This is a live, in-person film festival BY filmmakers, FOR filmmakers!

Visit the beautiful historic spa town of Berkeley Springs West Virginia during the beginning of the fall foliage time of year in the intimate 224 seat Historic Star Theater!

We expect half the films accepted will receive an award, and all accepted films will receive a free all-access pass for the festival. All-access ticket holders may attend our seminars on Saturday with industry insiders covering topics such as: How to get a job on a major motion picture; How to go about using a mining location for an apocalyptic/exotic film location; SAG presentation on requirements for micro-budget films; Set Safety; and more (see details at: ).

Attend the on-stage Awards Ceremony and after-party with buffet Saturday night, all at the Star Theater (food and beverages extra). Stay in a posh local hotel or B&B and walk to the festival, or save a buck by staying in Hancock MD just 6 miles away, or drive in for the day to see your film on the big screen at the historic Star Theater. You are welcome to sell your merchandise at the festival (contact us after your film has been accepted). We will also provide judges feedback on your film via email, if you request it, regardless whether your film is accepted or not.

We are looking for quality, entertaining films of all genres. Special emphasis on ENTERTAINING. See Rules & Terms below for details.

Last year we didn't have the attendance we expected due to a big COVID outbreak the month before the festival, but we expect to sell out this year. To purchase tickets for family, friends or associates, please go to our website:

We expect at least half the films accepted will receive an award. There is no need to choose a category for your film, other than Documentary or Narrative, and based on runtime (short, feature, etc.). We will evaluate all films for every award, so no need to pay to submit for different award categories. You do not need to be present to win an award, however, it is strongly encouraged and you must be present to receive an award certificate or prize. The audience wants to meet filmmakers.

We are currently soliciting prizes including equipment and cash to be given to as many top winners as possible. Last year we gave away a $500 prize for most impactful WV film, but expect to be able to get donations from equipment manufacturers and more sponsors this year. YOU MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN A PRIZE. If you are not present, your prize will be given to the runner-up that is present at the Awards Ceremony on Saturday night.

Provided we get films that fit in these categories, awards will be given for a minimum of:
Best Short Documentary
Best Feature Documentary
Best Short Narrative Film
Best Feature Narrative Film
Second Best Short Documentary
Second Best Feature Documentary
Second Best Short Narrative Film
Second Best Feature Narrative Film
Best Sound Design
Best Sound Track
Best Audio
Best Short Script
Best Feature Script
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best Special Effects
Best Editing (Short)
Best Editing (Feature)
Best Directing (Short)
Best Directing (Feature)
Best Cinematography (Short)
Best Cinematography (Feature)

By submitting to the festival, you are agreeing that you comply with all our rules and terms. You accept full responsibility and liability for violating these rules.

You must have release forms signed by all your actors and actresses (or guardian if under 18), but we do not require you submit documentation to us.

You must own the film, or have permission from the owner to submit the film.

If you are selling your film anywhere, you must have rights to the music. If you are not selling or monetizing your film in any way, this is not necessary.

Some nudity is allowed, but not pornography.

Film must be made in the past 5 years.

Films cannot be submitted a second time, unless rejected and significantly improved.

You agree we can use clips, screenshots and artwork to promote the festival, but you maintain all rights to your film. We will only show your film in it's entirety during the festival.

Your film may currently be in distribution or available online. We don't care, as long as you don't violate any existing contracts with your distributors, etc.

Any foreign language in the film must be accompanied by English subtitles.

To qualify as a Student Film, Director must be 21 or younger when the film was made (Director does not have to be a student at the time), OR Director can be any age and enrolled in a film class or program when the film was made.

Film must be submitted via FilmFreeway, in MP4 format, without any watermarks, ready to be screened at the festival. We suggest 24 fps for shorts because they will be edited into a single 24 fps film block and may cause jitter at other frame rates. We will only download your film once, when submitted, so do not submit incomplete films. On very rare exceptions, we may accept a feature film in another format such as Blu-ray, but it would have to be an exceptional film. Obtain permission from festival organizers prior to submitting in a different format.

Currently, the theater has a single speaker which plays mono (both left and right channels). This may be upgraded to Dolby 5.1 before the festival, but right now just plays the left and right channels through a single speaker. Please make sure your film has sufficient audio levels (-12 dB to -6 dB) on left and/or right channels. We suggest playing it on your TV via HDMI. If you click to a TV channel and the audio is about the same level as your film, you are good!

The following are not exclusive rules, but we are inclined to choose films that are:
- At least full HD (1080)
- Good quality sound.
- Camera work that doesn't make the audience sea sick.
- Not about COVID.
- Not political.
- Not trying to sell or promote something.
- We generally are not interested in victim films (i.e. sad stories about people being abused) unless it is a horror film.
- All things equal, we give a slight preference to local films made in or about or by filmmakers from WV, VA, DC, MD, PA, but we are most interested in quality entertaining films from around the world.

If for some reason the festival must be cancelled (i.e. new COVID restrictions, etc.), we will include your film in the festival at a later time. If your distribution contract precludes it at that time, we will pull your film at your request. We will not have the festival online. Either it will be held in-person as scheduled, or rescheduled or cancelled. There will be no refunds for any reason.

All communication will be via email, so PLEASE CHECK YOUR EMAIL OFTEN.

Overall Rating
  • Richard Anderson

    Very well done festival. Berkeley Springs is a great town to have a film festival. It is convenient to Baltimore and DC but you really feel like you have escaped to a special place. The quality of the films was really good and the filmmaker's lunch had a very useful presentation. *****

    October 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Richard! It was very nice to meet you and hope to be able to spend more quality time with you chatting about film in the future! We very much appreciate your submission to the festival, and look forward to your next film.

  • Gordon LePage

    Very sorry I could not attend in person, but the organization and communication from Brett and his crew were exemplary. A nice slate of well curated films--will submit again next year.

    October 2021
    Response from festival:

    Gordon, Thank you for the kind words. We loved your animated film! Can't wait to see what you submit next year. We are accepting submissions now for next year. Hope to meet you then!

  • Drew Broadhurst

    This is a wonderful festival that you will definitely want to attend in person. The organizers and volunteers really made filmmakers feel welcomed and appreciated. It was a great experience! The program was so well run and organized that it didn't at all feel like a first year event. The town of Berkeley Springs is a gem and the Star Theater is a wonderful venue that serves popcorn with real butter. I plan to attend this festival next year, even if I don't have a film showing in it.

    October 2021
    Response from festival:

    Drew, thank you for the review. It was a pleasure meeting you. Too bad we were so busy. I would have liked to spend more time getting to know you. Perhaps next year. Next year we are taking it to the next level. A filmmaker's vender table, more opportunity for filmmaker promotion, longer festival, more seminar, etc. See you then!

  • Rico Mickens

    It was an honor to be in the BSFF. You would not have known this was their first film festival due to the well organized staff and the timely manner in which everything was on schedule as stated. This festival was very well planned and thank you for your hospitality. Great meeting you Ellen at registration, Rick, Will, and Brett. Great films from all over and local. Berkeley Springs WV is a wonderful town to walk, eat and enjoy the beautiful country. My wife and I will definitely be there again next yr with another project. Thanks again.

    October 2021
    Response from festival:

    Rico, that was very gracious of you to leave such a nice review. Thank you! We are looking forward to the next episode of Gene next year! Rock on!

  • For a first year festival, this was run like it was handled by total veterans. Brett and Will are consummate professionals. Everything was run ontime and the presentation was great. Films are shown in the little historic one screen theater in downtown Berkeley Springs, WV. The location is gorgeous, the fall weather, immaculate. There's plenty of little things to do and see around town if you want to get up and stretch your legs otherwise the curated lineup of films was very diverse and interesting. There's honestly something for everyone at this festival. We had a great experience and managed to make a number of professional connections with regional filmmakers I believe will end up resulting in future collaborations.

    If there's anything I could be critical of, it's that they maybe handed out too many prizes. If I would change anything, I would only give prizes to best of categories and then limit those to short vs feature and documentary vs narrative. If there was going to be an overall best of fest film I would give a second best of fest overall and leave it of that. But I think, given a year or two they might have more films to judge which would in fact limit the field of winners across the board....a very minor critique, but I would also bunch all the films together by genre and show the horror and sci-fi stuff later in the night. Besides that, I would def submit again and encourage anyone else in the WV/VA/DC/MD/PA region to submit and ATTEND this one. Definitely worth it!!

    October 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for the great review and feedback. You rock! It was a pleasure meeting you! Keep in touch.