Since 2005, Children’s Film Festival Seattle has grown to become the largest 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.

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 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 and inspire empathy, understanding, and a nuanced view of the world. Our commitment to racial and gender equity, inclusivity, social justice and global awareness supports our aim to create the best in age-appropriate, visual storytelling for young people.

The 2023 festival will be a hybrid festival occurring online on Eventive and in-person at Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Avenue between Pike and Pine on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. Whenever possible, partnerships take our screenings to other venues in our area as well.

Professional Jury Prizes
• Best Feature
• Best Live Action Short Film
• Best Animated Short Film

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

Catbus Kids Children's Jury Prizes (awarded by jurors ages 8 to 10):
• Best Live Action Short Film
• Best Animated Short Film
• Best Youth-Made Short Film

Fantastic Foxes Children's Jury Prizes (awarded by jurors ages 11-14):
• Best Live Action Short Film
• Best Animated Short Film
• Best Youth-Made Short Film

Iron Giants Children's Jury Prizes (awarded by jurors ages 15+):
• Best Feature

Children’s Film Festival Seattle 2023
Information, Rules and Regulations

1. The Festival

Children's Film Festival Seattle is an annual, competitive, international film festival presented by Northwest Film Forum, a non-profit organization. Our festivals typically include 50+ films from dozens of nations, in many different languages. Screenings are also offered to both the public and school groups.

2. Organization, Mission, Vision and Values

Children's Film Festival Seattle is framed by Northwest Film Forum's mission to incite public dialogue and creative action through collective cinematic experiences.

A nonprofit film and arts center located in Seattle, Northwest Film Forum presents hundreds of films, festivals, community events, multidisciplinary performances, and public discussions each year. A comprehensive visual media organization, the Forum offers educational workshops and artist services for film and media makers at all stages of their development. Artist services include access to space, gear, fiscal sponsorship, and an edit lab. Northwest Film Forum is a member-based organization.

Vision
NWFF visions a world where all people have the power to express themselves and connect with each other through visual storytelling and culture.

Values
Based in the city currently known as Seattle, NWFF acknowledges that we are located on the ancestral lands and territories of the Coast Salish people, including the Duwamish Tribe (Dkhw Duw’Absh), who are still present among us and leading much of the important cultural and societal work in the region.

In recognition of the role of the arts as a vehicle for social change, we are committed to undoing systems of oppression in our work and lives. We are working every day to learn and dismantle racist, sexist, and inequitable systems in our lives and organization.

3. Entry

Submit a film via our FilmFreeway platform by September 15, 2022. Filmmakers are HIGHLY encouraged to submit films earlier than that, however, as we begin to make decisions about films and programs early. 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 will go toward supporting the important mission of the festival. However, if you require a waiver, please write to kendra@nwfilmforum.org explaining the reason.

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 2020-2022.
• All entries whose original language is not English must be subtitled or dubbed in English.
• If your film is selected for the festival, we will ask that you provide captions for your film as a .srt or .vtt file (if they’re burned in, that is fine!). If your film does not have captions, we can offer you resources. (We often recommend using an easy and affordable site such as Rev.com to create them.) This is a new requirement of our selected films and is an important step towards making our festival more accessible.

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 cause no harm and fit our ideals of racial and gender equity, inclusivity, social justice and global awareness.
• Stories should be culturally authentic, timely, uplifting and of universal appeal to young audiences. Plotlines, ideally, should be child-driven, FOR children, rather than ABOUT them. Films with extremely bleak messages or unhappy endings are not a fit for CFFS.
• 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.
• 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 15, 2022 if films have been selected for the Children's Film Festival Seattle 2023. Notification about BAMKids Film Festival (see below) may come sooner.

8. Additional screenings, including Best of the Festival 2023 screenings and inclusion in BAMkids Film Festival 2023. 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 the Children’s Film Festival Seattle 2023. These additional screenings fall into two categories: 1) Best of the Festival screenings and 2) 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. An honorarium is played to each participating filmmaker in this program, and filmmakers are notified of the venues offering this program..

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 2023, BAMkids anticipates a hybrid edition of the festival, 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 will also be considered for BAMkids Film Festival 2023. The BAMkids Film Festival will be held the first weekend of February 2023. Additionally, BAM selects its own "BEST OF" program each year, to be screened in late spring or early summer.

There is not a separate entry form for the BAMkids Film Festival; the CFFS entry form covers participation in BAMKids as well.

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

The general office email is kendra@nwfilmforum.org.

11. Rulings

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

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Michael J. Lutman

    Being select to CFFS was an honour and the team there was great and warm communicators. The selection of Children films were fantastic and it made us proud to be part of such a magical line up. We wish we could have been there in person but it was great to catch the program on the streaming platform. The streaming platform did give us a bit of playback trouble, but that could of been our internet in AUS. All and all, highly recommend! :)

    March 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for your kind words Michael! We were thrilled to be able to bring your lovely film to our audiences!! Sorry about the playback trouble, definitely something we can look into! :)

  • Nicholas Riini

    It was great to be a part of the festival. We look forward to presenting again in the future.

    March 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you Nicholas! We were honored to be able to bring your lovely film to our audiences!!

  • mahmut taş

    a very good children's film festival

    March 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you Mahmut! We were thrilled to be able to bring your lovely film to our audiences!!

  • Tifa Tomb

    The CFFS team was communicative, welcoming, and caring. They really put Children's film first. I was thrilled ot be a part of the festival.

    March 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for your kind words Tifa! We were thrilled to be able to bring your lovely film to our audiences!! :)

  • Ulf Grenzer

    The communication during the submission process and the contact to filmmakers abroad was very friendly and what a nice selction of short films for Children indeed!
    Great festival, thanks again for having our film Monkey Domino in the program.

    February 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for your kind words Ulf! We were honored to be able to bring your lovely film to our audiences!!