The Charlotte Film Festival was created to give established and emerging filmmakers a weekend festival to showcase their works for industry peers and avid enthusiasts of independent film. Over the years, the Festival has grown to include state-of-the-art venues, attracting filmmakers from around the world as well as industry professionals, corporate sponsorship, and a dedicated audience.

We strive to bring the most innovative independent cinema to Charlotte, NC for our festival patrons and film enthusiasts from neighboring states. The Festival has evolved, but what remains consistent is our mission to “DISCOVER DIFFERENT” and to provide the highest quality festival experience for filmmakers and audience members alike.

Juried "In Competition" Awards:


Special Awards:


Non-Juried Award:

AUDIENCE AWARDS - Given to film with highest audience rating in each category.


Please read all of these terms carefully prior to submitting.

All feature films MUST be Charlotte, NC premieres. Any feature films previously screened in Charlotte, NC will be disqualified from acceptance into the 14th Charlotte Film Festival.

Short films may have screened in Charlotte, NC and will not be disqualified if screened previously.

All genres are eligible for consideration.

All films must have been completed after May of 2020.

1. Submission starts and deadline dates: Open on January 4th, 2021. "Early Deadline" for entries is February 28th, 2021. "Ahead of the Curve Deadline" is April 30, 2021. "Regular Deadline" deadline is June 30, 2021. The "Extended Deadline" is July 23rd, 2021.

2. All deadlines are RECEIVED-BY deadlines. They indicate the dates that films must UPLOADED by those dates.

3. Entry fees are non-refundable.

4. A completed entry form and appropriate fee (payable to Charlotte Film Society in U.S. dollars only) must accompany your entry.

5. North Carolina and South Carolina filmmakers can receive a discount on their submission fee - please contact the Programming Director ( for details.

6. Eligible works must have been completed after May 2020. Feature films must not have been publicly screened in the Charlotte, North Carolina area prior to the 2021 festival dates. Short films can have screened in Charlotte, NC prior to the festival but accepted films may not screen in the state of North Carolina between the acceptance date and date of screening at the Charlotte Film Festival (unless OK'd by the Programming Director). Films available to publicly view online (via YouTube, Vimeo or some other web service) will also be considered public screenings and may not be selected or screened.

7. Accepted running times are as follows:
NARRATIVE and DOCUMENTARY FEATURES: 30 minutes or longer
NARRATIVE and DOCUMENTARY SHORTS: 29 minutes or shorter

8. Works in Progress are accepted only if submitted by the "Ahead of the Curve" deadline of April 30th, 2021 and must be at least 80% complete at the time of submission deadline. 'Work in Progress' or 'Rough Cut' must be clearly marked on the submission. A final cut of the film must be submitted by June 30th, 2021. Entry fees will not be refunded for entries that fail to submit a final cut by the required date.

9. Projects in a language other than English must have English subtitles prior to submission.

10. Filmmakers are responsible for the shipment of the exhibition DCP copy to the festival by the requested deadline. Exhibition copies of entries will not be returned, unless accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope (or some other form or return shipping information). The filmmaker is responsible for covering costs for shipping return information labels and/or postage.

An exhibition print of the film must be provided in the following format: DCP. Note: We do not accept/screen Blu-ray or DVD as the exhibition format for accepted films. Failure to comply with technical specifications may result in the removal of the film from Festival line up.

In the event of a "virtual" or "hybrid" festival due to COVID restrictions, we may also ask for a MP4 digital download of your film to be uploaded to our virtual screening room for screening.

11. DCP Requirements: 
DCPs must be DCI compliant and delivered on an external hard drive with either a CRU enclosure or an USB* interface.

12. Due to limited time and resources, the Charlotte Film Festival is unable to provide comments or feedback about specific films.

13. Posters provided for festival use are not guaranteed for return. It has been our policy to return materials in person to filmmakers or representatives whenever possible after films have been exhibited only upon request. In the event that posters or materials are lost or damaged during CFF2021, the festival will not replace or reimburse for any provided promotional materials.


Please read carefully the following terms and conditions in connection with your submitted entry materials to the Charlotte Film Festival. Submission of your film acknowledges acceptance of the General Rules and Terms and Conditions of the Charlotte Film Festival:

1. I/ We attest that I/we have read and understand and complied with the General Rules of the Festival, that I/we am/are the sole owner(s) of legal right and title thereto have absolute authority to submit the Material to the Festival.

2. I/ We understand that by submitting said Material, I/we authorize the Festival to exhibit the Material during the 2021 Festival dates if the Material is selected for exhibition by the Festival. The Charlotte Film Festival reserves the right to screen said film up to 3 times during the festival dates, or special "best of" additional screening dates, and screen provided clips/trailers of the film to promote the screenings in advance and during the festival.

3. I/ We will indemnify and hold harmless the Festival, its organizers, judges, sponsors, and partners, individually and collectively, from and against all claims, demands, losses, damages, costs, liabilities and expenses including legal expenses arising out of or in connection with any and all claims, or third party claims based on Material submitted to the Festival.

4. I/ We understand that the Festival is not responsible for any type of damage to or loss of the Material while it is in the Festival's possession, or while en route to or from the Festival, and I/we release the Festival, its organizers, judges, sponsors, and partners, individually and collectively, from any and all liabilities regarding damage to or loss of the Material while en route to or from the Festival or while in its possession.

5. I/ We agree that any dispute arising between me/us and the Festival shall be subject to binding arbitration pursuant to the then effective Commercial Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association. The arbitrator shall have the authority to award all appropriate relief, including equitable or injunctive relief; provided, however, that the arbitrator is not authorized to award punitive damages. The award issued by any such arbitrator may be entered and confirmed as a judgment in any court of competent jurisdiction. The state with jurisdiction over any disputes relating to this agreement is North Carolina, and the sole location for proper venue is Charlotte, North Carolina.

6. Selection into the 2021 Charlotte Film Festival will permit the Festival to use their name, and/or likeness & publicity stills, film or video footage, title, and log-line of Material, in pre & post-competition publicity & promotional efforts. This may include additional post-festival screenings and events.

7. The Festival may, at its own discretion, transfer the submitted Material to a compilation DVD for Festival screening and the resulting DVD may be used for Festival promotional purposes. However, said compilations are not sold or distributed by the Festival.

8. Should Material win one or more awards "Award(s)" at the Festival, I/we am/are authorized and/or empowered by all parties legally representing Material to name the individual(s) listed on the Award Designation List to receive any and all Award(s). If Material is eligible for Award(s) and no one was designated to accept it/them, the Award will be deemed forfeit and another award winner will be chosen.

Overall Rating
  • I LOVE Charlotte film festival. As an alumni now, with my 4th years screening with them - I cannot recommend them enough!

    November 2021
  • Cat Dale

    A dedicated and passionate team puts on an equally amazing festival. Thank you for including my film in the lineup, excited to be part of this film-loving community!

    November 2021
  • Adam DeCarlo

    THANK YOU for such a wonderful festival experience in Charlotte! Was so great to see so many great films, and to meet so many filmmakers. Had a blast!

    October 2021
  • Megan Daniels

    The entire crew who organized the festival worked tirelessly to make the experience wonderful. I'm grateful for the experience and hope that others consider submitting to this festival!

    October 2021
  • Kelly Walker

    Thank you for selecting My Fiona to be a part of your festival. We wish we could have been there!

    October 2021