Niagara Falls, NY (December 19, 2019) – Call for Entries have been announced for the 2020 Niagara Falls International Film Festival, which will take place on September 9-12, 2020. The 3rd edition of NFIFF will once again work to deliver an entertaining and invigorating film experience for Western New York film fans – as well as continue to be a significant force in the community of Niagara Falls to revitalize it and celebrate the area’s rich history.

Niagara Falls International Film Festival’s Founder and President Bill Cowell said, “Just as we enjoyed growth this year in terms of the number of attending filmmakers, audiences, and screenings, we expect the same for the third year of the film festival. In fact, some special events and guests are already in the planning stages that will be exciting to present to the film fans in Niagara Falls.

In two years, NFIFF has established a precedent of bringing Academy Award winners and guests representing the Hollywood classics to Niagara Falls to both celebrate their work and connect them with independent filmmakers making entertaining and provocative work today.

This year, NFIFF opened with a celebration of Academy Award-winner Louis Gossett Jr. and influential legend Samuel Fuller. The Gala celebration and Opening Night reception featured a display of the first Niagara Falls Walk of Fame stars set to be installed this year with the names of 4-Time President of the Academy Awards Cheryl Boone Isaacs and 2-Time Academy Award Winner Mark Bridges. Isaacs was in attendance and presented the festival’s Legacy Award to Gossett Jr. Christa and Samantha Fuller were presented with NFIFF’s inaugural Icon of Industry Award for Samuel Fuller, and both Fuller and Gossett Jr. were presented with their own stars on the Walk of Fame, as well. Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster presented a proclamation to Bill Cowell and the Niagara Falls International Film Festival and Recent finalist from “The Voice”, Mikaela Astel, performed.

Following a festival-long salute to Samuel Fuller NFIFF capped it off with a screening of Fuller’s beloved THE BIG RED ONE with Christa and Samantha Fuller, and several of the film’s stars (Robert Carradine, Perry Lang, Kelly Ward, and Bobby Di Ciccio) in attendance. Moderated by filmmaker and film historian, Michael Schlesinger, the post-screening Q&A was an entertaining and frequently emotional one – with fond remembrances of Fuller and the film’s star, Lee Marvin. The moment was made all the greater thanks to a surprise call from another of the film’s stars, Mark Hamill, to Festival Founder, Bill Cowell who played the message to a very excited audience and cast.

NFIFF continued with another tradition established the prior year, by making a special presentation of the film festival’s Humanitarian Award to Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia to honor his military service during the Iraq War, as well as a Special Humanitarian Mention for Matt Shapira, due to his “Saving the Planet” murals he has painted around the world. Festival Founder, Bill Cowell had also arranged for Shapira during his stay here to paint a mural at the Hard Rock Cafe Niagara Falls and many other Hard Rock Café locations throughout the country. Presenters at the filmmaker awards ceremony included NFIFF’s Ambassador of Film, Janel Tanna, NFIFF Creative Advisor Stanley Isaacs, and last year’s Best Documentary recipient, Annalaura Di Luggo.


NFIFF Rules & Terms

1. Film Entries are accepted in one of two categories: short and feature length. Short films are under 45 minutes in running time. Feature films are 45 minutes or longer in running time.

2. Screenplay Submissions are accepted electronically in Final Draft/.Doc/pdf/or RTF.

3. Films may have been previously screened at other festivals, although the NFIFF “premier” status is preferred but not mandatory.

4. Any film that has had a theatrical release, other than a limited premiere or special showing, or is currently in distribution (e.g., has been licensed for distribution in some territory) may be eligible for the competition. If there is a question regarding eligibility, please contact or you may call (716) 432-1065.

5. The Festival Organizers reserve the right to hold “Special Screenings” of previously released/distributed films, however they will not be considered for juried competition or festival prizes.

6. The NFIFF Directors reserve the right to include selected films/screenplays in any category deemed appropriate.

7. Not all films/screenplays will be selected for screenings during the NFIFF, but all submitted films/screenplays will be considered. All submitters will be notified on or about our last deadline for submissions of the status of their submission(s).

8. The NFIFF Directors reserve the right to program selected films/screenplays as many times during the Festival as they see fit, at whatever venue they see fit.

9. If a film/screenplay is selected for screening, the Film Director (Submitter) will state that he/she/they is/are the sole and rightful owner(a) of the submission and does not violate or infringe on any trademark, trade name, copyright, literary, dramatic, musical, artistic or other intellectual property or personal rights.

10. If a film/screenplay is selected, the filmmaker agrees that he/she will be solely responsible for the delivery of his/her final screening copies (or downloadable files) of their film/screenplay to the NFIFF Festival in a timely manner. All films/screenplays and canisters/sleeves will be marked with the name of the film/screenplay/filmmaker/phone and email. If the filmmaker/screenwriter is not in attendance, he/she will provide return shipping of their screening copies, otherwise they remain the property of the NFIFF. Original screening copies and press kits remain the property of the NFIFF. Screening copies will only be returned if the submitter has included a self-addressed envelope (with the correct postage).

11. No filmmaker or writer will be either discriminated or favored by their country of origin, language, age, race, education, ideology, or by their economic resources.

12. All participants acknowledge that the NFIFF is a public event that is open to the media. As such, all participants are subject to media coverage and scrutiny and may have their likenesses published in print, electronically, or via digital broadcast. NFIFF is not, now nor will not be in the future, responsible nor liable for such media coverage or actions of the press or other publicity agents during any events or functions associated with NFIFF.

13. Once a submission has been made, and the submission fee has been paid, there are no refunds.

Overall Rating
  • Gregory Dixon

    This festival has a promising future, glad to be a part of it this year. Hope it can continue to grow into a great festival.

    October 2019
  • Hernan Caraballo

    What a blast!
    They treated us like royalty.
    The Red Carpet event was perfect, and we got to meet some industry giants, including Louis Gossett Jr and Robert Caradine.

    September 2019
    Response from festival:

    Glad to have you! It was our pleasure!

  • Edgar Jimz

    Amazing Film Festival. Great people and great venue. The caliber of the films is impressive. Hotel accommodations a block away, and of course, tourist attractions nearby. Well organized and the Director, Bill Cowell, is an amazing man. It is a MUST submit for filmmakers.

    September 2019
    Response from festival:

    Edgar, it was awesome seeing you guys again - and giving me that token of appreciation that you brought with you from home was astounding and very unexpected!! It will always be on my desk for everyone to see - you are a great human being - and your character is of one that I will always cherish! The world is a better place with you in it my friend!!! You lead by example! Looking forward to next time!