The Gary International Black Film Festival (GIBFF) is a dynamic weekend cinema feast located just 30 minutes from downtown Chicago in Gary, IN. The GIBFF brings filmmakers and engaged audiences together for a powerful weekend of indie Black Cinema.

The GIBFF uses film as a catalyst for stimulating cultural activity to enhance the ‘cultural capital’ of our hometown of Gary, IN by celebrating Black culture through independent film and discussion. It is our goal to bring films of the highest quality that reflect the depth and transcendence of black people.

PLEASE NOTE: Eligible films must be by or about Black people (African Americans or of African descent). While our goal is to celebrate and lift the work of Black filmmakers, we will consider film that features Black people as a predominant focus of the work.

The Gary International Black Film Festival honors filmmakers who submit through the entry process. GIBFF audiences vote for awards for the following:
Best Narrative Feature
Best Documentary Feature
Best Narrative Short
Best Documentary Short
Best Youth Film
Other Awards by descretion
Winners are announced via press release.

Awards are generally non-cash, unless sponsored for the festival in the current year.

A festival-appointed jury may select a Jury prize for submitted and curated films at their discretion.

- Eligible films must be by or about Black people (African Americans or African Diaspora). While our goal is to celebrate and lift the work of Black filmmakers, we will consider film that features Black people as a predominant focus of the work.
- While the GIBFF emphasizes premieres and new works in categories including narrative and documentary features/shorts, we will consider all works including vintage and archival.
- Festival screenings may be shown on Blu-Ray or Digital formats
- Film must have a composite optical sound.
- Films receiving a theatrical or festival screening in Lake County, IN or adjacent IN counties prior to, or within one month prior to the GIBFF Festival dates may not be considered for the Festival. Exceptions will be made under special circumstances. Please contact our office if you agree to any other screenings directly before or after the GIBFF, other than those listed on your application.
- Works in progress may be submitted as long as a final copy will be available for screening during the Festival.
- All accepted entries must be in our posession by September 6.
- Previously submitted works are eligible for re-submission.

- All works must be submitted via ONLINE SCREENER (strongly preferred method of submission). No other formats will be accepted. BluRays will not be returned without stamped self addressed envelope and each must include film title and contact information. GIBFF is not responsible for materials lost or damaged in transit.
- There is no limit to the number of submissions per submitter, provided they are separate submissions and the required submission fee is paid for each.
- Filmmakers will be notified via email of submission status on or before September 1.

You must have your electronic press kit materials available for submission to GIBFF no later than September 6, if accepted as an official selection. An Electronic Press Kit (EPK) will include high-resolution production stills, key art, bio and filmography of the director, production notes and full cast and crew credits.

If these items are not submitted by September 6 GIBFF reserves the right to disqualify the entry.

Due to the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic, all submissions will be at no cost

By submitting the work, I state that I am authorized to submit this film/video to the Gary International Black Film Festival (GIBFF) for consideration and have read, understand and agree to all entry requirements. I hereby release the Festival from all liability resulting from its exhibition of my film/video. The GIBFF reserves the right to remove a film 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. I agree that if the GIBFF accepts my film for exhibition at the Festival, I will comply with these terms and conditions.

Submission of an entry gives the GIBFF permission to have excerpts of accepted work, including film trailers, shown in all promotional activities related to the festival.

Although every possible care will be taken with tapes, films, drives and files while in our possession, we cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage. Do not send original or master prints, tapes, files or drives. Please keep the GIBFF notified of any address/phone number changes.

Overall Rating
  • Janet Marrett

    Gary International Black Film Festival is a showcase for filmmakers of colour across the globe with its huge range of documentaries & narrative genres. A wealth of talent and great films supported by a team promoting excellence at every step. To a wonderful team, thanks for including CLEARING in the official selection of the 2020 edition .

    December 2020
  • Preston Chase

    I was honoured just to be selected in this amazing festival but to win the judges award was a huge surprise. Mr. Emancipation: The Walter Perry Story is my first film, and my special thanks to the jury. I hope I can be part of the Gary International Black Film Fest in the future and thank you for letting the public see the forgotten Black heritage from Canada

    December 2020
  • Atlas O. Phoenix

    I totally enjoyed being a part of the wonderful festival! Karen, Tiffany and the gang were wonderful to communicate with and the films chosen made me feel humbled to be a part of this special festival. See you next time!!

    November 2020
  • This festival was phenomenal and the staff was awesome. I am so grateful for being chosen. It was my first short film and I thought that it wasnt good enough. This festival gave me hope. Thank you Gary International Black Film Festival.

    November 2019
  • Great film festival. Really professional screening. Nice staff to accommodate everyone. And they're communication was prompt.

    November 2019