The Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series is a two-day annual film festival founded by African Voices magazine and LIU's Media Arts Dept., Brooklyn Campus. Established in 1997, Reel Sisters ( is dedicated to providing opportunities for women of color filmmakers to advance their careers in the film industry. Reel Sisters is the first Academy Qualifying Film Festival devoted to women of color across the globe. Gender non-conforming filmmakers are welcomed to submit women centered films to the festival. Reel Sisters 22 Anniversary event will take place from Oct. 19-20, 2019 in NYC. Reel Sisters is a competitive festival and films are selected by an independent jury. Please submit films early as deadlines are final.

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.” New in 2019 is an award for Best Original Soundtrack. Reel Sisters is an Academy Qualifying Film Festival for Short Narratives. The festival curates events throughout the year so all entries will be considered for our pre-festival Reel Sisters Tea & Cinema series. Join our worldwide community of film professionals in celebrating stories produced, directed and written by women of color!


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

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

• Reel Sisters is a top tier film festival that celebrates stories by women of color and 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 5,000 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. In 2016, Reel Sisters presented the Reel Sisters/Centric Awards, which includes a distribution deal with Centric/BET Networks. The cash awards depend on our funding level. It was a pleasure to bring back our scholarship awards to the film festival and with your support we can continue this tradition.


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


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. If you do not have a trailer, please mention this fact when you submit. Your submission will not be complete without some form of promotional materials uploaded.


- 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.

- You are required to send us a downloadable link of your film via FilmFreeway only. 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 trailer links from Vimeo and Youtube to help promote your film in our festival. Please submit them with your application.

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

- Entries must be delivered by the deadline.

- Entry fees cover a small portion of the festival’s administrative costs for processing submissions and are non-refundable. No waivers.

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

Overall Rating
  • Ellie Foumbi

    This is a great festival! Honored to have my film selected.

    November 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for giving us the honor of screening your film! Wishing you the best on future film projects!

  • Wanjiru Njendu

    Great festival very prompt and communicative

    October 2018
    Response from festival:

    It was our pleasure in presenting your film! Thanks!

  • Such a great time and wonderful community! Reel Sisters is highly supportive and I would definitely submit again!

    October 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thanks! It was wonderful having Blaque in Reel Sisters! Your film represents the outstanding creative stories we love! Keep up your outstanding work!

  • I found this festival to be so much of what other festivals aren't: it allows filmmakers to connect with community, your film is treated with high esteem and all makers get equal attention. It's also a great opportunity to see what other women of color are doing. Thank you for the support Reel Sisters. I hope the festival grows and becomes known for what it is, a cultural NYC landmark.

    October 2018
    Response from festival:

    Esther, it was a pleasure screening A Chocolate Conquest! Please keep spreading the word about Reel Sisters! You are a Reel Sister for life!

  • Constance Ejuma

    Love this festival! Really encouraged by the amount of support we got from them from their social media outlets not to speak of the opportunity they created for us to get media exposure from a well known blog. To top it off, my film got recognized and won a top prize which was very exciting. I can't wait to submit my next film to Reel Sisters!

    November 2016
    Response from festival:

    Constance, it was our deepest pleasure! Our team worked hard to give you the best experience that we could! We're looking forward to seeing your next film at Reel Sisters! Thanks for your review!