The Idlewild International Film Festival features carefully curated films, documentaries and music videos.

Idlewild, once called the “Black Eden of Michigan”, is known for it's beautiful beaches, glistening lakes, and native wildlife. During the height of it's popularity, travelers from all over the country would go there to experience the exciting nightlife. Regularly featuring entertainers such as the legendary Lena Horne, Motown's The Four Tops and stage and screen star Della Reese.

After segregation ended, more entertainers of color were free to perform anywhere in the country and Idlewild became somewhat forgotten. Over the past two decades, there has been a renewed interest in Idlewild.

A message from the founder:

In August of 2021 my family and I lost my brother Adam Kingsley Hickman to suicide due to mental illness. Adam was just 38 years old when he decided to end his life. Even before Adam’s passing, I had become increasingly aware, and concerned, with the growing number of Black men who were taking their own lives. The lack of proper treatment, resources, and outlets, continue to be a concern and problem in the Black Community.

This volatile situation needs urgent attention. I am doing my part by helping to raise awareness in the best way I know; In honor of my brother Adam (and the many black men struggling with depression, and mental illness) I am dedicating and focusing a section of this year’s Idlewild International Film Festival to Black Men & Mental Health. With this focus in mind; we are accepting submissions for this year’s festival from filmmakers of all genders. Our goal is to dedicate at least one of our screening blocks to strictly films that address mental health issues. We feel this will ensure we are able to expand our reach to as many filmmakers as possible while increasing the variety of submissions.

As always, IIFF is an international women’s film festival, which means that we strive to highlight the work of female filmmakers internationally. Topics and genres for our other film blocks will continue to be diverse.

For submissions and to help support the Idlewild International Film Festival visit our website

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

Our Mission:

The Cinematic Griot Collective is a network of filmmakers, artists, and creatives who create and showcase, inspiring and unique culturally relevant works. We aim to reach beyond the surface with non-linear perspectives and creations. Traveling throughout forgotten communities, we bring to the forefront people and places that are often overlooked, misrepresented and forgotten.


Best Narrative Short
Best Micro Narrative Short
Best Student Film
Best Music Video
Producers Award
Best Director
Best Performance
Best Production Design
Best Cinematography
Best Short Documentary
Best Micro Short Documentary
Most Trend Setting, Daring, and Out The Box
Spirit of Idlewild International Film Fest Award
Best Foreign/International Film

General Rules and Regulations:


Entries limited to Short Narratives and Documentaries, Micro Short Narratives and Documentaries, Talk Shows, Webisodes, Cooking Shows, Trailers and Music Videos.

Women over 30 making their directorial debut are encouraged to submit!

Student Films are accepted.

Filmmakers retain all rights to their film/intellectual property.

All non-English speaking films must include English subtitles.

Agreement of Participation

By submitting to the Idlewild International Film Festival, I confirm that I have read and accepted the terms and regulations of IIFF.

I will provide the festival with any additional information required pursuant to these rules and regulations.

I authorize the IIFF to exhibit my film, and if selected, I confirm that an exhibition copy will be available in a required format for screening during the 2022 ( festival official dates TBD) estimate dates (August 26 September 2nd)

I certify that I hold all necessary rights for the submission of this film/video to the IIFF and that all rights and clearances have been made.

This film is not subject to any litigation nor is threatened by any litigation. I hold IIFF harmless from damage to, or loss of any or all materials enroute to, from or otherwise at the festival. I assume all legal responsibilities therein.

By Agreeing to these terms, I transfer to IIFF the right to use excerpts of the submitted film, its stills, and trailers, for the purposes of publicity and marketing of the film at the 2022 festival, and for other uses related to the promotion of the Idlewild International Film festival.

I hereby agree to indemnify IIFF, in the event that such rights have not been properly transferred.

Overall Rating
  • Krista Davis

    We were excited to find this festival, as it offers a platform for how we want to engage audiences with our work. It felt meaningful to be a part of the programming and as festivals move back to in-person events, we would absolutely make the trip to attend.

    April 2022
  • Abbesi Akhamie

    Wonderful film festival! Although virtual, I really felt a part of the community with their excellent communication. Thank you so much for screening my short film and I look forward to one day attending in person.

    September 2021
  • Idlewild International Film Festival is absolutely amazing! The communication with the festival was great, all of my questions were answered in a timely fashion. I can't wait to submit my next film to this festival.

    September 2021
  • Debbie Garrett

    I really appreciate Idlewild Festival for nominating and the win for our film "SIMI" This our first film and this festival is our first win. I am honored to be a part of this and thank Idlewild Festival for jumpstarting my career with a win. This event was exceptional our cast and crew are talkin about the great hospitality and the beautiful venue. Continued success Idlewild. ✌🙏🏽💯❤

    September 2021
  • Tinisha was WONDERFUL to work with. Quick response time and understanding when I couldn't travel to the festival due to COVID. I do hope there will be an opportunity to do so at another IIFF in the future. We were very excited to be selected and it was nice that the festival seemed as happy to have our micro-short SORRY. Thanks again!

    September 2021