See below for criteria and instructions.

A web series is a series of multiple videos in episodic form that pertain to the same theme and are intended for exclusive distribution on the internet. Content may be narrative, documentary, animation, or experimental, though we will not be considering talk show formats at this time. If your submission meets the criteria for this category, you MUST email us directly at submissions@clevelandfilm.org prior to submitting, with a description and example of your content. If, after review, your content does meet the criteria, we will then provide instructions to submit ONE WEBISODE PER WEB SERIES directly through the CIFF website. IF YOU SUBMIT WEB SERIES CONTENT DIRECTLY THROUGH FILMFREEWAY OR WITHOUTABOX WITHOUT EMAILING US FIRST, YOUR SUBMISSION WILL BE CONSIDERED INVALID AND DELETED.

Do you accept NEW MEDIA content?

We do! And it's free to submit! See below for criteria and instructions.

Our New Media program is designed to showcase interactive storytelling, using new and innovative forms of media and technology, resulting in a live presentation at the festival. Some examples of New Media include virtual reality, cross-platform films, multi-media installations, websites, and interactive gaming. Content can be narrative, documentary, animation, or experimental, but must include an interactive element and nonlinear presentation. If your submission meets the criteria for this category, you MUST email us directly at submissions@clevelandfilm.org prior to submitting, with a description, a link or links to examples of the project, and an estimated cost of and needed equipment for presentation. If, after review, your content does meet the criteria, we will then provide instructions to submit directly through the CIFF website. IF YOU SUBMIT NEW MEDIA CONTENT DIRECTLY THROUGH FILMFREEWAY OR WITHOUTABOX WITHOUT EMAILING US FIRST, YOUR SUBMISSION WILL BE CONSIDERED INVALID AND DELETED.

Do you have competitions?

Do we ever! The CIFF currently has 11 competitions for feature films and 14 competitions for short films and we're always expanding our award program. At the 40th CIFF, we gave away over $103,000 in cash awards!

Is the CIFF an Academy®-qualifying festival?

Yes! The CIFF is actually one of few festivals in the world that qualifies for all three Academy Short Film categories! CIFF's Best Animated Short Film Award winner, Best Live Action Short Film Award winner, and Best Documentary Short Film Award winner will all qualify for consideration in the Short Films categories of the annual Academy Awards®. Please check the Academy® website for rules and eligibility.

Can I resubmit a film I submitted to a previous CIFF?

No, unfortunately films previously submitted to CIFF will not be considered for the 41st festival.

Can I submit works in progress or instructional works?

Please do not submit works in progress or industrial/instructional works.

Does my film have to be a premiere to submit?

The only premiere-status we require is a premiere in the Greater Cleveland area. Entries previously screened in the Greater Cleveland area or aired on television in Cleveland will not be considered.

Can I submit if my film was, is, or will be available before the 41st CIFF for online viewing?

Any film that is available for viewing on the web (i.e. YouTube, public Vimeo) prior to our festival dates will not be considered, with the exception of Web Series and New Media content.

However, if you are submitting a Web Series or New Media content, you MUST email us directly at submissions@clevelandfilm.org prior to submitting, with a description and example of your content. If, after review, your content does meet the criteria, we will then provide instructions to submit directly through the CIFF website.

Should I note if I or my film has an Ohio connection?

Absolutely! We love giving our Ohio filmmakers and films extra love. We even have a Local Heroes Competition that awards the winner with $7,500!

Should I note if I am currently a student?

Definitely! Especially if it’s a short film to be eligible for our Best Student Short Film award of $1,000!

Should I send a press-kit with my film?

No need to send in a press-kit, paper or digital, with your film at this point. If your film is selected though, you will eventually need to supply extra press materials, including high-res digital photos.

How and when will I be notified if my film was accepted?

You will be notified by email whether your film has been selected for exhibition at the 41st CIFF. Our notification deadline is February 28th, 2017, but is subject to change. We will try to let you know as soon as possible whether your film made it or not, but please be patient as our selection process does take time.

Can I get feedback about my film?

Yes! Each Selection Committee member offers comments about every film they watch. If you would like to see your comments, please wait until after our festival ends (April 9, 2017) and contact our Special Projects Director Beth Steele Radisek at beth@clevelandfilm.org.

If my film is selected for exhibition, what formats must my film be available in?

All feature films submitted must be available for exhibition in one of the following formats: DCP (preferably unencrypted) or as a CIFF-approved ProRes digital file. BLU-RAY AND DVD WILL NOT BE SCREENED FOR EXHIBITION.

All short films submitted must be available for exhibition as a CIFF-approved ProRes digital file. Short films will be transferred temporarily onto CIFF’s secure and private hard drive system for presentation in one or more of our compiled short programs. BLU-RAY AND DVD WILL NOT BE SCREENED FOR EXHIBITION.

CIFF-approved ProRes digital files are defined as .mov files encoded with ProRes 422 or ProRes 422(HQ). We will not accept ProRes LT, 4444, or Apple Animation Codec files, among other files not listed. Exhibition files must be sent to the CIFF office on hard drives that will be returned post-festival. If your film is accepted, please clarify with CIFF if your file meets our requirements as soon as possible.

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