The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital (DCEFF) is the world’s premier showcase of environmental films. Through our annual festival, year-round programs, and online resources, we seek to advance public understanding of the environment through the power of film. The 28th Annual DCEFF will be held at venues throughout the Washington, D.C. area March 12-22, 2020. We welcome films on all topics related to the natural and built environment.

Submission Categories

Short Films
This category includes films with a running time of 40 minutes or less, including credits. All short films will automatically be considered for the Eric Moe Award for Best Short on Sustainability.

Feature Films
This category includes films with a running time greater than 40 minutes. All feature films submitted will automatically be considered for the following awards: the William W. Warner Beautiful Swimmers Award and the Shared Earth Foundation Award for Advocacy.

Virtual Reality (VR)
This category includes 360 films, as well as interactive virtual reality, augmented reality, and multi-media projects.

Please carefully read the following rules and guidelines for submission requirements. If you have specific questions about submitting a film to DCEFF, contact

Shared Earth Foundation Award for Advocacy
Established for the 2014 Festival, this award recognizes a feature film that inspires advocacy in response to a compelling environmental challenge. The award includes a $10,000 cash prize.
2019 Winner: Sharkwater Extinction, directed by Rob Stewart.

William W. Warner Beautiful Swimmers Award
Established by the Warner/Kaempfer family for the 2015 Festival in memory of William W. Warner - author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs and the Chesapeake Bay - this award for feature films includes a $10,000 cash prize.
2019 Winner: When Lambs Become Lions, directed by Jonathan Kasbe.

Hausman Foundation for the Environment Award for Best International Film
This newly established award from the Hausman Foundation for the Environment highlights an internationally produced film that focuses on an environmental issue relevant to our times. The award includes a $5,000 cash prize.
2019 Winner: A Modern Shepherdess, Directed by Delphine Détrie.

Eric Moe Award for Best Short on Sustainability
Established for the 2014 Festival by Julia and Richard Moe in memory of their son Eric, to honor his strong interest in film and his commitment to sustainability, this award recognizes an innovative short film that best captures efforts to balance the needs of humans and nature. The award includes a $5,000 cash prize.
2019 Winner: Lost World, directed by Kalyanee Mam.

DCEFF accepts films in any genre with themes related to the natural and built environment.

DCEFF is primarily a platform for showcasing the best new environmental films. While the Festival does not exclude films with prior screenings, World, US, and DC Premiere submissions are strongly encouraged.

DCEFF accepts unfinished films with a completion date of January 2020.

Non-English language film submissions must include embedded English subtitles. Many of our venues require films to have closed captioning.

Screener Format:
DCEFF requires an online screener submitted through FilmFreeway for consideration. Passwords for private links must not expire before January 15, 2020.

Selection Status:
Filmmakers will be contacted about selection status by mid February through FilmFreeway.

Rights & Releases:
-By entering a film for consideration to DCEFF, the submitter understands that they own or control the film's copyright and are duly authorized to submit the film to the DCEFF.
-DCEFF reserves the right to copy and use any publicity materials (photographs, film stills, trailers, and film segments up to 3 minutes) for non-commercial promotional purposes and for archival material, at no additional cost.
-DCEFF and its partners are harmless from any claims connected with the film.

Overall Rating
  • Jesse Alk

    The pandemic unfortunately threw a wrench in our plans to play the festival this year (2020), and we weren't ready to transition to online at the time, but this is a great festival to work with, and one of the top Environmental Film Festivals in the world. Submit with confidence.

    June 2020
  • Great, big and important festival and perfect communication. Despite the Corona crisis , the festival managed to continue the edition partly online, so that was very good as many festivals were just cancelled. I can't say anything about the physical festival or networking.

    March 2020
  • Nika Belianina

    It was a privilege to be a part of this festival and to attend it! The organizers are very nice and approachable, the quality of films screened is impressive, so are the many venues across Washington DC. There were a few little hiccups in regards to organization of networking events, but it was very inspiring to attend them nonetheless. I had a short doc at the festival and am proud to have been selected for an encore screening for the summer series too. The audiences were very engaged, too.

    August 2019
  • Bruno Chatelin

    Amazing festival, so professional, wonderful easy and fast communication. We were treating like kings, and ...also never received such a big cash award in any festival before, Rob family is totally thrilled at the respect they showed to rob s legacy.

    April 2019
  • The highlight of my festival run with my short film, How the World Looks Now, has been to show at Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capitol. We had two screenings but I was only able to attend the first at E Street Cinema. The projection was excellent, and the audience was better - that's what a filmmaker wants from a festival. Thank you so much, it was an honor to show my film EFFDC.

    April 2019