The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival is a celebration of documentary storytelling and of the filmmakers who bring us their stories. Founded in honor of late filmmaker David Ponce, the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival is proud to bring stories from around the world to Ohio's beautiful Chagrin Valley.

This inspiring and highly attended documentary film festival is entering its fourteenth year. Named to MovieMaker Magazine's prestigious list of "Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee" for eight years, the Festival takes place at venues in and around the lovely century village of Chagrin Falls, Ohio with a focus on honoring talented filmmakers from around the world.

The Chagrin Documentary Film has welcomed an enthusiastic audience of more than 13,000 and streamed to a national audience of 34,000.

The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival (CDFF) is a celebration of the spirit of the documentary filmmaker, video artists and those working with the moving image from around the world and around the corner.

1. Dates and Venue
(CDFF) will take place in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, USA between October 4 and October 8, 2023. Submitting films give CDFF the rights to online streaming of films as well as currently planned in-person screening during the Festival dates.

2. Competition
The Festival reserves the right to place entries into alternative categories if they feel it is to the benefit of the title. Each submission must be entered separately. Entries will be assessed and successful submissions will be programmed for screening and enter the Festival competition.

3. Formats
For the selection process, we accept online screeners ONLY.

Please note: if accepted, we require a ProRes file 1080 either via upload or thumb drive.

Please address your entry to:
Chagrin Documentary Film Festival
PO Box 239
Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44022

4. The Festival committee reserves the right to invite films for the competition and program. The final award-winning entries will be selected by a Festival Jury. The winners in each category to be announced on Oct 7, 2023, in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, USA. CDFF reserves the right to schedule additional screenings of selected films.

5. Screenings
It is the responsibility of the entrant to ensure that films for screening are deposited with the Festival organizers at least 30 days before any scheduled screening. The Festival DOES NOT pay screening fees.

6. We reserve the right to use submissions for festival publicity and marketing purposes. Submitted films may be used for Festival and post-festival screenings for 12 months.

7. The Programming Committee's decision is final.
Chagrin Documentary Film Festival (CDFF) is hereby granted the right to utilize a film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for online streaming and in-person theatrical screening and for promotional purposes for a period of 12 months. The Festival does not pay screening fees for any film submitted to the festival.

The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for online or in-person screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations.

By submitting, you indemnify and hold harmless the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.

Overall Rating
  • Laurens Bubendorfer

    It was an awesome festival with all lovely people including the staff, volunteers and especially the audience! I came there from Slovenia and it was worth every minute and to enjoy the whole week. Thank you for selecting my film, "Emerald Paradise - Fly-Fishing in the Soča Valley" and choosing it to be the opening film of the festival. What a beautiful event it was! Hope to be able to come back.
    Additionally I found many people to show me around the area for fishing and friendships developed that I am sure will last a lifetime.

    November 2022
    Response from festival:

    Laurens, it was a pleasure to have you attend the Festival and we were honored to screen your film at the CDFF! We hope you will join us again in the future -- you are always welcome in Chagrin Falls!

  • I can't fault this festival. The team, including the volunteers on the ground during the festival were attentive, friendly and accomodating. We felt really looked after as soon as we arrived in beautiful Chagrin falls. My partner and I flew in from Croatia to attend, and we are glad we did as it was one of the best experiences we have had at a festival. There were great events and plenty of opportunities to network with other filmmakers, both local and from around the world, plus the films were really good quality and diverse in their storytelling. There is a reason CDFF is listed within the top 50 festivals worth the entry fee. Submit, and even if you don't get in -- attend!

    October 2022
    Response from festival:

    Ivan, it was a pleasure to meet you and Sarah and we are so grateful you were able to make the trip and join us for the Festival! We appreciate so much your participation and attendance and the Cat Parade was definitely icing on the cake to accompany your unique film! We were blessed by your presence and hope you both will be back again!

  • Johnny Wu

    First, I want to thank the festival to having our documentary shown. As I have heard so much great things on the festival before hand, so I was so excited. Unfortunately due to work, I only attended for a few hours but that was an experience worth being there!

    Everyone was nice and generous and met as well as connected with many other filmmakers new and old.

    Definitely a festival to attend and learn!

    October 2022
    Response from festival:

    Johnny, we were honored to screen your film and have you attend! Thank you for sharing your story!

  • Dale Omori

    One of the best festivals for documentary films. I can't say enough great things about the staff, audiences and filmmakers. There is definitely an overwhelming sense of community throughout this festival.

    October 2022
    Response from festival:

    Dale, we were so grateful to not only have you attend, but to connect and share your personal stories with us -- I hope you continue to push past that uncomfortable feeling of exposure when sharing your personal stories! We want to hear more from you!

  • Had a wonderful experience in the beautiful village of Chagrin Falls! Fantastic selections & experience- especially being able to walk around town in fall and run into filmmakers and festival goers throughout the day. Can't wait for next year!

    October 2022
    Response from festival:

    So glad you had such a great experience Jeremy! Thanks so much for attending! Congratulations to you and can't wait to see you back here soon!