The 23rd Brooklyn Film Festival (BFF), considering the current COVID19 situation, will be staged online only via the Festival website. The program will be playing from May 29 through June 7 around the clock free of charge.

Brooklyn Film Festival (BFF), is a 10-day International, competitive festival. Discovering and promoting independent filmmakers at their first or second film is at the very center of the festival's year-round efforts. BFF’s mission is to provide a public forum in Brooklyn in order to advance public interest in films and the independent production of films; to draw worldwide attention to Brooklyn as a center for cinema; to encourage the rights of all Brooklyn residents to access and experience the power of independent filmmaking; and to promote artistic excellence and the creative freedom of artists without censure. BFF, inc. is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

The festival is for and by independent filmmakers. The organizers of BFF bring 22 years of festival experience to this annual event. BFF accepts submissions in six categories: Narrative Features, Documentary Features, Short Narrative, Short Documentary, Experimental, and Animation. Submissions are open from July to March of the following year. The final selection of 130+ films is announced in May, and the festival takes place in June. All the films that make up our final lineup come from submissions only. Each selected film plays twice at different venues. They are all eligible for several awards and the smallest film can win the top award: Grand Chameleon. In addition to our film programs, BFF also hosts multiple filmmaker parties and networking events at venues around Brooklyn and New York City.

Many of the award-winning films from the Brooklyn Film Festival have gone on to have theatrical releases, to have nationwide broadcasts on PBS and HBO, and to be nominated and awarded at both the British and the American Academy Awards.

Through the resources of our sponsors, BFF offers prizes totaling over $50,000 in film services and products. Our industry sponsors include ABELCINE, MEDIA SERVICES, MPE, BE ELECTRIC, XENO LIGHTS, FINAL DRAFT, SOBRE VISTA RESORT, THE POD, BROOKLYN FILM SOCIETY, U.

List of Awards:

This Award is intended to reward the film that best represents the festival theme.
Eligibility: chosen among the 6 winners of the 6 BFF film categories. Often improperly called Best Film of the Year, the Grand Chameleon is picked regardless of its length, category, or format.
Jury: This award is assigned by the Board of Directors of the Festival.
Prizes: Sponsored by Cinecall Soundtrack - Xeno Lights - Be Electric – Chameleon Statuette - Value about $10,500

Assigned to the best film in each category
Eligibility: All films in competition
Feature Narrative - Prize: Sponsored by AbelCine ($5,000 service)
Feature Documentary - Prize: Sponsored by Media Services ($300 service) - $2,500 credit towards camera rental at NYC Camera Co.
Short Narrative - $2,500 credit towards camera rental at NYC Camera Co. & Media Services ($300 service)
Short Documentary - $200 Cash Offered by Brooklyn Film Society
Animation - $200 Cash Offered by Brooklyn Film Society
Experimental - $200 Cash Offered by Brooklyn Film Society
Jury: Assigned by the panels of Judges.

Assigned to the best film shot in Brooklyn or by a Brooklyn director
Eligibility: All films shot in Brooklyn or by a Brooklyn director are eligible
Jury: Assigned by the BFF's Board of Directors
Prize: – $3,000 credit towards post-production equipment rental at MPE.

Assigned to the Director/Writer who offered the best content and performed the best pitch during the Pitch segment of BFFX
Eligibility: All films in competition are eligible. Submissions are open to all.
Jury: BFFX Producers
Prize: 10 hours with a Colorist at bluetablepost. Value $4,000
Assigned to the best upcoming director
Eligibility: All filmmakers in competition are eligible
Jury: Assigned by the panels of Judges.
Prize: $200 Cash Offered by Brooklyn Film Society

Films in which the festival recognizes its own spirit
Spirit Awards are assigned in each category (6)
Eligibility: All films in competition are eligible
Jury: Spirit Awards are assigned by BFF's Board of Directors

Certificates are assigned for outstanding achievement in the following categories:
Production - Prize: $200 Cash Offered by Brooklyn Film Society
Screenwriting – Prize: $200 Cash Offered by Brooklyn Film Society
Cinematography - Prize: $200 Offered by Brooklyn Film Society
Editing - Prize: $200 Cash Offered by Brooklyn Film Society
Original Score - Prize: $200 Cash Offered by Brooklyn Film Society
Acting (female) -
Acting (male) -
Eligibility: All films in competition are eligible
Jury: Certificate Awards are assigned by the panels of Judges

Audience Awards are assigned in each category as follows:
Short Subject
Eligibility: All films in competition are eligible.
Jury: Festival Audience.

BFF 2020 Edition submissions OPEN ON June 15, 2019

Deadlines are as follows:
Earlybird deadline: Postmarked by November 30, 2018
Regular deadline: Postmarked by January 28, 2019
Late deadline: Postmarked by February 19, 2019
Extended deadline: Postmarked by March 11, 2019

Postmarked by = Submission packages can be mailed until the day of the deadline.

We accept submissions of Feature Narrative, Short Narrative, Feature Documentary, Short Documentary, Animation, and Experimental

All films must be in English or with English subtitles.

Screening or Rental Fees:

Duration/Running Time:
Feature Narrative: No less than 60 minutes
Short Narrative: Less than 60 minutes
Feature Documentary: No Less than 50 minutes
Short Documentary: Less than 50 minutes
Animation and Experimental: no limitations

Prior Screenings:
Entries can not have a theatrical run (commercial release) or be broadcast (TV) anywhere in the U.S.A. before June 11, 2018. Previous screenings at other film festivals, as well as private, industry, and press screenings are OK. The "New York Premiere" status is preferred, but not mandatory.

Completion Date:
Projects submitted to the Festival must have been completed after June 10, 2018. Works-In-Progress are considered only during the final submission deadline and if the film will be completed by May 8, 2020 .

Independent Production:
Films produced, financed, or initiated by a major motion picture studio are not eligible for the competition.

Film Promotion & Interviews:
BFF will forward any interviews requests directly to filmmakers or their publicist for them to arrange and coordinate. The BFF PR Department pitches the overall festival program and events to maximize exposure and build buzz in advance of and during the festival by procuring curtain raisers (festival preview features) and capsule reviews/film picks/highlights with local media including print dailies & weeklies, TV & Radio, and online/blogs. It is understood that the Brooklyn Film Festival may use segments from any film submitted and accepted into the final lineup for promotional purposes only.

Overall Rating
  • Julia Joyce-Barry

    The Brooklyn Film Festival was the perfect place our short film to premiere. We found the staff exceptionally helpful, warm and accommodating. The events were lovely and the locations and theaters as well. We felt so well received by our local Brooklyn community and it was a pleasure to network with the broader American and International filmmakers as well. We highly recommend getting involved with this festival!

    February 2020
    Response from festival:

    it was a pleasure to have you guys involved...


  • Burt Grinstead

    What a cool festival! I want to be in this festival again. I highly recommend getting involved. It's a cool place with cool people, and an awesome week long event. The staff was very communicative and very supportive of our little film. I feel very lucky to have been selected here.

    July 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Burt. Please keep in mind that BFF waives entry fees to alumni indefinitely. Looking forward to reviewing your next project.

  • Tom Bessoir

    An excellent, well run festival.
    It was a pleasure to screen my film “Morse” there.

    July 2019
  • Rick Gomez

    Brooklyn is a great festival. The films were so good. And we had a blast!

    June 2019
  • Mary Sue Connolly

    Had a wonderful experience at Brooklyn Film Festival. The festival is run by amazing people with a wonderful and very competent staff. Very professional, but with a laid-back feel. Fortunate to have made some great connections and memories to treasure. Top notch festival. Thanks Brooklyn!

    June 2019