The Opening Night Film Competition is a 'pitch-to-produced' film competition wherein one submitter will win the prize of having their story produced into a short film in Summer 2020.

The final winner will work with Cincinnati production companies to produce the Opening Night Film for theCindependent Film Festival on August 27th, 2020.

Pitches are accepted locally, nationally and internationally, and submitter does not need to be local to Cincinnati to pitch and submit.

Pitch videos can be as simple as speaking into the camera, or can be more complex and creative - it is up to you, and whatever you determine explains your story idea best! Pitch videos must be in English, and no more than 3 minutes in length. Anything over three minutes in length will be automatically disqualified. Video must must outline concept, story, feasibility, and demonstrate why this story would make an amazing Opening Night Film.

Pitches should be about stories that could be filmed in 1-2 days with few characters (recommended 3-4 max,) with an anticipated run time of 2-8 minutes including credits.

If your pitch video has been selected as a finalist, you will have 3 DAYS TO ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR ACCEPTANCE. If we do not hear from you within 3 days of notification, your selection may be revoked.

Finalists will be given the opportunity to pitch in-person on May 15th in front of a selected panel, friends, family, and community members in Cincinnati, Ohio. Audience votes will encompass a portion of the final voting tally. If you are unable to submit in person, you can either send a delegate to pitch on your behalf, OR you can choose to pitch using a video (either the original pitch or a new video,) that will play during the live pitch event. The purpose of this event is to stoke community camaraderie, and engage Cincinnati's community in terms of content they wish to see produced in our city. More information regarding this event will be sent to finalists only on May 6th.

Pitch Videos are accepted April 1 - April 30, 2020. Finalists will be notified May 6th, 2020. The final winner will be announced during the live event on May 15th, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. No fee waiver requests will be granted for the online portion of the competition.

On May 6th, finalists will be notified and scheduled for the opportunity to pitch in-person on May 15th, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. If a finalist is unable to submit in person, the finalist can either send a delegate to pitch on behalf of the idea, OR can choose to pitch using a video (either the original pitch or a new video,) that will play during the live pitch event.

The winner of this competition will be announced during the live pitch event on May 15th, 2020.

The winner of this competition will work with local Cincinnati production companies to produce the pitch concept. This includes pre-production, day(s)-of shooting, and post-production, as desired by the winner. The winner's participation in the production of this winning story is primarily determined by the winner's interest and availability, and the winner will have the opportunity to serve in a role on the production that most interests them, and that the production company can agree the winner is most suited for. Please note, we have a history of working with the winner to help them learn new skills or build experience for their resume/portfolio through this opportunity, and are very excited to help the winner accomplish a new skill or task.

The final film will receive a red-carpet premiere and Q&A on August 27th, 2020 at The Cindependent Film Festival. Accompanying this screening are often television, radio, and traditional press marketing, but these are not guaranteed, and are frequently solicited by local press outlets in August. The Cindependent Film Festival works to highlight the storyteller and film.

In accordance with the Cindependent Film Festival policy, the entry fee is non-refundable.

Cindependent Film Festival and participating businesses are not liable for any rights issues. All rights questions and legal responsibilities lie with the entered filmmaker.
You will not be allowed to enter your work unless you agree to abide by the terms and conditions of the Cindependent Film Festival Festival. More information on these terms can be found at

There will be selected finalists at the end of the Open Submission period. These finalists will be scheduled either in-person or via an online face-to-face call for live pitches during a live-pitch event on May 15th. If in-person, the finalist will be responsible for all lodging and transportation. Live Pitches are an opportunity for you to bring more of your vision, and answer any questions regarding your story concept. If not able to attend in person, you can present an alternate video explaining your pitch or we will play your original pitch video. Winner will be selected live on May 15th, using indicated judging criteria and an in-person audience voting system.

After Winner is announced, pre-production plans for the creation of this short film will commence. This is an opportunity for the winner to have their project produced by a professional production house. As such, the winner is expected to follow processes for producing short film and participate in current structure and operations.

The competition winner will be given a role on the production team during the production process; however, this role is determined by lead production company based on filmmaker's experience and willingness to explore or build in new roles. During finalist interviews, pitch companies will discuss with finalists where/how they see themselves participating during production.

Film budgets are estimated at $5,000.00 for development of the winning pitch in addition to available in-kind resources and production staff.

The production schedule is subject to production capacity, and will be produced during Summer 2020. Winner is responsible for all lodging and travel associated with their participation in the production schedule.

Premiere is not permissible prior to the Cindependent Film Festival. Promotional materials (stills, trailer, poster, etc.) may be shared in advance.

Following Cindependent Film Festival, winning filmmaker will be allowed to submit to additional film festivals and screening opportunities, but must have approval from lead production house prior to submission or representation. Lead production companies are not responsible for festival submission fees, but require all subsequent screening plans be agreed upon prior to viewing. Winner retains the story and intellectual rights of the final, produced film. Final film belongs to the lead production company.