Established in 1977, the Cambridge Film Festival (CFF) has been committed to delivering high-quality independent films to the widest possible audience. Bold and imaginative in its presentation of films, the festival is proud to champion stories from local and international filmmakers, while also showcasing its passion for the heritage of cinema.

We embrace new methods of filmmaking and emerging platforms of distribution. Through our open submissions process, we support filmmakers from all across the world as well as locally, providing a platform for new talents to showcase their work. The pandemic has presented many challenges for the film industry, and we are keen to continue our role in supporting filmmakers to help their films reach audiences, and have their work celebrated.

2021 is a landmark year for the Cambridge Film Festival, as it marks our 40th edition!

November Festival dates below are provisional only and will be confirmed soon.

In Praise of Cambridge Film Festival:

"An unmanageably rich feast, with a particularly strong strand of artists’ cinema, and a selection of silent revivals that put the recent London festival in the shade."
Henry K Miller - Sight & Sound.

"The Cambridge Film Festival is one of the key screen events in the UK calendar."

"Easily outclasses its rivals".
The Times.

One of the most notable symbols of Cambridge is its love of punts. They are an icon of the city's landscape which our audience awards are named in honour of. All films that screen at the Festival that are UK premieres are eligible.

Golden Punt Audience Award for Best Feature

Silver Punt Audience Award for Best Documentary

Crystal Punt Audience Award for Best Short Film.

Youth Lab Jury Award

Family Film Festival Audience Award

By submitting your film you’re automatically entered into any awards it is eligible for.

Cambridge Film Festival is a BAFTA recognised Festival.

1) Submission Eligibility:

Fiction and documentary feature films must not have been released in the UK in any format, including online, or shown on UK television prior to their screening in the Festival.
Shorts should ideally be a UK premiere too, however, this is not required but they should not be publicly available online in the UK prior to their screening in the Festival.

Please note: exceptions can be made for films that are of particularly high quality and/or films that premiered at the London Film Festival and Edinburgh International Film Festival only at the discretion of Festival staff.

Only films completed within the 18 months prior to the start of the festival are eligible for submission.

All foreign language films must be subtitled in English (the costs of which are to be covered by the applicant).

While it is not a requirement, and this will not affect your chances of being selected, we encourage filmmakers where possible to include a supporting Closed Caption file with your submission. More info on how to upload this on FilmFreeway can be found here.

Previously submitted work will not be considered unless it has been substantially altered.
All rights, permissions, and clearances must be obtained prior to submission and applicants must ensure that they have the right to submit the work with regard to third parties connected with the production of the film in question.

By entering your work, you agree to this and the responsibilities involved. The Cambridge Film Trust, the registered charity that runs the Cambridge Film Festival, assumes no responsibility for violation of copyright law, and submission fees will not be refunded.

2) Fees and waivers:

The Cambridge Film Festival is operated by the Cambridge Film Trust, registered charity no. 1120059 and owing to the large number of submissions we receive we charge a submission fee to cover administration costs.

The Cambridge Film Trust in partnership with BFI are committed to supporting local filmmakers and therefore submission fees will be waived for filmmakers (directors and producers) who are based in Cambridgeshire. Please email proof of address (such as a scan/pdf of a current utility bill) with the "FILM TITLE - WAIVER" as subject to

Directors and producers who have previously screened films at the Festival are also entitled to a waiver. Please email with the "FILM TITLE (year screened) - WAIVER" as subject to

We want to encourage submissions from directors from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and therefore we can offer a 25% discount. Please email with the "FILM TITLE (year screened) - DISCOUNT" as subject to

Fees will not be waived under any other circumstances so please do not contact us to request that we make an exception, as we will not be able to do so.
Please note that submission fees will not be refunded.

3) Submission:

All films must be submitted via a secure online screener.
We would encourage filmmakers to include their pronouns in their bio or alongside their submission. E.G. Name: Elle Haywood (She/Her)

The festival reserves the right to change deadlines and to close submissions earlier than stated at our discretion.

4) Selection:

Selection will be carried out by the Cambridge Film Festival team. No correspondence will be entered into regarding the selection process and the decision of the Festival is final. Unfortunately, due to the volume of entries, we do not offer individual feedback or enter into any discussion about your work.

All successful submissions will be notified by email by 20th September 2021. Please, therefore, make sure that we can reach you in the months of August and September so that we can confirm your film's inclusion in the Festival programme.

All successful submissions will be listed on our website when the full programme is announced.

Please do not send any press materials with your submission. Should your film be accepted we will request that you send us digital images and other press/publicity materials including press kits.

5) Festival Screenings and Scheduling:

The 40th edition of CFF is going to be a hybrid festival for 2021 both in-venue and online. Every effort will be made to present all films in venue with additional presentation through our online platform, however, we reserve the right to move the festival online if this becomes necessary due to the changing nature of Covid-19 lockdown laws in the United Kingdom.

Submission to CFF is with the understanding that selection may be for any and all exhibition formats that constitute CFF 2021, including in-cinema screenings, digital exhibition, or both.

All screenings during the Festival period will take place at the discretion of the Festival. We reserve the right to make changes to the advertised schedule at any time for any reason and will not accept liability for any costs incurred as a result of such changes.

You must not withdraw your film from the Cambridge Film Festival programme after its selection/participation has been confirmed and it must not be screened elsewhere before its presentation in the Festival without our prior agreement.

For in cinema presentation the film must be available to screen as a DCP. No other formats will be accepted. DCPs of selected films must be received by the Festival at least 1 month before the start of the Festival.

CFF will also require a digital version (1920 x 1080p h.264 @ 10Mbps mp4 or mov, with closed captions .SRT or .VTT files) for online presentation.

The Festival is not able to cover the costs of any format transfers or subtitling.

The Cambridge Film Trust will accept responsibility for technical damage to prints of selected titles while they are in the possession of the Festival and will reimburse the value of the print stock (or part thereof) only. Please ensure that you have sufficient insurance to cover your work while in transit to and from the Festival.

Overall Rating
  • Dimitri de Clercq

    The Cambridge Film Festival is one of the best film festivals I have attended! The CFF team is outstanding. Tony Jones and the festival Staff share a true passion for Cinema and put together an outstanding selection of films. The festival takes care of the filmmakers and makes sure you have a great screening, Q&A and press coverage. The festival's magazine TAKE ONE and its editorial team are truly passionate about film! It was an absolute honor to be part of such an incredible festival and to have our feature film You Go To My Head screen there. We highly recommend the Cambridge Film Festival!

    November 2019
  • Rebecca Manley

    Great festival with stunning screening and reception locations, friendly and super helpful staff and volunteers. Loved it.

    November 2019
  • Stefan Georgiou

    Cambridge Film Festival continues to program a real mixture of incredible films from around the world and blend it with wonderful hospitality. The staff work tirelessly to deliver a very special festival that ensures all audiences are catered for. Can't wait for next year.

    November 2019
  • Mikey Kowalczyk

    Wonderful festival - expertly put together and thoughtfully done.

    October 2019
  • Elsa Levytsky

    Such a fantastic festival. Wonderfully organized with such helpful staff! The theater was also nicely filled for our screening. Not to mention the town of Cambridge is beautiful.

    October 2019