FILMTEENTH International Film festival is a celebration of the national Juneteenth federal holiday in Washington, DC. FILMTEENTH is a true recognition of the importance and impact of diversity in film, the performing Arts and technology. We strive to showcase exciting, powerful films which not only entertain but reflect the contributions of people-of-color. It is also an annual STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts & Math) fundraising and tech networking event by Vector Scholar, a 501(3)c which provides technology career skills for underserved youth.

The festival brings together some of Washington DC's most sophisticated film enthusiasts. Our goal is to showcase exceptional and entertaining film storytelling with impactful and diverse characters. FILMTEENTH screenings are held at the Landmark Bethesda Row Theatre, in Bethesda, MD within walking distance to restaurants, major hotels, and access to the Washington DC Metro subway system.

Narrative Feature competition award competition recognizes promising and innovative filmmakers and artists. The awarded film receives a $200 cash prize.

The Feature Documentary Award is presented to innovative film productions which present powerful, uplifting storytelling which also empowers. The documentary award is a $200.00 cash prize.

The Short Documentary Award is presented to innovative film productions which present powerful, uplifting storytelling which also empowers. Narrative Short Competition winner will be awarded a $100 cash prize.

Narrative Short Award features unique and evocative points of view by emerging filmmakers. Narrative Short Competition winner will be awarded a $100 cash prize.

Best Episodic Pilot Award is presented to strong and innovative Pilot episodes of original potential series. Genres can be drama, comedy, thriller, romance, sci-fi, action or horror.
unique and evocative points of view by emerging filmmakers.

HBCU Filmmakers Award is presented to innovative storytelling by current students or alumni of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

These regulations apply to all submission categories:

1. Eligible films must meet the following criteria: one of the film’s writers, producer, director, or principal actors must be a person of color.

2. Preference is given to films which actors of African heritage are in nontraditional principal roles.

3. Preference will be given to films completed either on or after January 1, 2020.

4. Films must be submitted via FilmFreeway and include a working screener accessible via FilmFreeway in order to be considered. Email or postal submissions are not accepted.

5. Only complete submissions (screener & application fee paid in full) will be considered. It is the responsibility of the filmmaker to ensure the submission package is complete. FILMTEENTH will not confirm film receipt. Confirmation of submission is provided by FilmFreeway.

6. Withdrawal is not allowed, and application fee is non-refundable. Waivers are not granted.

7. Submitted films may not have been released theatrically or shown on television in the U.S. prior to the festival, and it is strongly preferred that films are not made available online.

8. All submissions must be free from any legal disputes and the filmmaker/performer must have cleared all rights for music and exhibition. Rights must be documented in a statement. FILMTEENTH is not responsible for outstanding legal claims.

9. All submissions must be in English or with English subtitles.

10. Rough cuts and works-in-progress are eligible for entry, but the link must be clearly marked as such. The festival will only be able to consider one version of each film submitted.

11. The vocalist category (Hazel Scott Award) performer may sing a cappella or be accompanied by up to two musicians. Submission is judged on primarily on performance talent and NOT film/video production quality. Performers must be 16 years or older.

12.FILMTEENTH FF is not responsible for the return and will not return any physical submission materials: DVDs, decks, posters, etc.

Along with the above regulations, the following rules apply for submissions to be eligible to play in competition:
1. Preference is given to emerging filmmakers and films with diverse casts.
2. Preference is given to films that have not announced US distribution. Premiere status is not required.

All filmmakers will be notified of their selection status by May 1, 2023, via email.
The only format for submissions is a secure Vimeo link via FilmFreeway. Access to these links should be granted to FILMTEENTH FF for the duration of the submission period, up until the official notification date. Filmmakers are responsible for notifying the festival if their passwords have changed. If submitting a Vimeo link, it is recommended that the “Watch Later” function is enabled.
For any further questions, please contact us at

By submitting an application, I agree to the following terms:

1. I am authorized to submit this film to the FILMTEENTH International Film Festival.
2. Films and performances must be submitted via ONLINE SCREENER via FilmFreeway. No other formats will be accepted. We do not accept emailed or postal submissions.
3. All information provided on application form is true, to the best of my knowledge.
4. If selected, FILMTEENTH FF is granted the rights to use footage, stills and/or titles and information from the film for promotional purposes in all media and on the festival’s website.
5. I hold FILMTEENTH FF harmless from damage or loss of the print enroute or otherwise during the festival’s possession of the film.
6. This agreement constitutes approval that FILMTEENTH FF may present the film at the 2022 FILMTEENTH FF throughout the published festival dates (June 18-19, 2023).
7. FILMTEENTH FF is granted permission to use all names and stills involved in the film for promotional purposes. FILMTEENTH will not return any submitted promotional stills, posters, etc.
8. The film is not available for public viewing anywhere in person or online.
9. FILMTEENTH FF requires both an Apple TV formatted .mp4 files and a professionally converted DCP (24fps) or Blu-ray files for screening. The are no exceptions. Selected filmmakers unable to submit these files for their films will be disqualified.
10. FILMTEENTH reserves the right to remove a film or performance from the festival program for any reason or for no reason and shall not be liable for any refund or claims of any kind arising out of such removal.
11. This license constitutes the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the use of films and supersedes all prior or contemporaneous understandings regarding such subject matter. No amendment to or modification of this License will be binding unless in writing and signed by an authorized representative of FILMTEENTH Film Festival. Nothing in this Agreement constitutes a waiver of FILMTEENTH Film Festival’ rights under the United States of America patent and copyright laws or any other Federal or State law, nor of any of FILMTEENTH Film Festival’ rights under the rules or laws of any country, territory, republic, and/or province.

Overall Rating
  • Angie Smith

    Participating in the Filmteenth International Film Festival in Bethesda, MD was an absolute joy! Gaining Ground: The Fight for Black Land winning an award was the cherry on top.

    Kudos to founder Will Gorham and his team for creating such a classy and meticulously curated event. Despite being small and relatively new, Filmteenth proved to be an awesome festival, showcasing remarkable talents and leaving a lasting cinematic impression. This was a perfect combination of great films in a fantastic theater. Whether you are a newcomer or a veteran, this is a must enter/must attend festival. You won’t be disappointed on any level!

    Angie Smith
    Film Rollout Coordinating Producer
    Gaining Ground: The fight for Black Land

    August 2023
  • David Allain

    We are so pleased that our film REVELATIONS played at Filmteenth and won Best Narrative Short. The organisers were brilliant with communication and their passion for cinema is clear. Hoping to attend future editions and look forward to seeing the festival grow!

    July 2023
  • What a great festival! To be in the Washington DC area over the Juneteenth holiday and have our film displayed alongside some amazing filmmakers was such a treat. The organizers really communicated well and made it all very easy. The location was top notch. Well done! We were so honored to be part of this wonderful festival.

    June 2023
  • Debbie Camper

    What a wonderful festival to be a part of! The films that were screened were informative, entertaining, and of great quality. There was one dedicated theater for the screenings so each film had its own time slot and moment to be appreciated. The festival organizer was also very communicative and readily answered all of my questions. Very grateful for a festival that focuses and celebrates Juneteenth! I was honored to have my film screened here, and I look forward to submitting and participating again.

    June 2022
  • Jon Osaki

    Organizers are tremendous communicators and worked closely with filmmakers to handle assets. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend in-person, but from my interaction, I am confident the festival experience was first rate. Highly recommend!

    June 2022