The Chattanooga Film Festival loves everything about cinema: the films, filmmakers and audiences; the critics, collectors and curators; and most especially the popcorn. We share films that are unique, challenging, critically significant and a helluva lot of fun. We particularly love little films that feel like big films, because we like to think of Chattanooga as a small town with big ideas. Our ultimate goal is to remember, discover and cultivate cinema worthy of everyone’s love and respect.

Here's what the press and a few of our past guests are saying about us!

"The Southern Sundance. Given my experience at this year’s fest, I wouldn’t find it surprising if the Chattanooga Film Festival one day surpassed its elder cousin in the North. For the non-film nerds among you, this is a killer lineup. This is Haight-Ashbury in 1969."

"The Chattanooga Film Festival [rated among the top 30 genre fests in the world] has rapidly developed a solid rep as a back-to-basics exhibition of noteworthy cinema. On the genre circuit, it has become a key destination for Southern fans in search of the best fear fare, shown in both its main CFFeatures and MES After Hours categories. It treats aspiring auteur attendees right, as well."

“The Chattanooga Film Fest has [quickly] done what many festivals strive for for decades: to collect an electric group of filmmakers and connect them to a community tremendously eager to meet them. The energy is palpable, the films exceptional, and the backdrop of Chattanooga’s arts and technology scene only serves to create one of the most attractive young festivals in the nation.”

“Chris Dortch and his incredible team have crafted an excellent film festival with fantastic programming that brought everyone together in a celebration of cinema. I look forward to its continued growth and to hang out in Chattanooga again!”

“I was so fortunate as a youngster to find a productive place in the film and television industry, and when the Chattanooga Film Festival wanted to honor my 55 years of contributions to entertainment, I was humbled and proud. I’m not a center-of- the-bulls-eye kind of actor, so when a truly independent festival, run by independent folks, want to acknowledge me, it makes me realize that I’m doing something right. I love how the festival began, I love it that Chris Dortch has tremendous passion for film, and I love how the filmgoers in Chattanooga (and the surround-ing region) support and embrace projects three minutes to three hours.”

“In an era when film festivals have become bloated commercial bazaars full of hustlers, propagandists and job seekers, Chattanooga has a refreshing innocence as a place where movie lovers gather by the Tennessee River, expecting to be amazed by the art form itself. There’s a renewal going on here, a return to basics, and anyone who cares about the future of cinema should become part of it.”

“The Chattanooga film festival is more than just another fledgling, regional film festival. It is truly special and has the potential to become one of the mini-majors. The force that makes CFF a standout is founder Chris Dortch, who is both a serious and passionate cineaste and a civic-minded community builder. The movies are great, but as important is the support for regional artists. It was an honor to be a part of the festival program this year.”

"An amazing festival! It was hard to believe how young it is!’

General Rules

-Entry fee is per category and non-refundable.
-Submission does not guarantee screening.
-All genres of film are accepted.
-Films must be submitted before the end of the deadline that you paid for. For example, if you pay early submission, your film must be submitted and watchable by December 4th.
-Online screeners (Vimeo, YouTube, etc) are preferred.
-DVDs only accepted with FilmFreeway tracking number and must be postmarked by the deadline under which you are submitting (for example, if you pay to submit during early submission, you must have your package postmarked and by 11:59pm December 4th).
-Short films must be under 30 minutes
-Foreign language films must be subtitled or dubbed in English
-Please do not send press kits with your screener. If your film is selected, formatting guidelines, a press kit, and promotional items will be requested
-DVDs will not be returned.
-Fee waivers are not available.
-Student submissions must be accompanied by a copy of current student ID or submitted with a .edu email address.


I agree to the terms outlined in the General Rules section of the Chattanooga Film Festival (CFF). Submission grants CFF the right to utilize an excerpt from any film (up to 2 minutes) submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes. 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. Submitting person or persons shall indemnify and hold harmless CFF 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
  • Ryan Darbonne

    Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend the festival BUT the staff was very communicative. Super bummed I missed it :(

    May 2019
  • D.C. Hamilton

    Not many festivals create such a rich sense of family, but Chattanooga absolutely does; the kind of family you'll look forward to seeing year after year, enjoying each new offering, every conversation, and wishing it lasted longer than just the weekend. I can't wait to return.

    April 2019
  • Brian Lonano

    The father & son team of Chris Dortch are a real inspiration to filmmakers and cinephiles alike. Their passion & love for film is real and palpable.

    The lineup was pretty diverse; from genre crowd pleasers and festival favorites, to retro programming, documentary and more!

    This year's short film selections was the best so far of its 5 year run. Chris Dortch I and II are busy guys running a festival but they will actually stop and have a great conversation with you in the middle of the craziness. For that matter, the entire staff of the festival really helped make this a warm and exciting place to screen your film. The presentation of the films was great. I was very happy to see my film BFF Girls look so great on a big screen.

    Chattanooga has become a newfound mecca for film. I ran into so many filmmaker friends at this festival, it was pretty unreal. Though I didn't attend the parties, I heard they were a blast.

    CFF continues to do everything right. Keep up the great work!

    April 2018
  • Judith Mogul

    The CFF is a great venue to see and experience films that would not be available in commercial theaters. The festival's support and encouragement of film as an art form is refreshing and commendable. The staff were friendly and helpful in every way.

    April 2018
  • This festival has a love for cinema that is hard to match. The whole experience was fun and welcoming. Genre films have a good audience here, and the filmmakers that attend are super cool.

    June 2017