OXIFF is excited to announce ‘The City of Dreaming Spires’ 5th International Film festival.

OXIFF2020 will take place 14th-17th May 2020.


OXIFF is designed to be an intimate and eloquent filmmaker festival where film enthusiasts can get first hand insights from directors, writers, actors and producers from the premiering films, a style which blends well with the beautiful city of Oxford. This was certainly the case in 2019 when the festival was able to expand to both the Curzon and The Ultimate Picture Palace, allowing filmmakers and guests the chance to explore the historical city.

In its first four years all the films selected for OXIFF came through open submissions. This is a strict policy that the organisers will continue with for the fourth festival.

"Our experience at the OXIFF could not have been better! Your selection of eclectic films from around the world was superb." Joseph Stillman, Director of Best Documentary Citizen Clark...A Life of Principle.

The Oxford International Film Festival 2019 took place from the 8th – 12th May at The Ultimate Picture Palace and Curzon, Westgate.

OXIFF2019 marked the fourth edition of the festival and screened a selection of films from wide array of genres across feature and short films, documentary films, animations, experimental films and music videos.

Opening night took place at Oxford’s legendary Ultimate Picture Palace with a night of short films. Opening Night Shorts included British film THE SEA, which stars Anna Friel and Russel Tovey, BODIES OF WATER with Boyhood star Ellar Coltrane as a man struggling with a secret, Turkish film FISH CRACKER about a brother and sister dealing with their parents’ breakup and THE GHOST with Emilia Fox.

The festival then moved to the heart of Oxford to the Curzon, Westgate will closed with a screening of documentary SAM SPIEGEL: CONQUERING HOLLYWOOD, about legendary Hollywood producer Sam Spiegel and how he went from escaping Nazi Germany to being the only person to win three Oscars as sole producer of On The Waterfront (1954), Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962).

Also included in the line-up was the Oscar nominated short documentary LIFEBOAT, feature film CELESTE which stars actress Radha Mitchell, UK feature ABOVE THE CLOUDS, about an 18-year olds quest to find her biological father with the help of a rough sleeper, tennis documentary UNRAVELING ATHENA, which follows female tennis players journey from child to world number one and includes contributions from Serena Williams, Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova. Also, screening is LOVE GILDA – THE ETERNAL SPIRIT OF GILDA RADNER, about comedienne Gilda Radner and features comedy stars Amy Poehler, Melisa McCarthy, Gene Wilder and more.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time at OXIFF this year, exploring the city and engaging in conversations with wonderfully wise and insightful individuals, who have inspired me and collaborated with their knowledge." Benjamin Jacob Smith, Director of Edgar I Am

OXIFF is a sister festival to the highly successful Manchester Film Festival, and OXIFF and MANIFF’s Director of Operations Neil Jeram-Croft said - “this weekend has been amazing; the quality of the films is a credit to the filmmakers and all involved. Huge thanks to the Curzon, The Ultimate Picture Palace and our incredible volunteers who have made this a weekend one to remember, we can't wait to get back next year and make OXIFF2019 even bigger”.

"Thank you to the entire OXIFF crew. I feel extremely honored to receive this recognition for New York city Sketchbook." Willy Hartland, Director of Film of the Festival New York City Sketchbook

"Brilliantly organised and curated with great films, lovely people, and an amazing buzz around the place. And the Picturehouse cinema really made us feel at home. It was a great platform for our film as there had been a lot of hard work put into getting audiences in and press coverage before and during the festival, which so many festivals don't seem to do after the initial scheduling etc. They really made it feel like you were part of a bigger thing, not just a screening and a chat and all the filmmakers mingled and have stayed in touch after the festival. Definitely worth the money!" Matt Butler Director of Two Down

"A joy of a festival: good programming (the shorts in particular were top-notch), very present and engaged organizers, qualified industry judges, friendly atmosphere, good q+as, and ample opportunity to meet and hang out with fellow filmmakers, it's shocking that this festival was only in its first year. In time, as the festival returns to Oxford in subsequent years, its presence in the city will become more established in the city and turnout will expand. As it stands, this fest is 100% worth the entry fee. Try to get there in person, you won't regret it." Nicholas Gray Director of The Paper Store

"Great festival especially for its first year. The quality of the films was high and it was great that so many of the filmmakers were there. The organisers were very friendly and present at the festival. Overall - lots of wonderful people and films!" Miranda Howard Williams Director of Albert

The exclusive spire awards will be chosen by a jury made up of respected industry professionals. The Spire award categories are:

Best international Feature
Best UK Film
Best international short film
Best UK short film
Best documentary Feature
Best documentary Short
Best Experimental
Best Student Film
Best Animation
Best Music Video
Best production
Best Screenplay
Best Cinematography
Best Edit
Best Score
Best Director
Best Actor
Best Actress
Staff Choice
Film of the Festival- ‘Spire of Dreams award’

OXIFF is looking for independent feature-length and short films from around the world from any genre.

Our Standard Festival Participation Agreement (Terms and Conditions), which all submitted films are also expected to follow is as follows:


The 5th Oxford International Film Festival will take place from the 7th to the 10th May 2020.

1. Submission Format
Films must be submitted via online screener.

2. Submission Eligibility
- All submissions must have been completed after 1 January 2018.
- Oxford International Film Festival requires at least an Oxfordshire premiere for all films.
- Works-in-progress and films with distribution are accepted.
- Films must not have received more than 50% of their funding from a studio or broadcaster.
- All films not in the English language are required to have subtitles.

3. Premiere Status
- Oxford International Film Festival requires at least a Oxfordshire premiere for all films and they may not have been screened publicly online. All films may have screened at other festivals but just not have screened in Oxfordshire.
- There is no Premiere policy for Experimental Films and music videos, they may have screened at other Festivals and/or online.

4. Film Classification
All films screened during the Oxford International Film Festival receive a blanket 18 rating unless they already hold a BBFC certification.

5. Submission Fee
All FilmFreeway submissions for Oxford International Film Festival are to be paid by credit card. The submission fee is non-refundable.

6. Shipping
All shipping and postage costs, if the film is selected for the Festival, for all DCPs and additional materials sent to and returned from Oxford International Film Festival must be borne by the submitting party. Oxford International Film Festival will not accept Cash On Delivery shipments. Oxford International Film Festival will not absorb any fees incurred in British customs. All charges must be pre-paid

7. Selection of Films
Submissions are reviewed and selected under the following criteria:
- Quality of narrative and production values
- Independent nature of the production

8. Notification
Oxford International Film Festival endeavors to complete all selection procedures by 13th of March 2020 and inform all submitting parties, in writing, if their film has been successful or not after that time. Successful submissions will receive a Filmmaker Festival Pack that will include important information on shipping the DCP to the Festival, press and publicity, guest accreditation, contact information and how to make the most of participating in the Festival.

9. Festival Screenings
Selected films MUST provide a Digital Cinema Package (DCP) or video file (.mov or .mp4).in order to be screened at the Oxford International Film Festival. The film title MUST be clearly labelled on the hard drive.
A selected DCP or video file must be received at Oxford International Film Festival no later than TWENTY days prior to its scheduled screening date.

10. Scheduling
Screenings are scheduled during the Festival at the discretion of Oxford International Film Festival. Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the published schedule, Oxford International Film Festival reserves the right to make changes at any time for any reason. Oxford International Film Festival will not be liable for any costs claimed as a result of a change in scheduling.
No film may be withdrawn from the festival programme after its selection.


By submitting to the Oxford International Film Festival I confirm that I have read and accept the terms and regulations of OXIFF. I will provide the festival with any additional information required pursuant to these rules and regulations. I authorise the OXIFF to exhibit my film, and if selected, I confirm that an exhibition copy will be available in a required format for screening during the 2020 festival (May 7th - 10th 2019). I certify that I hold all necessary rights for the submission of this film/video to the OXIFF and that all rights and clearances have been made. This film is not subject to any litigation nor is threatened by any litigation. I hold OXIFF harmless from damage to, or loss of any or all materials en route to, from or otherwise at the festival. I assume all legal responsibilities therein. By Agreeing to these terms, I transfer to OXIFF the right to use excerpts of the submitted film, its stills, and trailers, for the purposes of publicity and marketing of the film at the 2020 festival, and for other non-commercial uses related to the promotion of the 2020 festival. I hereby agree to indemnify OXIFF, in the event that such rights have not been properly transferred.

Overall Rating
  • Behnam Taheri

    lovely fest! well organised, top notch films

    August 2019
  • Harry Nathan Labrakis

    Such a well curated festival. So well organised and really interesting screenings!

    August 2019
  • Ben Hackworth

    Wasn't able to go. Was an honour to be one of a handful of features selected for the festival.

    August 2019
  • Cameron Richards

    Brilliant festival run by great people who really care about the films they are presenting.

    July 2019
  • A real film festival GEM - that’s well attended for both screenings and after parties. Great opportunities for networking with fellow film creators with a few celebrity appearances thrown in for good measure. Communications with the OXIFF team was timely and clear. Overall a fantastic Festival to get involved in, highly recommend submitting.

    May 2018