The BlackStar Film Festival is an annual celebration of the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and of global Indigenous communities, showcasing films by Black, Brown and Indigenous artists from around the world.

Best Feature Narrative
Best Feature Documentary
Best Short Narrative (ACADEMY AWARDS® qualifying)
Best Short Documentary (ACADEMY AWARDS® qualifying)
Best Experimental
Audience Awards


To be eligible for consideration:

Films must be directed by a person of African descent or who otherwise identifies as Black, Brown or Indigenous, and feature persons of African descent, or tell a story of Black, Brown or Indigenous experiences.

Narrative feature films and documentary films must not exceed a runtime of 120 minutes.

Shorts must not exceed a runtime of 40 minutes.

Non-English language works must have English subtitles at the time submitted. Dialogue lists will not be accepted.

Though not required for eligibility, preference is given to premiere status films: Philadelphia, East Coast, US, North American, and World premieres.

Note: Submissions may be in work-in-progress form; however, works that are not final cuts must be clearly marked “Work in Progress (WIP)” or “Rough Cut” with an indication of what will change or what is missing (e.g., temp sound, missing animation, etc.). If accepted, final prints/media files must be received by June 15, 2023. No exceptions.

Entrants must fully comply with these entry rules and regulations, including all deadlines, film length, entry material and other requirements.

Note: Entry fees are in U.S. dollars, are per film and are non-refundable. BlackStar reserves the right to disqualify a submission, without refund of any kind, if eligibility requirements are not met including if eligibility status changes post-submission. Shorts are films 40 minutes or less; features are films greater than 40 minutes, but not exceeding 120 minutes.

Students: Entry fees for student submissions for the Official Entry Deadline will be waived upon receipt of a photocopy of a current and valid student ID card or a letter from an accredited school that verifies enrollment. For questions, contact

Films will be automatically entered into audience competition unless the entrant(s) request to be withdrawn. Entrants must make this request at the time of application.

Please note that recipients of the juried Short Narrative and Short Documentary Awards are eligible for consideration in the Live Action Short and Documentary Short categories of the Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy's rules.

Overall Rating
  • Attended the BlackStar Film Festival and was absolutely blown away! The rich array of films showcased not only cinematic excellence but also raw, emotive storytelling. A celebration of diverse voices and perspectives. A must-attend event for film enthusiasts and creators alike! Highly recommend.

    October 2023
  • Blackstar has been unbelievable, it's nerdy aunties and passionate storytellers rejoicing together over a week of carefully programmed black films. The festival runs like warm clockwork, everybody felt welcome and taken care of.

    Glad I could go home with an honorable mention from the short narrative jury for my film 'the truth about alvert, the last dodo'!

    September 2023
  • Zeinabu Davis

    Honored to have been a part of the BlackStar Film Festival again. It feels very different than most other festivals because it is so inclusive and the staff does their best to make sure that it feels like a homecoming or family for all of the filmmakers.

    September 2023
  • BlackStar is a one of a kind festival in terms of supporting the unapologetic artistic voices of filmmakers of color. I'm so thrilled that we could premiere at the festival. All of the festival staff worked really hard to set us up for success--they were genuinely supportive and incredibly thoughtful! I couldn't have asked for a better experience.

    August 2023
  • Set Hernandez

    Where do I even begin! BlackStar was one of the most profound experiences I've had in the course of bringing our film to festival audiences. The curation of the programming and the Daily Jawn conversations where so rich. Every screening, every conversation was so thoughtfully put together. On top of that, the kindness and hospitality of the festival staff were truly heartfelt. This festival is not just a way to watch amazing films but also a way for audiences to enrich their souls. Thank you BlackStar Film Fest for having us!

    August 2023