It's time for the 19th Annual Cape Fear Independent Film Festival.

CFIFF or cape_fear_indie_film_fest, is a longstanding tradition in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Wilmington NC is the home of Films and Television Productions since the 1980’s with Dino DeLaurentis’ “Firestarter” being Wilmington's first production. Since then we have been host to "Blue Velvet “/ “Dawson's Creek" / ”A Walk to Remember” / “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” / “Iron Man 3” / “One Tree Hill" / "Under the Dome" / “Sleepy Hollow" / "Good Behavior" / "Revolution" / just to name a few.

Our festival takes place downtown Wilmington throughout the weekend where you can enjoy our Historical Town and network with talented local filmmakers.

CFIFF showcases shorts and features in all genres. We offer awards for Best Comedy, Best Horror, Best Drama, Best Documentary, and Best North Carolina Short. There are cash prizes for Best Short Film, and Best Feature. Submissions are reviewed by trained volunteers and programming is done by industry professionals. We also celebrate Female Directors with our Best Female Director Award!

Our past festival hosts include Danielle Panabaker (CW’s “FLASH”) Nick Searcy (THE RUNAWAY JURY, FX’s “JUSTIFIED”) and Joe Manganiello (“MAGIC MIKE”, HBO’s “TRUE BLOOD”).

The Cape Fear Independent Film Festival has been host to hundreds of appreciative filmmakers over the years and we hope to add you to our family.
Feature Film Premieres have included THE CAKE EATERS (Mary Stuart Masterson), CHOOSE (Marcus Graves), SAVAGE (Justin Blum), AMERICAN WARSHIPS (Thunder Levin) and HEART OF THE COUNTRY (John Ward)

We cannot wait to watch your films!!!

"I feel the need to thank you again for all your hard work with the festival. It's people like you and everybody involved with the Cape Fear Independent Film Festival that keep aspiring younger filmmakers like me motivated and hungry to create!"
-Shane Thompson
Winner Best North Carolina Short CFIFF 2016

"We had a great time at the festival, and we enjoyed meeting you, along with all the other filmmakers. You created a wonderful atmosphere for everyone!"
- Jon Lance Bacon, Steven P. Neilson
Winner Best Comedy CFIFF 2016

Awards are given for the best films in all categories including Feature, Short, Drama, Comedy, Horror, Family, Documentary, North Carolina Short, Student Film & Director's Choice.

In 2013, CFIFF created THE DON AWARD for the best produced feature-length screenplay in memory of Wilmington native, Don Payne. As a screenwriter, Don was best known for his work on Fox's THE SIMPSONS and feature films, THOR (1 & 2) and FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER.

CFIFF also awards the Best Female Director award, this award is judged by female film directors and seeks to encourage and celebrate female film directors.

Both winners receive a free subscription to Final Draft screenwriting software.

All entries must be submitted on one of the approved PREVIEW formats along with a completed entry form and appropriate entry fee.

Short Films are 40 minutes or less.
Feature Films are 41 minutes or more.

Accepted filmmakers will be asked to submit Social Media (Facebook, Twitter) friendly artwork and loglines.

North Carolina residents receive $5 OFF entry fees. Send an email to with your name and address for details. **You must do this BEFORE you submit your film. We cannot apply the discount after you submit.

Submitting filmmakers must acknowledge that they have acquired any and all necessary rights to the content of the submitted film, including rights to copyrighted music, images and talent release. They agree that the Cape Fear Independent Film Network will not be held responsible for any copyright infringement by their film, unintentional or otherwise.

Overall Rating
  • Jason Loftus

    Great Festival. Great City. Really enjoyed our time here.

    October 2018
  • Steffen Hacker

    It was just awesome being a very little part of this festival for its 18th edition. Festival director Karen Labbé has been just amazing! You can´t believe how much time, effort and dedication she put into CFIFF, to communicate so unbelievably friendly and open with every individual filmmaker upfront and even during the festival!
    Unfortunately I could not attend the festival itself, but she and her team made me feel like I´m really with them by sending photos and videos from the screening and the award ceremony. Even from a big distance it has been an amazing journey and I am so thankful that we could be part of CFIFF. Thank you!!

    June 2018
  • This is a small but mighty film festival! Wonderful filmmaker's lounge, parties, networking opportunities and great communication. Plus a summer time festival in Wilmington means great beach time opportunities. Karen, the festival director did an amazing job!

    My only suggestion is keep the awards presentation short and early. They went on late and were really long. A lot of people had to travel the next day and didn't want to stay up all night so I think attendance at the after party suffered only because it was so late. That closing night party was amazing! Great drinks, food and decor wish I could have stayed longer!

    June 2018
  • Janice Corran

    Wonderful small film festival with great hospitality.

    June 2018
  • Jonathan Marballi

    CFIFF was a blast! The people and volunteers were incredibly friendly and helpful and the amount of care put into so many aspects of the festival was nearly overwhelming. The filmmaker lounge, the closing night party, the design of the badges, etc. We also met several interesting people and filmmakers from all over the country. We definitely hope to return sometime down the road.

    June 2018