** Fee waivers and discounts are available. See below for details **

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

In recent years CFF has taken the support of established and emerging filmmakers to the next level with the establishment of a dedicated Industry Day and the CFF Youth Lab.

Industry Day brings filmmakers and industry professionals together for a range of talks, workshops, and presentations focused on developing skills and connections to support careers within the industry.

CFF Youth Lab is an exciting, young person-led film initiative focusing on young people’s film evaluation and criticism skills, as well as encouraging communication and network building. CFF Youth Lab runs regular workshops, networking events, and presentations by industry professionals, with previous guests including Mark Kermode, Beth Webb, Simon Mayo, and Simran Hans.

These initiatives, alongside CFF’s open submissions process, support local and international filmmakers. Providing a supportive platform to showcase their work while developing skills and building vital network connections.

2023 marks the 42nd edition of the Cambridge Film Festival, and we look forward to welcoming audiences in October.

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 waterways, and we have named our audience awards in honour of them. All films that screen at the Festival that are UK premieres are eligible.

Golden Punt Audience Award for Best Feature

Golden Punt Audience Award for Best Documentary

Crystal Punt Audience Award for Best Short Film.

Youth Lab Jury Award

Cambridge Film Festival is a BAFTA and BIFA qualifying 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 before their screening in the Festival.

Shorts should ideally be a UK premiere, too. However, this is not a requirement. They should not be publicly available online in the UK before their festival screening.

Please note: exceptions may be made for films of exceptionally high quality or films that premiere at the London Film Festival only at the discretion of Festival staff.

Only films completed within the 18 months before 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 will not affect your chances of being selected, we encourage filmmakers to include a supporting Closed Caption file with your submission where possible.

Previously submitted work will only be considered if 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, is committed to supporting local filmmakers, and therefore, submission fees are waived for filmmakers (directors and producers) based in Cambridgeshire.

Please email submissions@cambridgefilmfestival.org.uk with proof of address (such as a scan/pdf of a current utility bill) and the (FILM TITLE) - WAIVER as the email subject.

Directors and producers who have previously screened films at the Festival are also entitled to a waiver.

Please email submissions@cambridgefilmfestival.org.uk with the (PREVIOUS FILM TITLE - YEAR SCREENED) - WAIVER as the email subject.

We want to encourage submissions from directors from Black and Global Majority backgrounds, and therefore we can offer a 25% discount.

Please email submissions@cambridgefilmfestival.org.uk with the (FILM TITLE) - DISCOUNT as the email subject.

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 encourage filmmakers to include their pronouns in their bios or alongside their submissions. 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 16th September 2022. Please ensure that we can reach you in August and September to confirm your film's inclusion in the Festival programme.

All successful submissions will be listed on our website when the complete 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 42nd edition of CFF will be in venue.

Submission to CFF is with the understanding that selection may be for any and all exhibition formats.

All screenings during the Festival period will take place at the discretion of the Festival. We reserve the right to change 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. It must not be screened elsewhere before its presentation at the Festival without our prior agreement.

For an 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 one month before the start of the Festival.

The Festival cannot 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
  • A wonderful film festival. Terrific films. Communication was great. Thank you for selecting "Pears" and I look forward to collaborating with you again in the future.

    December 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your kind words Asaf, we are only as good as the amazing films we screen and we were thrilled to welcome "Pears".

  • Sarah Beardsall

    We had a great experience at the Cambridge Film Festival. The industry day was really well organised and it was great to be able to see lots of really high quality films and meet the other filmmakers.

    November 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for joining us for industry day Sarah, it was great to see so many talented filmmakers in Cambridge.

  • Rebekah Louisa Smith

    LOVE this festival! It is extremly well organised, great programming, communication and an enthusiastic team. Thank you so much for screening THE MOUNTAIN we are so grateful

    November 2022
    Response from festival:

    We LOVE you Rebekah! Thank you for sharing "The Mountain" with our audience.

  • Thank you for having me and my film "echo" in your festival. Special thanks to Abby Lauren and extra special to Anthony for being a friend of the Festival and an excellent tour guide of Cambridge!

    November 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for bringing the wonderful "Echo" to CFF Sergio. Glad you enjoyed your tour of the city.

  • Sonita Gale

    WE LOVE these guys. This festival is just brilliant. The team, the proximity, the films, everything. We hope one day we will be back!

    July 2022
    Response from festival:

    We look forward to welcoming you back to Cambridge Sonita. Thank you for your kind words about the Festival and for your filmmaking passion.