The Virginia Film Festival, a program of the University of Virginia, has been celebrating the magic of the movies and inspiring audiences for 37 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 Jon Batiste, Matthew Broderick, Sandra Bullock, Nicolas Cage, Annette Bening, Ava DuVernay, Colin Firth, Will Forte, Morgan Freeman, Nikki Giovanni, Ethan Hawke, Tippi Hedren, Werner Herzog, Anthony Hopkins, Allen Hughes, Ashley Judd, Spike Lee, Shirley MacLaine, Leonard Maltin, Danny McBride, Stanley Nelson, Leslie Odom, Jr., Vanessa Redgrave, Gena Rowlands, Meg Ryan, Jimmy Stewart, Oliver Stone, Christoph Waltz, Liv Ullmann, Mia Wasikowska, and Sigourney Weaver.

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


The Virginia Film Festival (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.

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.

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 30-Nov 3, 2024). Any exceptions to this requirement must be agreed upon in writing by VAFF's Artistic Director.

*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 2024 VAFF consideration, your film must have been completed in 2023 or 2024.

***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
  • Safiya Songhai

    This is a very prestigious festival that has lots of submissions. I'm so elated to have had my film participate in the competition.

    April 2024
  • darcy miller

    We were really honored to be part of this wonderful festival. One of the main festivals we wish we could have attended. The screenings and events all very professional and interesting. We hope to be back another year!

    November 2023
  • Jennings Rice

    VA Film Festival was awesome! Everyone is very social, employees/volunteers are very helpful and panels are very insightful. VAFF is a great and social place to showcase your film. Charlottesville Downtown Mall has lots of places to stay, eat, shop which makes it excellent for out of town visits as well. Pro tip- fly into Richmond and rent a car!

    November 2023
  • 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