Founded in 2009, by a black female filmmaker that initially wanted to create a space for like-minded creatives to screen their projects and network, soon evolved into the DMV International Film Festival. DMVIFF's mission is to sustainably develop, unite, discover and enrich the cinema
talents in and of the DC, MD, VA, and Internationally. In addition, DMVIFF includes
the entire community area offering residents unique participation for inclusiveness.
Providing organized information and resources related to cinema, motion pictures,
emerging technologies in order to enrich and support talents by bringing them every
possible advantage including potential emerging opportunities in technology, media,
transportation, community, and more.
DMVIFF is dedicated to unifying the talents, communities, emerging opportunities, and resources of motion picture creatives in or of the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and Foreign Filmmakers.
Nearly $10,000 in combined cash and prizes are given for awards in the following categories:
Best Narrative Feature ($500 prize)
Best Documentary Feature ($500 prize)
Best Narrative Short ($250 prize)
Best Documentary Short ($250 prize)
Best Animated Short (Award Plaque)
Best Cinematography ($7,000 value in camera and post rental/services)
Sponsored by Tea Britt Project, LLC)
Filmmaker With An Eye (Award Plaque)
DMV Film Award (Award Plaque)
The winners of our Narrative Short, Documentary Short, and Animated Short prizes all qualify for the FWAE Award.
DMVIFF juries are composed of filmmakers, film critics, and industry figures.
Films competing in juried categories are chosen solely at the discretion of the DMVIFF programming team. Acceptance to the festival does not guarantee placement in the competition. Films are not programmed in or out of competition, as competition status is determined once the full program has been locked.
All official selections that meet the guidelines will be eligible for the Festival.
Best Cut (Editor Category)
Best Foreign Feature
Best Foreign Short
Best Foreign Documentary Short
Best Foreign Documentary Feature
Best Documentary Short
Best Documentary Feature
Best Music Video
Best Student Film
DMViFF Staff Pick
FILM SUBMISSIONS FAQs
If you have any questions, want not answered here or in our submission Rules & Terms on FilmFreeway, please email us at submit@DMViFF.org.
How do I submit it?
For the DMV International Film Festival, we are only accepting submissions on FilmFreeway. If you are new to FilmFreeway, your first step will be to create an account and create a “project” for your request. Please refer to the following page for more information on completing a project and submitting it to festivals: https://filmfreeway.com/help.
Please do not email us your films. We cannot consider any project that has not been officially submitted through FilmFreeway.
We strongly suggest that you have a permanent member of the crew to submit (preferably the director or a producer). Please use an email address/phone number that is checked regularly if we need to get in touch with you throughout the submission process. If there is an issue with your submission and we cannot get in touch with anyone by our final submission deadline, we will be forced to disqualify your submission (without a refund of submission fees).
Can I submit via paper?
It is not my film; can I submit it on my own?
No, we would need direct contact with the creators of the project to ensure proper documentation.
When are your deadlines?
We have five deadlines throughout our submission process: Very Early Deadline (October 25, 2021), Early Deadline (December 15, 2021), Regular Deadline (April 3, 2022), Late Deadline (June 3, 2022), and Extended Deadline (August 15, 2022). After August 15, all film submissions for the 2022 DMViFF are closed.
Please keep track of deadlines closely if you plan on submitting within a specific submission window. All deadlines are set for 11:59 pm EDT (except for our final deadline on August 15, 2022, at 11:59 pm EST).
Any submissions that are incomplete by our final deadline will be disqualified without refund of submission fees. Reasons a submission will be considered incomplete include (but are not limited to) the following:
Screener is missing
The screener has been deleted, or the password has been changed
The screener is missing subtitles (if in a foreign language), audio, image, or any feature that prevents us from adequately judging it.
Is there a difference if I submit early?
Yes and no. The main difference if you submit early is that you will spend less money on your submission fee. Submitting early won’t increase your chances of getting accepted. All submissions are evaluated equally.
What are your submission fees?
You can find a complete list of submission fees under the Categories & Fees section of our FilmFreeway page.
Can I have a waiver?
DMViFF rarely grants waivers. Typically the only exceptions are for alumni of DMViFF and filmmakers from countries where international sanctions prevent them from paying a fee. If either of these terms applies to you, please email us at submit@DMViFF.org.
Any other waivers are granted solely at the discretion of the programmers, are often by invitation only, and are typically given for works that fit the specific genre or community-based program needs.
A submission fee guarantees your work is appropriately viewed to be considered you and neither submission fees nor waivers guarantee acceptance. Submission fees support competition cash prizes, festival travel for attending filmmakers, and the small team of staff and volunteers that will process hours of content for the upcoming season alone.
QUESTIONS ABOUT SUBMITTING
What do I need to submit for my film?
Each submission must be accompanied by a submission fee paid in full and a playable screener to be considered.
How do I know you received my submission?
In your FilmFreeway account, under the “Submissions” tab, you can locate your submission to our festival as long as the Submission Status is listed as “In Consideration,” your film has satisfied all of our requirements, and is ready to be reviewed by our screeners and programmers.
Films listed as “Incomplete” at the time you submit are most likely missing a screener. Please recheck your submission to ensure that your screener was correctly uploaded.
Suppose we discover an issue with your submission during the submissions process (i.e., screener was deleted, the password was changed, is missing audio or subtitles, etc.). In that case, we will reach out to the submitter to correct the problem. At this point, we will also update the status of the film to “Incomplete.” If, at any end, your movie is listed Incomplete and you did not receive an email disclosing the reason, please reach out to us at submit@DMViFF.org.
Do you accept online screeners? Can I send an outside link?
YES. We have now transitioned only to accept online screeners, and we can no longer accept submissions on DVD or Blu-Ray. Please do not send DVDs or Blu-Rays to our office; they will not be considered.
Our preference for online screeners is password-protected Vimeo links or films uploaded directly to FilmFreeway. Online screeners must be available to stream; we do not accept any movies that must be downloaded.
The submitter is responsible for ensuring that their screener link and password are active. In the event of a password or screener URL change after submitting, email us immediately. If we discover an error with the screener, we will email the submission contact for an update. Failure to respond by the final submission deadline will result in disqualification without refund of submission fees.
How do I submit Virtual Reality films, and how are they reviewed?
For 360° video — please provide either or both:
A) Private 360-enabled screener (Vimeo, YouTube,, it watchmoviesOculus Media Studio.)
B) Downloadable video link.
NOTE: 360° video is reviewed via headset whenever possible.
For tethered/Quest VR and other interactive projects:
You MUST provide a full video recording of the experience. While you may include builds alongside that — the video screener is the primary format for consideration. Lastly, please detail any needs for the exhibition (such as schematics, compatible HMD/tech, etc.).
Do you accept rough cuts/works-in-progress?
Yes. Just be sure to mark the submission as a rough cut/work-in-progress/WIP both in your cover letter and in the screener file itself (preferably as a still image of text at the start of the screener). Please note which elements are incomplete (ex: color correction, score, missing shots, etc.)
We see incomplete versions of films all of the time, and our programming staff is very adept at using our imagination. If you are accepted, you’ll need to be prepared to deliver the final cut to us by August 2022.
Can we send updated versions of the film?
Yes. However, please adhere to the following guidelines:
You must replace the embedded screener in your FilmFreeway project. We cannot accept any updated screeners via email, as we cannot update your submission from our end.
DMViFF is only responsible for considering the project as it exists at the time of review. We are under no obligation to revisit updated cuts once a screener has been seen, so be sure that the submitted amount is a fair representation of the final piece.
No updated cuts will be accepted after the final deadline: August 15, 2022.
How many films can I submit?
You can submit as many projects as you would like as long as they are all eligible to screen at the 2022 DMViFF. However, you must pay a separate submission fee for each submission.
When will filmmakers be notified of the final decisions for the 2022 DMViFF?
Final notifications are scheduled to occur no later than the end of the day on September 1, 2022. Some filmmakers may receive information sooner than this,watch movies.
How will we be notified*?
Accepted films will receive an invitation letter by email. Films that are not accepted to screen will also be notified by email by the notification deadline.
Please make sure the email address associated with your submission remains active throughout the submission process. Add each of the following accounts to your address book to prevent our communication from going to spam: (submit@DMViFF.org, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Note: Email filters have a hard time with addresses that start with info@, mail@, admin@, etc. If you’re using one of these email addresses, it’s more likely your notification email may not arrive. We also suggest using an email address that someone checks daily.
*Notification dates are subject to change. Please, check the festival website every few weeks for updates. We strive to notify all submitters via email when a change will be made.
QUESTIONS ABOUT DMViFF’S PROGRAMMING
What genres do you accept?
Okay, but what kind of films do you play?
Will you take a look at my film and tell me if I should submit it to you?
We cannot review any films that have not been officially submitted to us. We get so many submissions that we have to dedicate our time to watching movies that have gone the official route (and paid their submission fee).
How long can films be?
We have no cut-off for runtime, but shorter is always better (as shorter films allow more flexibility when building our schedule). Runtime is especially significant when it comes to short films. However, there are always exceptions to this rule!
If I submit to one category, will I be considered for others I may be eligible for?
No. You are only considered for the category you submit your film to. Please don’t submit your film to a category with a cheaper fee even though it belongs somewhere else. Films submitted to an inappropriate category will be disqualified without a refund. Read the category descriptions carefully, and email us if you have any questions.
Do you have any rating limitations? Must films be PG or PG-13? Do you program films with solid content and language?
We have no rating limitations on films submitted. We program films with various content, from family-friendly to work that would only be appropriate for mature audiences.
Do you have a preference for local films or films with local connections?
Every year we strive to be a strong advocate of local talent and filmmakers. We are proud to highlight homegrown talent, films with local ties. However, being from the DMV does not guarantee acceptance in DMViFF’s program.
We offer a discounted submission fee for any project that was at least partially filmed in the DMV. Films meeting these qualifications may be submitted for 50% off the current submission fee.
If you submit in this category without meeting the necessary criteria, you will be disqualified from consideration for the festival and will not be issued a refund.
Is there a discount for student work?
Yes, there is a discount on student work... To qualify, you must either be a current student who completed the film.
Do you have competition sections?
Yes, as competition status is determined once the entire program has been locked.
How many films are put in competition?
Films placed in the competition are chosen solely at the discretion of the DMViFF programming team. Acceptance to the festival does not guarantee placement in the competition.
Do you screen films out of competition?
Yes. Most of our films will screen out of competition.
How do you program your shorts?
We program shorts thematically. Excluding a few short programs every year (ex: comedy shorts), we do not choose the themes ahead of time. We look to see what themes we can build from the submissions received.
Do you program international films?
Yes, we love international films!
Do you prefer films with celebrities?
No, but feel free to submit.
Have you programmed films that are available online?
Yes, on a case-by-case basis. We generally prioritize films that have not yet been released to the public. However, any feature films that are publicly available online are not eligible to screen at the DMViFF.
NOTE: This clause only applies to films that are PUBLICLY available to screen. Films that have screened online as part of a virtual festival presentation are still eligible for screening at DMViFF.
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SCREENING/JUDGING PROCESS
Who are your screeners?
We use 15 to 25 screeners to watch films each year. Some are academics, some are filmmakers, some have been attending DMViFF for years, and others are past DMViFF alums.
Can someone who submitted a film or worked on a submitted film also be a screener?
Yes/No, You can screen for the following/previous year that you are not submitting.
How are films scored?
Each film is watched by multiple screeners and evaluated across several different criteria. Screeners are asked a series of questions about each film and the theory behind them. There is an internal criterion that each screener must follow to ensure a fair evaluation.
Are films selected solely on screener feedback?
While screener feedback is essential and helpful to the assessment process, it is not an ultimate qualifier.
Can I find out how my film is doing once I’ve submitted it?
No. Please do not call or email us asking for updates on your film. We are a year-round arts organization. We are constantly planning screenings, running workshops, and hosting events we cannot ensure effective communication about your movie during this time.
Who makes final selections?
The Programming Department makes final selections.
If you have any questions not answered here or in our submission Rules & Terms on FilmFreeway, please email us at submit@DMViFF.org. We are unable to address inquiries via phone.