We celebrate the art of the moving image and music in all genres on the banks of the Ohio River.

RiverReel is a Cincinnati Film Society all genre international festival. Entering into our second year in the historic brewery The Mockbee, a storied site along the route of Cincinnati's historic canals.

Cincinnati's media legacy is wide and deep, from influential record labels, radio, and television, nurturing iconic art, fostering extraordinary classical work, and embracing a cascade of festivals. To honor this legacy we will present an international festival of moving pictures and music. Feature films, short films, music videos, experimental films, and tv & web pilots from local, national and international – we will seek to showcase the very best.

Narrative Feature
Documentary Feature
Documentary Short
Narrative Short
Animation Short
Dance Short
Actor in short
Actress in short
Music Video
Experimental Short
Pilot, TV/Web Series
Use of Lighting in short
Audience Choice

Best Short
Best Feature
Best TV/Web Short
Best TV/Web Feature

Shorts are 40 min or less. Features are over 40 min.
RiverReel is able to provide the following for every selected visiting filmmaker (director, producer only – other cast/crew must be approved by the Artistic Director):

*Filmmaker badge that allows access to all screenings and the Hospitality Suite.
*Discounted hotel rates at host hotel(s).
*Optional 2 week screening in Cincinnati for winners

The film must have been completed in 2017 or 2018. Films completed in 2016 will only be considered if they premiered in 2017; films premiering prior to 2016 will not be considered

More than one entry may be submitted. Each entry must include a separate entry form and submission fee. Films submitted without proper payment will not be considered. Entry fees are non-refundable.

The RiverReel Film Festival DOES NOT PAY SCREENING FEES. By submitting your film via FilmFreeway you acknowledge that the festival will not pay to present your work.

The deadline for receiving all required entry materials is Friday, June 30th, 2018. Foreign entries also must comply with this rule.

Films selected for the 1st annual RiverReel Festival will be announced no later than Friday, July 20th 2018.

The submitting filmmaker must be either a producer or director of the film.

All entries must submit the following information to be considered for the Festival:

1.) We do not accept pre-screening materials through email and are unable to download files from sharing services. Submissions are only accepted through our FilmFreeway.

2.) All films must be submitted as an online screener with a YouTube or Vimeo link for consideration by the Selection Committee and must be HD (720p or 1080p). Links MUST BE password-protected, passwords must be valid through August 9, 2018, or your submission will be considered INVALID and will be DELETED.

3.) Completed and digitally signed submission on FilmFreeway.

4.) Entry fee.

5.) All works selected to be in the festival must be available by Friday, June 30th, 2018 for inclusion in the festival.

6.) We do not accept pre-screening materials through email. Submissions are only accepted through our FilmFreeway.

7.) Do not submit industrial or instructional works.

8.) Films that are available online for screening, have had a theatrical release, a television broadcast within the United States or a release through an on-demand outlet such as Netflix, Amazon On-Demand or any other outlets that are available in Ohio prior to the Festival dates are not eligible to be named Finalists, but may be considered for “Special Presentation” screenings. Films with a theatrical release, television broadcast or available on-demand outside of the USA are eligible to screen as “Official Selections” and are eligible to be named Finalists.

9.) The film cannot require dual projection (interlock) or separate soundtracks.

10.) Non-English films must be subtitled or dubbed.

11.) Works in progress are accepted. While you may submit the final cut up until the late deadline, your original submission should be a fair representation of your final piece. Please include information as to what still needs to be completed (color correction, score, etc.) in your film file or on your cover letter.

1) All screenplays/teleplays (collectively, “Scripts”) submitted must be in English.

2) Scripts must not have been optioned or sold prior to Aug 1st, 2018. Applicants must notify RiverReel of any changes in status following submission.

3) All submissions must be accompanied by the appropriate submission fee PER ENTRY through FilmFreeway.

4) Once an entry payment has been received we cannot provide a refund. If a payment is disputed by an entrant for any reason, the entrant may be subject to any transaction fees or similar amounts incurred by RiverReel in connection with the dispute.

5) No revisions or missing pages will be accepted once an entry has been received.

6) Awards are based solely on the overall merit of entries. Judges reserve the right not to grant an award.

7) We strongly suggest that applicants copyright their materials with the U.S. Copyright Office (www.copyright.gov) and/or register their screenplay/teleplay with the Writers Guild of America, East (www.wgaeast.org/script_registration) or Writers Guild of America, West (https://www.wgawregistry.org/registration.asp). Please consult an attorney regarding any questions about these.

RiverReel reserves the right to use images from films selected for festival marketing purposes (web, print media, and television).

All other filmmakers will be notified by email by Friday 20th, 2018 Official Selections and Finalists will be publicly announced on Friday July 20th, 2018 .

All selected films must be available for exhibition in an HQ .mov file with ProRes422 or ProRes422HQ compression. Two Blu-ray backups and two DVD backups must be provided for each film, in case of issues with the primary exhibition format. Filmmakers must provide self addressed stamped packaging for Blu-ray discs to be returned. CFS will not pay for shipping.

A pre-screening committee comprised of artists, students, and community activists watch all the films and videos entered in the competition. After all entries have been watched, the pre-screeners evaluate all entries to determine films to include in public screenings. A combination of scoring and discussion among these committee members and our artistic director/programming staff ultimately decide the lineup of the RiverReel Film Festival. A Jury consisting of film professionals, academics and critics will select the best film within each category.

Excellence of the entries shall be judged on the basis of Originality, Creativity, Plot, Pacing, Structure, Characters, Cinematography, Direction, Writing, Entertainment Value, Overall Quality of Production. Similarly, screenplay contest entries are judged based upon the following criteria: Concept, Presentation, Plot, Pacing, Characters, Dialogue, Theme, Style, Overall Quality of Screenplay.

By entering your film for consideration for the 2018 RiverReel Festival, you authorize that your work is cleared for festival exhibition and accept full legal responsibility for the intellectual property therein. Entry into the festival constitutes permission to exhibit your work at the 2018 RiverReel Festival. The RiverReel Festival is also hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes. The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless the RiverReel Film Festival from and against any and all 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 involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered. The RiverReel Festival may opt to withdraw your work from the festival at any time for any reason. The RiverReel Festival DOES NOT PAY SCREENING FEES. By submitting your film via FilmFreeway you acknowledge that the festival will not pay to present your work. RiverReel reserves the right to disqualify any submission without refund of submission fees. RiverReel does not issue refunds. The number(s), date(s), time(s), and location(s) of the screenings of films are at the discretion of the RiverReel Festival.

Overall Rating
  • Javad Daraei

    I loved the atmosphere with all the people and could network very well.. It was well organized and an amazing experience for a young filmmaker like me.

    May 2017
  • James Carroll

    They have a great team interested in promoting our industry. It was an honor to be selected by them

    April 2017
  • Mohammad Mohammadian

    Your festival is very nice, Thank you so much.

    April 2017