The Denton Black Film Festival (DBFF) has experienced amazing growth and from its inception in 2015 with 800 festival-goers to 2020 with over 8900 attendees. DBFF provides a "Black Cultural" experience in an inclusive environment with Film at its " Heart" and spotlights on Spoken Word, Art, Music, Comedy, Social Justice Panels, and more. The DBFF Institute launched in 2018 hosts workshops, panels, and events to connect “Creatives”, provide insight into the film industry and hone your craft. In 2020 DBFF Interactive Tech Expo was added in the festival.

A special awards program is held to celebrate all filmmakers and announce the award winners for the competitive film submissions program during the festival.

DBFF is presented by the Denton African American Scholarship Foundation, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit. The Foundation seeks to provide scholarships for eligible students preparing them as leaders for tomorrow and change agents for a global society. Proceeds from the festival after expenses go towards these scholarships.

Awards & Prizes
At DBFF the objective is to be equitable in the award process. Finalists for each award category are determined by the submission team's ratings and announced prior to the festival's opening day.
The selection of Award and Prize recipients in each category are accomplished through a ranking system by appointed jurors, who are industry professionals and/or film and music enthusiasts. Award winners are announced at the Awards Celebration and on social media by the closing of the festival. Invitational selections receiving waivers are not eligible to compete for awards and prizes. Winners not in attendance will receive their awards via mail within two weeks of the festival's closing.

*2021 Award and Prize Categories:
1. Best Narrative Feature- $20,000 Panavision camera package, trophy and certificate
2. Best Documentary Feature- $20,000 Panavision camera package, trophy and certificate
3. Best Short Film- $500 Cash
4. Best Web Series- $500 Cash
5. Best Original Music Video- $300 Cash
5. Best College Student Short-$250 Cash (Proof of student status at time pf production must be included with submission.)
6. Best Texas Feature: $250 Cash (Submit in the appropriate category with requested information. Note proof of residency may be requested. Also eligible for consideration for Best Narrative or Documentary for the festival.)
7. Best Texas Short: $250 Cash (Submit in the appropriate category with requested information. Note proof of residency may be requested. Also eligible for consideration for Best Short.)
8. Best Texas College Short: $200 Cash (Proof of student status and residency at time pf production must be included with submission. Also eligible for consideration for Best College Short)
9. Best Texas High School Short: $100 ((Proof of student status and residency at time pf production must be included with submission.
Runner Ups and Honorable Mentions in all categories receive DBFF trophies and/or certificates.
Note: Award eligibility is subject to any restrictions or conditions imposed by applicable laws and regulations (international, federal, state or otherwise), and the award recipient is responsible for all applicable taxes, tariffs, insurance, and similar charges or costs (if any).
For international filmmakers: Awards and Prizes have free shipping, but the filmmaker is responsible for any duties, taxes, special fees, etc. Certain prizes may not be available internationally and may only be available in the USA. No alternate or additional compensation will be provided in this situation.

**Benefits for All Films Selected for Screening:
– Two VIP Experience (All Access) festival privileges for filmmaker and one guest
– Six complimentary tickets + discounts for additional tickets may be requested for film production team and immediate family for filmmaker’s screening.
– Special Filmmaker Events i.e. panels, workshops, award program, mixers, etc.
– Access to any special VIP spaces
– Discounted hotel accommodation rates are available for all filmmakers and all festival attendees. Deadline dates for reservations apply.
- Discount on submissions for next year's film festival.

* Categories, Awards and Benefits are subject to change at the discretion of DBFF.
** Due to the impact of the pandemic and Virtual screenings these benefits may be adjusted.

Eligible films and original music videos must be:
1. Written, directed, or produced by Black filmmakers and/or Artists; or
2. Prominently feature Black actors or musicians; or
3. Feature subject matter which relates to the Black community and/or Black experience.
Filmmakers and or Artists of all races and ethnicities are welcome to submit when one of the previously mentioned criteria are met.

NOTE: Waivers are only provided on a limited basis for Invitational consideration for films or original music videos meeting special programming needs and/or of exceptional quality. Invitational selections are not eligible for competition in the awards program.

• Open to U.S. and international entries. Films and original music videos made in a language other than English must have English subtitles.
• Films and original music videos shown theatrically, sold, or having been distributed on broadcast, cable, satellite VOD or DVD by opening day of the festival may be submitted, but are not eligible for competition.
• Only films and original music videos completed after January 1, 2018 submitted through FilmFreeway with paid submission fees are eligible for the Competitive program and awards.
• Films and original music videos should be completed by the submission date as works in progress are not accepted.
• Competitive films and original music videos must be submitted through FilmFreeway with an online screener with HD-YouTube-or Vimeo, as the preferred methods.
• Selected films and original music videos will be provided at the filmmaker’s expense in the specified exhibition format by the date specified by DBFF.
• College student category films must provide proof of student status at the time of production by sending a copy of a dated student ID or unofficial transcript showing enrollment in good standing to This proof should be provided when the film is submitted for consideration.
• Press kits, photo materials, trailers, teasers, or any other promo materials should be provided through FilmFreeway at the time of submission.
• Film and original music video submissions attest original work with no disputes regarding ownership or copyright. The submitted work does not defame or invade the rights of any person living or dead and DBFF.
• Submitted films and original music videos may be utilized for promotional purposes of the festival, limited to private screenings, and preview-only copies for press and supporters, unless otherwise arranged with DBFF.
• Submission fees are non-refundable, and once submitted a film or original music video may not be withdrawn without a written request and then at the sole discretion of DBFF.
All submissions and selected entries will be handled with the utmost care. However, DBFF cannot accept responsibility for losses, damages or additional charges incurred during shipping, due to file errors, due to authoring errors, due to normal wear and tear, or due to equipment failure.
DBFF is not responsible for any claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) arising from or in connection with any claim (including those of third parties) involving music clearances, copyright, trademark, credits, publicity of any film submitted to or screened by DBFF.
Reproduction Agreement:
Submission grants DBFF and its affiliates, permission for accepted films and original music videos (3 minutes maximum) and related marketing and promotional materials to be reproduced and distributed SOLELY for purposes of jurying, education, and promotion of the festival.

All filmmakers and/or artists who submit to DBFF will be added to the festival general email list and DBFF Institute mail list. If you do not wish to be on the mailing list send an email to to unsubscribe.

Overall Rating
  • Iona Morris

    I was honored to have my short CELESTE'S DREAMS not only be chosen to be a part of this festival, but to also be a finalist. I loved this festival. An added plus was how communicative they were with the filmmakers. I look forward to attending it live!

    March 2021
  • Arielle Lathan

    I had a wonderful time engaging in the virtual film festival I can’t wait to go when it’s in person!!

    March 2021
  • A huge Thanks to have selected my movie The Favor. Thanks for supporting independent filmmaker like me. Thanks for your professionalism and kindness. Hope coming soon with another project.
    Best regards
    Galiam Bruno Henry/ Director

    March 2021
  • Stephanie Diane Ford

    Proud to have my film The Black Baptism in the 2021 festival. The even was well organized and curated. Would love the opportunity to experience the next festival in person.

    March 2021
  • Outstanding film festival! A truly filmmaker friendly film festival. It was an honor to be a part of such a well thought out festival. I hope to be able to attend it in person after my next project is completed and is submitted. Well done.

    February 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Garfield for the great review. We look forward to hosting you and many others in-person in the future.