Named Boston's Best Film Festival by Boston Magazine in 2016 and 2017, IFFBoston (Independent Film Festival Boston) will be celebrating our 20th year with our 2023 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 26 - May 3, 2023 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.

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 140 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, 2023.

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 1, 2023.

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, EXT3, or NTFS 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 can lead to the expulsion of an accepted film's participation in the festival.

Posters provided for festival use are not guaranteed for return. Due to limited resources in both 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
  • It was a real pleasure to be part of IFFBoston and show my film "Woman in the Mirror" at this festival! Nancy and Brian, who run the festival, were welcoming and the whole festival was well-organized with the excellent venues and amazing screenings. It is more than a festival, it is a community of film lovers in the Boston area. Lots of opportunities to connect with an audience, other filmmakers and industry folks. I can't recommend highly enough. My experience was excellent!

    May 2023
  • Naomi Yang

    I was delighted to premiere my film "Never Be A Punching Bag for Nobody" at the IFFBoston. Nancy and Brian, who run the festival, were communicative and welcoming and the whole festival was well-organized with the screenings in three of the nicest theaters in the Greater Boston area.

    May 2023
  • Ryan Brown

    One of the best fests in the country - Nancy and co put together something incredibly special every year. Thanks to the entire staff - wish we could've stayed in town the whole run of the fest, truly wonderful.

    May 2023
  • Rudy Childs

    It has been my dream for over 13 years to have a film in the IFFB. My dream was answered this year with a sold out screening of The Dogmatics: A Dogumentary. The volunteer and staff couldn’t have been better, looking to returning as a filmmaker until then I have and will always attend.

    May 2023
    Response from festival:

    it was our utter delight to have had the opportunity to share your work with our community and see you at the festival this year. Thank you for for allowing us to consider your hard work . We definitely look forward to future films. Thanks for your enthusiastic support in this and previous years.

  • The staff/crew at IIFBoston really worked hard to make it a great event. I had a great time and loved seeing my film on the very big screen.

    May 2023