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 and Saturday day-pass 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; Special Effects Makeup, Introduction to Cinematography and how to get accepted at film festivals.

Attend the on-stage Awards Ceremony and after-party Saturday night. 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.

To purchase tickets for family, friends or associates, please go to our website:
www.BSfilmfestival.com

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 but last year gave away 5 licenses for WriterDuet screenwriting software. 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 through a single speaker), but the theater is in the process of installing a brand new Dolby 5.1 surround sound system before the festival. 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
  • Christopher Maes

    A small, growing film festival that treats its filmmakers well. Brett and Will handle everything with a group of committed volunteers. I was pleasantly surprised to win 4 awards in total for my feature film "Hemisphere." Enjoyed meeting other local filmmakers. Definitely recommend.

    April 2024
  • Joseph DeGolyer

    A special thanks to BSFF for being the first to show our film Chicken Coop in West Virginia and for the recognition we received there! I was unable to attend, but the cinematographer and editor was, and here is his review:

    The Berkeley Springs Film Festival 2024 was something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I met some pretty awesome filmmakers and hopefully made some lifelong connections and friends. Brett Hammond and Will Devokees are great guys, and I’m very grateful to them as well as everyone else that helps to bring this festival to life.

    I know the Cacapon Resort isn’t usually where the festival is held, but my wife and I had a fantastic time there. Whether we were watching movies with the other filmmakers and attendees, eating at the delicious restaurant downstairs, or taking in the sights of the beautiful grounds, we had a great time.

    Wherever the Berkeley Springs Film Festival is being held next, I am looking forward to attending and catching up with old friends, and hopefully making some new ones.

    April 2024
  • Alan McIntyre

    We had a great time at the 2023 Berkeley Springs Film Festival . The venue was a beautiful classic theater in a charming small town tucked into the mountains. The audience responded well and laughed at the right moments, the programmers were delightful. All around a great weekend getaway festival!

    May 2023
  • Amazing little festival in West Virginia. I attended the event and was very happy to take home the Best Short Film and Best Supporting Actor award for my short film. The venue was in an amazing little vintage theater in the center of town. The festival director, Brett was very accommodating. Great people, great Q&A's. I will be submitting again in the future. Thank you BSFF!

    May 2023
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    Response from festival:

    Thanks for the review Gary! We loved your film. I hope you consider submitting to the BSFF again in the future!

  • What a pleasure it was to screen Acting Like Nothing is Wrong at BSFF. The venue was superb, the audience appreciative, and Brett was a gracious and enthusiastic host.

    April 2023
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    Response from festival:

    It was an honor to have you and Jim Hoffmaster attend. Congratulations on your award and thank you for the review.