The Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival was established with the artistic vision to provide a platform for talented independent filmmakers, screenwriters, and actors from the African Diaspora expose their work to a diverse audience in Greater Cleveland.

As a film festival, GCUFF identifies emerging talents and established artists who are contributing to the cinematic legacy of African Americans. GCUFF also provides educational opportunities aimed to inspire and encourage individuals that are considering a career in the film industry and to gain a deeper appreciation for the arts.

GCUFF believes that films can lead to a better understanding and communication between, people of diverse cultures, races, and lifestyles while simultaneously serving as a vehicle to initiate dialogue on the important issue of our times.

Non-monetary prizes awarded in the following categories:
Outstanding Narrative Feature
Outstanding Documentary Feature
Outstanding Narrative Short
Outstanding Documentary Short
Audience Choice Award

Film Submission Rules
1. Festival programming staff will select and invite films at their discretion. Entrants will be notified, if selected, via phone call or email, on or before July 11,2022. Please feel free to email us regarding your film's status.
2. If selected, filmmakers are expected to provide most of the following: (a) Exhibition Format: DCP or digital file formats electronically (b) Full press kit including film stills and director photo (slides, hard copies, or digital TIFF files of minimum 300 dpi on disk or emailed); synopsis; full production credits; and director biography. Additional collateral material including postcards, posters, etc. may be included if available. (c) Clips or trailer to be used for press, promotion, and awards ceremony.
3. Selected films may be screened multiple times during the course of the Festival at the GCUFF’s discretion. Your press kit material and film may be used to promote the following year's event.
4. NOTE: The GCUFF is not responsible for lost films or damage to any films during shipping, handling, or screening.
Screening Fees
The festival will not waive fees and generally does not pay rental fees. We are devoted to using our resources for the best showcase and promotions of your work with the intent for the broadest distribution possible of your work.
We do not offer monetary awards. Our festival will have the opportunity to present awards to filmmakers and actors in competition:

Submit entries prepaid, including applicable customs fees via FedEx, UPS, or U.S. Post Office, etc
Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival
Attn: Donna Dabbs, Executive Director
11327 Shaker Blvd Suite 500W
Cleveland, Ohio 44104
Phone: 216 -338-5010

Selected filmmakers are responsible for delivery of exhibition prints or videos to our offices by the date designated at time of selection notification.

Please email submission questions to:
2022 Festival Dates : Sept 15th – Sept 17th
Submission Fees and Deadlines
A completed application and entry fee must accompany each entry. There are no exceptions to the entry fee. Entries must be postmarked per the following deadlines:
• Deadline: May 31, 2022
• Entry/Fee:
o $40 Early Entry
$45 Regular
o $50 Late
• Entry fees are not refundable. Make payment by check or money order
in US dollars (only) payable to: Greater Cleveland Film Foundation (GCUFF)
Film Genres
The Festival accepts films/videos in the following genres: dramatic feature, dramatic short, comedy, comedy short, documentary feature, documentary short, LGBT, animation, Christian, and music video. Festival programming staff may use their discretion to place your film in the appropriate category.
Eligibility/Rules of Entry
Films/videos entered into competition must be directed, produced, or principally acted by an artist of African descent in the USA or in any country, or by a person born in any country in Africa, or whose subject matter relates to African American culture or any cultures of Africa (including Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, etc.) regardless of race. Clarify questions of eligibility prior to submission of entry. Each project entered into the festival must pay an entry fee. There is no limit to the number of qualifying entries by any entrant so long as an entry form and fee accompanies each entry. Foreign language entries must be subtitled with English sub-titles. Entrants shall obtain all licenses, royalties, and permits necessary to present their work. Entrants will assume all costs arising from the use of patented, trademarked, franchised or copyrighted music, materials, devices, processes, or dramatic rights used in production of work. Entries previously exhibited on the Internet are eligible for entry so long as they meet the above requirements.
Legal Notice: By submitting your film, you're representing that you are duly authorized to submit your film and commit it for screening at the Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival and hereby do so in consideration of a submission fee and the festival's promise to screen your film, if selected. Accordingly, this shall constitute a binding agreement between the Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival and you as the applicant or filmmaker. If your film is selected, you shall submit a DCP or digital file formats electronically within 10 days and adhere to all rules and regulations of the festival. You agree to hold the Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival harmless from damage to or loss of the screening/exhibition copy enroute or otherwise during the course of the festival's possession of the film. You understand and agree that the Cleveland Urban Film Festival is not obligated to return any film not personally retrieved at the close of screening. Should any liability or damage result or legal action commence, stemming from the submission and/or exhibition of your film, you agree to indemnify the Cleveland Urban Film Festival and its affiliates, and waive any claims. By submitting your film, you are confirming that you have read and fully understand the above terms and conditions and further agree that the submission constitutes your electronic signature upon receipt by the festival.
Feature and Short Definition
A feature is any work with a running time of 60 minutes or longer. Less than Sixty minutes running time designates a short.
Submission Materials
All entries must include the following: (a) DCP formatted film copy labeled with title of project, director, contact telephone number, and running time. (b) MP4 formatted copy of film to be uploaded on our virtual platform . (c) Digital stills of film. (d) Entry Fee. The Festival will not return screening copies unless entrant includes a pre-paid mailer (FedEx, UPS, etc.) This pre-paid mailer should be submitted at the time of submission of your screening copy). However, you can provide your pre-paid mailer after the festival ends.
How to Qualify
The Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival rules of entry define qualifying work and filmmakers. Entry to the Festival affirms understanding and acceptance by the filmmaker of all rules of entry.

Overall Rating
  • Diane Moore

    I wasn't able to attend the festival but was so excited to learn that our film CONDUCTING LIFE won the Best Short Documentary award at the Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival. Such an honor to receive this award. The staff was wonderful to work with and it was a great experience from a filmmaker's perspective. Thank you GCUFF for your support and encouragement.

    September 2022
  • Selton Shaw

    Simply put, this is an incredible festival. The staff was courteous and professional. We had an amazing time and were honored to screen "America Gone Viral". The GCUFF team was outstanding!

    September 2022
  • Chris Oledude

    From Christopher R. Owens, President, CESO Enterprises, Inc.

    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 Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival. 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
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Chris!
    Your kind words and high regard for our work is greatly appreciated :>)

  • Eric Rice

    GCUFF was a great festival based on the events that I saw online and the communications that I received. I was not able to attend. I, however, was extremely honored that When We Try was an official selection for the 2021 GCUFF.

    December 2021
  • GCUFF was wonderful! We were very honored to have been selected. We weren’t able to attend in person, but since it was a hybrid event, we were able to view all the amazing films online!! We hope to be able to attend in person next year!

    September 2021