The mission of the Beaufort International Film Festival is to enliven our community by fostering and developing a rich appreciation for art of filmmaking.

In 2021 The Beaufort Film Society will present the Fifteenth Annual Beaufort International Film Festival. Five days of international and local short films, feature films, animation, filmmakers surprises, educational forums, guest speakers, parties, and the quiet charm of historic Beaufort will all be on display.

Many of the filmmakers will be here at the festival to talk about and answer your questions about their films, and this is possibly your only opportunity to get close to them and see their early works before they get "discovered". The purpose of the festival is to recognize aspiring filmmakers of almost every genre to include independent film, music, animation, short and long features,documentaries, and screenwriting. BIFF 2020 was hugely successful with over 100 filmmakers in attendance; attendees from 39 states and 5 countries. It's a chance to have your film seen and loved by our loyal audiences. They'll remember you forever. It was record breaking in that approximately 17,400 people attended some or all of the festival and the average per screening was 412, another record. Check out the recap of BIFF 2020 here:

It is also an opportunity to showcase the beautiful "film-friendly" region of Beaufort and the Carolina Sea Islands. For the past quarter of a century Beaufort has served as the backdrop for more than 20 major motion pictures, to include Forrest Gump, The Big Chill, The Prince of Tides,and many more. Through this festival we will reintroduce our sweeping marsh vistas, antebellum homes, and quiet charm of the old south to a new generation of filmmakers.

Notable perks for selected filmmakers are complimentary hotel rooms on a first come first serve basis. Concessions offered FREE to Filmmakers (2021 BIFF finalists) with festival credentials, EXCLUDES alcohol. FULL ACCESS VIP passes are provided to all credited filmmakers in your film which provides access to EVERYTHING offered by the festival. As a bonus, if you are selected as a Finalist you will then be a BIFF ALUMNI and future entry fees to the festival for future projects are waived FOREVER.

Awards are presented in the categories as follows:

Judged categories:

Feature Film
Documentaries (Feature and Short)
Short Film
Student Film
Screenplays (Feature Film)
Susan A. K. Shaffer Humanitarian Award
Duty & Honor Film Collection (Military, Law Enforcement, Fire and Rescue)

Audience Voted

Audience Choice

Online screeners are preferred until notification of acceptance, at which time a high definition (1080p) (Maximum Video Resolution 1920 X 1080 and Audio up to 7.1 Surround Sound but for best performance we recommend 5.1) Exhibition version .mp4 digital file will be requested along with a BluRay backup.. Entries are accepted in .mp4 format. Disclaimer: We reserve the right to down sample any films submitted to match the projector resolution in order to provide the best showing possible to our audiences.

• All mailed entries must be postmarked no later than October 31, 2020 for submission.
• All submissions must have been completed after January 1, 2018.
• All films must be in English or have English subtitles. Non-subtitled or dubbed foreign language films will not be considered.
• All clearances must be obtained for exhibition.
• Only the Producer, Director, Screenwriter or someone closely connected to the film may complete the application. Schools may submit films on behalf of student filmmakers in the Student Category.
• Only complete entries will be accepted. This includes the non-refundable entry fee paid to the order of BIFF, a signed and completed entry form and an online screener. Filmmakers may apply electronically via FilmFreeway.
• Films submitted in previous years will not be accepted for submission.
• The programmers at BIFF actively pursue the best in American independent and world cinema for the annual Festival. Films that have been released on video or DVD, have been widely screened on television or cable, or have been released theatrically preclude the Festival from accepting those films for competition. Entries that appear in their entirety on YouTube or Vimeo or other video exhibition program will not be accepted. Exceptions are sometimes made for such films to be programmed at the Festival out of competition but are determined on a case by case basis.

Film Categories for Competition:

• Feature-length films (narrative or documentary) must be 40 minutes or longer.
• Film Shorts (narrative, documentary, experimental, animated) must be 39 minutes or less.
• Student films must have been completed after January 1, 2018 and proof of enrollment is required. Student films may not exceed 30 minutes.
* Animation Category submissions may not exceed 8 minutes.

Although BIFF is a competitive festival, some films may be included in the program in a non-competition section.

Unfortunately, BIFF is unable to provide comments about specific films due to time and resource constraints.

Selected filmmakers may expect the following:

• Filmmakers whose films are accepted for competition will be notified by email by approximately January 5, 2021. All the privileges due filmmakers will be specified in this correspondence.
• All filmmakers with a film in competition will receive a VIP pass, giving free access to all events and screenings (subject to availability) at the Festival. These passes are non-transferable and must be worn at all times in clear view. Passes are not sent by mail, but must be picked up in person at the designated Festival site.
• BIFF promotes the schedule of screenings via media including newspapers, emails, television and radio. BIFF encourages filmmakers to help promote their films by promoting their screening(s) to industry professionals, distributors, the press and the general public.
• For entries selected to the 2021 Festival, an exhibition version of the film in proper format Digital File (MP4 ) and BluRay backup must be received by BIFF no later than December 31, 2020. Failure to comply with technical specifications may result in the removal of the film from Festival competition.
• Filmmakers may not install banners or posters at the theaters without the official authorization of BIFF.
• 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 individual or corporation submitting this film additionally grants the BEAUFORT International Film Festival the right to one or more public screenings of the entry during the dates of FEBRUARY 15-19, 2021. Entries that are not completed or available for screening must pull their entry prior to Jan.5, 2021 or the film will be screened as entered.

The management of the BEAUFORT International Film Festival reserves the right to decide all questions regarding rules and regulations. Submission of a film constitutes that the filmmaker accepts the rules and regulations set forth herein.

Questions: Please visit the website at or email:

Entry fees are waived for past BIFF Finalists and Winners. Enter code: PASTFINALIST.
For those invited to submit by festival programmers, enter code: BIFFFESTINVITE.

A synopsis or description alone on one page, (one paragraph, appropriate for quick reading)

A cast and crew list on two pages maximum, (if possible). Include contact information.

There is no limit to the number of entries you may submit. A separate entry and entry fee must accompany each work.

The Beaufort International Film Festival reserves the right not to choose a winner from any of the competing categories listed in the description.

All films submitted that are 5 minutes or longer must include a trailer and a poster to enable the festival to properly market and promote the film prior to the festival.

Good Luck!

By your submission of a program to the Beaufort International Film Festival you authorize us to use your program in all promotions for the festival and for the Beaufort Film Society. This would include encore presentations after the festival to which accepted.

Overall Rating
  • Tawny Sorensen

    Beaufort International Film Festival is hands down one of my favorite film festivals that I have ever attended. Ron and Rebecca have built this festival around community at its heart by creating a beautiful shared experience between their audience and filmmakers. As a filmmaker of short films, programs are usually scheduled with short film blocks curated around a general theme. Beaufort uniquely plays all films (shorts, features, docs, narratives) in one theatre and individually throughout the day. When I first saw the program I was a bit skeptical about having a weekday screening in the afternoon fearing that our audience wouldn't be more than a handful of people. But boy was I blown away with the support this community shares. The theatre was often at capacity by 9am and remained that way through the last film of the evening. Every single film played to a full house of film fans who offered thoughtful questions and insights at the Q&As following each screening. In addition to their screenings, filmmakers were extended many opportunities to network with other filmmakers from all over the country and engage with the local community at events throughout town. It was extra special that even the large scale events had an element of intimacy.

    Thank you to the Beaufort community for coming out in such force to support indie film! Ron and Rebecca were such gracious hosts along with their outstanding team of volunteers. We forged many new relationships over our weekend there and can't wait to return!

    April 2020
    Response from festival:

    WOW! Thank you Tawny for this awesome review. We very much appreciate you and your fabulous film "As One". We love the fact that filmmakers who screen before a large BIFF audience receive instant and positive appreciation for their work. You are now part of the BIFF Family and we look forward to your return. Hugs from Beaufort. Ron and Rebecca

  • Lance Lipman

    We've been showing our documentary about preserving the charm of beautiful St. Simons Island, GA to local groups for over a year. But after screening at BIFF, we received the warmest reception, best questions and most thoughtful comments of our doc's entire run. Everything was first class and we had a very engaging and enjoyable week. Very impressed with the quality of all the films presented! BIFF gets our highest recommendation.

    April 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Lance for this glowing review of BIFF. Your documentary hit home with our Beaufort audience. Thought provoking and certainly a call to action for the viewer. Thank your sharing with us. Best, Ron

  • What a beautiful and unique experience! The Beaufort International Film Festival is one of the best festivals I have ever attended, and I have been doing festival circuit for ten years. As an independent filmmaker, I can't emphasize enough how lucky and privileged I was to be selected in 2020 to have my short film screened in there.

    The response of the community was overwhelmingly positive. We had over 400 people attending our screening, and a wonderful Q&A session afterwards where everyone was engaged with such great questions. Ron and Rebecca were so kind and welcoming with everyone. Nothing beats this experience. I strongly recommend you submit your project.

    March 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Miguel for this magnificent review. Rebecca and I are thrilled that you and the entire Last Commute team enjoyed BIFF. We hope to see you, Anthony Robert Grasso, and Godfrey Rayner again at BIFF. You guys are awesome and illustrate what indie filmmaking is all about. Stay safe. Ron

  • Tim Realbuto

    I actually could not recommend this festival enough! Going to Beaufort and celebrating the art of filmmaking was an experience I will carry with me forever. Ron and Rebecca are the kindest, most welcoming people. The town is gorgeous and the people are even more so. The audiences are large and responsive. This was one of the best weeks of, not just my professional career, but of my entire life! I love you, Beaufort!

    March 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Tim for the great review and the kind words about BIFF and Beaufort. Your talent is exceptional and was most evident in your film, "Yes". We look forward to your return to Beaufort. Hugs from Beaufort and me and Rebecca.

  • Dale Griffiths Stamos

    What a lovely festival! Beautiful location, gracious hospitality, great line-up of films. All in a very well attended theater that holds 400 plus. Highly recommend!

    March 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Dale. Loved meeting you and Greg. Thank you for bringing Entwined to BIFF. Great Q&A in front of a big crowd. Come back please.