The Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series is an annual film festival founded by African Voices magazine. Established in 1997, Reel Sisters ( is dedicated to providing opportunities for women of color to advance their careers in the film industry. Reel Sisters accepts films written, directed, or produced by women/non-binary filmmakers of color. Reel Sisters is the first Academy Qualifying Film Festival for short narratives devoted to women of color across the globe. Reel Sisters is an IMDb qualifying film festival. Reel Sisters celebrates our 26th Anniversary in 2023.

APPLICATION INFO: YOU MUST SUBMIT PRODUCTION STILLS/PHOTOS and a TRAILER for your submission to be ELIGIBLE AND COMPLETE. You can screenshot photos from your film if you were unable to hire a photographer.

Reel Sisters is a competitive festival and films are selected by an independent jury. Please submit films early as deadlines are final. The festival provides quality customer service and does not offer fee waivers. The fee covers a small fraction of the administrative costs for running a professional Oscar qualifying film festival.

Reel Sisters accepts all genres and formats with a special interest in submissions from animated and web series producers. Send us films that will make our audience “cry, dance, laugh, sing and explore." The festival curates events throughout the year so all entries will be considered for Reel Sisters Tea & Cinema series. Join our worldwide community of film professionals in celebrating stories produced, directed and written by women of color!


Reel Sisters Micro Budget Film Fellowship Offers Women of Color A Chance for $5000 to Produce A Web Series Pilot or Short Film!

DEADLINE: February 28, 2023 Announcement: April 10, 2023

You will receive $5,000 to produce your short film or the first episode of your web series, which you can use as a calling card to attract a producer and other film opportunities. Short films of 15 minutes or less are also eligible. You will be guided on your journey in learning the art of creating a high quality micro budget short film. Story is Queen.

Be prepared to begin production and shooting of your short film or web series project shortly after you are selected as the Reel Sisters Fellow!

For complete application visit


• Listed in Film Daily's Top 10 Women Centered Film Festivals (2018)

• Profiled in Bushwick Daily, Shadow & Act, Film Daily, the Washington Post, Latin Times and Black Enterprise for presenting outstanding films by women of color from across the globe!

• Reel Sisters is a top tier film festival that provides a chance for women to gain distribution, network and access to opportunities in the film industry.

Reel Sisters screens original films by women across the globe each year — the festival has screened over 5,400 films since its inception. Awards for Best Director, Best Documentary, Best Screenplay, Best Experimental, Best Animation, Best Feature, Best Short, Best Narrative, Best Web Series, Best Original Soundtrack and the Reel Sisters Spirit Award are selected by an independent jury composed of filmmakers, community leaders and artists. Reel Sisters has given over $60,000 in cash awards and scholarships since our inception. In 2022, Reel Sisters Micro Budget Film Fellowship provided script to screen opportunities to three women of color filmmakers who received $5K each towards their short film project. Our fellows receive a premiere screening at Reel Sisters, an Oscar Qualifying festival.


Best Narrative Short - $1,000
Best Director - $500
Best Screenplay - $300
Best Animation - $200

For complete application information visit


TRANSLATION: Your film must be English dubbed or have English subtitles if it is in any other language.

PRODUCTION STILLS & TRAILERS: Please make sure you upload production photos with your submission and a trailer. If you do not have photos, you can screen shot a photo by pausing a scene in your film to create one. Your submission will not be complete without all promotional materials uploaded.

NO WAIVERS: Entry fees cover a small portion of the festival’s administrative costs for processing submissions and are non-refundable. We do not offer waivers.

OUR REFUND POLICY: Our entry fees are non-refundable. It is the responsibility of the filmmaker to read our guidelines and policies to ensure that they are eligible to submit to our festival.


- Please read our guidelines carefully before submitting your film as we do not issue refunds for entry fees. It is your responsibility to ensure your film meets our criteria and submission guidelines. We rarely accept films longer than 90 minutes. Your film must have a women of color as co-producer, co-director or co-writer, if the lead producer/director is male.

- We only accept films via FilmFreeway. PLEASE DO NOT EMAIL US ANY VIDEO LINKS. If you submit to FilmFreeway via a Vimeo link, you must provide a passcode to view. You must make your film downloadable for our production staff if your film is accepted. If you do not make your film downloadable by the requested deadline, your film will not be eligible for consideration.

- Please contact FilmFreeway staff if you have any issues uploading your film and making it downloadable for our production staff if you receive an acceptance letter.

- We will need downloadable trailer links from FilmFreeway or Vimeo to help promote your film in our festival. You must submit the trailers and photos with your application. If your materials are not submitted with your application, your film will be disqualified.

- Complete the details required, providing brief synopsis of the film, credits, production stills and trailers. We accept photographs in all formats including JPEGs, TIFFs and EPS (electronic photos must be 300 dpi resolution for promotional purposes).

- All accepted films will be notified via email. Please make sure ALL of your Contact Information is up-to-date. If your email changed between the time you submitted your film and our Notification Date, please update it ASAP so we can correspond with you.

- Entries must be delivered by the deadline.

**Failure to deliver a digital screening file on time Forfeits any previous accepted invitation.

Overall Rating

    A truly special experience as a first time filmmaker. Great communication and hospitality. Reel Sisters are the real deal.

    May 2023
    Response from festival:

    Lisa, it was such a pleasure screening your film in Reel Sisters 25th Anniversary season! Wishing you continued success with future projects! Thank your for supporting the festival!

  • Lovely Experience!!! The program has effective communication and great organization.

    April 2023
    Response from festival:

    Evey, thank you for allowing us to screen your film in our 25th Anniversary season! Reel Sisters wishes continued success in your filmmaking journey!

  • Joshinder chaggar

    My experience with the festival was fantastic. The communication was great, and it was such an honour to be part of this festival. Thank you Reel Sisters for a truly wonderful experience.

    November 2022
    Response from festival:

    Joshinder, it was a pleasure screening your film in our 25th Anniversary Reel Sisters film festival season! Thank you for the great review — kudos to our organizing team for their hard work!

  • Eunice Levis

    It was an honor to have "Ro & the Stardust" screen at this festival! A truly wonderful experience. So much time and care went into curating this event. I can't wait for next year!

    November 2022
    Response from festival:

    Eunice, it was a pleasure sharing "Ro & the Stardust" with our audience and having your cast join us for our 25th Anniversary Reel Sisters! Looking forward to having you join us in 2023 & beyond! Congrats on your Reel Sisters Best Narrative Short Award & Oscar qualifying status!

  • Ophilia Davis

    Although I was unable to attend the event it was truly an honour to have my short film showcased at the festival. The co-ordinator was very helpful and informative when assistance was needed. Thanks again for the opportunity. All the best!

    November 2022
    Response from festival:


    It was our pleasure to have your film in the festival's 25th Anniversary season! Wishing you continued success and we look forward to keeping in touch!