The Arts are not just about entertainment and the appreciation of artistic works. It's a celebration of our expression through adversity and the freedom of creativity, which to many of us does not come easy. As a subsidiary of Carolina Film Network nonprofit organization, Freedom Festival International inclusively uplifts the essence of therapeutic art through the mediums of film and screenwriting. What makes Freedom Festival International a one-of-a-kind festival is, not only do we highlight underrepresented groups and have a myriad of diverse awards, but we take pride in showcasing films from around the world that are testament to how the struggles of filmmaking can cultivate entire communities and help us to grow. Centrally located in Columbia, South Carolina's International Corridor, moviegoers can enjoy films and network at Spotlight Cinemas Capital 8, Columbia's newest first-run Arthouse Theater. We kick off the festival with an amazing music concert followed by a torch lighting ceremony the next morning before the first screenings. In addition to this, there will be panel discussions with leading industry professionals, talkbacks, seminars, and awesome after party mixers at the end of each day the festival concludes.

This international festival's "Official Selections" will be screened and compete for the "Torch Awards" at Spotlight Cinemas Capital 8 in the international corridor of Columbia, South Carolina. With over two dozen categories, these prestigious awards are just the tip of the iceberg. We will also be giving cash prizes, software, critique and feedback.

Freedom Festival International is a festival dedicated to showcasing, promoting, and networking independent filmmakers and the great films they've made from around the world. With the additional highlighting of women and veteran filmmakers, we will honor an influential woman and veteran with the coveted Woman Torchbearer of the Year and Veteran of Freedom Torch Award. This is fitting in conjunction with the month of August celebrating the holidays of Purple Heart Day and Women's Equality Day.

We are seeking films and screenplays that coincide with the categories listed such as Action, Drama, Comedy, Horror, Music Video, Documentary, Student, and Screenplays. With all of the Official Selections that will be screened at the festival, we will provide two VIP passes for each selected film and/or screenplay so that they can attend the entire festival and see firsthand how everyone responds to their beautiful work, which will give a great opportunity for the filmmakers to network with other filmmakers, fans, and potential investors and distributors.

Our coveted "Torch Award" trophies will be awarded for:
Best Feature
Best Short
Best Producer
Best Director
Best Cinematographer
Best Fight/Stunt Choreography
Best Score/Original Composition
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best SFX
Best Screenplay
Best Documentary
Best Student Film
Best Music Video
Best Action
Best Drama
Best Horror
Best Comedy
DisABILITY Short
Best South Carolina (Feature)
Best South Carolina (Short)
Audience Choice Award
Best Veteran (Feature)
Best Veteran (Short)
Boss Female (Feature)
Boss Female (Short)
Best of the Fest

We welcome films that have been produced after January 1, 2019. We will be accepting film from all countries in the world. If a film becomes an Official Selection, then we will need both a DCP and downloadable mp4 format of the film for exhibition at the festival. Specifics will be corresponded through email upon acceptance. If the film is not in English, then it will be required for the film to display English subtitles.

Films and screenplays will be judged by a panel of industry professionals in addition to the festival Directors. Films selected will be notified via email correspondence and their exhibition copy will have to be delivered and received no later than July 1, 2022. Upon retrieval of exhibition copy, additional promotional material will be corresponded via email as well. Each selected film and screenplay will be given two VIP All Access Passes to the festival upon arrival. Additional passes can be purchased in advance or at the door when tickets go on sale. It will also be required for selected filmmakers to provide a trailer of their respective films for promotional use of the festival after receiving notification of acceptance.

Freedom Festival International for August of 2022 will be held at Spotlight Cinemas Capital 8 in the International Corridor of Columbia, SC. Follow the website and all social media for updates. All other questions and inquiries can be directed to the festival organizers.

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  • Chris Oledude


    From Christopher R. Owens, President, CESO Enterprises, Inc. crowens@cesony.com:

    On behalf of CESO ENTERPRISES, INC., Alyssa Dann, Chris Oledude, and all of our production participants, I would like to compliment the organizers and operators of Freedom Festival International. When we created our first music video (which was long enough to be a short film), we knew nothing about film festivals. With the help of FilmFreeway, we started researching. The categories were good. Everyone who contacted us on behalf of this festival was helpful. The submissions looked excellent.

    It was indeed exciting to discover this new world and to be so warmly welcomed by the inhabitants! To have GEORGE FLOYD: SAY THEIR NAMES selected for inclusion was an honor in and of itself.

    We were happy to “get the word out” and continue motivating people worldwide to consider the injustices embedded within our nation’s criminal justice system. After all, situations where a powerful segment of the population uses its law enforcement apparatus to abuse and oppress other segments of the population are recognizable in and common too many societies.
    We recommend submitting your work and we certainly intend to participate again in the future.

    Peace and stay safe!

    January 2022
  • Enjoyed the experience and appreciated the professionalism. Thank you!

    September 2021
  • Elizabeth Fields

    We feel truly honored for our film to have been part of this wonderful event. We couldn't attend in person, but their social media posts and communication throughout were fantastic. Wish we could have been there. We will definitely submit future projects.

    August 2021
  • Melanie Kloetzel

    A great festival, with a timely message. Freedom Festival has tried to be a relevant festival with quality filmmaking. Thanks for the 'Boss Female Short' award, and keep up the great work!

    August 2021
  • Amazing festival making for a great "first time" experience. Thank you.

    August 2021
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for your support and kind words! We strive to better ourselves every season.