** COVID-19 UPDATE: As the state of film exhibition and physical gathering still remains uncertain, Children's Film Festival Seattle will take place in February 2022 as scheduled, though most likely in hybrid fashion, with some events in person and others hosted in a virtual space. Regardless of how we gather, one thing is certain: community, dialogue, and education through media arts WILL persist, during Children's Film Festival Seattle's 17th 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.

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.

Most in-person festival events are held at Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Avenue between Pike and Pine on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. Whenever 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. The Festival

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. 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.

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

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 November 22, 2021. 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 will go toward supporting the important mission of the festival. However, if you require a waiver, please write to chris@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 2019-2021.
• 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 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 January 10, 2022 if films have been selected for the Children's Film Festival Seattle 2022. Notification about BAMKids Film Festival (see below) may come sooner.

8. Additional screenings, including Best of the Festival 2022 screenings and inclusion in BAMkids Film Festival 2022. 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 2022. 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 2022, 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 by October 1, 2021 will also be considered for BAMkids Film Festival 2022. The BAMkids Film Festival will be held the first weekend of February 2022. 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 cffs@nwfilmforum.org.

11. Transportation of films and videos selected

The Festival formats of films selected for festival inclusion must be received by the Festival no later than January 10, 2022. Earlier deadlines will be imposed for films selected for the BAMkids Film Festival. Hard drives, BluRays 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 BluRays and DCPs back to the participant or the film's next venue, excluding charges for customs clearance.

12. Deadlines

Nov 22, 2021: 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.

Oct 1, 2021: Deadline for films to be considered for BAMkids Film Festival.
Please note that deadlines for receiving festival formats of films may be earlier if the film is accepted to the BAMkids Film Festival.

January 21, 2022: Deadline for CFFS to receive digital files for all accepted short films in Festival.

January 31, 2022: Deadline for Festival format of all accepted feature films being shown DCP or BluRay.Deadline for Festival format of all accepted feature films being shown DCP or BluRay.

13. Rulings

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

Overall Rating
  • We were so honored for "Esperanza's Turn" to be a part of this outstanding children's film festival. I only wish that I'd been able to attend and do a Q&A as was originally planned before the pandemic. Elizabeth Shepherd and her team did a wonderful job with publicity and communication. Thank you NW Film Forum for your support!

    March 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Melissa. We were so glad to be able to show your film again after the disappointment in 2020 of having to close early. We hope to see you sometime in Seattle when better times have truly returned. In the meantime, we will continue in a virtual space with beautiful films like yours.

  • Fabulous! SO much fun, very creative + well organized.

    March 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for your very nice review and your fantastic filmmaking! We loved having your films in CFFS this year! Liz Shepherd, Festival Director

  • Clara Hsu

    A wonderful selection of films from all over the world. Thank you so much!

    March 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much! So happy to have your wonderful film in the mix!

  • Jackie Ross

    I am so happy to be part of this festival. Thank you for screening "Mimi's Good Night".

    March 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much, Jackie!

  • Elizabeth Lewis

    I was honoured that Covid Bach was accepted into this festival and I appreciate that the young people were part of the judging process. The communication and professionalism were excellent.

    March 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much, Elizabeth! We loved COVID BACH and were proud to include it in CFFS2021!