The Dumbo Film Festival (DFF) is a live screening event occurring in DUMBO, Brooklyn every year.
Before the live event, a number of annual official selections for each category is chosen during preselection competitions (no screenings) throughout the year.
On FilmFreeway you can find information about the current preselection competition (deadlines and fees). The 5th Dumbo Film Festival (2023 DFF) live event will occur after all the preselection competitions are closed and the whole lineup to screen is chosen in fall 2023.
All the officially selected films will be screened in Brooklyn, New York during the annual live screening event, and a final ceremony will be held to award projects that have been judged the very best over the past year.

This structure allows the festival to collect funds for the organization of the annual live event. As a nonprofit organization, the Dumbo Film Festival is totally independent and the budget to allocate on every year's live event is built out of the submission fees and donations.

This structure is also meant to give everyone a chance throughout the year and highlight both affirmed and emergent filmmakers by launching promising artists into the world film stage.

Main missions of the nonprofit Dumbo Film Festival Inc. are:

• highlighting the young and artistic heart of Dumbo district by making it an appealing destination for both emergent and affirmed filmmakers to share their talent and sensitivity;

• becoming a den for cinema lovers by organizing competitions, screenings, galas and related activities;

• building a bridge among the many different cultures that can be experienced under the wing of independent cinema (thus contributing to raising tolerance and familiarity towards different ways of life, traditions and new points of view).

By the end of the Seventies, a prosperous renewal has brought the district of Dumbo to a new life, and it is now considered to be one of New York’s most glamorous districts and a thriving destination for artists to meet and share their thoughts.
On this background of revival within the New York panorama, the Dumbo Film Festival aims to establish itself among the most important independent festivals in the world.
Producers and directors from around the world can meet each other here, encounter new ideas, and begin working toward prestigious goals.

Many of our award-winning films are official selections or winners from Cannes, Berlinale, Raindance, Sundance, Tribeca, the Goya Awards, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), the American Academy Awards (Oscar®), and so on. Many have been distributed on major televisions and international platforms such as HBO, Netflix, Amazon, PBS, BBC.

The DFF awards six categories:
-Feature Narrative
-Short Narrative
-Feature Documentary
-Short Documentary

The official selections which will be screened in Brooklyn will compete to win the Best in Category award and the Grand Bridge award.
Feel free to visit our official website for further details about the trophies, past editions and winners.

This Award is for the Best film of the year.
Eligibility: chosen among all the annual official selections.
Jury: This award is assigned by the Board of Directors of the Festival.

Assigned to the best film in each category:

1. Narrative Feature – Prize: Trophy
2. Documentary Feature – Prize: Trophy
3. Short Narrative – Prize: Trophy
4. Short Documentary – Prize: Trophy
5. Experimental – Prize: Trophy
6. Animation – Prize: Trophy

Jury: This award is assigned by the panels of Judges.

CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE (given to the annual official selections)
The films that are selected during the preselection competitions will have access to the annual exhibition. Each of the nominees will have the opportunity to win two awards: the Best in Category Award and the GRAND BRIDGE AWARD.

Terms & Conditions
This competition is open to either U.S. and International projects, as long as your project will comply with Dumbo Film Festival’s Terms and Conditions. You can check the following for further information.

In order to be accepted, your submission must fall in one of the following categories:

1) Short Narrative – Duration/Running Time: No more than 60 minutes
2) Feature Narrative – Duration/Running Time: No less than 60 minutes
3) Short Documentary – Duration/Running Time: No more than 50 minutes
4) Feature Documentary – Duration/Running Time: No less than 50 minutes
5) Experimental – Duration/Running Time: No limitations
6) Animation – Duration/Running Time: No limitations

Submission to the wrong category will result in disqualification.
Please have care to choose the correct category for your entry project. You will not be notified in case of mistake.

In order to be accepted in the 2023 Dumbo Film Festival, your project will have to be released (premiere) after January 1, 2021.

For your submission to be accepted, your foreign-language project must be equipped with English subtitles. In the event subtitles are missing, you will be notified by email and asked to update your work. If your updated submission will fail to be provided by the final deadline, your work will be disqualified with no refunds of the submission fees (See “REFUNDS” herein).

Dumbo Film Festival requests partial exclusivity in screening your film: your work must not have been broadcast on any TV network or be publicly available online before the event date. Nonetheless, private, industry, press screenings, as well as previous screenings at other film festivals are allowed.
The “New York Premiere” status is recommended, but not mandatory.

By submitting your project at 2023 Dumbo Film Festival, the submitter and filmmakers associated with the entry project warrant as follows:
-You authorize your project to be exhibited at the Dumbo Film Festival;
-You accept to hold full legal responsibility for the intellectual property herein;
-Your project does not infringe any trademark, agreement, copyright, artistic, personal, civil, privacy, moral right of any person, firm, corporation or association;
-In the event of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered, you accept to indemnify and hold harmless the Dumbo Film Festival from and against any resulting claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees and costs of the court).

You will not be eligible to any refund of submission fees for any reason (either in case of withdrawal and disqualification – see “DISQUALIFICATION” herein), once your film is in “In Consideration” status on the platform FilmFreeway.

Any failure to comply with one or more of the Dumbo Film Festival’s Terms and Conditions related to will result in disqualification:
-Submissions: included and not limited to wrong category submissions (see “CATEGORIES”), failure to pay submission fees by the deadline, double submissions (excepted for updated subtitled versions – see “SUBTITLES”);
-Release Dates (herein “RELEASE DATES”)
-Subtitles (herein “SUBTITLES”)
-Prior Screenings (herein “PRIOR SCREENINGS”)
-Copyright and Legal Terms (herein “COPYRIGHT & LEGAL TERMS”)

Overall Rating
  • I too was super confused by this. I was emailed that I was a semi finalist and then that’s it. Nothing else. No sort of communication or nothing. We spend our money to be a part of these festivals and we at least expect some communication. That’s all. I would of gladly made the trek from Florida to be a part of it but how would I know what’s happening? Most other festivals especially smaller ones than yours communicate way better.

    July 2022
    Response from festival:

    Hello Guillermo,

    As said to the other two reviewers, please check the text of your pre-selection notification. You will find a very detailed message with all the necessary information and what to do next.
    Would you mind taking a look at it and confirming at

    As your production team ( can confirm, we had already informed (March 31) them about the pre-selection notification day and the day we would have posted the results on our website.
    Once again, please read the notification email carefully.

    Thank you and stay creative,

    DFF Team

  • Zach Tolchinsky

    Confused by our experience. We were semi-finalists according to an email from film freeway, but never heard anything from the festival. We didn't know if we had been accepted or not, but then the festival happened...Very strange experience and honestly pretty disappointed they couldn't even bother communicating with us. This was an expensive submission fee and I'm really disappointed to say the least that we were shown so little respect. What did we pay for?

    June 2022
    Response from festival:

    Hello Zach,

    Thank you for your review.
    You received a notification on June 6: that same FilmFreeway notification you mention includes a very long and detailed message with all the necessary information about your position as semi-finalist and the selection process. Would you mind checking it out and confirming?

    Stay creative,

    DFF Team

  • Happy to have at least made it to the Semi-Final process for our Camisado Scene and Trailer presentation. Well-run and great communication. Appreciate it!

    June 2022
  • La Belle Façon

    Nice Festival,

    We are very proud that "COR" has been selected in this festival.

    We wish you all the best for the future.

    June 2022
  • Lutz Konermann

    In short: A scam. Got "invited" by festival to submit our award winning feature doc a week before the deadline. Paid FilmFreeway fee. Became "Semi-Finalist", wow! Err, wait... There is NO LIST of semi-finalists published anywhere...? (How many Semi-Finalists are "selected"? Hundreds...?!) No communication on final status. You have to surf to their website to find out - surprise - that NOT ONE among the "Semi-Finalists" for feature doc have been selected as finalists! Not one. ZILCH! Duh! Big money making scam, aptly for dumbos, only...

    June 2022
    Response from festival:

    Dear Lutz,

    Thank you for taking the time to leave a review.
    We understand your disappointment. Nonetheless, we only needed to point out that communication always comes first in our relationship with filmmakers - as you can see from the many positive and enthusiastic comments over here. We double-checked and found out you did receive the notification on June 6, a very detailed message with all the necessary information about your position and what would come next.

    For this reason, we fail to understand your "scam" allegations, as it is FilmFreeway itself that allows us to invite filmmakers to submit. Please never forget that words are powerful and allegations popping up from a bad day in a review might be more harmful than you think for a young team and growing festival.

    Anyway, if you are interested to learn the winning Documentary Feature please click on the link which has been enclosed in the notification (again, the one you received on June 6).

    Your feedback is important to us nonetheless and, as always, we will try to improve.

    Stay creative,

    DFF Team