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, spotlight screenings and conversations, live staged screenplay readings, the Urbanworld Digital track focused on digital and social media, and Urbanworld Music, which highlights emerging talent in live performances during after party events. 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 be hosted at AMC Empire 25 in midtown Manhattan, with Opening Night at the SVA Theater in Chelsea. Last year, Urbanworld featured filmmakers from around the world screening over 70 films, including red carpet studio premiere "Queen of Katwe" directed by Mira Nair and starring David Oyelowo and Luptia Nyong'o. Highlighting its 20th Anniversary, industry talents Ava DuVernay & David Oyelowo served as Festival Ambassadors in 2016.

Urbanworld Digital provides a forum for research and case study presentations, panel and roundtable discussions, as well as intensive workshop on relevant industry subject matter. Filmmakers enjoy hosted industry events by festival partners including HBO, REVOLT, DGA, and BET Networks. 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 endeavors to consistently manifest its mission of redefining and advancing 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. Gabrielle Glore serves as Festival Director for the Urbanworld Film Festival. The festival website is

Awards & Prizes

The Urbanworld Film Festival celebrates and honors films/filmmakers winning across the following categories: Best Narrative Feature (US Cinema), Best Narrative Feature (World Cinema), Best Documentary Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Young Filmmaker (Ages 18 - 25 Years Old), & Best Screenplay, as well as Special Jury prizes. 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 the key industry trade outlets. Each year, various award categories are sponsored by companies who provide cash and/or in-kind prizes to the winners.

Rules & Terms

- Films must be by people of color (writer, director and/or producer) AND/OR feature people of color in the cast/storyline. At a minimum, films 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.
- Festival screenings will only be shown on DCP formats, with Blu-Ray DVD back-ups provided.
- Film must have a composite optical sound.
- Films in competition may not have had a commercial distribution or broadcast in the United States. The programming committee reserves the right to waive this rule in the case of small non-commercial, non-publicized showings.
- Films receiving a theatrical or 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 application.
- 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.
- Films must have been completed AFTER January 1, 2016.
- Works in progress may be submitted, as long as 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 films must be uploaded as an online screener by the extended deadline, June 9, 2017.
- Filmmakers will be notified via email of submission status by July 17, 2017.
- You must have your festival acceptance and release paperwork completed by July 24, 2017, and your electronic press kit materials and Filmmaker Checklist must be submitted no later than July 31, 2017, 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, 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, June 9, 2017.
- Screenwriters will be notified via email of submission status by July 17, 2017.
- You must have your electronic press kit materials available for submission to Urbanworld, along with the Screenwriter Checklist, no later than July 31, 2017, 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)
Optional, but recommended materials include: Brief Synopsis; Filmmaker Bio; Press Kit; Stills

7 Reviews

Overall Rating
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    Darryl Wharton-Rigby

    I love UrbanWorld Film Festival. To have a film screen in the heart of New York City is always a thrill. The staff were great and accommodating. I hope I can return with another film in the future.

    October 2017
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    Sharon Lewis

    We absolutely enjoyed this festival thank you so much for allowing us to be apart of this experience!

    October 2017
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    Shaz Bennett

    Such a great festival! Highly recommend -- the staff, selections, audience are all awesome.

    October 2017
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    Brian Rhodes

    Amazing time!! Best festival I have attended so far.

    The experience was great. Very well curated and has a great balance of indie and more commercial films. Great communication and the people throwing the festival really care! A lot of love in that festival.

    October 2017
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    David F Mewa

    A well produced festival. I was impressed. A must visit for urban filmmakers.

    December 2016