The Cape Fear Independent Film Festival reaches its 18th Year!

The Cape Fear Independent Film Festival (or CFIFF) is a longstanding tradition in Wilmington, North Carolina. CFIFF is dedicated to showcasing exciting and engaging content. Your content! For years filmmakers have enjoyed the festival and the networking opportunities it presents. Wilmington NC is the central hub for film production in North Carolina, with Screen Gems Studios a short 15-minute ride from CFIFF’s screening headquarters.

"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

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 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

Wilmington NC, the home of the Cape Fear Independent Film Festival, is an awesome city in Southeastern North Carolina, minutes from the beach and offering an incredibly vibrant nightlife. Film production in Wilmington exploded in the 1980’s with Dino DeLaurentis’ “FIRESTARTER” being the production that kicked it off. Since then we have been host to several Film and Television Projects like “A WALK TO REMEMBER,” “TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES,” “IRON MAN 3,” “DAWSON'S CREEK,” “ONE TREE HILL,” and “SLEEPY HOLLOW.”

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)

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”).

Awards & Prizes

Two monetary prizes are given for Best Short ($200) and Best Feature ($500).
Awards are given for the best films in all categories including Feature, Short, Drama, Comedy, Horror, Family, Documentary, North Carolina Short, & Director's Choice.

In 2013, CFIFF created THE DON AWARD for best 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.

Rules & Terms

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.

4 Reviews

Overall Rating
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    Claudia Stack

    This is an awesome film festival that encourages meaningful interaction between audience and filmmakers!

    August 2017
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    Devi Snively

    For years I've wanted to attend this fest, but alas, something always comes up. We had a 4th film screen this year, and sadly I had no choice but to miss it again. That said, years ago, one of our actors attended and said she had a blast. Also, my correspondence with the programmers has always been not only prompt and helpful, but also super friendly and personal. Everything runs smoothly and I've no doubt it's even better to go in person. The film line up looks great. I was honored our film was included. Next time, if they'll have me back, I'll make it my quest to attend.

    June 2017
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    Bob Celli

    Had a wonderful time at this festival. Great staff and volunteers. Cool venue. Great line up of films! North Carolina hospitality and great networking opportunities.

    June 2017
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    Bradley Bethel

    The organizers were super cool guys obviously committed to promoting indie film, and the opening night party at the Browncoat Pub & Theatre was a lot of fun and a great networking event. Overall, I had a great time and will definitely submit films to Cape Fear in the future and encourage other NC filmmakers to do the same.

    May 2016