Hello.... This is your festival director Gian Smith.

1. The Black Film Festival of New Orleans, has just completed its fifth festival, BFFNO has been created with the intention of highlighting American film makers, and content creators of color. While we personally enjoy movies of all types, by all types, we wish to highlight films and content more relatable to our experiences. As a film maker, often times I feel like the nuance, importance and brilliance of my own film making and the films of my black colleagues has been lost on audiences and evaluators who simply don't relate to our personal experiences as black people in the United States. Through my festival experience I have found that my best results have come from audiences catered to me by festival directors and teams who could understand my content. So in that vein I felt it important to give yet another outlet for the black filmmaker to be recognized.

2. In most of my festival experiences I've found that there is an underwhelming amount of attention given to festival participants who are still yet largely unknown. While I have networked and found support amongst my peers, I haven't always felt like the festivals themselves have done a great job in catering to the film makers without the prestige. That won't be the case with the BFFNO. Every film maker will be treated like they're Spike Lee when they arrive for the Festival. (For the record I'm a Spike Lee fan so that means good treatment lol) The festival is a celebration of you and your film and you deserve to be treated that way. Which leads me to my next point...

3. As a filmmaker I know that the most important thing we expect from our festivals is an opportunity to reach new audiences, access to people in positions of authority to get our film or project to the next level, and being popular at parties for doing a great job in making a film. While I can guarantee there will be plenty of networking opportunities with other film makers of color I wouldn't in good conscience promise you any industry insiders. We're still building here. But I can damn sure give you those parties.... every night. The main reason for this endeavor is because as a life-long resident of the greatest city in the world I considered it a travesty that we have no film festival here celebrating people of color. Every black person in America should experience New Orleans, including and especially the film makers. Your all-access filmmaker pass will put you at the center of nightlife for one of the world's most famous cities. My background in film is only preceded by my promotional career in New Orleans. During our four day event you will be given the key to the city of New Orleans. Certainly more fun than whatever snowed in city you'll be in otherwise come February.

4. We are a hybrid festival. We have limited in person screenings. The entirety of our in-person events will take place between Thursday and Sunday evening. And we're not programming more than 5 hour blocks on any given day. Any filmmaker who is accepted to the festival is welcomed and encouraged to join us for the festival weekend which will be a lot of fun. Again... even if your film is only screening virtually we still want you to come and have fun with us.

Give us a shot and build with us as we try to become the premiere film festival for people of color.

At our awards show we'll be recognizing the best films and the best performances of the festival. Our specially customized awards will be given in the following categories.

Best Feature
Best Short FIlm
Best Web content
Best Documentary
Best New Orleans project
Best Actor & Actress
Best Director
Best Writer
Best Cinematography
Best Music/Sound
Best Editing
Audience Award

Anyone may submit to Black Film Festival of New Orleans. Obviously your chances of being accepted to the festival increase greatly the more people of color who are involved. So if you're a non-poc make a film by, about and with black people and You'll be much more strongly considered.

Let me make this clear. If there are no black people involved in your film you will have wasted your money and I won't give it back. I mean... being honest, if most of the people making the film aren't black, and most of the people on the screen aren't either you probably just wasted your money.

Overall Rating
  • Wonderful and amazing festival. Gian and the festival team show up and show out, truly bring filmmakers into the greatness of their city and their passion for this festival. So blessed to have had our film Assaman part of the Official Selection in 2023. You feel like part of an extended family once you screen at BFFNO!

    June 2023
  • Great festival! Great staff! Amazing venue! Excellent communication!

    May 2023
  • Oswmer Louis

    We had an amazing time at BFFNO! The panels were great and the audience was fantastic! They seem to have a really great connection with their local community- each screening was a full house. This is a festival that clearly cares about filmmakers and we will absolutely be back.

    April 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thanks so much, and glad we got to share your film. Loved the moment when the crowd gasped at the end too. It was exactly how I felt watching for myself the first time lol. Can't wait to see what your team does next!

  • Gian is the king. He was super inspiring to meet and be around. I was grateful and honored to share the experience with so many great filmmakers and artists. A wonderful first experience in the NOLA and will definitely be coming back with all my future projects!

    April 2023
    Response from festival:

    D*** bro... Thank you

  • Aaron Spells

    Being that this was my very first festival ever, I had a blast. Gian and the staff are beautiful and amazing to work with, I am forever grateful for them blessing me with "Best Feature" Award. i look forward to coming and support this festival again

    April 2023
    Response from festival:

    Congrats my dude. You earned it. You know you always got a home here.