A free-to-attend festival that highlights the best of independent film in a place that strives to tell the stories that connect us all—this is Longleaf. Our weekend festival screens films that demonstrate a Tar Heel State connection, through the people involved in making them, their filming location, or through their subject.

The North Carolina Museum of History serves as home base for Longleaf Film Festival. Movies have been made in the Tar Heel state for more than 100 years and the museum speaks to that intersection of historic traditions that continue today, making connections. The film community in the state, as well as those who train and film here, continue to create stories that engage and expand our conversation.

We launch Longleaf 2023 with a continued commitment to sharing impactful stories, including those race and community that have been told in past festivals. We strongly believe that the art and craft of filmmaking help connect us and offer avenues for insight, as well as entertainment. We want to share your stories—all of your stories: animated, documentary, and narrative films, music videos, spoken word productions, and web series. And again, we will recognize the best films made by historically underrepresented filmmakers with support from caring people. We also hold student filmmakers near and dear, and by students, we mean those creative middle and high school folks making movies!

We hope you will share your film with us and join the community that is Longleaf.

All narrative festival submissions are eligible for a $500 Judges’ Choice/Narrative Film award; all documentary festival submissions are eligible for a $500 Judges’ Choice/Documentary Film award. All films entered in the Middle and High School Student Film category are eligible for a $250 Best Student Film award.

For the second year, we are excited to continue with three awards that support the creative works of filmmakers from historically underrepresented communities: a $250 American Indian Heritage Celebration Prize for the best film by an Indigenous filmmaker, a $250 African American Cultural Celebration Prize for the best film by a Black filmmaker, and a $250 Celebrating Latin American Communities Prize for the best film by a Latino filmmaker.

Other prizes may be awarded in the categories listed below. All winners receive a unique, hand-crafted (in North Carolina, to celebrate the state’s heritage of pottery making) tile. Tiles are accompanied with plaques that denote the film’s title and winning category. Only enough Award Tiles are crafted for each winner to take one home!

Animated Film
One prize may be awarded in the following subcategory: Best Overall

Documentary Feature
One prize may be awarded in the following subcategory: Best Overall

Documentary Short
One prize may be awarded in the following subcategory: Best Overall

History+ Film
One prize may be awarded for each of the following subcategories: Best Narrative and
Best Documentary

Middle and High School Student Film
One prize may be awarded for each of the following subcategories: Best Narrative and
Best Documentary

Music Video
One prize may be awarded in the following subcategory: Best Overall

Narrative Feature
One prize may be awarded for each of the following subcategories:
Best Comedy
Best Drama
Best Horror
Best Sci-Fi

Narrative Short
One prize may be awarded for each of the following subcategories:
Best Comedy
Best Drama
Best Horror
Best Sci-Fi

Spoken Word Production
One prize may be awarded for each of the following subcategories: Best Overall

Web Series
One prize may be awarded for each of the following subcategories:
Best Web Series
Best Web Pilot

Eligibility to enter Longleaf!
To be eligible for selection and awards for Longleaf 2023, filmmakers and/or films must have a North Carolina connection and/or be a former Official Selection filmmaker. Connections include:
--film was made in North Carolina and/or;
--filmmaker or key production member (screenwriter, cinematographer, producer, documentary subject or lead actor) lives here now and/or grew up in the state and/or attended college or university here and/or;
--the submitting filmmaker is a former Longleaf Official Selection filmmaker and/or;
--the story or topic is a North Carolina subject.

Visiting friends and family or regularly vacationing in North Carolina is NOT sufficient for entry. We do encourage entries from out of state and around the world, if they demonstrate that Tar Heel Tie-In.

• Longleaf Film Festival reserves the right to refuse films depicting excessive nudity and/or gore.
• Longleaf Film Festival holds no responsibility for lost films.
• Longleaf Film Festival does not pay screening fees.
• We accept films that have screened at other festivals and venues, however we encourage premieres!
• Because we want to promote your film as a part of Longleaf Film Festival, we ask that Official Selections NOT be screened within 60 miles of Raleigh during the month between notification that you are an Official Selection and the weekend of Longleaf Film Festival.
• And, of course, we expect your film to be available for screening during the festival dates of May 12 and 13, 2023.
• Longleaf Film Festival and its jurists do not research authenticity of submissions which must be original works of the applicant.
• You must include a valid surface-mail address on your FilmFreeway entry.
• Except for middle and high school student films (see that category), films submitted for Longleaf 2023 must have been made between January 1, 2020, and March 1, 2023.
• Longleaf Film Festival reserves the right to not award a prize in any category.
• Longleaf Film Festival reserves the right to award prizes outside of the category of entry.
• All submissions to Longleaf 2023 will be handled through FilmFreeway. No manual submissions will be processed.
• Once a submission is accepted as an Official Selection, a digital screening version of the film must be provided to Longleaf Film Festival.

GENERAL TERMS and CONDITIONS
I (the entrant) have read and agree to all Longleaf Film Festival rules and procedures. Further, I warrant that I am the owner of the submission; I have not infringed upon or violated any copyright, privacy rights, or publicity or similar rights; I have obtained all rights, licenses, or necessary permissions thereto; I will indemnify the Longleaf Film Festival against any claims related to this submission; I will hold the Longleaf Film Festival harmless for any damages, costs, liabilities, and expenses related to the submission, screening, and use of this entry; I limit and liquidate all claims to no more than the cost of the entry fee; and I expressly grant the Longleaf Film Festival permission to use, broadcast, or publicly display clips of the submission (or its film or sound components) for publicity, teaching, and other related purposes.

Submission of film indicates Acknowledgment of these terms.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Alex Lippert

    Great films, atmosphere, and attendees. It was absolutely inspiring to see everyone display their craft.

    June 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Alex! Thanks for your kind words and for sharing the excellent "Pan" with everyone!

  • Such an honor to be a part of Longleaf Film Festival's lineup this year! Being from NC, the pine branch laurels are extra special to me. We were super bummed to be out of town during the event, but communication with Sally and the promotional content they ran for the festival were fantastic. Thank you again!

    June 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Emily--we so appreciate your review and sure look forward to what's next for you!

  • David Baeumler

    Longleaf is a terrific indie festival that screens great work and focuses on North Carolina based filmmakers (though not exclusively). It really feels like a family with lots of nice parties, events, and opportunities to mix with other filmmakers and the community. They're also terrific at promotion and communication. So nice that it's free for the public and takes place in the North Carolina History Museum. Just a wonderful festival to be part of.

    June 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Wow! Thanks so much. Grateful for your kind words and terrific work!

  • South Docs

    Great festival that provides a weekend of free film and workshops to the local community. It's amazing to see such a high-end event and service to the community executed this well.

    May 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Thanks so much! We so appreciate your participation at Longleaf!

  • Showing our film, Short Life of Trouble: The Legend of G.B. Grayson and winning Best History Documentary at the Longleaf Film Festival was such an honor. Sally and her staff do an incredible job putting on a first-class film festival. Their hard work is much appreciated and we can't wait to return for future editions. BRAVO!

    May 2022
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    Response from festival:

    We so appreciate your kind words and having you and your beautiful film at Longleaf!