CIFF47 (2023) Call for Entries is now closed and notifications will be sent by February 24, 2023. CIFF48 (2024) Call for Entries will open July 2023.

The 47th Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF) will take place as a hybrid event March 22 - April 1, 2023 in person at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland, OH and April 2-9, 2023 online as CIFF47 Streams.

*PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL THEATRICAL SCREENINGS AT CIFF47 WILL BE IN DCP (FEATURE AND SHORT FILMS).* Thus, all invited films will be required to send a DCP file for exhibition.

CIFF is excited to return to its new forever home, the beautiful and iconic Playhouse Square - also the largest performing arts district in the U.S., outside of New York City. CIFF will continue to follow guidance and protocols based on science and community circumstances, in relation to COVID-19. All Festival details (including dates, format, and venues) are subject to change.

CIFF47 will consist of hundreds of films, post-film conversations and Q&As with filmmakers, balloting, and over $130,000 in cash awards. CIFF Speaks (the organization’s podcast series) will be returning with episodes surrounding and during the Festival.

CIFF is committed to offering screening fees or travel assistance for all feature and short films accepted into the Festival. In a time of many changes, we are happy to report that CIFF continues to be one of the few Academy Award®-qualifying festivals in the world for all three categories of shorts films—live action, animated, and documentary. CIFF accepts films of any runtime, any genre, and from every country.

As always, CIFF will provide written feedback from our Screening Team—a diverse volunteer committee comprised of 150 film enthusiasts assembled from our audience base, ranging from industry professionals to local film students. CIFF is also happy to once again offer submission waivers to any CIFF alum whose current film meets the CIFF47 requirements.

No matter what the future holds, the Cleveland International Film Festival remains dedicated to supporting the work of filmmakers everywhere and uniting our community through the power of film.

For all questions related to submissions, please see our Terms and Conditions or email

We thank you for sharing your films with us!

Terms and Conditions

By submitting your film for consideration to the 47th Cleveland International Film Festival (“CIFF47” or “Festival”) in accordance with the procedures outlined below, you acknowledge that you have read, understood, and voluntarily agreed to abide by these Filmmaker Terms and Conditions.

Festival Details

The Cleveland Film Society, an Ohio nonprofit organization d/b/a The Cleveland International Film Festival (“CIFF”), will hold CIFF47 from March 22–April 1, 2023 (in person) and April 2-9, 2023 (online).

CIFF values the health and safety of all Festival participants, audience members, staff, and volunteers and takes their well-being seriously, especially in view of the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. To protect audience, filmmaker, staff, and volunteer health and safety and comply with any applicable orders or guidelines issued by federal, state, or local authorities, CIFF reserves the right to cancel CIFF47; institute rules governing in-person participation at CIFF47, such as theater- or event-capacity limits and face-covering requirements; or revise the dates, location, and in-person format of CIFF47 at any time, including, but not limited to, after having accepted films for screening during the Festival. CIFF reserves the right to hold CIFF47 as an entirely online event if CIFF, in its sole discretion, determines that circumstances so require. CIFF is committed to communicating any changes to the CIFF47 program to applicants, participants, and audience members in a timely manner via its website and/or direct communication with filmmakers.


All filmmakers or other film-rights holders who submit films for consideration for CIFF47 (“Applicants”) must do so using FilmFreeway. CIFF is not responsible for any claims brought by Applicants if films are pirated from FilmFreeway's platform. As FilmFreeway users, all Applicants therefore agree to be bound by the FilmFreeway Terms of Service for Filmmakers, Screenwriters, and Non-Festivals ( If any provisions of these Filmmaker Terms and Conditions conflict with the FilmFreeway Terms of Service, then these Filmmaker Terms and Conditions will control.

All films submitted to FilmFreeway must be in the form of an online-screener or Vimeo link. If a link is password protected, then the password must be valid through April 10, 2023, otherwise your submission will be considered INVALID and will be DISQUALIFIED with no entry-fee refund. For further guidance on the process of submitting your film for CIFF47 consideration, please visit CIFF’s Call for Entries FAQs.

Once your film has been submitted via the CIFF47 FilmFreeway portal, it is your responsibility to check your FilmFreeway account to ensure that your submission meets CIFF’s requirements; that you have provided all necessary information to CIFF; and that your film has been accepted by CIFF for consideration. Within one week after your submission date, CIFF will send you an email confirming that it has received your submission and, if applicable, requesting any further information needed from you.


Films whose productions were completed after June 1, 2021, are eligible for submission to CIFF47.

There are no premiere restrictions for CIFF47 submissions. Films that have been previously screened online in an official ticketed-festival capacity are eligible for CIFF47 submission.

All films under 45 minutes in length are considered short films.

Please do not submit any works in progress or any industrial or instructional films.

At this time, CIFF regrets that it has no plans to include New Media presentations in CIFF47, due to CIFF’s concerns that it will be unable to implement reasonable measures to protect participants’ health and safety in interactive environments. CIFF therefore will not consider any New Media submissions for CIFF47, including Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Video Games, or Interactive Media. Should this policy change, CIFF will update its FilmFreeway page and permit New Media submissions to remain free of charge in accordance with CIFF’s past practice. CIFF encourages any New Media creators who are interested in submitting work for CIFF47 to check CIFF’s FilmFreeway page regularly for any updates.


Submission fees for CIFF47 increase over time. Early submissions are therefore encouraged. For further details, please see the Dates & Deadlines and Categories & Fees sections on CIFF’s FilmFreeway page.

CIFF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Fees collected through the Call for Entries process assist in our operations, so please do not request a waiver, unless you meet one of the following requirements.

If you are an Applicant who is also a CIFF Alum, meaning that CIFF has screened one of your feature or short films in a previous festival, then CIFF will waive your submission fee for any film meeting the CIFF47 requirements outlined herein.

To request an alumni fee waiver, please contact


CIFF will not honor any requests for submission-fee refunds. Refunds will not be issued to any Applicant for any submission, regardless of selection for CIFF47, for any reason, including changes to CIFF47’s dates, venues, or format that CIFF may announce at any time.

Selection and Exhibition

Applicants whose works have been selected for inclusion in CIFF747 (“Participants”) will be announced by CIFF no later than February 24, 2023. Written feedback from our screening team will be provided post-festival for all films that pay to submit in full. If you would like to see your comments, you must email between May 1 - June 1, 2023. No comments will be provided past June 1, 2023 or for any films that submit with a waiver or discount.

All films (feature and short) must be available for theatrical exhibition as a DCP. For all films that will be participating in the online component of the festival, films must also be available as a .mp4 or other CIFF-approved digital file. 35MM, BLU-RAY, AND DVD ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE FORMATS FOR CIFF47 EXHIBITION.

Participants must upload all exhibition files electronically to CIFF’s secure-storage platforms, CineSend (in-person format) and Eventive (online format) . CIFF will not accept any exhibition files for CIFF47 that are submitted on a hard drive. CIFF is not responsible for any claims brought by Participants if films are pirated from CineSend and/or Eventive's platform. If you are a Participant and you upload your exhibition files to CineSend and/or Eventive, then you are a user of CineSend and/or Eventive and agree to be bound by the CineSend and/or Eventive Terms and Conditions ("CineSend Terms and Conditions", “Eventive Terms and Conditions”). If any provisions of these Filmmaker Terms and Conditions conflict with the CineSend and/or Eventive Terms and Conditions, then these Filmmaker Terms and Conditions will control.

Warranties and License

All Applicants and Participants warrant that they own the copyright to the film that they have submitted for CIFF47 consideration. Applicants and Participants further warrant that they have secured all necessary rights and clearances to exhibit their film during CIFF47; are authorized to accept these Filmmaker Terms and Conditions; and are authorized to grant CIFF a license to exhibit the film during the Festival. Participants hereby grant CIFF a non-exclusive license to exhibit their film during CIFF47.


All Applicants and Participants agree, to the extent permissible by applicable law, to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless CIFF and its directors, officers, employees, affiliates, licensees, and agents from and against any and all claims, losses, liabilities, demands, legal costs (including court costs and reasonable experts’ and attorneys’ fees), judgments, and other expenses that arise at any point in time, before, during, or after CIFF47, out of or on account of the Applicants’ or Participants’ involvement in CIFF47 and/or CIFF’s selection process for the same.

Choice of Law

These Filmmaker Terms and Conditions will be governed by the laws of the State of Ohio, without regard to its conflicts-of-laws principles, except those necessary to enforce the choice of applicable law; may be enforced only in a state or federal court sitting within Cleveland, Ohio, with respect to which court CIFF and the Applicants and Participants agree to personal jurisdiction and venue, further waiving any right to challenge venue; and is binding upon, and inures to the benefit of, CIFF’s and the Applicants’ and Participants’ successors, assigns, heirs, and personal representatives.


If any provision of these Filmmaker Terms and Conditions is determined to be invalid, illegal, or unenforceable, then that provision will not affect the enforceability of any other provision of these Filmmaker Terms and Conditions. Rather, the invalid, illegal, or unenforceable provision shall be deemed severed from these Filmmaker Terms and Conditions, which will be enforced as if they did not contain the invalid, illegal, or unenforceable provision.

Overall Rating
  • One of the best festivals we've been to so far! Great programming and plenty of networking opportunities.

    September 2022
  • Thanks for selecting my shortfilm "Noctuidae" to be part of this wonderful festival. And thanks to Beth for the great communication!
    All best, Alexandra

    June 2022
  • Kevin Ung

    CIFF is wonderful and Paul and the rest of the staff will make sure that your film gets the screening it deserves. Wonderful work all around, and an amazing opportunity for filmmakers!

    June 2022
  • The festival tries to pretend that it is politically correct. But in fact, the organizers of the festival do not care deeply about the problems of Ukrainians. The festival promised to send me money for my film. I asked them to transfer the money owed to me to the Red Cross of Ukraine. The festival didn't even bother me with its answer. Disgusting duplicity!

    June 2022
    Response from festival:

    Hello Sergey, thank you for bringing this to our attention! Please check your inbox for acknowledgement of a donation made to the Ukrainian Red Cross. We appreciate the follow up.

  • Andrew Leung

    Amazing festival and the programmers really want your success.

    May 2022