Open Road Film Festival in collaboration with The Valley Place Arts Collaborative is open for submission!

(nationwide or worldwide). All genres welcome.

We have a special cash award, juried prize for any filmmakers local to the DMV (District, Maryland and Virginia) in our:
ANACOSTIA Shorts Contest:
Winner: $2,000
2nd place: $1,000
3rd Place: $500
Note for us if your submission should be considered in the Anacostia Shorts contest.

The OTHER shorts in the festival are eligible for an HONORARY award of either:
BEST OF THE FEST - a juried award.
AUDIENCE FAVORITE - determined by audience ballot.

We can't wait to watch your films!

This will be a three day event consisting of two in person screenings and one virtual live screening. It will take place May 4 - 6.

Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5 is in person. The IN PERSON screenings will take place at the Honfleur Gallery (1241 Good Hope Rd SE, Washington, DC 20020) from 6:00PM - 8:30PM EST.

Each Day of the In Person screenings will be followed by a filmmakers Q&A with any attending filmmakers whose works were shown.

Monday, May 6 will ONLY be virtual and will be live streamed on YouTube, 6:00PM - 7:30PM EST at

A recording of the festival and Q&A will be available after the fact on Open Road's YouTube channel for a limited time.

If you are a DMV (District, Maryland and Virginia) based filmmaker, we would love to have you submit your short film (under 20 minutes) to share with us and be a part of the contest.

ANACOSTIA Shorts Contest
Open to local filmmakers of the DMV (District, Maryland and Virginia):
Winner: $2,000
2nd place: $1,000
3rd Place: $500

The other shorts in the festival will not receive a cash prize but will be considered in competition for our two honorary awards:
BEST OF THE FEST - a juried award.
AUDIENCE FAVORITE determined by audience ballot.

Prizes will be awarded on the 5th.

Submission criteria:
In English or in the original language with English subtitles.

More than one entry may be submitted; however an official entry and entry fee must accompany each submission.

Your film does not need to be a premiere and it can exist online to be considered for the festival. But if the film does exist online, just as a screening courtesy, if it is chosen, try your best to make it not view-able during the screening weekend. If you submitted your film last year, only resubmit if there have been substantive changes to the film.

Our preference for online screeners is password-protected Vimeo links or films uploaded directly to FilmFreeway. Online screeners must be available to stream; we do not accept any movies that must be downloaded.

The submitter is responsible for ensuring that their screener link and password are active. In the event of a password or screener URL change after submitting, email us immediately. If we discover an error with the screener, we will email the submission contact for an update. Failure to respond by the final submission deadline will result in disqualification without refund of submission fees.

If your film is not in English, please provide a subtitle track that is playable with the film.

Please make sure you hold all copyrights to your film and its elements.
Originality and Permissions
Films must be the original work of the applicant(s). If a film is based upon another person’s life or upon a book or another work, applicant(s) must secure any necessary rights to make such adaptations. However, it is not necessary to submit the adaptation rights agreements to the Festival. Neither the Festival nor its jurists investigates or attests to the authenticity of an applicant’s statement of authorship or rights secured. By entering the competition, you are acknowledging that you have secured all necessary rights.
Applicants are solely responsible for obtaining all necessary rights and permissions for third-party materials included in the film, including but not limited to music, trademarks, logos, copyrights, and other intellectual property rights. YouFilmFest expressly disclaims all liability or responsibility for any violations of the foregoing.

All films will be judged blind and solely on their own merits.

We are producing a full on, live film festival and awards ceremony. HOWEVER, we are susceptible to country, state and local laws, which enforce specific, gathering guidelines. To that end, circumstances beyond our control include venue policy and protocol, and insurance limitations.

For the year 2023 and for the foreseeable future, we will be producing both a virtual and live event. Please understand, before submitting, that with little to no notification, we may have to change presentation formats.

Overall Rating
  • Lawrence Green

    Great film festival. Wonderful hosts. Various awards and recognitions. Highly recommended!

    May 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Lawrence. It was our great pleasure to share your film and meet you!

  • Congratulations to the Open Road Film Festival for having a great 1st-year debut. It was a pleasure to be part of your festival and my gratitude for selecting my short " A Morsel of Love" as a winner and having me for a Q&A session. The communication was great and Ms. Lisa, you are just so adorable. Wish your festival the best of luck in the coming years. Thank You

    March 2022
    Response from festival:

    Oh thank you Helia! You are so sweet. Loved seeing your film and talking with you! Best of luck with everything! Lisa

  • For a first year festival this event was great!! It was hybrid and our film was being shown in person. What a wonderful time I had. The communication from the team was outstanding and the opportunity to network was made simple. In fact I met a possible future projects partner. Looking forward to next year when I will attend whether or not we have a film showing.

    March 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much, Sheri. It was a pleasure to meet you and to have your film as part of the festival. And I'm so glad that from this there may be the beginning of a future project partner. That is so wonderful and is exactly the kind of opportunities we want this festival to grow. Best to you and to your future filmmaking!