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 twelfth 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.

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 5 and October 10, 2021. 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 9, 2021, in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, USA. CDFF reserves the right to schedule additional screenings of award-winning films.

5. Entry Returns
Submissions copies will not be returned unless requested. To ensure your submission copy is returned include a postage paid envelope.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. The administrator'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
  • Jennifer Lin

    Loved this festival! Mary Ann Ponce and her crew did their creative best to ensure that films were screened. They showed our documentary at a makeshift drive-in. Hats off to them for turning a lemon of a year into lemonade.
    Jennifer Lin
    Beethoven in Beijing

    October 2020
  • Tim Kaminski

    CDFF pulled off an exemplary hybrid festival for 2020! The selection of films that was programmed was superb and the effort put into the in-person aspects of the drive-in films and the films in the park helped retain some semblance of a non-pandemic year festival and was appreciated by all who had the opportunity. Being one who was able to go there with my film, I was able to see the heart and effort put in by the entire festival team. From the director and the programming team on down to each and every volunteer and supporter, the spirit and care necessary to make anything successful was ever-present. Chagrin Falls easily became a destination festival for me that I look forward to returning to whether I have a film there or not!

    October 2020
  • So this year due to you-know-what I wasn't able to attend the in-person screenings for the Chagrin Documentary Film Fest (kudos to CDFF for pulling off drive in screenings and park screenings - they were an awesome and successful idea) But I was able to participate in all the online streaming and activities CDFF provided and wow I was blown away. The films were brilliant and the interface of CDFF on-demand was top tier. They also provided a big zoom so the filmmakers were able to network and it went very well.

    One of the things that I can say as a student filmmaker that really made me happy was that all the student films were put together with the rest of the festival. For me, as a student, the ability to see your film next to a professional's film in the same screening block was not only a massive honor but a fantastic learning experience and it means a lot that the student films were not 'put off to the side' as it were.

    October 2020
  • Sky Bergman

    I really appreciate all that the Chagrin Doc Fest did this year to make the festival such a success. As a filmmaker, it has been challenging to get our films out there in the world, but when festivals are able to pivot in this virtual world, I actually think that more people might be seeing our films.

    October 2020
  • Karen De Luca Stephens

    In an unusual year when festival organizers had to make a quick pivot to a virtual platform the organizers of the CDFF made the change seamlessly. Communication was clear and timely. The films were grouped and presented in a way that supported every film and filmmaker. And, the filmmakers had the chance to virtually meet each other at the end of the festival for a fun session of conversation. I'm already planning to go next year just to meet the festival organizers and see the films of 2021 in this great location.

    October 2020