KIDS FIRST! is celebrating its 30th anniversary this fall! Part of our celebration includes a 30th Anniversary KIDS FIRST! Film Festival in partnership with over 20 venue partners starting in mid-September and continuing through 2022 at hybrid events – a combination of live and online screenings, talent interviews, Q&A sessions and more – with an expected attendance of over 75,000.

We have a special interest in films by and about children of color, climate change and the environment, social justice and how it affects you, and of course terrific films geared for a youth and family audience that have an uplifting message – shorts, features, docs, animations, music videos, you name it! Films made by and for children and families.

The KIDS FIRST! Film Festival showcases new and classic children's films, TV programs, digital programming, DVDs and screenplays from studios, independent producers and youth producers. KIDS FIRST! partners with more than 50 venues that showcase its selections for their kids and family programming.

PLEASE READ our festival description BEFORE YOU SUBMIT. Thank you

By submitting to KIDS FIRST!, it is like submitting to 50 festivals individually. Not all 50 festivals will play your film or feature your screenplay, but it will be considered.

Note that KIDS FIRST! Film Festival affiliates do not pay a screening fee and films that are played at their events are FREE to pass-holders. There are no individual admission fees although there may be a festival admission fee.

DO NOT SUBMIT if you want to receive a screening fee.

Each KIDS FIRST! venue partner offers their own awards and prizes.

Accepted feature films will get a First Look opportunity for distribution by Soundview Media Partners.

Screenwriters take note: Acceptance of your screenplay by KIDS FIRST! will get you coverage you can use to promote your screenplay. While our venue partners tend to focus more on screening finished films over screenplays. Although some may include screenplays.

Accepted titles must meet or exceed the KIDS FIRST! criteria and be appropriate for exhibition on a large screen. Criteria include:
NO gratuitous violence or abuse
NO inappropriate sexual behavior
NO bias in terms of race, gender, culture or religion
NO condescension toward children
NO replicable unsafe behavior
Most importantly, we look for films that have an uplifting message!

Include in your description the age group you film is most suitable for.
PLEASE DO NOT say "all ages" or "ages 5 to 100"!

Once accepted, a film may not be pulled from the Festival by the filmmaker for any reason. By submitting your film, you are agreeing to comply with this and all other requirements.

By submitting your film, you are warranting that you are authorized to commit the film for screening and accept full responsibility to provide the correct format of your film to our venue partners for festival play.

By submitting this film, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 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 videos entered.

Once we accept your film, you will receive an automated notification which includes the deliverables needed in order to proceed adding your film to our festival offerings. You will be asked to submit an electronic file of your film if it is a short, or a trailer if a feature. Once received, we will upload your film to our password protected film programmer's site. This is not a public site. It is for screening and downloading purposes only by programmers with our affiliated venues.

Feature films will only have a trailer on our programmer's site. When one of our affiliates requests a full length screener, we will connect them with you to get that. We will have them reach out to you for appropriate promotional materials once your film has been accepted for their festival or event.

Once your film gets booked by one of our partners, you will receive an update via email. When you see your booking, we strongly recommend that you contact the individual festival directly to see how you might collaborate in promoting your screening and whether or not you plan to attend the event.

We strongly encourage attending any festival where your film is featured and promote your screening/s to your personal network of friends and family.

Screening times and dates are solely at the discretion of our venue partners so, please communicate with them, not KIDS FIRST!

Overall Rating
  • thank you dear festival for snowy heart

    August 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thanks you Alireza for your kind comments. We love your beautiful short, Snowy Heart. And we love working with you also.

  • Carmen Morrow

    We are so pleased to have our film, The Dukha, in KIDS FIRST! We also appreciated the review we got, thank you!!

    August 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Carmen, we love The Dukha. What a fascinating film. Thanks for thinking of us.

  • Andrey Arutiunov

    So cool to be part of KIDS FIRST Festival with our cartoon. You are the best!

    July 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thanks so much Andrey. We love working with filmmakers like you. You make our job a pleasure.

  • We were so honored and excited to have our animation short featured at Kids First! Film Festival! It’s clear that this festival has been around for a long time and the team is very communicative. If there is anything they need they will send you an email. Kind people, and not to mention the vast opportunity this film festival brings. It’s almost as if you are submitting to 50 at once worth the way they have it structured with many different screening locations. The pandemic may be shifting things a bit, but the track record shows for itself.

    July 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thanks for your kind words Bianca. It is such a pleasure to work with filmmakers such as yourself. This has been a weird year, and we are rolling over our 2020 submissions into 2021 since very few festivals had events last year. Plus this is our 30th anniversary year! We have some big plans for the fall.

  • Carlos Perez

    I was thrilled to have my screenplay selected and the judges and those involved were quite helpful and fair. A wonderful way to get your work out there. I will submit again in the future.

    July 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Carlos for your kind comments. We love working with writers like you. Hopefully our coverage will help you find a producer and we'll see this on the big screen sometime soon.