Founded in 1973, the AIFVF has been presenting the best in international film for 51 years. Known globally as a festival that supports cinema from underground and marginalized populations, the AIFVF represents the values that we share as a community. It is a champion of justice and provides a voice for underrepresented artists and viewpoints on a global level. For almost five decades, Athens International has embraced experimental, animated, narrative and documentary, short-form and feature length films from every corner of the globe, offering filmmakers a stellar platform for public exposure and an environment that values artistry above marquee names and industry relationships. AIFVF is recognized by the Academy® of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a qualifying festival in the short narrative and short animation categories.

The Competition Process

Each year, a Prescreening Committee comprised of artists, students, and community activists watch all the films and videos entered in the competition. After all entries have been watched, the pre-screeners evaluate all entries to determine films to include in public screenings.
Cash prizes of $1000.00 USD are awarded by guest jurors, in the following categories: Feature Documentary, Short Documentary, Experimental, Feature Narrative, Short Narrative, and Animation. There are two additional awards chosen by the jury: The Black Bear Award for best use of sound and The Film House Award for visionary filmmaking. Festival Jurors will be announced just prior to the festival and awards will be announced on the final day of the festival.

We are an Academy® Qualifying Festival in the Short Narrative, and Animated Short, categories.

Competition films are programmed around various themes that emerge from the films selected; our intention is to group films into shows that reflect a common thematic thread. For our 2023 competition 2,200 films were submitted. From these; around 240 films from 60 countries were chosen to screen over the week of the festival.
AIFVF is unable to provide screening fees for works in competition but we do our best to provide the best hospitality we can for visiting filmmakers including subsidized lodging, free festival passes and filmmaker lunch every day during the festival.

Filmmaker Perks

The Athens International Film and Video Festival also sponsors guest artists screenings, that often include workshops and additional opportunities for artists to meet with audience members fellow filmmakers and members of our community.

All visiting filmmakers and their guests are provided with lunch everyday in our filmmaker lounge during the festival. In the past with help from our sponsors the festival has provided half the cost of hotel rooms for visiting filmmakers as a way to ease the costs associated with visiting Athens during the festival.

We host special workshops and talks for filmmakers by our guest artists. In 2016 Ed Lachman (academy nominated cinematographer of "Carol" and "Far from Heaven") and Charles Burnett ("Killer for Sheep", "To Sleep With Anger") led discussions and answered questions about their process and careers. In 2017 we moderated a panel discussion on Women and Comedy, had extended interviews with artist/activist Sabaah Folayan and photographer/media artist Martha Rosler and held special screenings including a screening of Harlan County U.S.A. followed by a special post-screening discussion with Jerry Johnson (one of the coal miners in the film). Previous festivals have included workshops, presentations and discussions with internationally recognized artists including multimedia artist Laurie Anderson.

Each year special jurors comprised of guest artists, and other professionals in the field award cash prizes in each category (Experimental, Short Narrative, Feature Narrative, Animation, Music Video, Short Documentary, and Feature Documentary) as well as The Black Bear Award for best use of sound and the Film House Award for visionary filmmaking. Jurors give out over $20,000 in prizes and services each year.

1st prize winners in Short Narrative and Animated Short are Academy Qualifying.

Awards for each category:
1st prize: $1000 USD for each category (Experimental, Short Narrative, Feature Narrative, Animation, Music Video, Short Documentary, and Feature Documentary)

Black Bear Award (for best use of sound): $500

Film House Award (for visionary filmmaking): $500

Research Award $500

In addition to prize money awards may also include services and items from our sponsors.

Ohio based students are eligible to submit for free- please contact us by email for more information.

In the event of extenuating circumstances AIFVF may need to pivot to an online festival or change the format of our event. It's always our hope to screen works live in our theater and we have managed to do that through the pandemic but some circumstances may force us to adapt a festival online. If such an event occurs we will contact filmmakers as soon as we can and keep you fully informed. Our most important mission is to present your work in the best light possible to our audience and we will do all we can to do that.

Entries that have been submitted to previous Athens International Film and Video Festivals are not eligible.

AIFVF does not provide screening fees for films in competition.

Because of the number of entries received, not all entries are chosen to screen during the Festival. A prescreening committee, comprised of filmmakers, videomakers, and other artists associated with the Athens Center for Film and Video, will watch and evaluate each entry to determine which works are selected for screening during the Festival.

All works that evidence a high regard for artistic innovation, sensitivity to content, and personal involvement with the medium will be welcomed.

* Please note *
We do not accept mailed in screeners (please do not send DVDs, BLURAYs, or flash drives to our office).

We do not accept prescreening materials through email and are unable to download files from sharing services. Submissions are only accepted through our FilmFreeway.

An entrant must accept our prescreening process; Entries must be original works. Athens International Film + Video Festival (Ohio) is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes. The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby 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 Athens International Film + Video Festival from and against any and all 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 involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.
By submitting your film you agree (if selected) to let the Athens International Film + Video Festival screen your film during the festival.

Overall Rating
  • Sam Genovese

    Thank you for screening the music video"Ecstasy of Love."

    May 2024
  • Jean-Pierre Caner

    The Athens International Film and Video Festival is a very special film festival whose programming is outstanding -- by far the strongest selection of films I've seen at a festival, which made screening my film "Stakes Is High" feel like a real honor.

    The festival happens in Athens, Ohio, which is a small college town about an hour outside of Columbus. It's put together by the film department of the university, which means they have the talent and resources to create a thoughtful program of great films. My screening was filled with students and local movie-goers who were passionate about cinema, which made for a great Q&A with festival Director David Colagiovanni.

    It wasn't until I watched several shorts programs that I realized how incredible the programming was under Colagiovanni's leadership -- I was completely blown away by the films, all of which were made by filmmakers I had never heard of before. The festival is filled with movie magic and everyone around it was extremely kind.

    May 2024
  • Ken Sackheim

    This is a great town and a great festival. Very welcoming. Thanks so much for including 'Always, Already' in this year's line up. Highly recommend submitting to Athens!

    May 2024
  • Anca Dimitriu

    A fabulous festival, with a great atmosphere and an excellent audience. We are honored and grateful for the selection of our film. Athens International Film and Video Festival is a must!

    April 2024
  • Ahmed T. Ragheb

    We had an absolute blast at AIFVF! Easily one of the best film festivals around - great programming, great communication, great venue and all in a great town! I highly recommend it to all filmmakers!

    April 2024