Discover. Connect. Inspire.


The Blackbird Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in central New York state that celebrates and supports independent filmmakers from around the world. At the Blackbird Film Festival, we strive to curate an inclusive festival atmosphere - an environment where experienced professionals and first time filmmakers can strike up conversation and perhaps take something away from one another.

Founded in 2015 initially as a festival for young filmmakers, the Blackbird Film Festival opened submissions to all filmmakers in 2016 with the hope of encouraging collaboration, inspiring creativity and sharing perspectives from around the world. With this in mind, Blackbird remains a festival geared towards the learning experience and attracts a large number of media production students and film enthusiasts. Additionally, Blackbird is largely a student-run event that provides internship opportunities for students interested in media production, event planning, marketing and public relations. Each academic year, Blackbird supports over 40 student interns as they work together to bring the festival weekend to life. Also, it is important to note that Blackbird is committed to supporting female filmmakers by ensuring that at least 50% of our annual lineup of films are made by women.

​Whether you're a filmmaker or just a film enthusiast, we hope you will join us this year and experience what makes the Blackbird Film Festival such a memorable experience year after year!

Blackbird Film Festival accepts and supports all genres (of cinema and people).


Blackbird Film Fest entrants are required to pay the submission fee in order to participate in the festival. These fees support the various event costs (venues, supplies, promotional material, staff, etc.) For this reason, submission waivers will not be given for any reason. Thank you for your understanding.

Additional information about Blackbird's judging process and submission statistics can be found at

Each season, Blackbird hosts a catered Award Ceremony for all accepted filmmakers. During this celebration, Blackbird "Best Of" Category Awards (such as Best Dramatic Short, Best Documentary, etc.) are announced. Additionally, Blackbird also also announces Audience Choice Awards for each of the various screening blocks.

Exact award specifications (trophies, medallions, money, etc.) vary from year to year based on sponsorship support.

Please visit to view submission rules and guidelines.

Overall Rating
  • Blackbird is THE BEST for creating such a supportive, dynamic and engaged environment for filmmakers. Sam is so dedicated to providing many opportunities for filmmakers to connect and inspire each other. The selected films are top notch and the overall experience is inspiring. I stayed the entire festival and am still in touch with many artists I met there. Highly recommended!

    November 2022
  • Very hospitable. An excellent example of what a film festival should be. Also, thank you to Sam, It was a pleasure to participate in a group interview with you and other film makers as well.

    September 2022
  • Hayley Reeve

    A brilliant, well-executed film festival! Sam and the team have done an incredible job. I was proud to have my film involved in this year's program. The communication was superb and will definitely be submitting my next film to this wonderful festival!

    September 2022
  • Jeremy Coyle

    Amazing festival! Great opportunity to network with other filmmakers in CNY and to see so much talent showcased from the region and from around the world.

    September 2022
  • Nikhita Prabhudesai

    The festival had a fantastic selection of films and the overall communication was great. :)
    Unfortunately we couldn't attend the programs in person but it was nice to have our film be screened alongside other great films!

    July 2022