The Maryland Film Festival is an annual five-day event that takes place in beautiful downtown Baltimore each May, presenting top-notch film and video work from all over the world. Each year the festival screens approximately 50 feature films and 75 short films of all varieties—narrative, documentary, animation, experimental, and hybrid—to tens of thousands of audience members. For every North American feature film screened within the festival, a filmmaker attends the festival to present their work. The festival prides itself on creating a unique, accessible, and competition-free atmosphere. Each year since 2004, the festival has dedicated its opening night to a collection of short films.

The hundreds of filmmakers who have hosted screenings with Maryland Film Festival include such names as John Waters, Barry Levinson, David Simon, Kathryn Bigelow, Jonathan Demme, Melvin Van Peebles, Alex Gibney, Matt Porterfield, Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz, Lisandro Alonso, Todd Solondz, Barry Jenkins, Greta Gerwig, Bobcat Goldthwait, Alex Ross Perry, and Lena Dunham.

In addition to a wide range of contemporary North American films, each festival also includes a sampling of cutting-edge international features (including such titles as Dogtooth, Post Tenebras Lux, and Syndromes and a Century); a vintage silent film with live musical accompaniment; and a feature selected and hosted by legendary filmmaker John Waters (whose choices have ranged from Joseph Losey's Boom! to Gaspar Noé's I Stand Alone). Celebrity guest hosts from outside the world of film are also invited to present favorite films, including musicians such as Ian MacKaye, Branford Marsalis, Will Oldham, Jonathan Richman, Marin Alsop, Harry Belafonte, Dan Deacon, Bill Callahan, Abdu Ali, and members of Animal Collective.

The Maryland Film Festival has been named one of MovieMaker Magazine's "25 Coolest Film Festivals In the World" three times in recent years (2014, 2015 and 2017), as well as earning repeated praise from national publications such as The New Yorker, and ArtForum.

The 20th annual Maryland Film Festival (May 1-5, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland) is looking for all types of film and video work of exceptional quality: feature length and shorts; narratives and documentaries; domestic and foreign; genre work and the unclassifiable; and while we are a general-interest festival, we do frequently program animation, experimental, and underground content. Unique voices and viewpoints are always a plus.

We are actively working to increase the number of foreign titles we screen; filmmakers from all over the world are encouraged to submit their work.

We encourage filmmakers that hope to premiere their work at prominent early 2019 festivals such as Sundance and SXSW to submit these films to us; however, please do be aware of and submit by our final deadline of January 4, 2019.

Please note that the Maryland Film Festival programs work from all over the world—we do NOT solely or even primarily program films made in or about Maryland. That said, we do encourage local filmmakers to enter, and have programmed multiple made-in-Maryland titles each year.

Stronger consideration is given to films that have NOT had significant prior exposure in the Baltimore market; prior screening(s) in the Baltimore area may be grounds for rejection, as may certain forms of television, cable, home-video, internet, and/or VOD availability prior to the festival. This is a particular concern for feature-length work.

For feature films (40 minutes or longer) please note that it is understood that if accepted, the director will be able to attend the festival (May 1-5, 2019) to host their film's screenings. The Maryland Film Festival will be able to help defray the costs of travel and lodging.

Browse our festival archives at or read more about our festival on Wikipedia to get a better idea of the varieties of films and videos we program.

The Maryland Film Festival is a non-competition festival.

The Maryland Film Festival will not return entries or refund entry fees.

Please do not send us press kits or promotional materials unless requested. When submitting via online screener, please be certain to submit a Vimeo link and password that will remain active and unchanged through April, 2019. Failure to submit a link that our screening committee can access throughout our screening process may be grounds for rejection.


By submitting a film the entrant guarantees that they have obtained all appropriate rights and clearances, and that they have legal right to both enter their film and, if selected, screen it publicly within The Maryland Film Festival.

Overall Rating
  • Michael Paulucci

    Great time at a festival by people who know the circuit and who care about independent cinema. Highly recommend.

    June 2018
  • Alex Barsky

    Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this awesome fest!

    May 2018
  • Lizz Astor

    A great fest that takes care of the filmmakers very well and makes it easy to network.

    May 2018
  • Holden Warren

    Maryland film fest is amazing, good food, laid back vibes, filmmaker bonding sessions that start the event, good programming and a great location.

    May 2018
  • Tony Oswald

    Maryland Film Festival is my favorite festival of any I've attended. They know how to make filmmakers feel comfortable, have an amazing program of films and panels. Everything is central, Baltimore is beautiful, full of bars and cafes to explore outside of the festival. And the communication/hospitality is top notch. I want to make a movie every year for the sole purpose of coming to this festival.

    May 2018