The highly acclaimed Denver Film Festival, which is the largest of its kind in the region, will celebrate its 44th edition in 2021. This intense and concentrated exposition showcases more than 250 new films from around the world with over 175 international filmmakers, directors, actors and other film artists participating in the twelve-day event. The majority of these films would never be seen or discovered in the Rocky Mountain region outside the venue of the film festival. The annual celebration of film provides an important showcase for the best of world cinema, a platform for international film artists, and promotes dialogue among filmmakers and the public.

The award-winning film festival is one of Denver's most popular and publicized events. The annual festival is a high-profile, glamour-filled event that is the focus of an enormous amount of media attention beginning in September and continuing through November.

The Denver Film Festival presents approximately 250 films over twelve days and plays host to more than 175 film artists. New international feature releases, independently produced fiction films and documentaries, animation, experimental works, children's programs, short subjects and music videos are included in the festival. In addition, a number of acclaimed international film artists are honored with tributes and special "evenings with..."

The festival presents the following awards:

John Cassavetes Award
Presented to an American director or actor for outstanding achievement in independent filmmaking.

Krzysztof Kieslowski Award For Best Feature Film
A juried prize honoring the best film.

Career Achievement Award
Presented to a film artist for extraordinary contributions to world cinema.

Stan Brakhage Vision Award for Experimental Film

American Independent Filmmaker Award
$2500 Cash Prize for best American Independent Narrative feature.

Maysles' Brothers Award for Best Documentary
$2500 Cash Prize for best Documentary feature.

Maria and Tommaso Maglione Italian Filmmaker Award
$10,000 Cash award.

Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film
Juried award presented to the short film.

Domestic Student Filmmaker Award
Juried award presented to the best student short film.

Liberty Global Award for Best International Student Short
Juried award presented to the best student short from outside of the U.S.

People's Choice Award
An audience award given to the most popular feature-length fiction film, feature-length documentary and short.

True Grit Award
$2500 Juried award for best Colorado produced feature.

Music on Film-Film on Music Documentary Grant Program
Grant to provide $20,000 annually in finishing funds for US based documentary productions specifically for music licensing, scoring and composition.

All films must have been completed after August 2018.
Films may not have screened in the Denver/Boulder metro area prior to the dates of DFF. While a Colorado premiere is not a requirement for DFF, it is taken into account when selecting the final program
Feature films must not have screened on U.S. television, in commercial release or on the Internet prior to the dates of the festival
All films not in English must be subtitled in English for presentation.

Submission Categories

Narrative Features
Documentary Features
Shorts Films
Student Shorts Films
Music Videos
Virtual Reality

Submission Materials
In order for a film to be properly submitted and checked in, it must include:
Completed Entry Form
Online Screener Link provided either via FilmFreeway or link emailed to
Proper Entry Fee

Multiple entries may be submitted by one person, but each film must come on a separate screener with a separate entry form.

If Your Work is Selected - Screening Requirements
DFF can project works in 35mm, BluRay, digital file, and DCP.
An electronic press kit, complete with production stills, 300 word synopsis and biography of the director must be sent to the DFS office as soon as possible.

Films that are accepted into the Denver Film Festival should NOT have screened on television or the Denver metro area prior to the dates of the festival.

The filmmaker is responsible for clearing all rights to the material in their film.

Denver Film Festival is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes.

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 Denver Film Festival 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.
Refunds of any kind will not be granted.

Overall Rating
  • Sara Terry

    What a great festival and a perfect world premiere for my film, A Decent Home. Such a helpful and responsive team, on every level. Highly recommend!

    November 2021
  • Skinner Myers

    Had such a wonderful time!! Everyone involved was so nice and accomodating! I hope I can bring more films here in the future!

    November 2021
  • They had a nice selection of films. Hard to judge anything else since it was online. Stupid virus!

    November 2020
  • David Liban

    One of the best film festivals. Very kind to filmmakers and great people running that event.

    November 2020
  • Hands down the best film festival that we have been too. Amazing short blocks and features. We will absolutely return and hope we get selected again! Thank you so much!

    November 2019