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
  • 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
  • Josh Stasko

    Could not give higher praise for this festival. It reinvigorated me in filmmaking when I was at a low point. I made so many meaningful relationships with people I can see myself working with in the future. It seems that each detail of this festival was thoughtfully chosen to help foster friendships. I left feeling inspired, excited, and better connected to others in the industry. I hope to return with my next film!

    July 2022
  • Nice and interesting festival!!! It was a great opportunity to be present at the festival

    July 2022
  • Paula Harris

    The joyous thing about Blackbird Film Festival is that, even with us being at the bottom of the world and many many many kilometres away from the festival itself, they still made us feel part of the festival. Their energy in all of their communications (and social media) was infectious and it felt like absolute joy to be part of the festival, even without actually being there. And *that* is an amazing skill.

    July 2022
  • Jessica Michael Davis

    Been around the festival circuit for a few different films over the past few years and Blackbird FF is definitely one of my favorites! Sam and everyone involved are so kind. They truly care about films & filmmakers and it shows. Amazing communication, great Q&A’s, meaningful awards, and lovely networking events. Thank you for choosing Escaping Ohio and selecting me for the Cinema Director Award! Can’t wait to return.

    June 2022