Now in its 35th year, Filmfest DC celebrates over three decades in which we have presented thousands of new films to residents and visitors to our nation's capital.
In 2020, our usual 11-day festival in April was postponed and reassembled as a virtual experience October 2-11 with 52 titles.
In 2021 we plan to present the 35th Filmfest DC in late April 2021, our usual time, but whether it will be completely virtual, hybrid or some other model is as yet undetermined.
The festival's audience is widely diverse, curious and knowledgeable. Filmfest DC delivers provocative and entertaining stories from around the globe to our own DC neighborhoods.
As the largest and longest-running annual film festival in Washington, DC, Filmfest DC has established itself as one of the city's major cultural activities.

1. CIRCLE AWARD - juried competition of selected feature films that deserve increased recognition.
2 CROSSCURRENTS FOUNDATION JUSTICE MATTERS AWARD - an international juried competition of feature length films which expand our awareness and understanding of social justice issues around the globe, and people who are doing something about them.
3. FILMFEST DC SHORTS AWARD - a juried award which tends towards recognizing less well known filmmakers and those whose work illustrates a balance of economy and emotional resonance. Shorts in all genres are eligible, DC area premiere is preferred.
4. SIGNIS AWARD - the jury presents this award to the film deemed to best illuminate and celebrate what it means to be human in a diverse and challenging world.
5. FILMFEST DC AUDIENCE AWARDS to feature narrative and documentary films determined by audience ballot.

1) Filmfest DC strongly prefers to have the Washington, DC area premiere of films selected for the festival and gives priority to such films.
2) Submissions must have been completed after July 1, 2019 to be eligible for consideration.
3) All films must be in English or have English subtitles.
4) Works in progress that are not final cuts may be submitted but clearly note what is missing or will change.
5) More than one entry may be submitted; however an official entry and entry fee must accompany each submission.
6) JUSTICE MATTERS COMPETITION. Please submit feature length films about social justice issues (including environmental, economic, etc) through the Justice Matters category. ONLY feature length (50+ min) films are considered in this category.
7) Films must not be available online as a DVD or as a digital download/streaming link for purchase or rental.
8) Films must not have been broadcast on television in the United States or screened theatrically in the United States prior to May 5, 2020.
9. Discount on entry fee for DC and DC Metro area filmmakers: If you are a filmmaker from the DC Metro area you may be eligible for a discounted entry fee. Eligible filmmakers of short (MetroShorts) and Justice Matters films please contact <>; all others write to <> with your name, address, name of film, year of production, run time and a brief description of your/your film's connection to the DC Metro Area prior to submitting.
10. If your film is selected, Filmfest DC may require a DCP exhibition copy for the festival's physical public presentation, or an upload of an mp4 should it be virtual.

Overall Rating
  • Cheryl Crim

    Sadly, Filmfest DC was delayed over 5 months due to Covid. But the communication we received from from Linda Blackaby through the entire time was extraordinary. She was thoughtful and thorough and extremely helpful to me as a first-time filmmaker. I highly recommend this festival.

    November 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Cheryl, it was a real pleasure to work with you this year. Onward!

  • Jeanne Hospod

    I highly recommend applying for this festival. The organizers are passionate and genuine about each filmmaker's contributions, no matter where their current status or position is in the film world. Communication was clear, easy and timely. Films are placed into smaller screening groups with curated themes which opens a thoughtful post-film discussion amongst the contributing artists and crew. Filmmakers have at least several chances to network on a more personal level. I had a chance to do so at a lovely brunch held in the home of one of the head organizers at Filmfest DC. It was an all-around top-notch, memorable festival.

    February 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Jeanne!

  • Michal Birnbaum

    Linda was extremely helpful and communicative. She answered every question we had promptly and it was great meeting her in person at the screening as well. Thank you Filmfest DC!

    May 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Michal, it was a pleasure to meet you and your team.
    The fact that you all could attend one of the screenings and
    engaged so enthusiastically with the audience greatly enriched their experience and our program. We look forward to seeing your next endeavor.

  • Gregory Dixon

    We LOVED Filmfest DC! The staff of this film festival is very experienced and knows how to throw a celebration of film. The programming is top notch and they are also very accommodating to young filmmakers. They even surprised me at my screening with a birthday cake. We look forward to attending again in the future.

    May 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Gregory, it was great having you with us for the festival AND your birthday, and look forward to seeing you again.

  • Kiley Kraskouskas

    The festival staff was very professional and well organized.

    May 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you very much Kiley. We were thrilled to work with you and Michael on the world premiere of Dear Walmart at the 2019 Filmfest DC, and wish you all the best as it continues its journey into the world.