The Newark Black Film Festival, the longest-running Black film festival in the country, celebrates films that heighten the historic importance of the Black experience in the United States. The festival features live panel discussions and exclusive screenings of films created in the last three years.

The 2023 festival will be open for submissions of Short Films, in categories including Narrative, Documentary, Animation, Experimental, and Web Series.

Since 1974, NBFF has presented the work of young, independent, Black filmmakers, showcasing early films by the likes of Spike Lee, Ayoka Chenzira, Warrington and Reginald Hudlin, Barry Jenkins, and Ava DuVernay. Other luminaries that have participated in the festival over the years include James Earl Jones, Danny Glover, Pam Grier, Donald Bogle, Richard Wesley, Euzhan Palcy, and S. Epatha Merkerson.

Selection Commitee:

Dale E. Colston
Patricia Faison
Jeff Friday
LeRoy Henderson
Steven Hyland
LeRon Lee
Millicent Matthews
Lisa Payne
Mary Sue Price
Yvonne Michelle Shirley
Ayana Stafford-Morris
Richard Wesley (Chair)

The Paul Robeson Awards recognize up-and-coming Black filmmakers that are featured within the Newark Black Film Festival. The Newark Black Film Festival once again commemorates the life and cinematic achievements of Paul Robeson through the presentation of these awards.

Winners receive a check for $500. A grand prize of $1000 is presented to the best film of the festival.

Entries will be screened by a panel of judges. Awards will be presented at the discretion of the judges. The judges may choose to withhold an award if no entries are considered award caliber. Winners are asked to include Newark Black Film Festival in any of their subsequent publicity materials.

Original films released since January 2020 will be considered. Films must be directed by a person who identifies as Black or must tell a story of Black experience. Non-commercial or independent films over which the filmmaker has had control of the finished piece are preferred. Films produced for or shown on television or online are eligible if they meet the above criteria. If the length of selected works dictates, the screenings may be abbreviated.

Submission of films is to be made through Film Freeway, for films that are between 1 minute and 30 minutes in length.

Films produced in other languages or countries may be entered if they have an English-language soundtrack or subtitles and meet the above criteria.

Entrant indemnifies The Newark Museum of Art/Newark Black Film Festival against possible copyright infringement resulting from screening or exhibition of works.