Every film begins with a story, and storytelling in the filmmaking process is the essence of the New York State Writers Institute’s Albany Film Festival.

This annual spring event is a natural outgrowth of the Writers Institute’s mission to be one of the nation’s preeminent literary presenting organizations. We host filmmakers and screen films that explore the craft of diverse storytelling in cinema, foster a deeper understanding of social justice and celebrate the human experience in all its dimensions.

The Festival includes in-depth panel discussions and how-to workshops with writers, screenwriters, filmmakers and film industry professionals, film critics and authors who have adapted their books into films. The program provides an intensive immersion into the intersection between writing and filmmaking.

Full-length and short film screenings of new work from aspiring student filmmakers to acclaimed directors will be shown, along with conversations and Q&As that encourage audience participation. Classic films will also be part of the Festival, augmenting the Writers Institute’s long-running and highly regarded Classic Film Series.

The forum for the Festival is the University at Albany, an academic institution that is one of the most diverse public research universities in the country, with 18,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

Since 1983, the Writers Institute has been the place where readers, writers and filmmakers meet. The Albany Film Festival expands and continues those conversations.

Audiences will vote on the best short films shown during the festival. Votes will be tallied and winners will be announced at the conclusion of the festival on March 28, 2020.

Awards/Certificates and monetary prizes will also be given out for the following awards:
Best Overall Short Film--$500
Best Overall Student Short Film--$300
Best Comedic Short Film--$150
Best Dramatic Short Film--$150
Best Experimental Short Film--$150
Best Documentary Short Film--$150

*Short film submissions must have a connection to New York State, defined as 1) film shot primarily or significantly on location in New York and/or 2) a film where one or more of the film’s principal/creative personnel is one of the following: a) born in New York, b) a current or former New York resident for one or more years, or c) an alumnus or current student at a school located in New York.

*For Student Short Film Submissions: Must be a student in New York State. Student Verification Required: applicants required to attach a copy of their valid student ID (either upload a copy of your student ID to FilmFreeway or send it in an email to writers@albany.edu). All other entries will be disqualified from this category.

*All Genres accepted
*Entries must be original works
*All short film submissions must be submitted through FilmFreeway
*Digital submissions only, either on VIMEO, YouTube and/or other online sources
*No DVD or Blu-rays accepted
*One submission per category
*Submitted films should have been completed on or after January 1, 2018
*No premiere requirements
*The Albany Film Festival reserves the right to decide which films are screened. A prescreening committee will evaluate each entry to determine the official selections for screening at the festival.
*The Albany Film Festival will not be paying screening fees for official selections.
*Entry fees are non-refundable.

*RELEASE: The New York State Writers Institute Albany Film Festival (NYSWIAFF) is granted permission and the right by the submitter to use excerpts, quotes, stills, titles, photos and footage for promotional purposes prior to, during and after the NYSWIAFF 2020. The NYSWIAFF is granted permission and the right to use photos, footage and other materials gathered during the event for promotional purposes in perpetuity. Promotion may include, but not be limited to, New York State Writers Institute and Albany Film Festival websites, e-communications, social media, TV, internet, radio and print sources. The submitter provides NYSWIAFF with indemnity and release from any/all liabilities, losses, damages, claims and expenses relating to any trademark, copyright, credits, publicity and screening.