Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 18, 2021 } Playhouse Square

When and where will CIFF45 take place?

CIFF45 is scheduled to take place April 7–18, 2021 at its new home at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, so long as health and safety conditions permit CIFF to do so. An impressive collection of historic theaters in the middle of a vibrant entertainment district, Playhouse Square is the largest performing arts center in the U.S. outside of New York City.

Although it is impossible to predict the state of the world next spring, the Cleveland International Film Festival is committed to not only maintaining, but also deepening its connections to independent film, filmmakers, and our community, in any and every way that we are able to do so. We will continue planning for CIFF45, while closely monitoring health and safety guidelines. It is our priority to communicate any news about possible event changes if and when they may occur. Potential changes could include dates, venues, and formats.

CIFF values the health and safety of all Festival participants, audience members, staff, and volunteers and takes their well-being seriously, especially in view of the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. To protect audience, filmmaker, staff, and volunteer health and safety and comply with any applicable orders or guidelines issued by federal, state, or local authorities, CIFF reserves the right to cancel CIFF45; institute rules governing in-person participation at CIFF45, such as theater- or event-capacity limits and face-covering requirements; or revise the dates, location, and in-person format of CIFF45 at any time, including, but not limited to, after having accepted films for screening during the Festival. CIFF reserves the right to hold CIFF45 as an entirely online event if CIFF, in its sole discretion, determines that circumstances so require. CIFF is committed to communicating any changes to the CIFF45 program to applicants, participants, and audience members in a timely manner via its website and/or direct communication with filmmakers.


When can I submit my film?

Our Call for Entries for CIFF45 (April 7-April 18, 2021) is now open on FilmFreeway. All entries must be submitted completely by January 8, 2021, which is our Extended Deadline. Submission fees for CIFF45 increase over time. Early submissions are therefore encouraged. For further details, please see CIFF’s FilmFreeway. page.


What's the production deadline?

As CIFF is one of many festivals to sign Seed & Spark’s 2020 Film Festival Survival Pledge, we have committed to extending production deadlines to June 1, 2019 for all CIFF45 submissions. Productions completed after June 1, 2019 are eligible to submit for CIFF45.


Can I get the submission fee waived?

CIFF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Fees collected through the Call for Entries process assist in our operations, so please do not request a waiver, unless you meet one of the following requirements.

If your film was submitted to and selected for CIFF44, then you may resubmit your film for CIFF45 with a waiver. If your film was submitted for CIFF44, but not selected, then you will not be able to resubmit the same film for CIFF45.

If you are an Applicant who is also a CIFF Alum, meaning that CIFF has screened one of your feature or short films in a previous festival, then CIFF will waive your submission fee for any film meeting the CIFF45 requirements outlined herein.

To request a fee waiver, please contact Beth Steele Radisek, CIFF’s Special Programs Director, at


How do I know that you received my submission?

Once your film has been submitted via the CIFF45 FilmFreeway portal, it is your responsibility to check your FilmFreeway account to ensure that your submission meets CIFF’s requirements; that you have provided all necessary information to CIFF; and that your film has been accepted by CIFF for consideration. Within one week after your submission date, CIFF will send you an email confirming that it has received your submission and, if applicable, requesting any further information needed from you.


Do you accept online screeners?

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

Please review how to submit your online screener through FilmFreeway on their FAQ page here. Through FilmFreeway, we accept HD uploads and Vimeo links.

If links are password-protected, passwords must be valid through April 19, 2021 or your submission will be considered INVALID and will be DISQUALIFIED with no refund.


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.


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 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! All Web Series submissions must meet the requirements listed below and are subject to the same pricing and rules as short films.

All work submitted to our Web Series category must be a series of multiple videos in episodic form that pertain to the same theme and may not be longer than 45 minutes per episode. Only one episode needs to be submitted, though supplemental episodes may be requested after the original work is pre-screened. Therefore please submit what you feel is your strongest piece in the series. All episodes within the series must have been made after June 1, 2019. We unfortunately are not considering news programs, talk show, or reality show formats at this time.


Do you accept NEW MEDIA/VIRTUAL REALITY content?

At this time, CIFF regrets that it has no plans to include New Media presentations in CIFF45, due to CIFF’s concerns that it will be unable to implement reasonable measures to protect participants’ health and safety in interactive environments. CIFF therefore will not consider any New Media submissions for CIFF45, including Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Video Games, or Interactive Media. Should this policy change, CIFF will update its FilmFreeway page and permit New Media submissions to remain free of charge in accordance with CIFF’s past practice. CIFF encourages any New Media creators who are interested in submitting work for CIFF45 to check CIFF’s FilmFreeway page regularly for any updates.


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?

If your film was submitted and selected for CIFF44, you may resubmit for CIFF45. Please email for a waiver. If your film was submitted, but not selected for CIFF44, you will not be able to resubmit the same film for CIFF45. All work previously submitted prior to CIFF44 will not be considered.


Can I submit works in progress or instructional works?

No, please do not submit works in progress or industrial/instructional works.


Does my film have to be a premiere to submit?

As CIFF is one of many festivals to sign Seed & Spark’s 2020 Film Festival Survival Pledge, we have committed to relaxing premiere restrictions for all CIFF45 submissions. We will also accept any films screened online in an official ticketed festival capacity. There are no premiere restrictions for CIFF45 submissions.


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 45th CIFF. Our notification deadline is March 5, 2021, 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! Written feedback from our screening team will be provided post-festival for all films that pay to submit in full. If you would like to see your comments, please wait until after our festival ends (April 18, 2021) and contact our Special Projects Director Beth Steele Radisek at No comments will be provided for any films that submit with a waiver or discount.


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

All films submitted must be available for theatrical exhibition as a DCP or CIFF-approved digital file. 35MM, BLU-RAY, AND DVD ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE FORMATS FOR EXHIBITION.

Selected participants must upload all exhibition files electronically to CIFF’s secure-storage platform, powered by CineSend. CIFF will not accept any exhibition files for CIFF45 that are submitted on a hard drive.


CIFF on Instagram

Follow us @clefilmfest

We are thrilled to once again partner with @pncbank! Our sincere thanks for their support of our Halfway to #CIFF45 event. If you’ve yet to purchase your streaming tickets, don’t delay! Tickets are available on a sliding scale starting at $5.00. info at the Fall Online Event Series link in our bio!
#CIFF45 #CIFF #film #filmfestivals #independentfilm #internationalfilm #documentaries #shortfilms #cleveland #clevelandfilm #ohio #ohiofilm

Posted by clefilmfest at 7:00 PM

CIFF Tweets

We are thrilled to once again partner with @PNCBank! Our sincere thanks for their support of our Halfway to #CIFF45 event. If you’ve yet to get your tickets, don't delay! Tickets are available on a sliding scale starting at $5.

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CIFF Facebook Posts

We are thrilled to once again partner with PNC! Our sincere thanks for their support of our Halfway to #CIFF45 event. If youve yet to purchase your streaming tickets, dont delay! Tickets are available on a sliding scale starting at $5.00.

3 days ago   .   Link

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