The Virginia Film Festival, a program of the University of Virginia, has been celebrating the magic of the movies and inspiring audiences for 36 years in Charlottesville.

Every Fall, the VAFF showcases celebrated new narrative and documentary features, independent and international projects, fresh perspectives on timeless classics, and local filmmakers from throughout Virginia. Today, the VAFF stands as one of Virginia’s most important cultural landmarks and one of the most respected regional destination film festivals in the United States.

The Virginia Film Festival brings in a wide array of guests, from internationally acclaimed directors and actors to professors and cultural experts who lead discussions that stimulate, educate, and engage.

Past guests include Annette Bening, Leslie Odom, Jr., Ethan Hawke, Jimmy Stewart, Spike Lee, Meg Ryan, Morgan Freeman, Christoph Waltz, Allen Hughes, Liv Ullmann, Leonard Maltin, Werner Herzog, Ashley Judd, Ben Mankiewicz, Jonathan Majors, Vanessa Redgrave, Anthony Hopkins, Sandra Bullock, Nicolas Cage, Gena Rowlands, Bill Plympton, Sigourney Weaver, Shirley MacLaine, Danny McBride, Colin Firth, Tippi Hedren, Ross McElwee, Matthew Broderick, Stanley Nelson, Cherry Jones, Oliver Stone, Will Forte, Mia Wasikowska, Jorma Taccone, Jenna Elfman, and Walton Goggins.

VAFF is primarily a non-competitive Festival. We do offer Programmers' Awards chosen by the programming team and Audience Awards voted on by audiences.


Virginia Film Festival (VAFF) is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the VAFF for promotional purposes.

The submitter affirms that any and all issues of copyright pertaining to any imagery or music contained in the submitted film have been properly cleared for use.

VAFF does not offer “notes” or specific critique of any films not accepted for exhibition, and reserves the right to not accept a submission for any reason.

PREMIERE STATUS REQUIREMENT (Full-Length Films): The Virginia Film Festival requires all feature-length entries submitted and accepted into the Festival to be Virginia premieres (at minimum), meaning no public exhibitions, theatrical runs, streaming, or prior festival play in the state of Virginia before the VAFF dates (Oct 25-29, 2023). Any exceptions to this requirement must be agreed upon in writing by either VAFF's Festival Director or Senior Programmer.

*Note that the Premiere Status restriction applies only to full-length (31 mins. or longer) productions, and not short films, which are eligible regardless of prior exhibition or streaming status.

PRODUCTION YEAR REQUIREMENT: VAFF only considers new productions eligible for submission. In order to qualify for 2023 VAFF consideration, your film must have been completed in 2022 or 2023.

***The individual or organization submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations***


Current Virginia Residents are eligible to submit projects with entry fees waived. Current students are eligible for discounted entry fees. For more information on how to obtain a discount or waiver code, please visit

Virginia residents are REQUIRED to provide a valid Virginia address with their submission to have the entry fee waived.

Students should upload a photo of a current student ID with their entries.

Overall Rating
  • Perpetuo Films

    We thoroughly enjoyed our experience at VAFF. The team is professional and easy to work with, and the quality of the festival is excellent. We were pleased with the festival’s attention to accessibility. The screening of our film--Dani’s Twins--took great care to go beyond compliance to make the event a truly inclusive experience. Thank you VAFF!

    November 2022
  • David Ashton

    It was an honor to be part of the 2020 VFF with my short film, The Legacy Sessions. I really appreciate that VFF had a programming block for medium length shorts, which often get overlooked by festivals. The films I was grouped with were all very strong also. I look forward to being part of the festival again in the future, hopefully in-person so I can get the full festival experience.

    February 2021
  • Brian Elliott

    An honor to screen at such a prestigious fest! First rate all the way. Thanks so much Virginia FF! Hopefully we can all do it again!

    November 2020
  • Justin Feltman

    Fantastic festival! Tough year for everyone due to COVID but they made the transition quite easily and did a great job of communicating and making us feel welcomed even if we weren't in person.

    November 2020
  • Thanks Virginia Film Festival for selecting "One Pill at a Time" for the 2019 edition. Honored to be in such great company. Thanks Again.

    October 2019