Welcome to the fourth edition of Cheltenham International Film Festival in 2022. We invite emerging (and more experienced) filmmakers to submit their work - narrative and documentary, features and shorts. If you have an animated film, you are welcome to submit.


Cheltenham International Film Festival is about filmmakers and we offer filmmakers the opportunity to put their films in front of audiences:

- during the main ‘live’ in-person film festival;
- during the online film festival which has proved so successful the last two years;
- during our new Youth International Film Festival;
- we also create and introduce audiences to new films via NFT’s

We are fortunate to partner with and host Cheltenham International Film Festival on YourScreen (https://watch.yourscreen.net/), the UK multi-screen virtual cinema. Once the Festival has drawn to a close, we select festival films to stream on YourScreen, which gives filmmakers additional opportunities to have their work watched by audiences and to earn revenue as we share YourScreen box office with filmmakers.

Cheltenham is the UK’s Festival town, stretching back over 70 years; music, jazz and literature festivals are among the most prominent. It is now Cheltenham International Film Festival’s turn to add to the prestige of the town’s reputation as one of the premier film festivals in the UK, attracting Oscar-nominated directors such as Mike Leigh, Stephen Frears, Jan Komasa and celebrated filmmakers and artistes Josie Rourke, Steven Berkoff and our Honorary Patron, Simon Pegg, among others.

Over 70 years, big name actors and directors, musicians and writers, politicians and royalty from Roger Moore, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dame Judy Dench and Hugh Laurie through to Roger Daltrey, Van Morrison and Debbie Harry, through to Bob Geldof, Jools Holland, Prime Minister David Cameron, Hilary Clinton, Prince Charles and more have come to Cheltenham.

In 2021, we introduced the BEST FILM, EMERGING DIRECTOR award which was judged by a jury of well-respected figures from media, the arts and from film, chaired by well-known film critic/journalist/broadcaster, Anna Smith. The winner in 2021 was the Polish film, I Never Cry, directed by Piotr Domalewski.

Th new Cheltenham Youth International Film Festival launches in January 2022, as a major part of the main festival which every year takes place at the end of May.

Cheltenham International Film Festival, in part, is building its reputation on year-round special events. On 4th October, we introduced the annual Cheltenham International Film Festival Lecture given in 2021 by Baroness Lola Young on the theme of diversity in the British film industry.

We recognise women filmmakers with an “F” rating on films with female directors, writers, and/or lead characters. In October, we acknowledged the work of Iranian filmmaker, Mahnaz Mohammadi, in the context of the struggle women face to achieve equal rights; we screened Mahnaz’s latest film, Son-Mother, followed by an interview with leading film critic, Anna Smith, as part of our “In Conversation with……” series.

The Cheltenham International Film Festival promotes diversity and is inclusive of all who wish to share their vision, their creative work, their thoughts and ideas with audiences in and around Cheltenham and throughout the UK – live and online.

The brand name “Cheltenham” is associated with high-profile, international arts festivals bringing prestige to the awards handed out by the Festival. The following awards are reserved for emerging directors.

Best Feature Film – Narrative
Best Feature Film - Documentary
Best Short Film - Narrative
Best Short Film - Documentary

Awards may be added, including an Audience Award.

Film Submissions:

1. All films must be submitted uploaded directly to FilmFreeway.
2. The CIFF cannot accept films that are on DVD or Blu-ray
3. Each submission must be accompanied by a submission fee, paid in full

Eligibility of Film For Submission:

1. Feature film: Narrative – at least 69 minutescos
2. Feature film: Documentary – at least 60 minutes

3. Short film: Narrative – not more than 17 minutes
4. Short film: Documentary – not more than 17 minutes

5. Animation films and experimental are also eligible for entry into the CIFF.

Note: Length of feature and shorts may be adjusted for any single particular film. The final decision rests with the organisers of the CIFF.

7. Films not in the English language should be subtitled in English
8. Film must have been completed after 1 December, 2019
9. Works-in-progress films are accepted as long as they are clearly marked as such or “rough cut”, with reference to missing elements ie VFX or colour correction.

Premiere Status:

1. The CIFF does not operate a premiere status and does not require a premiere in any
category of film
2. Films are eligible and accepted into competition even if they have been screened at
other festivals
3. But, entries may not have been screened theatrically or publicly in the area of South-
West England prior to the CIFF

Festival Screening:

1. Films will be screened on DCP unless otherwise stated by the organisers.
2. The CIFF also requires Blu-ray as a back up to DCP.
3. On line films will be streamed on the Film Festival’s host page of YourScreen


A selection panel composed of film professionals and enthusiasts is charged with viewing all films and for making a short list to invite to the Festival. Once the panel has made its final decision, invites will be sent to the successful filmmakers by end April, 2022. Please ensure that we always have your latest contact details on file so that we may reach you. Due to the volume of entries, it is not possible to offer individual feedback.

Successful submissions will be listed on our website (www.cheltfilm.com) and social media platforms.

If your film is successful we shall require press/publicity materials, including a press kit, and digital images.

Overall Rating
  • Excellent festival and team. Jacob went the extra mile to accommodate my needs

    June 2022
  • Emma Morley

    Thank for selecting The Walled Garden, I’m thrilled the film was included in A Few Short Stories with such great filmmakers. A high quality festival, I’m honoured that my film was selected to be part of it.

    June 2022
  • Abbey Wilson

    CIFF was a great festival to be a part of! It managed to acquire some brilliant industry filmmakers to come and do exciting workshops and panels, as well as amazing Q&A's, with the likes of Mike Leigh and Josie Rourke. As well as providing some quality names, it included shorts from unknown filmmakers for them to get their names out there, and provided great discounts for students and the filmmakers involved. A real great effort for its first year and I'm excited to see what comes of it in the future!

    June 2019
  • Sam Tipper

    Excellent venues, nice people and some big names attached to the festival. I'm sure it will establish a great reputation for itself in the coming years.

    June 2019
  • James Mileham

    Fantastic festival! They played some excellent films touching on a wide array of subjects showcasing some incredibly talented artists both domestically and abroad. Brilliantly organised and gave great opportunities for young and upcoming filmmakers to have their work seen too! 10/10

    June 2019