MISSION & OBJECTIVE
The Columbia Film Festival aims to introduce Howard County audiences to the best in world, national, and local cinema, and is dedicated to inspiring and reflecting the diverse community it serves.

ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
The Columbia Film Festival was founded in 2016 and is produced by the Columbia Festival of the Arts. Originally presented to live audiences, in 2020 Columbia Film Festival was forced to move to a virtual platform due to the Covid 19 Pandemic. For 2021 and 2022 The Columbia Film Festival again ran on a virtual platform. For 2023 we plan to return to LIVE venues in Columbia, Maryland, however we will continue to offer a parallel track on a Virtual platform based on popular demand. The Festival will present films from all genres, including features, shorts, documentaries, world cinema, special themes, Films for Young Audiences, and Maryland based films, as well as work by student filmmakers.

The Columbia Festival of the Arts is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit. Founded in 1987, the Festival’s popularity and growth has transformed it into one of the Baltimore/Washington Corridor’s premiere arts events. The Festival presents four weekend-long arts festivals throughout the year, comprised of both free and ticketed events, featuring world-class performances, exhibitions, film programs, concerts, family activities, master classes, workshops and community dialogues. Columbia Festival of the Arts brings together the arts community, businesses, local schools, and individuals to create events that shine a spotlight, not only on the arts, but on the Howard County community as a Maryland showplace.

The mission of the Columbia Festival of the Arts is to present a world class celebration of the arts and entertainment that attracts, engages and inspires the broad and diverse community it serves.

In support of its Vision and Mission the Columbia Festival of the Arts seeks to attract, engage and inspire through the achievement of the following goals:
• Broaden the scope of programming to expand the diversity of offerings for greater community involvement and to increase the Festival’s year-round presence.
• Deepen audience engagement through strong programming and artistic experiences.
• Strengthen, expand and add local, as well as regional and national, partnerships.
• Optimize leadership and management of the Festival and its engagement with Columbia and Howard County residents and businesses.
• Build a financially sustainable organization.

The Festival is dependent upon a variety of funding sources, including grants, corporate sponsorships and individual donations. The funds are used to subsidize Festival programming costs in order to make the arts accessible for people across a broad spectrum of social, cultural and economic strata. The Festival’s focus is on reaching out and embracing the vast and diverse community that exists in the region.

Now in its 36th year, the Festival continues to thrive because so many organizations and individuals are committed to its success.

Note: As part of the Columbia Festival of the Arts we are not affiliated with any other local or regional Film Festivals.

2022 AWARD WINNERS
BEST OF FESTIVAL: Honk
BEST DIRECTOR: Theodore Adams III, Tyndall Typewriters
BEST STUDENT FILM - Faces of the Future
BEST ACTOR SHORT: Josephine Armar, Ring Ring
BEST ACTOR FEATURE LENGTH: Miranda Poett, Left of the Dial
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Ahmed El Nagar, Nahrani
BEST EDITING: Cheryl Allison, Honk
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD: Honk

2021 AWARD WINNERS
BEST OF FESTIVAL: Uprooted
BEST DIRECTOR: Jason Green, Finding Fellowship
BEST STUDENT FILM - Connect/Disconnect
BEST ACTOR SHORT: Briony Monroe, Killing Me Softly With Her Love
BEST ACTOR FEATURE LENGTH: Skyler Pinkerton, Stray Dogs
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Matt Simpkins, Uprooted
BEST EDITING: Greg Roderick, Double Exposure
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD: Climb

2020 AWARD WINNERS
BEST OF FESTIVAL: Thank You Kindly 
BEST DIRECTOR:  Noah Weisberg, Thank You Kindly
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Into The Dark
BEST ACTOR FEATURE LENGTH: Lauren Meley, Cancellation
BEST ACTOR SHORT: Noah Weisberg, Thank You Kindly
BEST STUDENT SHORT: Kaeru 
BEST EDITING: Into The Dark
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD: The Elephant Spiel

2019 AWARD WINNERS
BEST OF FESTIVAL: After Forever 
BEST DIRECTOR:  Jennifer Pepperman, After Forever
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Matt Simpkins, Free
BEST ACTOR FEATURE LENGTH: Kevin Spirtas
BEST ACTOR SHORT: Donald Imm
BEST STUDENT SHORT: Take Me to the Stars 
BEST EDITING: After Forever
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD: The Pharaohs

(See TERMS AND CONDITIONS below for full details)

While films are not required to be a nationwide premiere, films must be a premiere in Columbia, Maryland. The Columbia Film Festival, due to the ever changing Covid 19 Pandemic guidelines, has been presented to date online on a password protected Virtual Platform using Eventive or similar hosting facility. Filmmakers must agree to have their films presented in this manner in addition to live public screenings, health and Covid circumstances permitting.

Entry fee is non-refundable.

Narrative and documentary feature films must have a run time of a minimum of 40 minutes. Narrative and documentary short films must have a run time of under 40 minutes.

Press Kits are not required, but requested with each entry.

Online Screener Submissions preferred.

All films submitted must be free from any legal dispute and filmmaker must have cleared all rights for music and public exhibition.

Student Films/Student Entry Fees: Student submissions will be considered by High School and College/University students who have completed the film primarily through a course of film study. STUDENT ENTRIES MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY A PHOTOCOPY OR SCAN OF A CURRENT AND VALID STUDENT ID CARD OR A LETTER FROM AN ACCREDITED SCHOOL VERIFYING ENROLLMENT AT THE TIME OF FILMING.

While distribution deals may be in place, submissions to the Columbia Film Festival must not be scheduled for theatrical release and/or must not be scheduled for broadcast on television or online/digital release prior to June 30, 2023.

Submissions must be in English or subtitled in English.

Columbia Film Festival will notify Filmmakers by approximately March 1, 2023 if their film has been accepted to the Columbia Film Festival.

Filmmaker Agreement:

To the best of my knowledge, all of the statements in this document are true. I have read, understood and complied with all eligibility requirements of the categories for which I would like this film to be considered, and I agree to the terms outlined in the General Festival Rules for the Columbia Festival, Inc. dba Columbia Film Festival I further represent that:

1. I am duly authorized to submit this film to the Columbia Film Festival and, if selected as a participant, will deliver the Exhibition Format electronic media, which adheres to the requirements listed below in paragraph 8, to the Festival office no later than May 1, 2023.

2. The Columbia Film Festival is accepting entries with a production completion date of January 1, 2022 or later. Do not submit works-in-progress, rough cuts or incomplete films.

3. A film will not be considered in multiple categories. The entrant must select the appropriate category at time of submission.

4. While films are not required to be a nationwide premiere, films must be a premiere in Columbia, Maryland.

5. Student Films/Student Entry Fees: Student submissions will be considered by High School and College/University students who have completed the film primarily through a course of film study. ENTRIES MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY A PHOTOCOPY OR SCAN OF A CURRENT AND VALID STUDENT ID CARD OR A LETTER FROM AN ACCREDITED SCHOOL VERIFYING ENROLLMENT AT THE TIME OF FILMING.

6. While distribution deals may be in place, submissions to the Columbia Film Festival must not be scheduled for theatrical release and/or must not be scheduled for broadcast on television or online/digital release prior to June 30, 2023. Submissions must be in English or subtitled in English.

7. Narrative and documentary feature films must have a run time of a minimum of 40 minutes. Narrative and documentary short films must have a run time of under 40 minutes.

8. In 2023 we plan to present both LIVE and ONLINE. With both platforms the festival ONLY ACCEPTS DIGITAL MEDIA that must be compatible for PC Computer playback and also for upload on EVENTIVE.COM platform as follows:

File size: 1920 x 1080p h.264 @ 10Mbps
Recommended size is under 10GB (a 90 minute film is approximately 5GB).
File type: Both .mp4 and .mov format are accepted. DCPs and ProRes files are not accepted.

Audio Channels: Stereo AAC. 5.1 surround is not accepted.

Closed caption files are not required but HIGHLY PREFERRED.
Closed captions: .SRT or .VTT files

9. All films where media has NOT BEEN UPLOADED OR SENT TO US FOR UPLOAD LATER THAN 30 Days before the start of the Columbia Film Festival will cause the film to be disqualified. If you have a technical or other issue causing a potential delay, advise us at your earliest opportunity.

10. If the terms outlined herein are not adhered to, Columbia Film Festival reserves the right to disqualify the film without refunding the submission fees.

11. Columbia Film Festival will make every attempt to contact you if there is error or incompatibility with an entry, but cannot be held responsible if entry is not considered due to poorly recorded or unplayable media.

13. If the submitted Media file is not compatible with the EVENTIVE or other hosting platform and final deadlines have not passed, Columbia Film Festival will make an attempt to contact the applicant based on the contact information supplied at the time of submission in order to obtain a replacement. If a replacement is not available, Columbia Film Festival reserves the right to disqualify the film without refunding the submission fees.

14. Columbia Film Festival will attempt, but is under no obligation, to view a submission that arrives after the designated deadline without refund of the submission fee.

15. Columbia Film Festival will notify Filmmakers by approximately March 1, 2023 if their film has been accepted to the Columbia Film Festival.

16. Multiple versions of the same film will not be considered.

17. All applicants must complete the official festival submission form located on FilmFreeway.com.

18. A film will not be considered in multiple categories. The entrant must select the appropriate category at time of submission.

19. If selected as a participant in the Festival, television ready media clips of the film must be provided by the date provided on notice of selection. I understand that the Festival holds the right to screen my film for Festival screening and promotional purposes and to extract clips from this film for promotional purposes. I understand this may include online streaming of clips on Festival or Festival sponsor sites.

20. I understand that the Columbia Film Festival, Columbia Festival, Inc. will present films on a secured password protected virtual platform hosted by EVENTIVE.COM or similar platform and the Festival's website. The Festival is not responsible for any type of media piracy or unauthorized duplication as a result of online hosting and presentation, in addition to any damage to or loss of the print during screenings, at any other time during the course of the Festival, while the film is in the Festival’s possession or while enroute to or from the Festival, and I release The Columbia Film Festival ("Festival") and Columbia Festival, Inc. from any and all liabilities regarding damage to or loss of the print while en-route to/from the Festival, while it is in their possession or loss or theft of media as a result of the film being hosted and presented online in a virtual platform.

21. Selected Filmmakers will make all reasonable effort to provide Columbia Film Festival with promotional materials, which will benefit the filmmaker as well as the Festival. This includes 1) A brief preview trailer. 2) Comprehensive descriptive information regarding the film, plot, characters and production team 3) Quality promotional photographs, including screen captures or still from the film. 4) Social Media Links, hashtags, and related means to promote your film.

21. Submitted films that qualify based on the regulations and eligibility requirements stated here will be seen by Columbia Film Festival programming staff and be considered equally with all other submissions.

22. Columbia Film Festival reserves the right to disqualify any film for non-payment of the submission fee. Columbia Film Festival will attempt to contact the applicant based on the contact information supplied at the time of submission in order to resolve non-payment status.

23. Columbia Film Festival is under no obligation to provide comments regarding submitted films to any applicant. The festival is not responsible for any internal comments obtained by the applicant regarding their film.

24. The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, exhibition, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations. This film is not subject to litigation nor is threatened by any litigation. The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless Columbia Film Festival, Columbia Festival, Inc, it agents and representatives from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered. Columbia Film Festival, Columbia Festival, Inc shall not be responsible for any expenses or related costs incurred by participants to attend Columbia Film Festival and any and all travel related expenses, meals, or other expenses shall be the sole responsibility of the participant.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Ben Myers

    I screened A LONE STAR LOVE with Columbia Film Festival, an was thoroughly impressed with their online pivot. It was easy to promote the film, and connect with other filmmakers, as well as accessing the films theme-selves. I look forward to sharking my work in the future when we can screen in person. Cheers and thank you!

    July 2022
  • sheri ratick stroud

    We r so grateful to have been a part of this year’s Columbia FF. They are the best!! Communication was outstanding! Organization was outstanding! They put the filmmakers and audience first in planning the event. I will be submitting again and again with my fingers crossed. You should too. And if you are lucky enough to be selected make sure you attend. You won’t be sorry!!This years film was THE COLLECTION.

    June 2022
  • Frederick Murphy

    Excellent communication from the organizers. I screened Sweet Home Alabama: A Chief and his Protégé and very happy with the online viewing quality.

    June 2022
  • Panayiota Harmantzis

    Dear CFF Team ... As a first time filmmaker, I'm so grateful to your team for helping me understand the process and for making it so easy to follow.
    I'm thrilled that our film, 'Going Home,' was selected and even more grateful for the feedback I got, that our story hit the mark well.
    Best wishes to everyone!

    June 2022
  • I screened my film, CHARCOAL SKIES at the 2022 CFF. The staff was communicative, the content was accurate and the film looked and sounded terrific!

    June 2022