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

When can I submit my film?

Our Call for Entries for CIFF44 (March 25-April 5, 2020) opened June 1, 2019 on FilmFreeway and closes on December 20, 2019. We now require all entrants to submit their films through FilmFreeway.


What's the production deadline to submit to the 44th CIFF?

Productions made after June 1, 2018 may be submitted, with the exception of those works previously submitted to CIFF. No works previously submitted to the festival will be considered.


What's the deadline for submitting my film?

All entries must be submitted completely by December 20, 2019, our final deadline. Early submission discounts apply until November 30th, 2019 – please see our fee schedule on FilmFreeway.


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?

After submitting, please check your FilmFreeway account to make sure that your submission meets our requirements and has been accepted for consideration. It is your responsibility to make sure all requirements are met and necessary information is given. 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.


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 6, 2020 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, New Media, 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, 2018. We unfortunately are not considering news programs, talk show, or reality show formats at this time.


Do you accept NEW MEDIA/VIRTUAL REALITY content?

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

If you would like to submit your project to the New Media category, your project must showcase interactive storytelling, resulting in a non-theatrical presentation at the festival. Films meant to be shown theatrically will not qualify for this category. Some examples of New Media include VIRTUAL REALITY, AUGMENTED REALITY, TRANSMEDIA WEBSITES, and INTERACTIVE GAMING. 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 project does meet the criteria, we will then provide a password to submit for free. Written feedback from our screening team will not be provided for New Media submissions.


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 43rd 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 44th 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 43rd 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 44th CIFF. Our notification deadline is February 21, 2020, 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 5, 2020) and contact our Special Projects Director Beth Steele Radisek at No comments will be provided for New Media submissions or 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 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.


CIFF Tweets

It’s a valid question. #Oscars2020

about an hour ago   .   Reply   .   Retweet   .   Favorite

CIFF Facebook Posts

Miss the big news? Check this out!

about an hour ago   .   Link

CIFF on Instagram

Follow us @clefilmfest

Two of the region’s cultural gems embark on a new chapter together. Today, we’re elated to announce that the Cleveland International Film Festival will move to @playhousesquare in 2021.
Moving to Playhouse Square, CIFF remains in downtown #Cleveland and under one roof.  Festival attendees will experience films in historic and stunning venues, including the Allen Theatre, Key Bank State Theatre, Mimi Ohio Theatre and Connor Palace. Plus, movie-goers will be steps away from dining and nightlife spots in the district. 
As it has for the past several years, Opening Night at #CIFF44 will take place at Playhouse Square. The Festival, as a whole, will remain at Tower City Cinemas for 2020. Find program details for #CIFF44 at on Feb.28th so stay tuned.

Posted by clefilmfest at 7:00 PM

Questions? >


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

Become A CIFF Member >

Become A CIFF Member

We have six different levels of membership to choose from, so find the one that best fits your film appetite!

Sign up for our email newsletter

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • instagram
  • youtube
  • flickr
  • alexa
  • foursquare



Sign up to receive news and updates


No thanks, maybe later.