The Denton Black Film Festival (DBFF) has experienced amazing growth and from its inception in 2015 with 800 festival-goers to 2019 with over 7,100 attendees in 5 days. DBFF provides a "Black Cultural" experience in an inclusive environment with film at its" Heart" and spotlights on spoken word, art, music, comedy, and more.

Screenings take place in the historic Campus Theatre and the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Filmmakers are provided opportunities to network and, with the newly announced DBFF Institute, to further hone their craft through workshops and panels. 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 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. For information about DAASF can be found at

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 film enthusiasts. Award winners are announced at the Awards Celebration and on social media during the festival. Winners not in attendance will receive their awards via mail within two weeks of the festival's closing.

2020 Award and Prize Categories:
1. Best Narrative Feature
2. Best Documentary Feature
3. Best Short Film
4. Best College Student Short
5. Best Web Series (New Category for 2020)
6. Best Texas Feature:
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:
Submit in the appropriate category with requested information. Note proof of residency may be requested. Also eligible for consideration for Best Short for the festival.
8. Best Texas College Short:
Submit in the appropriate category with requested information and college ID. Note proof of residency may be requested. Also eligible for consideration for Best College Short for the festival.

** Stay tuned for the announcement of Awards and Prizes available for the 2020 DBFF competitive films winners. The 2019 Awards and Prizes with a total value of over $25,000 are listed below.

Benefits for all films selected for screening:
– Two VIP All Access festival privileges for filmmaker and one guest
– Six complimentary tickets + discounts for additional tickets may be requested for film production team immediate family for filmmaker’s screening
– Special Filmmaker Events i.e. panels, workshops, award program, mixers, etc.
– Access to VIP lounge
– Discounted hotel accommodation rates are available for all filmmakers and all festival attendees. Deadline dates for reservations apply.

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).

Awards and benefits are subject to change at the discretion of DBFF.
For international filmmakers, awards and prizes will 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.

2019 Festival Awards and Prizes
Announced at Awards Celebration Brunch

1. Best Narrative Feature: $20,000 camera package (sponsored by Panavision), trophy and certificate
2. Best Documentary Feature: Package from Distribber valued at $2350, trophy and certificate
3. Best Short: Package from Distribber Valued at $1700, trophy and certificate
4. Best College Short: $250 cash prize, trophy and certificate
Runner Ups and Honorable Mentions in each category received DBFF trophies and/or certificates.
5. Best Texas Feature: No award presented as no finalists were selected for category
6. Best Texas Short: $250 cash prize, trophy and certificate
7. Best Texas College Short: $250 cash prize, trophy and certificate

• Eligible films must be:

1. Written, directed, or produced by Black filmmakers; OR
2. Prominently feature Black actors; OR
3. Feature subject matter which relates to the Black community and/or Black experience.

Filmmakers of all races and ethnicities are welcome to submit as long as one of the previously mentioned criteria are met.

• Open to U.S. and international entries. Films made in a language other than English must have English subtitles.

• Films 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 completed after January 1, 2018 are eligible for competition and awards.

• Films must be completed by their submission date as works in progress are not accepted.

• Competitive films must be submitted through FilmFreeway with an online screener with HD-YouTube-or Vimeo, as the preferred methods.

Selected films 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 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 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 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 (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.

Overall Rating
  • Wow! What a GREAT festival! A big thanks to Harry, Linda, Sarah, and all volunteers who made this festival so awesome. The theaters, panels, expo, and films were ALL so wonderful. It was difficult to choose what to do because everything was so amazing. We hope to be back! A definite must do festival!

    January 2020
  • Waasi Films

    We won best short film. We also had a great time. This was an awesome experience.

    May 2019
    Response from festival:

    Waasi Films, it was our pleasure to screen your short film and we look forward to the future film creations. You have a wonderful career ahead of you!

  • Fagan Davis III

    My first film festival and I was not disappointed! Great venues and awesome showrunners! Will definitely be back!

    March 2019
    Response from festival:

    Hi Fagan,
    Such a pleasure for us to be your First film festival. It's a lot of hard work, but we always have fun in planning each year's festival and feel blessed for the growth and recognition. Keep us in mind with future projects and please spread the word about DBFF. Hope to see you in 2020!

  • L B

    I wasn't able to attend but our film THE MAYOR'S RACE won Best Documentary. So grateful for this and the warm communication I had with festival team. Definitely recommend it.

    March 2019
    Response from festival:

    Great having your film in the festival. The jurors declared it a Winner and the audience was educated and inspired by it. Too bad the distance- you being in Germany and us in Texas did not permit your attendance. Keep us in mind with any future projects and please spread the word about DBFF. May our paths cross again.

  • Such an amazing festival! I've been to several different festivals in North Texas, but this one is one to check out. So many quality films, but this festival incorporates culture deep in its run. You can experience music, art, comedy, food, and panels that help filmmakers network and grow in their craft. This is definitely a festival to check immerse yourself and experience.

    March 2019
    Response from festival:

    Michael, thanks so much for taking time to review DBFF. We are proud to be a "Cultural" festival with Film as our "Heart". Each year we look for ways to enhance the experience for filmmakers and everyone who attends.