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

Visit the beautiful historic spa town of Berkeley Springs West Virginia and enjoy the festival at 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 are still TBD. In past years we had: 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: https://www.BSFilmFestival.com/seminars ). Website has not yet been updated, but will be in a week or so.

Attend the on-stage Awards Ceremony and after-party Saturday night, all at the Star Theater. 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.

UPDATE: We have confirmation that Academy Award Winning Makeup Artist John Caglione, Jr. will be conducting a seminar on Saturday, provided he doesn't get called away for a film. Rare opportunity to see a master at work! https://www.johncaglionejr.net/

To purchase tickets for family, friends or associates, please go to our website:
www.BSfilmfestival.com (website not yet updated from the 2022 festival.

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. We are still working on prizes. More info later. 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 DVD. 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
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • William Strang-Moya

    The organizers are sincere, communicative, and dedicated to promoting independent filmmakers. Gorgeous venue in a charming town. I hope to see this festival continue to grow.

    October 2022
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    Response from festival:

    William, thank you for your gracious review. This means a lot coming from a successful film festival organizer!

  • THE WINTER HUNGER HUNGER

    Great festival, very good communication with the participants.
    We are delighted to have been selected for this edition and we would have loved to attend personally but from Spain it was quite complicated.

    Go ahead with the festival, we love the environment in which it is held.

    October 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you very much for the review! We enjoyed your film. Please keep us in mind for your next film.

  • A great festival with very good communication. Honored that my film Mamody, the last baobab digger was screened this year.

    October 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Cyrille,
    Thank you for your review! We loved your film. Hope to see more!
    Brett

  • Steven Adam Renkovish

    It was a true honor that my film, The Awakening of Lilith, won the 'Best Actress' Award at this festival! Communication was always on point, and I can't wait to submit again! A wonderful event!

    October 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Steven, congratulations on your award! Thank you for your review! Hope to see you again next year.
    Brett

  • Boone Cavender

    Great festival. Everyone there was very nice and I got to see a lot of amazing films. Cool town at a beautiful theatre run by some groovy folks. Wonderful to see a hefty variety of film on display. I'll definitely submit again next year.

    Check this festival out! If you like festivals, its one of the best ones I've attended.

    October 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Boone,
    Thank you for the kind words! Glad you had a good time. Next year will be even better.
    Brett