Located on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay less than an hour away from Washington D.C., Annapolis is best known for its rich colonial and naval history. In addition to being the first capital of the United States, Annapolis is also home to St John’s College (the third oldest college in the U.S.) and the U.S. Naval Academy. As the sailing capital of the U.S. and a vacation destination, it charms its tourists with many restaurants, museums, and galleries.

After marking our 10th Anniversary this year, we are looking forward to embarking on our second decade. We were excited to hold all screenings in-person this year and plan to offer that again next year. Our venues are walkable within the city center and provide filmmakers with a high-quality digital presentation. We are seeking an approximate total of 90 films to be shown March 23 – 26, 2023.

Our festival is known for its quality slate with a line-up of both documentary and narrative films (short and feature-length) from emerging and established filmmakers. We present a balanced program consisting of films with a common emphasis on storytelling excellence and/or innovative vision and cinematic artistry.

In addition to our commitment to screen the newest acclaimed films and premieres, we are also interested in films with nautical and environmental themes, films highlighting diverse cultures including African American, Latinx, Asian and Jewish experiences as well as LGBTQ+ and women-centric perspectives.

This year we are giving cash prizes to our Jury Award-winners for Best Narrative Feature Film and Short Film and Best Documentary Feature and Short Documentary. A select number of films in each category will be nominated and judged by a jury of industry professionals. Juried films will be awarded for displaying exceptional creativity, originality, and skill in script, direction, acting and production. Audience Awards will also be presented to Narrative and Documentary Feature and Short Films. The Audience Award-winners will be screened in the Best of Fest program on Sunday evening, March 26.

Past guests have included iconic director Rob Reiner (LBJ), esteemed documentarian Albert Maysles (Grey Gardens, Gimme Shelter), actress Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey), actor Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice), actor Rory Culkin (Gabriel), Independent Spirit Award-winning filmmakers Matt Spicer (Ingrid Goes West) and Joshua Marston (Maria Full of Grace), Oscar-winning screenwriter David S. Ward (The Sting) and noted speaker/writer/producer Ambassador Shabazz.
Directors John Patton Ford (Emily the Criminal) and Abi Damaris Corbin (892) both attended this year’s festival and were at the awards ceremony when their films tied for the Feature Jury Prize and their leading actors each won an acting prize (Aubrey Plaza for Best Actress and John Boyega for Best Actor)
2021 was a completely virtual festival and Emmy Award winning actress Rhea Perlman joined us for a virtual Q&A after the opening night screening of her film Marvelous and the Black Hole.

Oscar-nominated actress Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient) and director Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty) were slated to attend the 2020 Opening night with their film Military Wives, but had to cancel due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

The AFF continues to strengthen the reputation of our festival by bringing top films to this beautiful city and to invite filmmakers to showcase global perspectives and independent thought to a community that truly embraces the art of filmmaking. Visiting filmmakers have been thrilled with the community's response. One filmmaker claimed, "this festival has the smartest audiences and the most community engagement we have seen on the festival circuit".

The mission of the Annapolis Film Festival is to encourage and grant the development of all aspects of the creative arts in and around Annapolis through the cinema experience. With independent films, panels and special showcases that will inspire, enlighten and entertain diverse audiences on a variety of topics, the festival will ensure the promotion of Annapolis as a cultural arts center.

Jury Award - Narrative Feature ($1000)
Jury Award - Documentary Feature ($1000)
Jury Award - Narrative Short ($500)
Jury Award - Documentary Short ($500)
Audience Award - Narrative Feature
Audience Award - Documentary
Audience Award - Narrative Short
Audience Award - Documentary Short

I agree to the Rules & Terms as follows:

1.) The Annapolis Film Festival is accepting entries with a completion date of anytime after June of 2021. Submissions to the Annapolis Film Festival, Inc. must not be scheduled for theatrical release or broadcast on television prior to April 2022. Submissions must not have had prior public screenings in the Annapolis area (unless an exception is granted by the festival).

2.) All films submitted must be free from any legal disputes and third-party claims and filmmaker must have cleared all rights for music and public exhibition.

3.) Please note that for preview purposes the festival accepts secured online screeners through our online submission platform or via a password protected online link.

4.) Entries should be accompanied by any required materials (e.g. fees, press kits, student IDs, etc).

5.) Submissions must be in English or subtitled in English.

6.) Narrative and documentary feature films must have a run time of a minimum of 40 minutes. Short films must have a run time of under 40 minutes.

7.) Filmmakers will be notified by approximately Jan. 15, 2023, if their film has been accepted to the Annapolis Film Festival, Inc.

8.) Upon acceptance, exhibition copies and additional press materials will be requested. Selected films will be screened in the following exhibition formats: DCP (for select venues) or digital files (MP4 or .MOV) must arrive on hard drive or thumb drive. Please notify us in writing about any exceptions to the delivery date, otherwise you may forfeit your place in the program and the Annapolis Film Festival, Inc. is under no obligation to screen a selected film.

9) The individual or corporation submitting the film warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations. The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless the Annapolis Film Festival, Inc., Inc. from and against any and all disputes, arbitration, claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court), which may be incurred by reason of any claim, including but not limited to third party claims involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to or the inability to screen videos entered.

10) The festival will not pay screening fees for any submitted film that we program.

Overall Rating
  • Ani Vo

    One of the coolest festivals for sure! We were honoured to be part with "Taste of Home" at Annapolis Film Festival alongside many great films. The festival programmer is one of the best and made sure everything went smoothly, always checking in even though we weren't able to make it in person. After the festival they connected us to all the other filmmakers and made it possible for us to stay in touch which is such a bonus effort! Chef's kiss and 10/10 for Annapolis Film Festival! Thank you for having us.

    April 2023
  • The recognition AFF has given my team and me is genuinely humbling, and we are grateful for the support. I was impressed with the entire team's professionalism, warmth, and hospitality when I arrived. The curation of the other films was outstanding, and I was thrilled to be part of such a diverse and inspiring program. I also appreciated the excellent communication, attention to detail, and smooth organization of every festival aspect. I want to acknowledge the dedication and hard work that made the festival successful. From the selection committee to the volunteers, everyone contributed to creating an incredible experience for filmmakers and attendees alike. The festival's mission to support independent filmmaking and promote cultural understanding was at the heart of everything at AFF. I will cherish the memories of my time for years. I hope to participate again and continue to be part of the festival's inspiring community.

    April 2023
  • Austin Kolodney

    Had a blast at the Annapolis Film Festival. The organizers, programmers, hospitality/transpo managers, and volunteer staff all went above and beyond to make us filmmakers feel welcome and appreciated. Annapolis is a beautiful little town... and winning an Audience Award was the icing on the cake of a weekend filled with GREAT people, food, events, and most importantly: films.

    April 2023
  • Kendall Outing

    I had a wonderful time at Annapolis Film Festival. I met so many creatives who were extremely welcoming. Also, the events were awesome! The pitch event was really interesting to see and the films were all of high quality. Hope to be back next year!

    April 2023
  • Daniel Rashid

    I had an amazing time in Annapolis. From the top-notch programming, to the events, to the hospitality & communication — their team clearly pours their hearts into the experience and I couldn't have been happier with my time there. The people of Annapolis really fill the screenings, and there were so many awesome filmmakers in attendance. Don't miss out on this special festival in a beautiful east coast town!

    April 2023