The NFIFF, a World Renowned International Film Festival that is breaking ground and new barriers for filmmakers and Industry professionals around the Globe.

Currently preparing for it’s 2nd edition (September 18-21, 2019), the Niagara Falls International Film Festival is an outgrowth of the successful Buffalo-Niagara Film Festival, which celebrated independent film and featured the work of local filmmakers for the prior 15 years. NFIFF was created with a vision to build on that success and grow it to deliver a bigger, better, and stronger film experience for Western New York film fans – as well as be a significant force in the community of Niagara Falls to revitalize it and celebrate the area’s rich history. 

In it’s first year, NFIFF made good on those goals by bringing two Academy Award-winning film artists to Niagara Falls to celebrate their careers and give local aspiring filmmakers insight into their filmmaking process and journey. During a Red Carpet Gala event, 2-Time Academy Award winner for Costume Design and Niagara Falls favorite son Mark Bridges (PHANTOM THREAD, THE ARTIST) was given the key to the city by Mayor Paul Dyster, and Academy Award winner for Visual Effects Craig Barron (THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON) was honored with the festival’s inaugural Legacy Award. Both men were also presented with stars set to be placed on the Niagara Falls Walk of Fame – a project introduced by NFIFF’s Founder and Executive Director Bill Cowell.

NFIFF also highlighted the “international” aspect of the film festival with filmmakers like Annalaura di Luggo (Italy) and Arturo Sotto Diaz (Cuba) making trips to the U.S. to attend the film festival with their films. Filmmakers were treated to helicopter rides over the Falls and tours to the area’s historic attractions. In addition to the screenings and filmmaker panels, film fans were also treated to a special master class on visual effects by Legacy Award honoree Craig Barron. While attending NFIFF, Jonathan Piumelli, producer of Best Film winner, WATERLILLY JAGUAR, was inspired to ask the film’s Production Designer Shannon Lee to marry him – giving them two wonderful reasons to celebrate at the film festival during the awards ceremony at the historic Riviera Theatre.

NFIFF closed with an emotional evening featuring a screening of Matthew J. Weiss’s heartfelt documentary MAN IN RED BANDANA about Welles Remy Crowther, a man who saved many lives during the 9/11 attack on New York City. Crowther’s parents, Jeff and Alison, were in attendance, and were presented with a Special Humanitarian Award by NFIFF – after which the first edition of the new film festival by presenting a check for $1000 to the Niagara County Public Safety Training Facility in honor of the Crowther Family.

This year, NFIFF will expand it’s efforts to both celebrate cinema and the people that made a significant mark on the films that have entertained us and inspired the filmmakers that followed them with the introduction of the Icons of the Industry Award, a day-long celebration which will include the honoree’s work. This year, directing legend Samuel Fuller will be honored posthumously with a presentation to Fuller’s widow, Christa and their daughter, Samantha, including a donation in the honoree’s name to the Motion Picture and Television Home and Hospital.


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/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!