The Connecting Cultures Program supports thousands of underprivileged filmmakers each year in their challenging journeys as independent filmmakers. Surpassing financial embargoes and crushing censorship.

Each year, we select at least ten countries and grant filmmakers from those areas the ability to submit their work free of charge to partner festivals all over the world. This opens the door of film exposure to those who may not otherwise be able to enter. When selected by the Connecting Cultures Program, a filmmaker will then receive the option to submit their work to a range of partner festivals all over the world, completely free of charge. This opens the door of film exposure to those who may not otherwise be able to enter.

Our country selections are far from random. Our committee chooses locations based on humanitarian aspects, culture needs and the financial situation of that specific region. We strive to provide support to filmmakers in these countries and allow them opportunities to share their art.
The current 2023-2024 program allows filmmakers from the following countries to submit their work free of charge: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Eritrea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Gambia, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Iran, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Palestine, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Tajikistan, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine, Venezuela, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

Founded in 2021 by filmmaker and entrepreneur Kris De Meester, the program immediately proved its necessity. In the first year of this program a total number of 4,750 films were submitted for free, generating a financial support of at least $47,500. In the second year this number more than doubled to over 10,000 submitted films.

The current festival partners include iconic festivals such as the Brussels Independent Film Festival, Boston Short Film Festival, Venice Film Week, Super Shorts, Viewpoint Documentary Film Festival, Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festivals… among many others.

Selected the filmmakers will receive The Tarkovski Grant, a FilmFreeway submission fee waiver package that's worth at least 500 USD and grants them free submission access to 20+ partner film festivals.

This not only saves the filmmakers a lot of money, but it also recognizes their work as something to watch for during the selection procedure, making a selection with a partner film festival more likely - but of course, never guaranteed.

Every selected filmmaker will also receive a distribution option through, our main sponsor of the program.

We accept short and feature films up to 120 minutes: drama, experimental, animation, documentary, ...

The Connecting Cultures Program accept all forms and genres. All non-English language films must be subtitled in English. Entry does not guarantee acceptance. Submissions WILL NOT be returned. We also accept submissions that have premiered elsewhere and that may have distribution agreements already in place. Rough cuts and incomplete projects are not accepted. Multiple entries are allowed, however a separate entry form must be submitted for each.

The Connecting Cultures Program will not be liable for any costs claimed as a result of a selection. No film may be withdrawn after its selection.

The filmmaker holds the Connecting Cultures Program, its management, juries, subsidiaries, agents, sponsors, affiliates, and etc. harmless from any and all claims of liability resulting from entry. The filmmaker certifies to have full rights. Producer will indemnify the Connecting Cultures Program against all claims, demands, costs, damages, expenses (including legal fees), proceedings and losses resulting from the selection or from claims by any third parties.

The Connecting Cultures Program does not offer screening fees. By submitting through FilmFreeway you are agreeing to NOT request a screening fee as a requirement for your film's participation, should your film get selected for the program.