The DC Chinese Film Festival (DCCFF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to discovering outstanding Chinese cinema around the world and to encouraging cultural diversity through films. The 5th DCCFF (aka 2020 Alula Film Festival) will take place this upcoming December.

Please note that due to the current Covid-19 situation in the US, the Festival Committee has decided to move the screening online this year. If the situation improves by the end of the year, we might host a screening series in the actual theater. We will make a special announcement if that is going to happen. Thanks for your understanding and support, if you have any questions regarding the change, please contact the festival at

DCCFF was founded by Mr. Yibin Cai in 2011, and since then has been running under the leadership of a group of young film enthusiasts from China and the US. Within the DCCFF Team are professionals working in film, media and communications, as well as students studying at top film schools. DCCFF believes that cinema can be a powerful universal language and a form of communication to encourage cultural diversity. To this end, the Festival has worked tirelessly to discover talented Chinese-speaking filmmakers, films in Chinese, and/or films about Chinese-speaking cultures. In an effort to bring together these filmmakers and other talents in the film market, DCCFF hopes to create an international platform for the creative minds behind films, as well as production and distribution companies from both China and the U.S.

As our biggest event, the biennial DC Chinese Film Festival held in Washington DC is a true celebration of contemporary Chinese cinema and multicultural experience. The four-day festival consists:
- Numerous screenings of features and shorts that are otherwise hard to access.
- Meet-and-greet with filmmakers and scholars to learn about the creative process and culture through after-screening Q&As, panel discussions and mini forums.
- Opening Ceremony and Reception, Closing & Awards Ceremony, and various networking events.

• Year-round Events
Besides the competition festival, we also hold occasional events including film screenings, master classes, discussion forums, and community gatherings.
• Chinese Films Oversea Promotion and Distribution
DCCFF partners with production and distribution companies in China and North America, using our expertise and network to help Chinese films with overseas marketing and distribution.

* Subject to change
Awards in Main Competition:
- Best Narrative Feature
- Best Documentary Feature
- Best Short
- Best Experimental Film
- Audience Award

Special Recognition Awards:
- ALULA Story That Matters Award
- ALULA Emerging Talent Award
- ALULA Together Award

All award winners will be announced at the Closing Ceremony. Prizes will be distributed to winners within 6-8 weeks after the closing of the Festival.

Please note The festival committee has the final rights to alter the awards and competition categories.

5th DCCFF Rules and Regulations

The 5th DC Chinese Film Festival adheres to the following rules and regulations effective immediately. Please carefully read this document before submitting your work and contact the festival committee with any questions. Applicants, who complete the registration process, implicitly agree to the rules and terms outlined within this document. The DC Chinese Film Festival Committee reserves the rights to make final decisions and interpretations for those cases not clearly described below.

Due to the current Covid-19 situation in the US, the Festival Committee has decided to move the screening online this year. If the situation improves by the end of the year, we might consider to host a screening series in the actual theater. We will make a special announcement if that is going to happen. Thanks for your understanding and support, if you have any questions regarding the change, please contact the festival at

1. Mission Statement

The goal of the DC Chinese Film Festival is to uncover excellent Chinese focused films and foster cultural exchange through screenings and other activities. With this mission in mind, the programming committee has begun the collection of original films from all over the world. With a special emphasis to newcomers and independent filmmakers, the committee hopes that the festival will serve as a cradle for independent Chinese cinema.

2. General Rules and Regulations

2.1. The Film Must Satisfy at least One of the Conditions Below

- The main language of the film is a Chinese language or dialect
- The creative team includes persons of Chinese ethnicity (e.g. director, screenwriter, lead actor/actress, cinematographer, and editor)
- The film’s content focuses on Chinese society, Chinese culture or the lives of Chinese people.

2.2. Registration and Competition Schedule

- Regular Submission Deadline: Oct 18, 2020 (Entry fee: $10)
- Extended Submission Deadline: Nov.7, 2020 (Entry fee: $20)
- Finalists Announced: End of November 2020
- Winners Announced: December 13, 2020

Note: All materials must be received by the committee by the submission deadline above.

2.3. Submitted Films Must Adhere to the Following Requirements

- The work must be entirely original. Any plagiarism will result in disqualification;
- There is no restriction on the theme content or format of the submission. Submissions may include but are not limited to feature, documentary, experimental, and animated films. However, the content may not come into conflict with the laws of the People’s Republic of China or the United states of America;
- Participants should actively keep in touch with the organizers to ensure the provision of timely and accurate information;
- Applicants must hold the film’s copyright or have proof that they are authorized to promote, screen, and participate in related activities at this festival;
- Applicants have the obligation to ensure the legal status of the film itself. In the event of a legal dispute (e.g., any copyright infringement including but not limited to the rights to music, stills, or videos featured in the submission) before, during, or after the film festival, the applicant will assume full legal responsibility and bear all costs related to the dispute (including attorney and court fees).

2.4. The main competition has subcategories include:
-Narrative Feature Film
-Documentary Feature Film
-Short Film
-Experimental Film (no limitation on length)

Each entry must fit into one of these categories. Each film can only be entered into one award category. The programming committee will give additional awards for films that focus on cultural exchange, social justice, and environmental protection. For additional details on awards see section 5.5.

3. Rules and Terms for Main Competition (Feature and Short)

3.1. Eligibility Requirements

- DC Chinese Film Festival’s definition of a feature-length film is of 40 minutes or more (150 minutes or less ) , a short is 40 minutes or less;
- The entry must be a film, which has completed production after Oct 31, 2018;
- Every applicant may submit a maximum three films; unless the submitter is the representative of an agency or a company.
- Each film can only be submitted to one category. ( For example, the same film can not be submitted to Short Film and Experimental Film at the same time)
- We do not have any premiere requirements, but do prefer films that have not been released or distributed (including online distribution) in any area prior or during DC Chinese Film Festival;
- Due to the fact that our film festival judges are from both China and the U.S., all submissions are required to have English subtitles embedded, costs of subtitling are covered by the applicants.

3.2. Submission Guidelines

1. Read Rules and Regulations, if you have any questions, please contact the festival programming committee.
2. Complete the Online Submission through FilmFreeway (

*If you can’t upload your film online, please contact the festival committee at for assistance.
- Note:
a) All materials submitted by applicants are non-returnable, please be sure to retain the original;

b) Once successfully submitted works , in principle, the organizing committee is no longer accepting new versions, if there are significant changes in registration information , please contact the organizing committee;

c) The festival will set up promotional pages and hashtags on social media platforms to introduce DCCFF’s participants and their works, online interaction with the audience is welcomed.

4. Information for Finalists and Authorization Requirements

4.1. Additional Materials

4.1.1. Finalists must promptly provide the Organizing Committee with the relevant additional materials (posters, trailers, etc. ) ;

4.1.2. Once the film is nominated for the festival, producers need to prepare a digital copy of the film that meets the organizing committee’s standards of quality (Apple Quicktime pro-res 422 codec).The final copy screened at the festival may not have significant differences from the preview submitted to the committee;

4.1.3. All the films must be subtitled in English. All segments with non-English dialogue must have English subtitles added to the final copy for the screening. The costs of subtitling the film will be borne by the filmmaker (or team);

4.1.4. Digital copies of the film must be sent to the programming committee by the end of November 2020. The transportation fees and insurance costs will be borne by the applicant.

4.2. Authorization

4.2.1. The finalists are required to authorize the committee to use clips from the film ( no more than 3 minutes) and related information (including screenshots, posters, stills, abstract, trailers, etc. ) on the festival's official website, radio, television, print media, social media, and other forms of media used to promote the festival;

4.2.2. Once the applicants accept the festival nomination they may not withdraw from the competition, finalists are required to give the programming committee the rights to screen the film at least one time online during the film festival. If the festival committee decides to host screening in theaters, applicants will be notified and their written approval will be acquired in advance.

5. Programming and Selection

5.1. Initial Review

The festival organizing committee will conduct a preliminary selection and classification of all entries, filtering out those films, which do not meet the festival's requirements.

5.2. Nomination of Finalists

Selection of films for the feature and short film categories of the main competition: After the screening of the entries by category, a selection committee set up by the organizing committee and composed of industry insiders will deliberate, score and nominate finalists .

5.3. Judging and Selection

The selection committee will nominate films (for both the main competition categories and online competition categories) to the professional contest judges (established filmmakers and film scholars from China and the U.S.), and the panel of judges will assess the films and exchange opinions. Eventually, the scoring breakdown will decide the contest prizes. At the same time the organizing committee will gather the judges’ scores and feedback and give them to the finalists for their consideration.

5.4. Audience’s Choice

Main competition categories (feature and short): All the audience are allowed to vote and score the film they just watched online. The organizing committee will count the vote at the end of each screening and announce the winner of the Audience's Choice along with other awards.

5.5. Awards

Winners will receive a trophy and a certificate.

Please refer to the following table for each award in all categories, the organizing committee will adjust and revise the awards based on participating films in each category, and announce the updates along with the finalists.

5.5.1 Main Competition
Best Narrative Feature
Best Documentary Feature
Best Short Film
Best Experimental Film
Audience’s Choice Award

5.5.2 DCCFF Special Awards
ALULA Story That Matters Award
ALULA Emerging Talent Award
ALULA Together Award

* The festival committee has the final rights to alter the awards and competition categories.

Overall Rating
  • The communication is so good. I hope we could take part into the festival again in the future: )

    October 2018
  • Lifan Wang

    one of the best experience I have ever had

    October 2016