The Urbanworld Film Festival, founded in 1997 by Stacy Spikes, is the largest internationally competitive festival of its kind, hosted in New York City. The five-day festival includes narrative features, documentaries, short films, web originals, music videos, spotlight screenings and conversations, live staged screenplay readings, Urbanworld Innovation focused on digital and social media, and Urbanworld Music highlighting artists in live performances during the festival. Since its inception, Hollywood studios, indie film distributors, and established and emerging filmmakers have consistently chosen Urbanworld® to premiere box office and award-winning hits. Urbanworld has been supported over the years by Founding Sponsor HBO, as well as other industry and brand partners.

Known as the filmmaker's festival and the people's festival, where it's all about celebrating and supporting amazing independent film, Urbanworld will host its 26th year in Manhattan, which has been a home for the festival, since inception in 1997 . Last year, Urbanworld featured filmmakers from around the world in a hybrid festival, screening close to 100 projects in-person and virtually, with spotlight conversations featuring industry talents including Ava DuVernay, Aunjanue Ellis, Reinaldo Marcus Green, Haile Gerima, Rza, and Zolee Griggs. Over its 26 years, Urbanworld has welcomed the likes of Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Lopez, Halle Berry, Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, Kate Hudson, Viola Davis, and Rosie Perez, among so many more. Queen Latifah, Melvin & Mario Van Peebles, Justin Simien, Gina Prince Bythewood, Larenz Tate, Reginald Hudlin, Kasi Lemmons, and Tyrese Gibson have all served as Festival Ambassadors.

Urbanworld Innovation provides a forum featuring case study presentations, panel and roundtable discussions, as well as immersive experiences and intensive workshops on relevant industry subject matter. Participating content creators enjoy hosted industry events by festival partners that foster community with industry peers and executives. After dark, Urbanworld Music celebrates the intersection of music and film, with indie musicians and DJs sharing their music with festival attendees during evening after parties. Simply put...Premieres, Panels, Parties is what Urbanworld delivers.

The Urbanworld Film Festival is an initiative of the Urbanworld Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization that redefines and advances the presence and impact of the multicultural community in cinema and cross-platform media. By implementing initiatives that actively support and develop content creators of color, Urbanworld significantly contributes to the evolution of the media and entertainment landscape and the inclusion that it reflects. The festival website is

The Urbanworld Film Festival celebrates and honors films/filmmakers who compete across the following categories: Best Narrative Feature (US Cinema), Best Narrative Feature (World Cinema), Best Documentary Feature & Short, Best Narrative Short, Best Young Creators (Ages 18 - 25 Years Old), Best Music Video, Best Web Original, Best Experimental, Best Environmental Impact, and Best Screenplay, as well as Special Jury Awards. A category-specific jury -- comprised of studio/network/streaming executives, entertainment attorneys/managers/ agents, content creators, and other industry experts -- selects the winner (and any deserving honorable mentions) in each category. Additionally, Urbanworld festival attendees vote to select an Audience Award winner in the Best Feature and Best Short categories. Winners are announced via press release to key industry trade outlets. Each year, various award categories are sponsored by companies who provide cash and/or in-kind prizes to the winners.

- Projects submitted must be by a writer, director, and/or producer who is a person of color (including but not limited to Black, African-American, Latino, East Asian, South Asian, and Pacific Islander) AND/OR feature people of color in the cast/storyline. At a minimum, projects must highlight an inclusive cast that reflects the shifting demographics around the world.
- Urbanworld's programming emphasizes premieres and new works in categories including narrative and documentary films, both features/shorts, as well as animation, web series, and music videos.
- In-person Urbanworld screenings will only be shown on DCP formats, with Blu-Ray DVD back-ups provided. Virtual Urbanworld screenings will require a file upload with specs provided by the Festival.
- Projects in competition may not have had a commercial distribution or been broadcast in the United States. The programming committee reserves the right to waive this rule in the case of small non-commercial, non-publicized screenings.
- Projects receiving a theatrical or key festival screening in the New York Area prior to Urbanworld's dates will not be considered for the Festival. Exceptions will be made under special circumstances. Please contact our office if you agree to any other screenings directly before or after Urbanworld, other than those listed on your submission.
- Urbanworld does not pay rental/screening fees. Instead, our limited resources are invested in the production and promotion of the best possible showcase for your work.
- Projects must have been completed AFTER January 1, 2021, but more recent work is preferred for premiere.
- Works in progress may be submitted, as long as the final version is shared prior to the festival and a DCP will be available for screening during the Festival.
- Previously submitted works are not eligible for re-submission.

- All works must be submitted via ONLINE SCREENER via FilmFreeway. No other formats will be accepted.
- All submissions should adhere to the TRT requirements, as outlined in each category criteria.
- There is no limit to the number of submissions per submitter, provided they are separate submissions and the required submission fee is paid for each.
- All submissions must be uploaded as an online screener by the extended deadline, June 8, 2022.
- Content creators will be notified via email of submission status by August 23, 2022.
- You must have your festival acceptance and release paperwork completed by August 26, 2022, and your project information and assets (photos, trailer, etc.) must be submitted no later than September 2, 2022, if accepted as an official selection.

- No hard copy submissions will be considered; only electronic submissions via FilmFreeway.
- The screenwriter of the screenplay must consider himself/herself a person of color (including but not limited to Black, African-American, Latino, East Asian, South Asian, and Pacific Islander), OR, the screenplay must feature people of color as prominent characters in the story. At a minimum, the screenplay must highlight an inclusive cast that reflects the shifting demographics around the world.
- Screenplays must be the standard feature film length (90-130 pages) and standard US format only. Treatments will not be accepted. Only English language screenplays will be accepted.
- If the applicant has participated in any previous Urbanworld Screenplay competition with a script, that script will not be accepted, irrespective of any and all revisions/changes the applicant may have made subsequent to participation.
- Screenplays may not have been produced, sold, or licensed for theatrical, television, or online production.
- Screenplays must be the original work of the applicant and registered with the Writers Guild of America East Script Registration at, with the WGA West, or copyrighted.

- The applicant's name, address, and phone number MUST appear on the cover of the screenplay's title page.
- There is no limit to the number of submissions per applicant, provided separate submissions and submission fee accompanies each submission.
- All screenplays must be uploaded as a PDF file by the extended deadline, July 8, 2022.
- Screenwriters will be notified via email of submission status by August 23, 2022.
- You must have your festival acceptance and release paperwork completed by August 26, 2022, and your electronic press kit materials and Filmmaker Checklist must be submitted no later than September 2, 2022 if accepted as an official selection.

- Your submission will not be considered until the submission fee is paid in full via credit card. No exceptions.
- Submission fees will not be returned and are non-refundable.

The following must be included for each submission:
- Submission Form (Accepted online exclusively via FilmFreeway, 1 per submission)
- Preview Screener or Script (online screener or PDF file required, uploaded via FilmFreeway)
- Submission Fee (Accepted online via FilmFreeway)
- Film Festival History & Confirmed Future Film Festival Participation; Recommended materials include: Brief Synopsis; Filmmaker Bio; Press Kit; Stills

Overall Rating
  • Aldo Pisano

    I love this festival. It connects artists from all disciplines and backgrounds. And it's so cool to be at a festival that feels like the community you know and love. Highly recommend!

    March 2022
  • Emily McCann Lesser

    From writer/director of The Black Disquisition, Quincy Ledbetter: Our team's experience at Urbanworld was phenomenal! The same care to create a great experience for the filmmakers was taken for both the virtual events and the in-person events. We never once felt a lack of passion from the staff. Communication leading up to the festival was clear and the exchange of materials was easy. There was an almost experimental vibe to some of the virtual events, which I absolutely loved. The in-person events and panels were so much fun and created a space for the filmmakers to do some valuable and genuine networking. I'm excited for us to submit to this festival with ALL of our projects moving forward.

    October 2021
  • Jessica Damouni

    Such an honor to have been included in this year's festival. Incredible filmmakers and team at Urbanworld who make this festival what it is. Felt truly supported and uplifted by the community and excited to attend again!

    October 2021
  • Ricardo Varona

    Really loved my time spent at the Urbanworld. It's a great festival that brings in folks from all walks of life. Looking forward to attending again with some new work!

    October 2021
  • Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi

    My favorite festival :) After such a great experience with my last film Bakosó (2019). I decided to have our World Premiere of our new film this year WE STILL HERE. We flew in the crew from Puerto Rico and everyone loved it and had a great time! Thank you UW family and felicidades on 25 years!!!

    October 2021