Cleveland International Film Festival } March 27 – April 7, 2019 } Tower City Cinemas

When can I submit my film?

Our Call for Entries for CIFF43 (March 27-April 7, 2019) opened June 1, 2018 on FilmFreeway, Withoutabox, and the CIFF website, and closes on December 16, 2018.


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, please click here.


What's the deadline for submitting my film?

All entries must be submitted completely by December 16, 2018, our extended deadline. Early submission discounts apply until November 30th, 2018 – please see our fee schedule on FilmFreeway, Withoutabox, or the CIFF 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 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 8, 2019. 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, New Media, and especially International – we screened films from 72 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, 2017. We unfortunately are not considering news programs, talk show, or reality show formats at this time.


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. If you would like to submit your work in the New Media category, your work must showcase interactive storytelling, resulting in a non-theatrical presentation at the festival. Some examples of New Media include VIRTUAL REALITY, AUGMENTED REALITY, TRANSMEDIA WEBSITES, INTERACTIVE GAMING, CROSS-PLATFORM FILMS, and MULTI-MEDIA INSTALLATIONS. Content can be narrative, documentary, animation, or experimental, but must include an interactive element. If your submission meets the criteria for this category, you MUST email us directly at prior to submitting, with a description and explanation of how your project falls into the New Media category, 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.


Do you have competitions?

Do we ever! The CIFF currently has 13 competitions for feature films and 17 competitions for short films, and we're always expanding our award program. At the 42nd CIFF, we gave away nearly $130,000 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 43rd festival.


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?

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


Can I submit if my film was, is, or will be available before the 42nd 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.


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!


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 43rd CIFF. Our notification deadline is February 24, 2019, 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 7, 2019) and contact our Special Projects Director Beth Steele Radisek at


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. If your film is accepted, please clarify with CIFF if your file meets our requirements as soon as possible.


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