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 ninth year. Named to MovieMaker Magazine's prestigious list of "Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee" for five years in a row, 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 2018 festival will feature daily filmmaker panels, parties and discussion forums. Our Filmmaker Lounge runs throughout the Festival and is a wonderful networking opportunity for for visiting and local filmmakers.

The Chagrin Documentary Film welcomed an enthusiastic audience of more than 12,000 in 2017.

The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival is extremely pleased to present significant cash prizes to CDFF award-winning documentary filmmakers as part of the 2018 Festival. The winners will be announced at the Festival Awards ceremony on Saturday, October 6, 2018 and funds totaling $15,000 will be presented.

** CDFF reserves the right to schedule additional screenings of award winning films.

- The David Ponce Best of the Fest award will include a $5,000 prize.
- True to its mission to support and empower filmmakers to tell their stories, the Festival’s Emerging Filmmaker Award winner will be presented with a $1,500 prize.
- A $1,000 prize will be given as part of the award for these additional categories: Best Feature, Best Student, Social Awareness, Local Documentary, Human Spirit Award and Short Documentary.
- The Audience Choice award winner will receive $1,000.

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 3 and October 7, 2018.

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 6, 2018 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 an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival 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 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
  • Arshad Khan

    What an outstanding community of dedicated, kind, generous and sweet people. I loved this town and the film festival. They embrace the film community from all over the world and really take care of their filmmakers. Highly recommend going there to witness the charm of this little town and its people for yourself.

    March 2018
  • Markus Eichenberger

    Very friendly staff and very well organised. Thank you very much for the selection. It was a great experience.

    October 2017
  • Tom Dowler

    The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival was a superlative experience on every level. It's a highly organized festival with a wonderful team that works hard for months before the big event on promotion, support and communication with filmmakers.

    We got the sense at every turn that the team at the festival wanted to create a special experience for the two screenings of our documentary, Adele and Everything After. Audiences at Chagrin Documentary Film Festival are so engaged and interested. There's nothing more gratifying as a filmmaker than to screen for the kind of smart, thoughtful and supportive people who attend the festival. Special events like filmmaker panels and the awards make the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival feel like a very special celebration.

    Chagrin Falls is such a charming backdrop for the film festival itself, and we loved shopping at the boutiques, sampling the delicious food, taking in the natural beauty and-- especially-- meeting so many locals who made us feel welcome. As a filmmaker who has screened at more than a dozen festivals, Chagrin Falls is the gold standard.

    October 2017

    The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival will forever have a special place in my heart! They do an incredible job of galvanizing the community (and beyond) to come out and support the films and filmmakers. Their communication is EXCELLENT and they really set the stage for tons of networking opportunities. Lots of love goes into this festival... They truly deserve their place on the Top 50 List!

    October 2017
  • Jim Hacha

    The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival exceeded my expectations. I met other like minded filmmakers and the festival was about the films and the people who made them. During the festival, Chagrin Falls was teeming with film goers and the support was tremendous.

    October 2017