Cleveland International Film Festival } March 25 – April 5, 2020 } Tower City Cinemas

Call for Entries

The 44th Cleveland International Film Festival will be held March 25 - April 05, 2020 at Tower City Cinemas in Cleveland, Ohio, and is now accepting submissions through December 20, 2019.

CIFF is one of the few Academy Award® qualifying festivals in the world for all three categories of short films – live action, animated, and documentary. CIFF is also one of the only festivals that continues to provide written feedback from our screening team. This past year, CIFF gave cash awards totaling over $125,000 to the winning filmmakers of 30 different competitions.

With the 44th CIFF Call for Entries officially open, films made after June 1, 2018 are now being accepted for consideration. We now ask that all entrants submit their films through FilmFreeway by clicking on the link below.

CIFF is once again accepting NEW MEDIA content free of charge! If your submission meets the criteria for this category (please see requirements provided in our Call for Entries FAQ), you MUST email us directly at prior to submitting, with a description and example(s) of your content.

Please visit our FilmFreeway page or our Call for Entries FAQ to learn all you need to know about submitting your films to the 44th Cleveland International Film Festival, including rules, deadlines, and fees. For further questions, please email our Special Projects Director Beth Steele Radisek at

Submit your film:


"The Cleveland International Film Festival may very well be the best kept secret in the festival world. No red carpets, no photo calls. And yet they somehow manage to pack theaters for several screenings in a row. Plus they make it easy for you to watch films, they offer food and drinks around the clock, and everyone goes out of their way to assist you with anything you might need. No one is stressed or arrogant or ignorant, everyone is in good moods and sincerely friendly, sharp, and efficient. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone – in today's world, almost unbelievable. It's a well-oiled machine dedicated to cinema, made of an army of caring humans." – Christina Kallas, Director, THE RAINBOW EXPERIMENT

"The Cleveland International Film Festival was a remarkable event, truly hospitable and a beautifully wide, eclectic mix of strong films. But most impressive for me were the audiences – regular viewers, not industry, there for one reason only: because they love film. You could really feel that." – Thomas Lennon, Director, SACRED

"We tell stories to connect and inspire one another. CIFF took the stories from the screens to the community to allow people to take action together to change the world. It's the ultimate reward for filmmakers to see their work go from screens to the community. This is the love and community that every filmmaker, artist, and activist needs to have behind them." – Apo W. Bazidi, Director, RESISTANCE IS LIFE


Check out our FAQs for answers to common questions about entering the film festival.

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CIFF Tweets

We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to Geoffrey Gund for his 43 years of service. Endless congratulations…

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Check out our FAQs for answers to common questions about entering the film festival.

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