for 10% off submission fees


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. Blackbird was originally founded as a festival for student filmmakers but quickly opened its doors to all types of filmmakers in the spirit of collaboration and the sharing of ideas. With this in mind, Blackbird remains a festival geared towards the learning experience and attracts a large number of media production students.

The Blackbird Film Festival takes place at the State University of New York, College at Cortland and tickets are available at

Blackbird Film Festival accepts all genres.

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.

Blackbird Official Submission Guidelines can be found at

Blackbird Best of Fest
World Cinema Award
Documentary Film Award
Horror Film Award
Dramatic Film Award
Comedic Film Award
Micro-Cinema Award
Animated Film Award
Animated Sequence Award
Cinema Director Award
Cinematography Award
Originality in Cinema Award
Cinematic Writing Award
Cinema Editing Award
Sound Design Award
Upstate NY Film Award

Please refer to for "Official Festival Guidelines"

1.0 Overview:
Blackbird Film Fest is a film festival located in Cortland, NY and hosted by the State University of New York, College at Cortland. Submissions must be made online (via Official Selections will be screened at the college during the festival weekend. Official Selection and award notifications will be delivered electronically. Physical prizes (certificates, plaques, trophies, etc.) will be given to the award winners at the award ceremony during the Blackbird Film Festival weekend. Award winners not in attendance can have their awards mailed to them at the expense of the award winner.

Entrants warrant that they have the legal right to enter film work to the Blackbird International Film Festival. As the Director/Producer of the Film, entrants have submitted to the Festival, entrants represent and warrant to the Festival that the Film and all parts thereof are original; that the Film does not contravene the rights of any person or entity and that entrants own or control the Film and all parts thereof and have the sole authority to submit the Film to the Festival; the Film entrants submitted to the Festival is not subject to nor threatened by any litigation.

Entrants acknowledge that no fiduciary or confidential relationship now exists between the Festival and entrants, and entrants further acknowledge that no such relationship is established by these guidelines, my submission of the Film, or by the Festival’s acceptance, review or retention of the Film.

If a film is accepted, entrants will be solely responsible for delivering their exhibition video materials to Blackbird International Film Festival. A complete press kit and an online link to your film will be needed as soon after notification as possible. Blackbird International Film Festival cannot be held liable for your exhibition print/video materials which are lost or damaged.

By submitting to the Festival you agree to be included in Blackbird International Film Festival’s promotional material (newsletters, flyers, media, etc.).

2.0 Submission Rules and Regulations
Eligibility Requirements:
2.1. Films (of any length/genre) must have been completed less than 3 years prior to the festival weekend.
2.2. All entries must be either in English or subtitled in English.
2.3. Entrants confirm and warrant that they have the required legal authority to submit the entry into the festival and to use all music, images, and content in the entry.

3.0 Submission Guidelines:
3.1. Films must be submitted digitally via
3.2. Blackbird Film Fest is only accepting completed works at this time; no works-in-progress will be considered.
3.3. The deadline for all submissions is December 1st. Late entries will not be considered.

4.0 Judging and Selection:
4.1. Each submission will be reviewed by at least one judge for first round reviews. Films selected during the first round will be reviewed again by a group of Film Professionals / Educators whom will announce Official Selections. Names of Judges will not be released until Official Selections are announced to avoid favoritism.
4.2. All entrants will be notified regarding inclusion in the Festival by early February at the latest via A member of the Festival committee will also notify each Official Selection entrant by email.
4.3. Judging decisions are final.
4.4. Submissions that are found to have violated any of the Eligibility Requirements listed above may be disqualified at any time by the Blackbird International Film Festival.

5.0 Submission Categories and Costs:
5.1. It is the responsibility of the entrant to submit films into the correct category. Incorrect submissions may be disqualified.
5.2 Entrants may choose to ADD FEEDBACK with their submission. Entrants who submit films into the ADD FEEDBACK categories will receive a copy of the Judges feedback for that particular submission. Entrants who select the ADD FEEDBACK category will receive the Judge’s report regardless of Official Selection.
5.4. Submission fees are non-refundable and will not be waived for any reason. If a submission is not selected or disqualified, entrants will not receive a fee refund.

6.0 Prizes and Awards:
6.1. All Official Selections will receive Official Blackbird Film Festival High-resolution Laurels for promotion of the film. Official Selections will be announced early February at the latest. Once Officially Selected for inclusion in the festival, entrants are qualified to receive festival awards.
6.2. Award winners and Prizes will be announced at the Award Ceremony at the end of the Festival weekend.
6.3. Festival awards will be given to award winners at the Award Ceremony. Awards can be mailed to winners at the expense of the filmmaker.


Overall Rating
  • Quite simply...this festival is fantastic!
    Sam and his team do such a great job of communicating and keeping everything organized. The venue, the screen, the projection, the audio, the films, the merch...everything is top shelf. And I loved the sense of community and enthusiasm. They include the student interns (who are a big part of the staff) into the screening blocks and I think it's a wonderful idea. The student moderators put a lot of thought into their questions...and most filmmakers were genuinely appreciative of the effort.
    It was such a great festival for networking as well. Being surrounded by such talented filmmakers all weekend was easily the best part. You can't help but learn and be inspired.

    I can't recommend this festival enough. I plan to submit in the future and I hope to be back.

    April 2019
  • Sashi Arnold

    So buzzing after this festival! We just had an awesome weekend in Cortland, New York at the Blackbird Film Festival.

    Everything from the the enthusiasm and friendliness of the interns to the very high quality of films screened was impressive. The festival is very well organised with lots of opportunities to mingle from Breakfast (on the house) to trivia nights to parties.

    There are lots of nice little touches in this festival that make it really awesome. For example, they engage the local artist community to create art inspired by the films screened; They mayor of the town came down and said how vital films were to a community; They have Merch and hoodies; They have hilarious ads played during the festival that must have taken ages. You can see a real effort has been made by the organisers who are passionate and enthusiastic and it just makes you feel great!

    The other attendees are great too. All of the films screened were high quality, entertaining, thought-provoking and original. They encourage filmmakers from all over the world and also have a dedicated section for the local filmmakers. We left on such a massive high, we are super inspired to get the next project off the ground.

    We we flew over from London and met an awesome group of filmmakers. Gutted we couldn't stay for the award ceremony but the pictures looked glamorous. Hopefully will attend next year. I would 100% recommend applying and attending this festival.

    Thank you for having us Blackbird! Definitely worth the trip!

    May 2019
  • Brooke Trantor

    Where do I even begin?

    I orginially heard of the festival through a friend of mine who attended and won an award last year - I was like "Cortand, where?" She assured me it was the greatest of all festivals, and I must submit and attend if I was selected.... WELL. She was right!

    Blackbird Film Festival is one of the greatest film festival experiences I have have had. Our team was truly blown away & we hope to be back again next year!

    Sam, the festival director, is truly a delightful human being & his passion for filmmaking bleeds through to every aspect of Blackbird Film Festival. Communication was always punctual & personal, and all questions/concerns/details were responded to.

    I have been to several film festivals, and I have never felt so welcomed. It was incredible. The interns that Sam has help running this festival are outgoing, charismatic, delightful human beings. I was blown away by their caring nature and attention to details.

    The films that were in this festival were of extreme quality and value; the stories being told were diverse and from all over the world. I was honored to meet other filmmakers from Los Angeles, New York, Arizona, London & other parts of the world. The filmmakers, too, were incredible people that I was so excited to meet and connect with, and hopefully work with in the future.

    I was also honored to be asked to participate in a community meeting with the Cortland, NY YWCA - we met up with younger girls from the community and had lunch, talking about their hopes and dreams in the industry, etc. Also, local businesses were sponsoring the festival, and we were treated so well in those businesses as well. Honestly, the heart and soul of the Cortland, NY community was incredibly hospitable and giving.

    We were very impressed with all components of Blackbird Film Festival, and if you are a filmmaker, you should make it a priority to submit and attend this festival!!

    May 2019
  • sophie Gueydon

    Unfortunatly I could not be there, but the festival team was so kind and communication was great. I hope next time I can make it :). All the best!

    May 2019
  • juliette zygarowicz

    My short film, The Evolution of a Painting, was selected to be screened and won best student director at Blackbird this year, and it is one of the best festivals I've attended so far. The event was extremely organized, the volunteers were professional and friendly, and contact about what materials were needed beforehand was clear and informative. Plus, they had local artists create artwork based on the films. I can't recommend submitting your film enough!

    May 2019