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 Fest has done in two short years 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. It is hard to believe they are only in their second year. 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!’

$1000 for Best Feature Film
$500 for Best Short Film
$500 for Best Tennessee Film
$250 for Best Student Film

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
  • 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
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    Christopher Dehner II

    The festival staff were all encouraging and extremely energetic about getting to show the films involved. I will absolutely be submitting again, and I consider Chattanooga my festival home!

    May 2017
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    Christine Weatherup

    A wonderful festival, inside and out!

    Killer programming, wonderful setting, and a passionate community. The festival may be young, but it is vibrant and exciting. Awesome events and opportunities to meet other filmmakers.

    April 2017
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    Izzy Lee

    2017 was my very first Chattanooga Film Festival, and is now one of my very favorite festivals, EVER. Chris Dortch Jr, & OG Chris Dortch --- along with their staff --- are champions of cinema, particularly independent film. I've been to my fair share of festivals, and this one eviscerates most fests that are even twice to four times as old. The energy and love is palpable. As a filmmaker with a short, I was treated just as well as any feature filmmaker. Communication, hospitality, networking, and the quality of films were all amazing. So happy and proud to be a CFF alum, and you better believe I'll be back any time I can. FAMILY.

    April 2017
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    Casey T. Malone

    In a world where festivals yearn to be market places for "product" and "content," CFF is a back to basics celebration of the art and joy of the cinematic process both from the creator and the fan's perspective. They're a festival run by cinemaniacs for cinemaniacs. Even as a fairly young festival they have surpassed festivals even three times their age in the quality of films and filmmakers willing to make the jump down to Tennessee to be a part of the fun and festivities. Much like the geographical location they call home, the festival runs at it's own pace and contains so many cinematic wonders that it often becomes difficult to choose where to go and what to see, but at CFF one thing is for sure -- whatever choice you make it will be well worth it. To me CFF is family. Period. That's something most festivals are lacking enormously, and why I will always go back to experience the cinematic madness and fun whenever I can.

    April 2017