The primary objective of the Columbus Black International Film Festival is to showcase films created by Black filmmakers locally, nationally and internationally, while highlighting a spectrum of stories told by people of the African diaspora.

This festival will also provide an advantage for all filmmakers and the community to learn about the film industry through educational workshops and panel discussions, a safe space to showcase film and an opportunity to network with the filmmakers in the city.

Columbus is the heart of America and home to some of the most creative Black filmmakers in the country. This festival that will showcase new and emerging talent as well as talent that has represented our city for years.

CBIFF’s goal to present filmmakers with notoriety and accolades for being officially selected to be screened at our festival and to win awards based on exceptional talent bringing great stories using film as a medium. CBIFF will gather together a panel of judges that will choose winners in each category. Throughout the festival we will give attendees the opportunity to vote on the film they liked the most and award the filmmaker with the Buckeye Audience Choice Award. We award filmmakers in the following categories.

Best Feature Film
Best Short Film
Best Homegrown Film
Best Music Video
Best Documentary Film
Best International Film
Best Student Short Film
Best Animated Film
Buckeye Choice Award

All films must have Black representation in front and behind the camera. We are interested in Black films, made by Black people about Black life, love identity, tragedy and more. Films that do not fit this criteria will be disqualified from an opportunity to be officially selected.

Short films:
Directors, Screenwriters and/or producers MUST be of African Descent Short films: running time; 5-20 mins, NOT TO EXCEED 20 mins Filmmakers will need to send us a digital copy of the film in MOV. or MP4 format for screening purposes..

Feature films:
Directors, Screenwriter and/or producers MUST be of African Descent Feature films running time; 90 mins, NOT TO EXCEED 90 mins Filmmakers will need to send us a digital copy of the film in MOV. or MP4 format for screening purposes.

Music videos:
Directors, screenwriters, producers and artist MUST be of African Descent Running time NOT TO EXCEED 6 minutes Filmmakers will need to send us a digital copy of the film in MOV. or MP4 format for screening purposes.

Short Documentary film:
Directors, Screenwriters and/or producers MUST be of African Descent Short films: running time; 5-15 mins, NOT TO EXCEED 15 mins Filmmakers will need to send us a digital copy of the film in MOV. or MP4 format for screening purposes.

Homegrown, a film made by a Ohio native or a filmmaker exclusively residing in the state Ohio; running time guidelines will apply

Filmmakers must be cleared for all copyrighted materials including movie posters and trailers. All films must be made after 2020. Any films that do not meet this basic criteria will be disqualified.

Secure Online Screeners (Vimeo links) are the preferred submission method.

• Films MUST be a Columbus premiere. Films available to stream online will not be accepted.

• If accepted, filmmakers will need to provide the following:
- a digital copy of their completed film (Vimeo link ONLY)
- name of film
- director's name
- run time
- synopsis
- 2 high-res images STILLS from the film (NOT posters)
- photo credit information (who you would like those photos to be credited to)
- Film or Film director social media information.

• Entry title, name of entrant, and FilmFreeway tracking number must be on all materials and containers.

• Separate applications are required for each film — even if one entity is submitting more than one film.

• Please let us know if your email address changes between the time of receipt of entry and notification of results. Otherwise, you will not be advised of or receive any award you may have won.

• All winners will receive customized laurels suitable for print and/or web usage. All winners will also receive awards via mail.

• Liability: Although every possible care will be taken with your entry materials while in our possession, we cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage. Do not send any original materials.

• All students MUST upload a copy of their student ID, otherwise, the film will be disqualified.


• The Best of Categories winners will be considered for the Buckeye Choice Award. The audiences will vote throughout the festival for this award.

The following criteria are applied during the judging process:
- Target audience
- Credibility
- Purpose
- Organization and development
- Concept and creativity
- Technical proficiency

The entrant has full rights to submit the entry and authorize its use.

Promotion Rights: Producers or distributors who enter the festival grant permission for their entries to be presented at any festival screening or event unless we are otherwise notified at the time of entry.

Publicity: Images, trailers, and reproducible still images may be used in festival programs and publicity materials, including for use by media.

Entrant has read and agrees to abide by all festival rules.

Overall Rating
  • I really liked the attention the festival put into making sure all the filmmakers—regardless of their level or area of focus—felt included and a part of the weekend events. Good people.

    September 2021
  • Edgar Kyebanakolanga

    Top notch festival with great organisation and communication. A pleasure being part of it this year.

    September 2021
  • Shelton Johnson

    Excellent film festival for networking and just watching great films. Definitely worth submitting to.

    October 2020
  • Madu Dube

    Great Festival, a big thank you to the Director and the team for this event. It was such an honor being selected & winning the best international film award. I will definitely be submitting more work in the near future.

    September 2020
  • The CBIFF was a first class event. Cristyn and her group stayed true to the festivals mission through this pandemic by giving black filmmakers a voice and platform for their creativity to be discovered. That’s important now more than ever.
    I was also humbled to be awarded “The Best Homegrown Award“. We will definitely be back with our next project.

    September 2020