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 or through their subject.

The North Carolina Museum of History serves as home base for Longleaf Film Festival. Entering year seven in 2021, Longleaf continues to grow, even though, due to COVID-19, Longleaf 2020 became a series of online and live-streamed events. Still, through our community of filmmakers and film fans, we were able to promote the art and craft of filmmaking and the passion of film to viewers in Raleigh, the Triangle, and beyond.

The 2020 Pause
For us, as for everyone, 2020 has been, and continues to be, tumultuous. It is hard to remember how, in March 2020 as we entered lockdown, we thought that we might be heading back to school, returning to work, hanging out with friends, watching movies—all in a matter of weeks. Then, as the days passed, we slowly began to recognize that the pandemic was going to be a longer-term event. We pivoted Longleaf 2020 to a virtual program; at the time, it was one of the first in-person–to–virtual event exchanges in our area. We live-streamed our awards announcements with help from our media sponsor, CBS17 News, and, with the generosity of our Official Selection filmmakers, we made more than 60 of our 2020 films available to screen, for free, during our festival dates. More than 5,000 hits on the #AloneTogether viewing web page meant that folks watched!

A few weeks after our 2020 festival, George Floyd was killed, and protests—against his senseless death and the ancient ties to systemic racism that caused his death—began. We, at Longleaf, have been listening . . . reflecting . . . learning. And we’re not finished.

A Welcoming Festival--Free Submissions 2021
Throughout our short history, we have been grateful for the impactful stories regarding 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, and spoken word productions. To help in our small way, we want easier access to Longleaf for everyone; so, for 2021 we are waiving fees for directors who identify as Black, Latinx, or Indigenous. That’s one contribution we can make. Contact Sally at sally.bloom@ncdcr.gov to request this waiver.

Looking Forward, Again
As a free-to-attend event, submission fees help make Longleaf happen. And, while we may need to tighten our always-stretched budget even more this year, the season will be worth it if we can make everyone feel welcome to this community—where we recognize that making films is making history. One way or another, we’ll be back on Friday, May 14, and Saturday, May 15, 2021! Here’s hoping to see you by then . . .

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. Additionally, all original posters submitted with film entries will be considered for a $250 Best Film Poster prize (filmmakers may opt out of consideration for this prize). Other prizes may be awarded in the categories listed below.

Animated Film
One prize may be awarded for each of the following subcategories:
• Best Overall

Documentary Feature
One prize may be awarded for each of the following subcategories:
• Best Overall

Documentary Short
One prize may be awarded for each of the following subcategories:
• Best Overall

History+
Entries must reflect or depict a topic in history from a unique perspective of insight and accuracy. One prize may be awarded for each of the following subcategories:
• Best Narrative
• Best Documentary

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

Music Videos
One prize may be awarded for each of the following subcategories:
• 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

Original Film Poster
One prize may be awarded for the following subcategory
• Best Overall

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

Eligibility to enter Longleaf!
To be eligible for selection and awards for Longleaf 2021, 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.

Other rules and requests
--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! Please, let us know if your film will be a premier (including a North Carolina premier) screening if accepted.
--Because we want to promote your film as part of Longleaf and we expect Official Selections to NOT screen in the month prior to the festival, within 60 miles of Raleigh.
--And, of course, we expect your film to be available for screening during the festival.
--You must include your snail mail address on your FilmFreeway entry.
--Except for middle and high school student films (see that category), films submitted for Longleaf 2021 must have been made between January 1, 2018, and March 1, 2021.
--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 2021 will be handled through FilmFreeway. No manual submissions will be processed.
--Once a submission is accepted to the festival, a digital screening version of the film must be provided to the 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.

Signature of Acknowledgment: ___________________________________________________________
Date of Acknowledgment: ________________________________________________________________

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Longleaf did a superb job putting together an online festival, especially during these difficult times. The #AloneTogether viewing event and award ceremony were excellent and gave me something to look forward to on some otherwise dreary days. Congratulations again to all of the filmmakers!

    May 2020
  • It was such a delight to be part of this festival this year. Everyone was so kind and supportive! I am looking forward to attending a Live event next year.

    May 2020
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    Response from festival:

    Thanks for your kind words! We are excited for all that's coming!

  • Longleaf transformed its festival into an online experience because of the pandemic, and they did so with enthusiasm and style. Announcing the selected films because an event, and they connected with other media sources to spread the word about watching the films online. Thanks for your dedicated work.

    May 2020
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    Response from festival:

    Thanks to you! for your dedication to your film family/community. A real treat to watch!

  • Grandin Theatre Film Lab

    Wonderful communication from the staff! They found creative ways to engage their audiences and filmmakers in spite of the pandemic. We are very grateful that work from our students was included in the festivities! Would recommend!

    May 2020
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    Response from festival:

    Thanks to everyone at Grandin for their kind words and terrific work!

  • Scott Simerly

    Such a wonderful festival! We really enjoyed our film ‘Alien Guy Tim’ being selected to Longleaf. The festival had to take place online but Sally and her team didn't miss a beat. Extremely organized and a great job of keeping filmmakers involved. Winning Narrative Short Best Sci-Fi was icing on the cake. Thank you for a great festival experience!

    May 2020
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    Response from festival:

    Thanks Scott! We so appreciate your kind words AND your terrific film. Sally