NOW MORE THAN EVER - IT’S ALL ABOUT THE STORY

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: Despite the numerous and obviously necessary cancellations this year of our favorite film festivals around the world, we very much believe the 5th edition of the Barbados Independent Film Festival will take place as planned, next January 27-31, 2021.

While the world has been irreversibly disrupted by Covid-19, it is our great hope that we all come out of this cataclysmic upheaval and crisis, a world more united, caring and motivated to tear down walls, build bridges and do what is necessary to better care for humanity and our planet.

In addition to the BIFF 2021edition being a milestone for us, we truly also believe one of the best ways for the world to heal and gain perspective is through the arts in general and through storytelling in particular; .... especially via films that showcase resilience and overcoming adversity. We very much hope you will submit your film and share your stories with us. And should the Festival not move forward for any reason next January, we will refund any entry fees collected.

Our requirements are as follows:

BIFF is seeking gripping NARRATIVE, DOCUMENTARY and SHORT films that celebrate resilience and our capacity to overcome adversity. In addition, special submission categories include: thought-provoking and impactful ENVIRONMENTAL films and OCEAN-THEMED environmental and adventure “short-short films” (under 10 minutes) for our SHORTS ON THE BEACH competition.

In addition to screening story-driven films from around the world, BIFF showcases the work of emerging, independent filmmakers. Central to its mission is bringing filmmakers to Barbados to share their unique story-making process and facilitating networking opportunities through filmmaker excursions, workshops and collaboration grants.

Filmmakers will compete for a series of Jury, Festival Honors and Audience Awards. Each night films are paired with locally inspired events linked to highlighting the rich cultural and physical attributes of Barbados. Whether swaying to Caribbean rhythms under the stars at the outdoor Walled Garden Theatre, local food and rum tastings linked to film themes, or integrating local experts into post film discussions, BIFF endeavors to infuse a uniquely Bajan flavor into every event.

Throughout the week, BIFF will offer opportunities to connect with enthusiastic new audiences, fellow filmmakers, film distributors and funders in relaxed, lush settings across the island. We look forward to welcoming you with a glass of rum punch and Bajan hospitality!

The Walled Garden-Barbados Film Festival Trust (WGBFFT) was formed in tandem with the Walled Garden Theatre Trust –whose mission is to support the conservation and restoration of the Barbados Museum and Garrison District (UNESCO world heritage sites) and invigorate them through the arts. The WGBFFT’s mission is to manage the Festival and related initiatives that support the arts, historic conservation and greater awareness of the link between environmental degradation and human health. Both the Walled Garden Film Festival Trust and the Walled Garden Theatre Trust are tax-exempt, charitable trusts. BIFF founders Sir Trevor Carmichael and Jennifer Smith are also Co-Directors and Executive Trustees for the Festival.

Filmmakers will compete for:

Best of Festival
Best Feature Film
Best Documentary Film
Best Local Filmmaker
McNeel Impact Award - Feature Length Film that inspires and motivates change for a better world
Best Short Film (Under 30 minutes)
Best Short on the Beach - Short (Under 10 minutes) that celebrate our oceans
Carmichael Award for Exceptional Storytelling
BIFF Founders Award

All submitted films must comply with the Submissions Guidelines including deadlines, exhibition format, entry material, etc. NO LATE SUBMISSIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED. Final deadline for 2021 Festival submissions is August 31, 2020.

Your film will be watched, in its entirety, by at least 4 people; we therefore suggest that you submit your film as early as possible. Films submitted must be available in English or in the original language with English subtitles.

Entrants are responsible for obtaining any necessary licenses, royalties, release forms, clearances, permits which are necessary to present their work. Neither the Walled Garden Barbados Film Festival Trust nor any of BIFF's venues is responsible for any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, or royalty infringement related to the work.

Notification will be emailed on October 1, 2020. All correspondence will be conducted through EMAIL ONLY to the original submitter.

The Barbados Independent Film Festival accepts entries via FilmFreeway.com, an online submissions platform.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Jon Navarro

    The Barbados International is by far one of THE BEST film festivals I have ever attended. They were organized with the schedule for the days. BIFF was able to secure the Abidah by Accra for the filmmakers. They set up excursions/activities for the top half of the day; which I felt was a great way for the filmmakers to get to know each other. Some of the activities included planting trees, visiting a rum distillery, visiting a historic sugar cane plantation which is now used as a rum distillery, a boat cruise and a tour of the flower gardens. That afternoon/evening was filled with screenings and networking with various people in the industry.

    The Opening Gala was absolutely amazing. As we entered, we heard the amazing voices of the boys choir. They sounded amazing. After the boys choir finished, the filmmakers and guests were able to start taking pictures on the red carpet with the live steel pan music playing in the background. The Opening Film included a short documentary about the Barbados Cricket league and the narrative feature Joseph (one of the main actresses was Barbados Soca Star, Alison Hinds).

    Throughout the week there were many film screenings and workshops for filmmakers and guest to attend. The Awards Night and Closing films were held on the beach of the Southern Palms Hotel.

    As a filmmaker, I truly appreciate the activities and excursions BIFF set up for the filmmakers. Theses activities allowed the filmmakers to do community service such as plant trees as well as create a positive networking environment. The Barbados International Film Festival went above and beyond to ensure an informative and productive week for all.

    February 2020
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    Response from festival:

    It was such a pleasure to have Ronissha at the Festival. The Republican was a superb film and we very much hope to see you back with your next project. Best,

  • Michael Lees

    The Barbados film festival is an amazing opportunity for film makers! When we weren't watching films we were taken on excursions, snorkelling with turtles, walking through flower forests, touring rum distilleries, or down on the beach right next to our hotel. And as it is a small festival, drawing talent from around the region and around the globe there were so many opportunities to get to know other film makers all at different stages of our careers. Films are screened around the island at beautiful venues and there are lots of events to attend too. I almost don't want to let the secret out, but I have to give a big hats off to the whole organisation for such a wonderful experience.

    January 2020
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    Response from festival:

    Thanks for submitting your film Michael. We look forward to seeing your next project!

    Best,
    The BIFF Team

  • Kleon McPherson

    It was truly indeed an excellent Film Festival

    January 2019
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    Response from festival:

    Thanks again for coming Kleon and for sharing your excellent film!

  • Our team was honored to have been selected to show our film at this festival. We were even more excited to see the line-up of filmmakers attending and the amazing weeklong events scheduled. We were disappointed that there was no marketing for our film not even on the website; we were unable to truly confirm if the film would be shown as no one responded back to our slew of emails until the week of the event. Seems to be a great festival for networking, but the lack of communication forced our team to cancel our flights.

    January 2019
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    Response from festival:

    Dear Stephen,
    We are terribly sorry for the delay in getting back to you re: when your film would be scheduled. Cancellations in two of our main shorts venues at the last minute created the delay which also made it difficult to add the films on our website and to market them appropriately. Not an excuse but as this is only our third year and we are 100% volunteer run, we are learning about the need to plan for such contingencies with each edition. Again we very much regret this and will strive to improve as we truly believe in celebrating filmmakers and films such yours and others that are submitted to the Festival. We would be eager to see any of your new submissions in the future. Sincerely, Jennifer Smith

  • Gregory Bayne

    Truly one of the best festivals I've had the opportunity to attend. Unbeatable setting, great audiences, a wonderful array of visiting filmmakers, and Jennifer and the entire festival team did an outstanding job of making us all feel welcome, and well taken care of. Highly recommend.

    January 2018