Peace Garden Project is now accepting submissions for the Outer Banks Environmental Film Festival to be held in Manteo, NC from November 1-3, 2024.

We want Environmental stories; Because our environments are both natural and built environments, you are encouraged to let your imagination run wild. Our natural and built environments are composed of so many things. The natural world is central to our environments, and so are people. Don’t forget to tell the stories of people. We have included a category called Highlighting Hidden Stories. We want to hear/experience the stories that haven’t been told. We all benefit when hidden stories are told. We believe that by telling Environmental Stories, we are making the world better for all of its inhabitants. If you have a compelling story, we want to hear it!

At the Peace Garden Project (PGP), our work is at the intersection of justice issues. We recognize the environmental injustices heaped upon Black and Indigenous people and have included categories to highlight the stories of Black and Indigenous people, because we want to make sure these stories continue to be told.

We recognize the challenges that all artists can have in traveling to film festivals. A number of entrants whose films are selected for the festival will have their lodging taken care of though a generous donation from one of our sponsors.

Filmmakers winning top awards in each category will have the opportunity to connect with Environmental and Film Industry professionals.

The best film will be selected in each category and filmmakers can submit their film (short/feature/animated) for consideration in the festival via FilmFreeway in the following categories:

Narrative Film
Documentary Film
Highlighting Hidden Stories
Best Film by an Indigenous Filmmaker
Best Film by a Black Filmmaker
Outer Banks
Religion/Spirituality and the Environment
Emerging Filmmaker

Submission deadlines are:
May 1st, Early Bird
June 1st, Regular Deadline
July 1st, Late Entries

Filmmakers will be notified of their acceptance into the festival not later than September 15, 2023.

The Outer Banks Environmental Film Festival events will take place in Downtown Manteo.

Peace Garden Project is a 501 (c)(3) focused on environmental justice and food justice, while engaging the intersectionality of the justice issues present in our society. Any proceeds from this festival will be used by the Peace Garden Project to continue the work of food equity and environmental justice in communities.

The Outer Banks Environmental Film Festival is sponsored by Dare Arts, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization dedicated to encouraging the arts in Dare County through advocacy, enrichment and opportunity.

This project is supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

For more information about these events, contact Michelle Lewis at (929) 266-3775 email: or visit

Narrative Feature Award
Best Documentary Feature
Best Narrative Short
Best Documentary Short
Best Hidden Story Film
Best Film by an Indigenous Filmmaker
Best Film By a Black Filmmaker
Best Outer Banks Film
Best Spirituality/Religion/Environment Film
International Film

All award winners will receive a special artisan-made OBXEFF Statue Award. Small cash awards will be provided to all winners.

Rules and Guidelines for 2024 Submissions

1. The Outer Banks Environmental Film Festival (OBEFF) accepts films in the following categories:

Feature Films: Narrative, Animated, Documentary, Indigenous, Black, Hidden Stories, Emerging Filmmaker, Outer Banks, Religion/Spirituality/Environment, and International.

Short Films (under 40 minutes): Narrative, Animated, Documentary, Indigenous, Black, Hidden Stories, Emerging Filmmaker, Religion/Spirituality/Environment, and International.

2. The Entrant(s) submitting the film must hold all legal rights for the submission, as well as all necessary clearances for public exhibition.

3. The Filmmaker(s) retain(s) all submission and intellectual property rights.

4. All films submitted must be free from any legal disputes and third-party claims and filmmaker must have cleared all rights for music and public exhibition.

5. To be eligible for awards, your film must not be available via online streaming platform.

6. Films must be submitted electronically via FilmFreeway. Please note that for preview purposes the festival accepts secured online screeners through FilmFreeway or via a password protected online link.

7. All films submitted must have been completed between July 2020, and July 2024.

8. The Filmmaker(s) is/are responsible for making sure all submission materials are submitted by the submission deadline indicated. If your film does not arrive or is not uploaded by the deadline for which you have registered, you may be required to pay the higher submission fee or withdraw.

9. Each submission must be accompanied by the appropriate fee. Submission fees are in U.S. Dollars per submission and ARE non-refundable. Cash is not accepted.

10. If a film received 50% or more of its funding from sources outside of the United States, the film may be submitted as an International Film.

11. Subtitles must be in English.

12. Submissions should have up-to-date screener links and passwords. Please notify the OBXEFF at if passwords need to be updated after submission.

13. Filmmakers may submit more than one film for the Festival. Each film should be submitted separately and should meet the OBXEFF guidelines.

14. A student submitting a film must provide a photocopy of a current and valid student ID or a letter from his/her school verifying enrollment.

15. Upon acceptance, exhibition copies and additional press materials will be requested. Selected films will be screened in the following exhibition formats: DCP (for select venues) or digital files (MP4 or .MOV) must arrive on hard drive or thumb drive. Please notify us in writing about any exceptions to the delivery date, otherwise you may forfeit your place in the program and the OBXEFF is not obligated to screen a selected film.

16. If you want your materials returned after the festival, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

17. The Filmmaker is responsible for all inbound shipping costs, domestic or international.

18. All personal contact information is to remain confidential and not to be shared with any third parties.

19. OBXEFF reserves the right to use images from films selected in the Festival for marketing purposes.

20. All decisions regarding award winners are considered final and incontestable.

21. The individual or corporation submitting the film warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations. The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless the OBXEFF and PGP from and against any and all disputes, arbitration, claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court), which may be incurred by reason of any claim, including but not limited to third party claims involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to or the inability to screen videos entered.

22. The festival will not pay screening fees for any submitted film that we program.

23. All applicants acknowledge that OBXEFF reserves the right to change the nature of screenings and events due to circumstances related to public health and welfare or at the direction of local, state, or federal authorities. In such cases, no submission refunds shall be issued.

Overall Rating
  • Thank you Outer Banks Environmental Film Festival for selecting The Story of the Leatherback to be the winner of Best International Film awards. We extremely appreciated your warm welcome and hospitality throughout our whole time at the beautiful Outer Banks. People at the festivals are the most encouraging and care so much about the environment. I got to meet so many extraordinary people there including the festival director, festival organizing team, outstanding film makers and audiences. Thank you for making my time at the Outer Banks the best time of my lives. I got inspired so much from there. All in all, love this festival.

    March 2024
  • We are delighted to have had Eskawata Kayawai and get a prize of Best Documentary of Religion, Spirituality and the Environment at Outer banks Environmental Film Festival, with a movie from the First Nations of Brazil that is so key to bring us hope and understanding of how cultures and identity is so key for us all.

    We live in a critical moment regarding the planet. A crisis that encompasses all relationships, from how we explore nature and its resources, to how we relate to each other and even to ourselves.

    In the Brazilian Amazon rainforest alone, deforestation breaks new records every day. All bodies responsible for supervising forests and natural resources in Brazil were weakened and constantly threatened by the encouraging mining and all types of exploitation within the forests, new pesticides approved every day, the withdrawal of rights from indigenous peoples and even the persecution of activists and leaders who oppose such a movement.

    Eskawatã Kayawai portrays an ode to spirituality in total respect and veneration of nature in an area that attracts the attention of the entire world and is an emergency need, the Amazon.

    This story is an inspiration to the whole world, a call to value all traditional cultures of the world, specially from the First Nations, and to establish a balance with our environment and all relationships.

    This powerful story of the Huni Kuin to return home is an example for the world, especially in the critical moment we live in, sharing that it is possible to rescue key values that allow us to live in harmony.

    Then to be recognised by initiatives that are a film festival is really great, and even more amazing when the initiatives are making their way to care about education of the environment with love and awareness, creating healthy communities with their local actions. Thank you for this environmental film festival and much gratitude to spread the message of Eskawata Kayawai.

    November 2023
  • Anderson Rodrigues Costa

    I am so happy to have been selected for the Outer Banks Environmental Film Festival. Michelle Lewis is very friendly and attentive to everyone. Congratulations to the entire team for the excellent organization. Long live this festival!

    November 2023