The Maryland Film Festival is an annual five -day event that takes place in beautiful downtown Baltimore each Spring, presenting top-notch film and video work from all over the world. We are currently planning the 25th edition of MdFF as an in-person festival to take place from May 3-7, 2023

Each year the festival screens approximately 30 feature films and 80 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, Elissa Blount Moorhead, Jonathan Demme, Melvin Van Peebles, Alex Gibney, Stanely Nelson, Matt Porterfield, Joe Swanberg, Maori Holmes, Amy Seimetz, Lisandro Alonso, Todd Solondz, Barry Jenkins, Greta Gerwig, Bobcat Goldthwait, Alex Ross Perry, Riley Stearns, Julius Onah, 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, Caniba, The Human Surge, and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives) 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, Beach House and members of Animal Collective.

The Maryland Film Festival has been named one of MovieMaker Magazine's "25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World" four times in recent years (2014, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021), as well as earning repeated praise from national publications such as The New Yorker, and ArtForum.

In the interest of providing a relaxed, non-competitive atmosphere for filmmakers and filmgoers to enjoy and engage with each other and the work, MdFF forgoes prizes and awards.

The 25th annual Maryland Film Festival (May 3-7 2023) 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 2021 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 December 15, 2022.

Please note that the Maryland Film Festival programs work from all over the world—we do NOT solely program films made in or about Maryland. That said, we do encourage local filmmakers to enter, and program 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. Stronger consideration is also given to works made in 2022 and after. Works made in 2020 and before are not eligible for the 2023 fest.

Browse our festival archives at www.mdfilmfest.com 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 May 2023. Failure to submit a link that our screening committee can access throughout our screening process may be grounds for rejection.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

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.

If their movie is accepted, North American feature filmmakers agree to attend MdFF (May 3-7, 2023) in-person to host their film's screenings (or virtually if the safety of travel due to the corona virus requires it). The Maryland Film Festival pays screening fees to all selected titles and provides travel and lodging to attending feature filmmakers.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Abdul Sesay

    This was truly one of my best experiences at a Film Festival. This was so professional and very organized. There were so many great films to watch and filmmakers to interact with. I would definitely recommend filmmakers to attend!

    September 2022
  • Cleo Handler

    this was a wonderful festival / overall experience. the shorts block was fantastic, the events were super fun, the programmers were great, and i felt really well taken care of as a filmmaker. thank you so much MDFF & highly recommend!

    July 2022
  • We are beyond impressed with the Maryland Film Festival. An impeccably curated and organized event with a wonderful sense of community and heart. Not to mention the dream-come-true of a venue that is the SNF Parkway Theatre! We will be attending this festival again in the future, regardless of whether we make another eligible film.

    May 2022
  • Kate Weare

    We loved working with The Maryland Film Festival! They were amazing and personable in all their communications - very warm and thoughtful. You really feel that adventurous cinephiles run this festival and we were honored to be included! We will definitely be applying again in the future.

    May 2022
  • Dylan Boom

    Phenomenal festival! It was the first time that the fest was back in person and we had the honor of being part of the opening night short films, it was truly awesome. Would love to come back!

    May 2022