The Idlewild International Film Festival features carefully curated short films and documentaries

Celebrating the historic community of 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.

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
Producers Award
Best Director
Best Performance
Best Production Design
Best Cinematography
Best 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:


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 2023 ( festival official dates TBD)

I authorize festival to promote my film in it's marketing campaigns, promotional materials and social media.

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 in route 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 2024 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
  • My film, “ Dr. West’s Fervor “ won the
    “Best Drama” film award. An amazing experience! I wish I was able to attend in person but couldn’t because I was out of the country. Tinisha, the festival director was such a joy to work with. So kind and very responsive!!
    Last year I submitted to this festival and it was postponed.. Fast forward to 2023, those of us filmmakers who submitted received a waiver code to re-submit again for free and I was so happy to resubmit. Such a kind and thoughtful gesture. Excellent communication too was a plus!!!

    Thank you Tinisha!

    October 2023
  • Herbert Robertson

    We were really pleased to have Common as Red Hair selected for this diverse festival and extremely proud to have received the Best Producers Award! The support and encouragement meant a great deal to us and we are very fortunate to have shown our film in the very special location once known as once the “Black Eden of Michigan!" Loved it!

    September 2023
  • Thank you for enhancing the culture by reviving the Idlewild legacy. Nice work.

    September 2023
  • 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