MISSION & OBJECTIVE

One of the oldest and most respected festivals and film arts organizations in the U.S., the 51-year old USA Film Festival is a Dallas-based, 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to the encouragement and recognition of excellence in the film and video arts. Through its YEAR-ROUND "live cinema" programs and special events, the USA Film Festival provides an opportunity for the public to discover new films and sheds new light on familiar films by facilitating discussion and encounters with master, mid-career and emerging filmmakers. Programs include a major annual film festival, now in its 51st year; the International Short Film & Video Competition; the annual KidFilm festival, the oldest and largest-attended children's film festival in the U.S.; tributes and retrospectives organized around important themes and filmmakers; and extensive educational community outreach activities. With the exception of special member screenings, all events are open to the public.

ABOUT THE FESTIVAL

51st Annual USA Film Festival (Spring 2020)

A curated event featuring only the best new features & shorts; U.S. and foreign films; Tributes to master artists; International Short Film & Video Competition with awards administered by national jury. Filmmakers present their works and discuss them with the audience; If your short film is also selected to play in the curated showcase, air travel (U.S. filmmakers) and lodging (all filmmakers) are provided to enable you to be with us to present your film. (Air vouchers and hotel are limited quantities; We distribute as films are booked until the resources are exhausted.)

Master Artist Tributes
Tributes & retrospectives honoring master artists including directors, actors, screenwriters, cinematographers, composers, art directors, editors and more.

Since its inception in 1971, the USA Film Festival has presented the world, national or regional premieres of thousands of studio and independent feature films and short experimental, animated, documentary and dramatic films. The eye-popping roster of filmmaker guests numbers in the thousands and is too long to list in total, but includes ACTORS Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey, Benjamin Bratt, Brian Cox, Thomas Haden Church, M. Emment Walsh, Chris Cooper, Peter Fonda, John Turturro, Andy Garcia, Dakota Fanning, Anthony Hopkins, Gary Oldman, Alfred Molina, Christopher Walken, Tommy Lee Jones, James Earl Jones, Ed Asner, Jimmy Smits, Jodie Foster, Marcia Gay Harden, Richard Dreyfuss, Audrey Hepburn, Diane Baker, Dennis Hopper, James Stewart, Robert Duvall, Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck, Jackie Chan, Derek Jacobi, Ian McKellen, Richard E. Grant, Josh Lucas, Wanda Sykes, Martin Short, Charles Durning, Stephen Tobolowsky, Harry Shearer, Dennis Quaid, Gregory Hines, Terry Jones, Ray Liotta, Rene Auberjonois, Timothy Busfield, Melissa Gilbert; SCREENWRITERS/WRITERS George Axelrod, Robert Towne, Buck Henry; James V. Hart, Paul Rudnick; EFFECTS WIZARDS Dennis Muren; VOICE ARTISTS June Foray, Will Ryan; ANIMATORS Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Michael Sporn, John Dilworth, Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, Ray Harryhausen, Henry Selick; AUTHORS John Grisham, Kimberly Willis Holt, Cari Best, Rosemary Wells, Richard Condon, John Boyne, Dominick Dunne; PRODUCERS Bernie Brillstein, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Jerry Bruckheimer, Polly Platt, Christine Vachon; COMPOSERS Mark Mothersbaugh, Quincy Jones, Elmer Bernstein, Hans Zimmer, Paul Williams; EDITORS Dede Allen; Dennis Virkler; CINEMATOGRAPHERS Owen Roizman, Conrad Hall, Laszlo Kovacs; ART DIRECTORS Henry Bumstead, Richard Sylbert; CRITICS/FILM WRITERS Roger Ebert, Leonard Maltin, Mike Clarke, Stephen Rebello; DIRECTORS Milos Forman, Danny Boyle, Mark Herman, Neil LaBute, Ken Russell, Ismail Merchant & James Ivory, Albert Maysles, Peter Greenaway, Blake Edwards, Robert Benton, Michael Apted, Wim Wenders, Norman Jewison, Arthur Penn, Alan J. Pakula, Paul Mazursky, Sydney Pollack, Stanley Donen, Paul Schrader, Martha Coolidge, Mel Stuart, John Waters, Andy Warhol, Charles Burnett, Budd Boetticher, Robert Altman, Oliver Stone, Atom Egoyan, John Frankenheimer, Martin Ritt, Alan Rudolph, Michael Powell, Chuck Jones, Richard Brooks, Frederick Wiseman, John Cassavetes, Frank Perry, Peter Bogdanovich, Robert Wise, Rouben Mamoulian, Sidney Lumet, George Cukor, King Vidor, Mervyn LeRoy, William Wyler, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Raoul Walsh, Frank Capra, George Stevens, and many more.

ORGANIZERS
Ann Alexander (Managing Director)

Tori Collatos (Program Coordinator)

The festival is open to professional and nonprofessional filmmakers.

International Short Film & Video Competition

Winning filmmakers will receive a complimentary DCP conversion of their film.

Fiction
(Free DCP conversion)
Includes narrative works, dramatized events and adaptations of literary or dramatic works. Winning filmmaker will receive a complimentary DCP conversion of their film (approximate value $1,000 - $5,000 depending on length of film).
Value of Goods/Services: approx. $1,000

Non Fiction
(Free DCP conversion)
Includes documentaries or portraits of actual persons or events. Winning filmmaker will receive a complimentary DCP conversion of their film (approximate value $1,000 - $5,000 depending on length of film).
Value of Goods/Services: approx. $1,000

Animation
(Free DCP conversion)
Includes animation of graphics or three-dimensional objects. Winning filmmaker will receive a complimentary DCP conversion of their film (approximate value $1,000 - $5,000 depending on length of film).
Value of Goods/Services: approx. $1,000

The Experimental Award
(Free DCP Conversion)
Works that explore personal experience or film and video forms in innovative ways (can employ elements of animation, fiction or documentary). PSAs, music videos, industrials and educational films may also be submitted in this category. Winning filmmaker will receive a complimentary DCP conversion of their film (approximate value $1,000 - $5,000 depending on length of film).
Value of Goods/Services: approx. $1,000

The Texas Award
(Free DCP conversion)
Works shot in Texas, or made by current residents of Texas and filmmakers with ties to Texas are eligible for this additional award. Winning filmmaker will receive a complimentary DCP conversion of their film (approximate value $1,000 - $5,000 depending on length of film).
Value of Goods/Services: approx. $1,000

The Student Award
(Free DCP conversion)
Student works may be entered in any of the main categories, but only student works qualify for this additional award. Winning filmmaker will receive a complimentary DCP conversion of their film (approximate value $1,000 - $5,000 depending on length of film).
Value of Goods/Services: approx. $1,000

Special Jury Awards
(Free DCP conversion)
The National Jury awards multiple prizes at will for special achievement in any category. Winning filmmakers will receive a complimentary DCP conversion of their film (approximate value $1,000 - $5,000 depending on length of film).
Value of Goods/Services: approx. $1,000 each award

CATEGORY RULES

INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM & VIDEO COMPETITION

All entries must be under 60 minutes in length. Running time is calculated by timing the head frame to the last frame on the end credits.

The appropriate entry fee must accompany each entry. This nonrefundable fee covers screening and handling costs, and will not be returned.

Specify only ONE MAIN CATEGORY (Fiction, Non-Fiction, Animation, Experimental) for your film to be in.

The film or video must have been completed between January 1, 2020 and February 15, 2021.

Films or videos using uncredited, non-licensed, copyrighted musical or literary properties without legal permission and appropriate credits are not eligible.

The film cannot have premiered in Dallas before the Festival.

The competition is open to professional and nonprofessional filmmakers.

Entries must be submitted in the completed form in which they will be judged.

The decisions of the Jury are final. The Jury reserves the right not to select a winner in any given category. The Jury reserves the right to change a category to the benefit of the film.

The JURY TIMELINE is as follows:

February 2021 - March 2021
Pre-screenings take place to (1) identify potential Finalist** films and (2) to identify films The Festival might play in the curated showcase. **National Jurors have final say in determining awards.

March 30th - Mid-April
Filmmakers that are selected for screening in the "Curated Showcase" are contacted and confirmed. (The Curated Showcase is separate from the Competition.)

Spring 2020 (During Festival Dates)
Nat'l Jurors begin judging all Finalist films

Closing Day of Festival
Announcement of winning films; Winning films that were not previously scheduled to screen in the curated showcase will be programmed to screen in the winner's showcase on closing day of the rescheduled Spring Festival.

Note -- All Competition films REMAIN IN COMPETITION process until the National Jurors make their final selections. A list of all winning films is provided to all submitting filmmakers after the program in May. PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE FESTIVAL TO INQUIRE ABOUT THE STATUS OF YOUR FILM.

Eligible finished formats include 70mm, 16mm and 35mm film, DVD, Beta SP, DigiBeta, IMAX, HDCAM, DV/DVCAM, DCI, and Blu-Ray in the standard American NTSC format. (It is understood that there exists a multitude of shooting formats for video production.)

FEATURE SUBMISSIONS

There is no fee to submit a feature film IF sending a DVD screener by the Regular Deadline.

IF PROVIDING AN ONLINE SCREENER for a feature film, the submission fee varies depending on deadlines.

USAFF accepts feature films in all genres; U.S. and foreign works accepted; any length feature works accepted.

For our purposes, feature films are generally not less than 60 minutes in run time.

Professional and nonprofessional film and video-makers may submit works.

All shooting formats accepted.

The film or video must have been completed between January 1, 2019 and February 15, 2021.

The film cannot have premiered in the North Texas area before the Festival.

If submitting a physical screener:
Screener DVDs must be technically fit for projection and should be placed in sturdy shipping cases. Each DVD must be clearly marked with the title and the entrant's name and email address.

Each DVD screener should be marked with the FilmFreeway tracking number assigned.

Screeners and press kits will not be returned (unless postage paid return envelope provided).

All screenings will take place in Dallas during the 51st Annual USA Film Festival.

Filmmakers are eligible to receive air travel and local lodging during their stay. Filmmakers are honored during the festival with nightly receptions following all screenings and on-stage discussion of their work.

The USA Film Festival is a NONCOMPETITIVE event. Feature films accepted for inclusion are not prevented from being considered for subsequent competition in the Cannes Film Festival or other competitive events.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Joshua Jaillet

    Our team only has good things to say about the USAFF - we were delighted our film "The Mechanical Dancer" was chosen for 2020, impressed that the organizers put together a strong voting jury, and excited to receive an Honorable Mention in the Animation category.

    Most of all, though, we appreciated the proactive communication, prompt replies, and professional approach from Tori and the rest of the team. In difficult times, their hard work didn't go unnoticed - thanks so much.

    August 2020
    Logo
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your kind words Joshua. It was a pleasure to present your work -- Our audiences loved your beautiful film!

  • Rodrigues David

    USA FILM FESTIVAL is a festival with great Hospitality. It was a honor for us to be selected on this wonderful festival.
    The whole team of the film « Leaving to live » thank you warmly for your great work and your sympathy !
    All the Best, 🍀

    July 2020
    Logo
    Response from festival:

    It was our pleasure to present your powerful film!

  • Amazing Festival! Great communication! Great people!

    July 2020
  • Stan Wong

    Very honored to have been selected for USA Film Festival. Great host of a 50 year old establishment.

    July 2020
    Logo
    Response from festival:

    We loved having you as our guest Stan! Thank you for your provocative film!

  • Clayton Jones

    USA Film Fest was a great experience. Our film played during Coronavirus and they were so accommodating despite all the craziness.

    July 2020