Named Boston's Best Film Festival by Boston Magazine in 2016 and 2017, IFFBoston (Independent Film Festival Boston) will be celebrating our 18th year with our 2020 event. IFFBoston has steadily become the premiere festival in New England and developed a noted national reputation for its quality as a regional festival.

Named one of the 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World by Moviemaker Magazine

"The Independent Film Festival Boston has become the major game in town: a smartly programmed and risk-taking festival that balances 'big' indie films with the best in local filmmaking."
-Ty Burr, The Boston Globe

Our next event will take place April 27 - May 4, 2022 in various venues across the Greater Boston area including the historic Somerville, Brattle, and Coolidge Corner Theatres.

We exhibit a quality selection of narrative features, documentary features, short films, animated films and experimental films. Along with emerging talent, we have hosted a number of special guests including Director Lulu Wang, Director/Writer/Comedian Bo Burnham, Actor/Writer Daveed Diggs, actor/writer/director Zoe Lister-Jones, actor/director Jason Segal, writer/director Rian Johnson, director James Ponsoldt, actor/director Lena Dunham, actor/director Steve Buscemi, director Albert Maysles, director John Waters, writer/director/actor Miranda July, director Harmony Korine, director Guy Maddin, director Bobcat Goldthwait, actor Kevin Kline, director Alan Ball, director/actor Melvin Van Peebles, comedian Denis Leary, actor Michael Cera, actor Chris Cooper, actor Sir Ben Kingsley, actor Hal Holbrook, actor Clea Duvall, actor Famke Janssen, actor Danny Huston, actor John Hawkes, actor Jesse Eisenberg, actor Robert Vaughn, actress/director Julie Delpy, actor Jim Sturgess, actress Illeana Douglas, comedian Bob Odenkirk, comedian Fred Armisen, comedian Rob Cordry, actor Bill Pullman, actor Dylan Baker, actor Will Arnett, actress Eliza Dushku, actor James Urbaniak, actor Fran Kranz, actor/writer/director Lake Bell, actor Aidan Gillen, Professor Noam Chomsky among many others.

Along with quality programming, IFFBoston prides itself on treating filmmakers respectfully. Selected feature-length filmmakers are offered transportation as well as hotel accommodations. All accepted filmmakers are provided with festival all-access passes. The festival provides a filmmaker's lounge stocked with abundant food, drink, desserts, games, press interview areas, and other treats generously sponsored by local vendors.

IFFBoston awards prize packages that include professional services, software packages, and film gear from sponsors that have included Panavision, Modulus Studios, and Boris FX.

Films in competition are juried by a group of industry professionals and audience awards are determined by balloting following each film.

Award categories:
Grand Jury Prize Narrative Feature
Grand Jury Prize Documentary Feature
Grand Jury Prize Narrative Short
Grand Jury Prize Documentary Short

Special Jury Prize Narrative Feature
Special Jury Prize Documentary Feature
Special Jury Prize Narrative Short
Special Jury Prize Documentary Short

Audience Award Narrative Feature
Audience Award Documentary Feature
Audience Award Narrative Short
Audience Award Documentary Short

Karen Schmeer Award for Excellence in Documentary Editing

Please read all of these terms carefully prior to submitting.

All genres are eligible for consideration.

All films must have been completed after September of 2020.

Films may not be considered if a formal premiere occurs in the state of Massachusetts prior to the festival.

Accepted films can not screen in the state of Massachusetts between acceptance date and date of screening at IFFBoston.

Short films are considered films with running times less than 30 minutes.

Feature-length films, both Documentary and Narrative, are films that are no shorter than 31 minutes or longer than 150 minutes in running time.

To be eligible for the student discount submission fee, a photocopy or scan of valid student identification must be provided to verify status.

Foreign language films must be subtitled in English.

Works in progress must be at least 95% complete at the time of submission deadline. It should be clearly marked on the screening copy along with a statement of what aspects of the film will be added or changed by February 1, 2022.

Upon notification of acceptance to the Independent Film Festival Boston (IFFBoston), the accepted filmmaker must respond promptly to agree to allow their work to participate at the festival. If notification does not occur within a reasonable amount of time, invitation/acceptance will be nullified.

Once the filmmaker has agreed to screen at the festival, the Independent Film Festival Boston reserves the right to screen said film up to 2-3 times during the festival and screen provided clips/trailers of the film to promote the screenings in advance and during the festival.

For entries accepted and agreeing to participate in IFFBoston, an exhibition print of the film must be provided in one of the following formats: DCP by March 2, 2022.

Note: We do NOT accept Blu-ray or DVD as the exhibition format for accepted films. Failure to comply with technical specifications may result in the removal of accepted film from Festival line up.

DCP Requirements:
- DCPs must be DCI compliant and delivered on an external hard drive with either a CRU enclosure or an USB interface. Drives must be formatted to EXT2 or EXT3 Linux file system.

- All DCPs must have a back up format: either Blu-ray or Apple Pro-res file.

35mm Requirements (features only):
- All 35mm film must have an optical sound track.

Failure to provide a viable exhibition format by deadlines may lead to the expulsion of an accepted film to participate in the festival.

Filmmakers are responsible for the shipment of the exhibition copy to the festival by the requested deadline. IFFBoston will be responsible for return/outbound shipping only.

Due to limited time and resources, IFFBoston is unable to provide comments about specific films.

DVD screeners of submissions will not be returned.

Posters provided for festival use are not guaranteed for return. Due to limited resources in time and personnel, we cannot ship these materials back. It has been our policy to return materials in person to filmmakers or representatives whenever possible after films have been exhibited only upon request. In the event that posters or materials are lost or damaged during IFFBoston, the festival will not replace or reimburse for any provided promotional materials.

The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations.

The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless Independent Film Festival Boston (IFFBoston) and the Independent Film Society of Boston from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening formats entered.

Overall Rating
  • Scott Burkhardt

    Wish we could have attended in person but the online festival was well organized and had a great lineup of shorts and features. Very pleased to win the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Short! Thanks IFF Boston!

    August 2021
  • David Fritzson

    It's been about six months since I was at this festival, and even with our short film "Wireless" going up and down the east coast at multiple festivals all year, IFFBoston remains as one of my favorites. Nancy and the team run an incredibly tight ship, the selection of films were top-notch, and did I mention the theatre is incredible and they give multiple screenings for short films?! Also, the places they reserve for afterparties are a great time too. I love this festival, and can't wait for next year.

    September 2019
  • Zeke Farrow

    I love this festival. Always have. They consistently follow their own instincts and program one of the greatest slates on the indie film festival circuit. Awesome taste. Great volunteer staff. Sold out screenings. Send them your work. Playing IFF Boston is an honor.

    August 2019
  • Everything went without a hitch. The staff supported me. The films were superb as well as diverse. The experience was relaxed and at the same time exciting. Couldn't have asked for a better festival experience.

    I will continue to submit to the Independent Film Festival Boston for years to come! Thank you all so much!!

    May 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thanks so much for being a part of the festival. We loved meeting you and sharing your work!

  • Loved our time at IFFBoston! My wife and I had two documentary-short films play there recently and the atmosphere was nothing short of amazing. Many other filmmakers attended the festival as well. Parties were impressive and the filmmaker lounge was so convenient too. Stocked with food, drinks and sugar. Simply a place to recharge yourself! Honestly the best film festival in New England!

    May 2019
    Response from festival:

    It was a pleasure meeting you and Kayleigh. Thanks so much for joining us!