The Conquering Disabilities with Film International Film Festival seeks to recognize, serve, and honor the mentally ill artist who is using art to heal themselves. Conquering Disabilities with Film International Film Festival will be hosted by the ETHOS Film Awards in Los Angeles, CA, at the Laemmle Theaters in Santa Monica, and online.

Official selections will be presented on our online platform, from November 10 - November 16, 2023. All finalists will screen at the Laemmle Theaters, and/or and at our partner facility, the Santa Monica College, as part of our exciting live screenings and event schedule with special guests and panelists in Santa Monica.

Special Guests 2022 included Industry powerhouses, such as the legendary producer Cindy Cowan, Sir James Dentley III, James Keach, and more.

The directors at CDWFIFF along with the ETHOS Film Awards, have created a positive respectful environment to encourage dialogue and foster growth and understanding in an industry that is known for looking the other way. At CDWIFF you are understood, welcomed, and loved. You are at home.

CDWFIFF seeks and accepts all genres of films, shorts, features, narratives, documentaries, written word, photography, art, and music. The stipulation is that the work must deal with mental illness. Either the crew (director, DP, writer, talent) has a person who is struggling with or has overcome mental illness, depression, anxiety etc., or a crew member is a caregiver to a person with mental illness. We will also accept projects that are about mental issues. All submissions must include in their cover letter what requirement (s) the project fulfills.

CDWFIFF seeks screenplay submissions of all lengths/all genres that either cover the topic of mental illness or are the works of screenwriters dealing with mental illness themselves. We accept features, shorts, TV and Web Series Pilots, short shorts, and scenes, and poems. All submissions must include in their cover letter what requirement (s) the project fulfills.

CDWFIFF also wants musical scores and soundtracks, songs, lyrics, storyboards, and poster art by individuals dealing with mental illness or content covering mental health topics.

CDWFIFF recognizes that Art has always been a means of healing and transformation. It is now time to recognize the artist.

Every Accepted Submission will receive Selection Laurels.
Every Accepted creator will receive 1 all- access creator badge allowing access to all screenings (except charity or private), all seminars (except except charity or specialty), and after parties (except charity or private).
Every Winner will receive Laurels and a certificate or trophy/plaque.
Software to top winners.

Specialty Awards
The Overcomer Award for Screenwriting-given to a screenwriter with mental illness.

The Stigma Busting Award- given to an exceptionally talented mentally ill director.

The Gemini Award (for Actor)- given to an exceptionally talented actor with mental illness

The Gemini Award (for Actress)- given to an exceptionally talented actress with mental illness

The Melissa Goodman Caregiver Award- to be given to film or script which portrays the importance of the caregiver/mentally ill client relationship.

We will NOT accept online screeners for exhibition purposes.
MPEG 4 Screeners required.
Please notify us by email of any address changes.
Failure to provide screening materials will result in disqualification and the film being pulled from screening.
Please note MegaFest and/or CDWFIFF will NOT return or ship materials back to the submitter once the festival has commenced (this includes DCPs, MPEG4s, posters, postcards, or promo materials)
All entries should be Clearly Marked with Film Name, Festival Name, Run time, Submitter’s Name, and Contact info (cell phone and email)
Submissions should be mailed to:

1146 Apache
Topanga, CA 90290

All accepted filmmakers, who have submitted/mailed in all necessary materials and screeners, will be placed on Conquering Disabilities With Film International Film Festival website and the ticket info will be under ETHOS Film Awards before the event. Submitting filmmakers acknowledge they have the legal right to exhibit the film and the collateral/promo materials at the CDWFIFF which is part of the ETHOS Film Awards.
CDWFIFF and the ETHOS Film Awards is hereby granted the right to utilize footage and promotional materials supplied by the submitting agent from any film submitted and accepted film, video, or project for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes. All accepted filmmakers agree that Conquering Disabilities With Film International Film Festival and ETHOS may use footage from their projects in order to promote the festival, their film, or the ETHOS Film Awards Event via print, web, and broadcast television. The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations. The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless ETHOS Film Awards International Film Festival, its vendors, sponsors, and supporters 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.

Written Word Submission Rules
We are currently accepting written word submissions for features, shorts, short shorts, scenes, poetry, and prose.
All genres are welcome.
One copy of an original feature film screenplay uploaded as a PDF file will be accepted. (Do NOT include more than 1 version). We do NOT accept hardcopy scripts.
The screenplay should be in standard industry format (12 point Courier).
Only one copy, draft, or version of any screenplay may be submitted by an entrant or entrants per submission.
Under no circumstances will substitutions of either corrected pages or new drafts of an entry screenplay be allowed under the original submission.
Corrected or edited screenplays must be resubmitted as a NEW entry and will require a separate submission fee.
Multi-part scripts should be submitted as separate, stand-alone screenplays.
Features that are over 120 pages must be submitted as 2 different entries.
Entry fees will not be returned or adjusted.

Submissions must have been written originally in English; translations will not be accepted.
Submissions must be the original work of the entrant(s) and may not be based, in whole or in part, on any other fiction or nonfiction material, published or unpublished, produced or un-produced.
Entries may, however, be adapted from the entrant’s (or entrants’) original work, which should be noted in the logline required on the application form.
Entries lacking a logline on the application form will be disqualified.
If the script is based on a true story, historical or contemporary, the "based on true story/events" should be noted in the logline.
Collaborative work by two writers who share equally in its creation is eligible.
The collaborator’s name must be added during the online application process.
Writer's bio and headshot recommended.

We do not ship Awards.
Entry fees will not be returned or adjusted.

Overall Rating
  • R David Foster

    Conquering Disabilities With Film International Film Festival attracted great films regarding disabilities, including those made by persons with disabilities!
    This film festival has no where to go but up!!!
    Ethos Film Awards did a great job of hosting Conquering Disabilities With Film International Film Festival!
    We attended in person and saw as many great films as we could, only stopping to eat or sleep, as we had all access passes that admitted us. There were even more films we wanted to see, but we had to take a break to either eat or sleep !!
    We had a great time and highly recommend Conquering Disabilities With Film International Film Festival, as well as Ethos Film Awards, and truly appreciate Amy and Annabelle !!!
    Thanks again!
    David Foster

    November 2022
  • laurel adler

    This is a wonderful festival. Even though all projects are in the broad category of Conquering Disabilities, the topics are broad enough to make for a wide variety of top quality films.

    November 2022
  • Sophia Lee

    Love that this festival gives a platform for all abilities. And what amazing talent there is.

    November 2022
  • Much appreciation for honoring the "Don't Give Up" public service announcement as Best Music Lyric. I want to thank Anabelle Munro and the Ethos Film Awards team, and also Amy for the Conquering Disabilities With Film Festival for all you have inspired in everyone attending the screenings, panels, workshops, and special events. It was just fantastic and so generous of spirit. I made so many new connections with kindred creative spirits. I am very grateful. Let's definitely stay in touch.

    November 2022
  • Oya Gökşin Babaoğlu

    This is such a needed type of festival in the world! We need more festivals centering around the mental conditions and to see more films that are done by mentally differently-abled folks like us. Glad to be officially selected for my film 𝑪𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝑫𝒐𝒘𝒏!

    November 2021