** COVID-19 UPDATE: As the state of film exhibition and physical gathering remains uncertain during the pandemic, particularly in the United States, Children's Film Festival Seattle will take place in February as scheduled, though most likely primarily in virtual space. We will host in-person events to the best of our ability given public health recommendations, but it cannot be guaranteed. Regardless, whether we gather online, in-person, or some hybrid variation of the two, community, dialogue, and education through media arts WILL persist, during Children's Film Festival Seattle's 16th year at Northwest Film Forum!**

Since 2005, Children’s Film Festival Seattle has grown to become the largest and most respected film festival on the West Coast dedicated to children and their families. Each year, Northwest Film Forum has selected international children’s films from dozens of countries, reaching more than 10,000 people during festival screenings in Seattle and a subsequent festival tour of 20-25 U.S. cities. 2021 Festival dates are February 18 to 28.

Children’s Film Festival Seattle celebrates the best and brightest in international film programs for children, including animation, feature-length films, short films and hands-on workshops. CFFS provides a joyous and dynamic setting that cultivates intergenerational relationships and aims to inspire younger generations to participate as agents of change in their local and global communities.

CFFS emphasizes visual storytelling that is centered on the experience of childhood. We prioritize stories that have been underrepresented in the mainstream media, which inspire empathy, understanding, and a nuanced view of the world. Our core values are racial and gender equity, inclusivity, social justice, global awareness, and the best in age-appropriate, visual storytelling for young people.

Most in-person festival events are held at Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Avenue between Pike and Pine on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. If possible, partnerships take our screenings to other neighborhoods and venues in our city as well.

Audience Prizes (based on votes):
• Favorite Live Action Feature, Favorite Animated Feature, Favorite Documentary Feature
• Favorite Live Action Short Film, Favorite Short Animated Film, Favorite Youth-Made Short Film

Catbus Kids Children's Jury Prizes (awarded by jurors ages 8 to 10):
• Best Live Action Feature; Best Animated Feature; Global Zoom Prize for the film that best promotes intercultural understanding; Best Animated Short Film; Best Live Action Short Film; Special Prizes as decided by jury

Fantastic Foxes Children's Jury Prizes (awarded by jurors ages 11-14):
• Best Live Action Feature; Best Animated Feature; Global Zoom Prize for the film that best promotes intercultural understanding; Best Animated Short Film; Best Live Action Short Film; Special Prizes as decided by jury.

Iron Giants Children's Jury Prizes (awarded by jurors ages 15+):
• Best Live Action Feature; Best Animated Feature; Global Zoom Prize for the film that best promotes intercultural understanding; Best Animated Short Film; Best Live Action Short Film; Special Prizes as decided by jury

Children’s Film Festival Seattle 2021
Information, Rules and Regulations

1. Organization

Children's Film Festival Seattle (http://www.childrensfilmfestivalseattle.org) is an annual, competitive, international film festival presented by Northwest Film Forum (http://www.nwfilmforum.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to programming and supporting independent film and video. In 2020, our festival boasted 175 films from 47 nations in 28 languages. Screenings are offered to both the public and school groups. Dates for the 2021 festival are Thursday, February 18 to Sunday, February 28. Weekday screenings for school and childcare groups will be scheduled on weekdays from February 15 to April 2.

2. Mission

Children's Film Festival Seattle provides an artistic alternative to mainstream commercial media and creates a reliable venue for filmmakers who make great films for children, youth, and families. We promote debate, discussion, and spark new interests in different languages and ways of life by showing innovative and inspiring films from around the globe. We provide opportunities for Seattle's diverse communities to connect with and celebrate powerful images of their own communities and cultures. We encourage our audience members to sharpen their critical eyes and also express themselves through workshops with professional actors, directors, writers, technicians, and producers. We stand for racial and gender equity, inclusivity, social justice, global awareness, and the best in age-appropriate, visual storytelling for young people.

3. Entry

Submit a film our FilmFreeway platform by November 16, 2020. Filmmakers are HIGHLY encouraged to submit films earlier than that, however, as we begin to make decisions about films and programs as early as August. WAITING TO SUBMIT YOUR FILM UNTIL THE ENTRY DEADLINE HIGHLY DECREASES YOUR CHANCES OF IT BEING IN THE FESTIVAL. Entry fees for our festival are kept very low compared to most other festivals and we hope you will pay them, as all the funds collected with go toward supporting the important mission of the festival. However, if you require a waiver, please write to liz@nwfilmforum.org explaining the reason.

All e-mail correspondence about entries should be sent to liz@nwfilmforum.org and cffs@nwfilmforum.org

4. Eligible Films and Videos

• All entries submitted must be suitable for children ages 14 and under.
• The Festival accepts both live-action and animated submissions, completed 2018-2020.
• All entries whose original language is not English must be subtitled or dubbed in English. Dialogue lists or scripts are not acceptable as a substitution for this rule and should not be submitted to the festival — we do not use them.

5. Selection/Festival Director

Selection will be made by the festival director and a selection committee made up of Festival and Northwest Film Forum staff. Input will also be sought from children and educators.

6. Criteria for Selection

• Film content should be creative and demonstrate artistic and technical mastery.
• Content should speak positively to children of diverse backgrounds and cultures. We look for films that provide strong role models for all children and must not contain gender, racial or cultural stereotypes and biases. The content of the films should fit our ideals of racial and gender equity, inclusivity, social justice, global awareness, and the best in age-appropriate, visual storytelling for young people.
• Stories should be culturally authentic, timely, uplifting and of universal appeal to young audiences. Plot-lines, ideally, should be child-driven, FOR children, rather than ABOUT them. Films with extremely bleak messages or unhappy endings are typically not enjoyed by our audiences.
• Films should not contain gratuitous violence or explicit nudity. Sexual content of any kind is not appropriate for our audience. Strong and/or repeated profanity will disqualify your film.

Entries may be disqualified for technical or procedural reasons, including:
• Any entry not subtitled or dubbed into the English language. (This is enforced for both submission and festival screening purposes. Scripts or dialogue lists may not be sent as a substitution for this rule.)
• Films and videos that are purely educational or instructional in nature.
• Films and videos that are aimed primarily at an adult audience.

7. Notification of Festival Status

The Festival will inform all entrants no later than December 14 if films have been selected for Children's Film Festival Seattle 2021. Notification about BAMKids Film Festival (see below) may come sooner.

8. Additional screenings, including Best of the Festival 2020 screenings and inclusion in REDCAT International Children’s Film Festival and BAMkids Film Festival. This section pertains to short films only.

Selected short films and festival short programs may be included in additional screenings taking place in the weeks and months before and following Children’s Film Festival Seattle 2021. These additional screenings fall into three categories: 1) Best of the Festival screenings and 2) REDCAT International Children’s Film Festival and 3) BAMkids Film Festival

Best of the Festival: Each year, 20-25 venues throughout the Northwest, the United States, and Canada request screenings of the prize-winning and audience favorites of our festival. Children’s Film Festival Seattle selects two programs — one animation and one live-action — comprised of approximately 10 short films each. The programs are then professionally compiled and sent to participating venues. Filmmakers and distributors should indicate on the Festival Film Submission Form if they give permission for their films to be included in this program. All filmmakers and distributors of films selected for the Best of the Festival program will be notified of the venues offering this program.

REDCAT International Children’s Film Festival. For the past 14 years, the Children’s Film Festival Seattle has curated the annual REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theatre) International Children’s Film Festival in Los Angeles, using inspiration from Children’s Film Festival Seattle shorts programs as the starting point in selecting the REDCAT program. All short film submitted to Children’s Film Festival Seattle 2021 will also be considered for REDCAT International Children’s Film Festival. Note: due to COVID-19, this festival did not take place in 2020, and dates for the festival in 2021 are not yet set but it CFFS anticipates the festival will again take place in the late spring or early summer of 2021.

BAMkids Film Festival: In association with Northwest Film Forum and other partners, the Brooklyn Academy of Music presents Brooklyn’s favorite children’s film festival. In 2021, BAMkids anticipates an edition of the festival again, presenting shorts and features from around the world—representing approximately 25 countries in total. This festival offers audience prizes. All short films submitted to Children’s Film Festival Seattle by October 1, 2020 will also be considered for BAMkids Film Festival 2020. Dates for BAMkids Film Festival are not yet announced but anticipated for the first weekend of February 2021.

There is not a separate entry form for the REDCAT and BAMkids festivals; the entry form Children’s Film Festival Seattle also covers participation in REDCAT and BAMkids.

9. Festival format of films and videos selected

All short films must be sent to us as .mov, .mp4 or .m4v files. Precise specifications will be provided upon acceptance of the films. In the event of in-person screenings, DCP will be accepted for feature films only and must be accompanied by a DVD or BluRay backup. Ideally, DCPs should be unlocked.

10. Correspondence and contact

For more information, contact Elizabeth Shepherd, Director, Children's Film Festival Seattle, liz@nwfilmforum.org. The general office email is cffs@nwfilmforum.org.

11. Transportation of films and videos selected

The Festival formats of films selected for festival inclusion must arrive at the Festival offices no later than January 11, 2021. Earlier deadlines will be imposed for films selected for the BAMkids Film Festival. Hard drives, BluRays, DVDs and DCPs (for feature films only) are to be sent to the following address: Children's Film Festival Seattle, Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave. Seattle, Washington, USA 98122. All transportation costs of Festival formats to Seattle must be borne by the participant, including charges for customs clearance.

The Festival will pay the cost of shipping all films and videos back to the participant or the film's next venue excluding charges for customs clearance.

12. Deadlines

November 16, 2020: Deadline for a film entry form, support materials, and screener for Children's Film Festival Seattle selection. Please note that we prefer earlier entry and that your film's chances of being accepted into the festival are greatly increased by an early entry. Deadlines for films to be considered for BAMkids Film Festival is Oct 16, 2020.

Please note that deadlines for receiving festival formats of films may be earlier if the film is accepted to the BAMkids Film Festival.

The following deadlines are for CFFS and REDCAT only:

December 16, 2020: Deadline for Festival format of all films being shown in DVD, Blu-Ray or digital files.
January 11, 2021: Deadline for Festival format of all feature films being shown DCP, BluRay and DVD.

13. Rulings

Northwest Film Forum reserves the right to rule on cases not covered by these regulations.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Annabel Vine

    An important film festival with children at its heart.

    May 2020
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful review, Annabel. It means a lot to us! Liz Shepherd, CFFS

  • Lovely little festival with a lovely staff!

    April 2020
  • La Valiente Estudio

    We are really grateful to participate in this festival. It´s a very cozy festival. But the most remarkable thing is its jury, because they are really smart children, with witty questions. We enjoy a lot the Q & A sessions in all screenings. Long life for the Children´s Film Festival, Seattle!

    March 2020
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much, dear filmmakers! Long life for La Valiente Estudio! <3

  • Ac'Lynne Uesugi

    Youthful indigenous filmmakers are fortunate to screen their film in this prestigious festival! The Children’s Film Festival Seattle, celebrates cultural perspectives on a global scale. It's educational & entertaining with excellent publicity! Mahalo for this honor to share Aloha from Hawai‘i.

    March 2020
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    Response from festival:

    Mahalo Ac'Lynne, we are so appreciative of your message in this hard time. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to include your film and those of other Indigenous makers in our 2020 festival. Stay tuned — we will be back with exciting news as soon as possible! <3