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
  • Adrienne Lovette

    First live festival I’ve been during pandemic and it was a great one. Everyone was nice, and I was able to network with a lot of fellow filmmakers. All the filmmakers that attended were extremely supportive, and all of the films I watched had a lot of production value and wonderful stories. Everyone that worked for the festival was extremely nice and helpful. I would highly recommend submitting your film to this festival and attending the festival. They put a lot of heart into the program.

    July 2021
  • Jillian Acreman

    This festival is incredible! I wasn't able to attend due to travel restrictions, and in the hustle and bustle of the festival the Artistic Director took the time to email me and let me know how my screening went.

    I had an alumni filmmaker do my Q&A and it totally changed the dynamic and rhythm of the conversation. It was such a thoughtful and clever way to get filmmakers engaged with one another.

    This festival is really filmmaker first, and there's a lot of heart here. I can't wait to attend in person, just good vibes all around.

    July 2021
  • Henning Backhaus

    A young and very nice festival, very open and inclusive (filmmakers can be presenters at other filmmakers' programs if they wish :) and super in communication! Highly recommended!

    July 2021
  • Jessica Giacco

    A wonderful festival! A very eclectic and high quality selection of films... and Sam & his team were very supportive and encouraging... Thank you guys!

    July 2021
  • Celine Parreñas Shimizu

    The most engaged film festival organizers who knew my film so deeply and presented it with a Q&A filled with recognition and celebration. Thank you for programming my film and giving me and my fellow filmmakers the great gift of screening at the most thoughtfully presented festival.

    July 2021