The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District invites filmmakers to submit recent, original work for the 12th annual Bethesda Film Fest, set for April, 2024. The festival will be will feature in-person screenings of the top selected filmmakers at Imagination Stage.

Short (5-30 minutes), documentary films by filmmakers from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. will be considered. Films must have been completed within the last two years. All topics are eligible. Filmmakers chosen for the 2023 festival are not eligible and may submit again for the 2025 festival.

Filmmakers are required to attend the film festival screenings in April and speak about their work.

Up to five films will be selected to be shown. A film by a young filmmaker, under age 18 (or still in High School Spring 2024), may also be chosen. Filmmakers whose films are selected will receive an honorarium of $1,000. Young filmmakers will receive $250.

2024 Judges
Addie Moray - Former VP of Production Management for The Smithsonian Network.
Kamilah Thurmon - Producer, Director, HumanitiesDC grant recipient, District of Columbia Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment (OCTFME) Filmmaker of the Month.
Randall Blair - Filmmaker, author, and Program Director of the American University graduate program Producing Film, Television, and Video

- Filmmakers must be current, permanent residents of Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C.
- Films must be between 5 and 30 minutes in length.
- Films must have been completed within the last two years.
- Filmmakers may only submit one film for consideration.
- Filmmakers chosen for the 2023 festival are not eligible; they may submit again for the 2025 festival.
- Films with non-English dialogue must be submitted with English subtitles.
- DEADLINE: All entries must be received by January 9, 2024
- There is a $25 entry fee. Filmmakers under the age of 18 do not pay an entry fee.

Notification of the selection panel's decision will be sent in February 2024. The selection panel will choose up to five documentaries to screen at the Bethesda Film Fest.

Overall Rating
  • Charles Pinck

    I was honored to have "Filming Under Fire: John Ford's OSS Field Photo Branch" included in this year's Bethesda Film Fest alongside such an impressive lineup of short documentaries by DC filmmakers. It was a tremendously successful event that was sold out both nights. I am very grateful to the Bethesda Urban Partnership and the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District; to Stephanie Coppula and Susanna Parker who did an outstanding job organizing it; and to Robin Hamilton who led an insightful discussion following the films' presentation.

    April 2024
  • Sami Miranda

    It was such a pleasure to have our film Spanish Joe Remembers included in this festival, the communication from the festival was great, the festival itself was very well attended and it was a privilege to be in the company of 4 other beautiful executed and informative documentaries.

    April 2024
  • I'm so honored my student film "what if it wasn't a joke" debuted here! I had such an incredible experience and I really appreciate the opportunity to connect with such talented local filmmakers.

    April 2023
  • Penny Lee

    I was happy to be part of this festival. A great staff, great communications and great venue. The two day festival was well attended in a perfect venue. I was proud to be among such wonderful filmmakers that were selected along with our film. Thank you for an awesome experience.

    May 2019
  • R. Kayeen Thomas

    This was a great festival to be a part of! Well organized and well attended!

    June 2018