The 6th Annual Chain NYC Film Festival (Chain NYC) is known for celebrating personal stories and original ideas in a buzzing metropolis that's rich with stories of its own. The festival has proven to be an emerging festival to watch out for – in 2017 the festival screened more than 100 films and doubled in submission size. With the goal of sparking exciting dialogue between filmmakers and their audiences, Chain NYC comes alive in New York City.

Chain NYC welcomes narrative and documentary submissions, whether in feature-length, short-form, or "super-short" format. The festival also warmly embraces webseries submissions as part of a new wave of creative enterprise in an increasingly connected world. Over 30 awards are bestowed in numerous categories, including Best Narrative Feature, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Animated Film, and Best Local Filmmaker. Special prizes may also be awarded, at the discretion of a jury of storytelling and filmmaking experts.

Cidney Hue, writer-director of the award-winning narrative short, Odessa, concurs: "Chain NYC has been the best experience I've had, thus far, at any festival....Thank you for restoring my faith in film festivals!"

In addition to screening the best in recent filmmaking the festival also hosts live film related events. Past events included a special screening of John Cassavetes’ 1959 film Shadows was followed by an engaging Q&A with actress Leila Goldoni in 2013 and in 2014 a staged reading of Karen Black's work featuring Sean Young, Andrea McArdle, and Gail Brown was a festival highlight. In 2016 screenwriter Richard Price gave an unforgettable talk back after the 30th Anniversary Screening of the Color of Money and also spoke about his HBO smash hit series The Night Of. Last year screenwriter Richard LaGravenese joined us for for an in depth look into The Fisher King.

Chain NYC may be only five years old, but that hasn't stopped countless visitors from singing the festival's praises. "I've participated in numerous film festivals, and the Chain NYC Film Festival stands out as one of the best," says Richard Uhlig, writer-director of the award-winning documentary short, My Kansas. "Not only [is] the selection of films superb, but the staff made a point of getting to know me and really supporting my film. All too often, small films can get lost in the shuffle of a festival. Not at Chain NYC."

Narratives, Docs and Web Series projects are welcome to submit – qualify your film today!

Awards of recognition of excellence are offered in over 30 categories.

Please refer to our website for a list of last year's winners and categories:

General Rules

The selection committee would prefer that all entries/screeners be submitted as a Secure Online Screener.

There is no limit to the number of entries you may submit.

Select the category that seems most appropriate. If you wish to enter multiple categories, you must select your primary category and then send an email to the festival requesting consideration for additional categories. There will be no additional fee for this if the festival grants permission.

Fill out the entry form carefully.

A short synopsis of 2 to 4 lines is required for shorts categories.

A short synopsis in addition to a longer synopsis of approximately 125 words is required for the Documentary and Feature categories. You are required to submit this with the entry form. The synopsis will be used for the jury committee, the program book and web site, if accepted. Each submission should also include at least one still production photo or slide, a press kit and bio and photo of the director.

Please provide the most information possible by filling out all areas of your profile before submitting. Should you be accepted we use that information for our web site and need as detailed information you can give.

Notification of acceptance will be emailed on approximately July 5th, 2018. You will be notified for each submission.

If you are entering as a student, a photocopy of a current student ID, as well as an endorsement must accompany your entry from your instructor.

Complete care is given to every entry. The festival, however, cannot be responsible for damage to, or loss of, material submitted. Additionally, the festival is held harmless from damage to or loss of print en route to the festival.


Works in progress, and industrial/instructional works are not eligible.


Films will be screened from files provided by the submitter. Files must be given in by deadline requested at acceptance or the film will be removed from screening schedule.

The submitter has final say on which cut of a film will be shown. The Chain NYC Film Festival will not be liable for choices amongst your production team on different cuts of a film. The screener given to us upon acceptance is the one that will be shown. The Chain NYC Film Festival can opt to avoid any confrontations with regards to these matters by disqualifying your film.

Please be aware that if you have not submitted a photo or synopsis it will not be included in the program book or web site. Any corrections received to the original submission material must be received in writing by July 1st, 2018. Changes will not be made after this date.

The Chain NYC Film Festival reserves the right to use clips from accepted entries, up to 3 minutes in length for publicity purposes. The festival reserves the right to show the submission for promotion and fund raising events up to three years past the date of the festival. Submitter can opt out of this clause by sending the festival a written request to opt out of this clause.

The number of screenings, days is at the sole discretion of the festival.

The policy of the festival is that any promotional material and screener copies WILL NOT be returned. If you have specific needs, we will try and help resolve them but you are not guaranteed to receive these materials back.

Accepted films and videos will be notified by approximately July 5th, 2018

Overall Rating
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    Michele Beck

    This is a great festival- really well run and respectful of the artists. The screening space had a very good projection screen/ sound system and had a lively vibe. The Q&A after the screening was really well done- Kirk asked really good questions. Kirk and Christina, who organized the festival, where welcoming, really nice and helpful. It was a great experience and I highly recommend it.

    September 2017
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    Josiah Cuneo

    This festival suceeds on every front, making opportunities to meet other filmmakers, having talk backs with the directors, screening at a first class venue, and choosing films with small budgets and big heart. I look forward to attending again next year.

    August 2017
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    Adam Bertocci

    The pros:
    - Fest gives a lot of personal attention. For your Q+A, you are interviewed personally by the festival director, who knows the film well and has thoughts about it. None of the old "all the directors go up on stage, pass the mic down the line and say what inspired their film" here.
    - Prompt, excellent communication.
    - Brings in good special events.

    The cons:
    - In order to accept more films, the fest runs even in the afternoon on weekdays. Filmmakers should be advised that there's a good chance their piece will show at a time that may prove inconvenient for audiences.
    - I observed at least one day where blocks seemed to run significantly long and cause other blocks to start significantly late and etc. etc. This may be a byproduct of the personal attention during the Q+As. Maybe there was some underestimation of how long things would take in earlier blocks.

    For me, the pros outweighed the cons. I'd apply again.

    August 2017
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    Kathy Fleig

    Chain is a small-ish festival, but so worth the entrance fee. The Festival started out with a meet and greet that provided a great opportunity to meet many of the other filmmakers, and to meet Kirk, the Artistic Director who was very welcoming. The screening space was perfect - good sound, comfy seats, and an almost packed house. On the night my Short screened, there was a Talk Back afterward which was great. The feeling in the theatre was one of community, and I felt like our films and efforts were acknowledged and appreciated. I would definitely recommend this festival.

    August 2017