The Cape Fear Independent Film Festival is turning 20!

The CFI: Film Festival is a longstanding tradition in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Wilmington NC is the home of Films and Television Productions since the 1980s 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, 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
  • Julie Whitis-Church

    Great festival. Would definitely submit again!

    July 2021
  • Rodrigues David

    It was a honor for us to be selected on your wonderful festival.
    The whole team of the film « Leaving to live » thank you warmly for your great work and your sympathy !
    All the Best, 🍀

    September 2020
  • Scott Farrell

    I wasn't able to attend the screening of my animated short Bristled but the staff was absolutely wonderful answering all questions and staying in contact. Will definitely submit again in the future!

    August 2019
  • I loved it and had a great time. Would definitely recommend!

    July 2019
  • Michael Raab

    I have been privileged to have screened at the CFIFF before and, as always, it is more like a gathering of friends than a festival of films. I get to watch what everyone else is doing, and ask them in person why they did it this way or that while sitting at a table with them over a cold brew or two. Comfortable, casual, classy.

    June 2019