A festival of story, inviting photographers and filmmakers to submit a narrative of monumentally ordinary proportions. These works should offer fresh and artful interpretations of BitterSweet’s credo: refuse cynicism, defy apathy, celebrate good. In our second year we're welcoming both film (up to 12 minutes in length) and photo essay (including 3 to 5 photographs) entries. Submissions will be judged against the credo.

As a community seeking to center the margins in our work, we invite both amateurs and professionals to submit and promise as low a barrier to entry as possible. From concept to format, we are engineering this festival to see what we can learn from the unlikely.

On November 11 and 12, we will come together in Washington, DC at the AutoShop at Union Market to celebrate and honor the official selections for the festival. Programming for the in-person event will be announced at a later date.

November 12th Event Schedule:

12:30PM - 1:30PM - WORKSHOP

Monica Michaan
Hineni: Behold, Here I am

Identities are complex. So often we put ourselves into boxes, in an effort to be understood or accepted. But end up begging to break free. In this session, we’ll explore how our personal stories connect to our purpose.

2:00PM - 3:00PM - WORKSHOP

David Johnson
Telling Your Own Story

Unraveling Identity and stepping out of our respective boxes is the first step. What comes next is figuring out what to do with what you learned. After over a decade of storytelling for everyone but myself, learning what feeds me and what drains, I'll be discussing how to bridge the gap between the work you're doing now that might not feed the soul, to the work your heart longs to do.

3:30PM - 4:30PM - DISCUSSION

Obiekwe Okolo
Maybe The Throughline Was Always There

We seem to live in a world drowning "creativity" and "content" yet I find creatives, myself included, crying out for meaning. Instagram, VSCO, Youtube, Tik Tok, can't be all this is for can it? Let's talk about how to find and nurture the connective tissue that has the potential to grow a single image - still or moving - into a body of work.

6:00PM - Cocktail Hour

7:00PM - 2022 BitterSweet Invitational Story Festival Screenings & Awards

1 grand prize winner will be selected for each category (film and photo) and awarded $1,000.00.
Films selected for screening and photography essays selected for display will be featured in an online showcase on BitterSweetMonthly.com following the festival.
1 gift bag will be given to filmmakers or photographers for each selected entry.

Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.

Submissions must have been completed after January 1, 2021 and ready for screening during the festival dates.

Films must be 15 minutes or less to quality for the festival.

Films and photographs must be submitted through https://filmfreeway.com/ with necessary details including password (if applicable). If the work is not accessible to the jury it will be disqualified.

Films or photographs that have been shown previously to a public audience or have been publicly streamed online are still eligible for the festival.

Submissions must be the original work of the filmmaker or photographer. The festival does not investigate the authenticity of an applicant’s statement of authorship or rights secured. By entering your work in the festival, you represent that you have secured all necessary rights.

Applicants are solely responsible for obtaining all necessary rights and permissions for third-party materials included in their submission, including but not limited to music, trademarks, logos, copyrights, and other intellectual property rights. BISF is not responsible for any violations of the foregoing.

There are no technology restrictions on "how" you create your submission (it can be made on a mobile device or with the latest and greatest technology). That said, it must be submitted in a digital format.

Overall Rating
  • Mark Burchick

    Unfortunately I was not able to attend, but the event looked like a lot of fun and communication with staff was quick and easy.

    November 2022