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 one of the "Top 100 Best Reviewed" festivals according to FilmFreeway!​

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 Dinner 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
  • Lucy C. Jordan

    Lovely guys and festival, even from afar! :)

    August 2021
  • Eddie Shieh

    Very honored to have our comedy IN SYNC screen with BFF this year. With twin toddlers it's been a challenge to find any time to participate but nonetheless Sam and the Blackbird team have been exceptional in communicating and updating the filmmakers with their events. One can only imagine how great an experience would be in person and I hope to be back soon. Thanks again,

    August 2021
  • Dogus Ozokutan

    I really wish there was no pandemic so I can attend this year's Blackbird Film Festival. Great selection of films, such a nice program, and events. I am so glad that my short films Kismet (2018) and The Delivery (2021) were screened at Blackbird. The festival team is excellent in communication and programming...

    July 2021
  • Funke Alafiatayo

    A brilliant festival! Thank you for selecting my micro-short Text Back. I was gutted that I wasn't able to attend in person but the virtual screenings and events were engaging and ran seamlessly.
    Throughout, there has been fantastic communication from Sam and the team, and it was evident that they truly support filmmakers. I will definitely be submitting again - can't wait for next year!

    July 2021
  • Steph Marshall

    So so thrilled that we got to screen our animated short at this festival. Because of the circumstances we were unfortunately unable to attend, however the festival made us feel constantly included and welcomed from afar. Would love to submit again and hopefully be able to be there in person next time. Thank you Blackbird Film Festival, Team Unknown is very grateful!

    July 2021