The Virginia Queer Film Festival provides access to films by, for, and about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people and their families, and a forum for LGBTQ+ filmmakers to share and discuss their work with audiences.

Our inaugural film festival is June 14-16, 2023 on the campus of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. It is the first of its kind in Virginia, and one of only a handful of LGBTQ+ film festivals in the American South.

Our vision is to elevate the spectrum of queer stories to educate, entertain, and build deeper acceptance and understanding of the Southern queer experience. While we accept submissions from all filmmakers, our mission is to foster deeper community engagement by showcasing queer film programming, educational experiences, and social dialogue with a focus on Virginia and Southern voices.

Awards:

Best Narrative Short
Best Documentary Short
Best Narrative Feature
Best Documentary Feature
Best Animated Short Film
Best Experimental Short Film

VAQFF may also, at our discretion, bestow the following awards:

Virginia Film Award
Student Film Award
Directing Award
Cinematography Award
Screenwriting Award
Editing Award
Composer Award
Producer Award
Audience Award
Music Video Award

1. ELIGIBILITY. This Contest is open to entrants ages 18 and over. All entry forms and all communications from entrants must be in the English language. Films submitted in any language other than English must have English sub-titles.

2. ENTRIES. All entries must be original works. Contestants may submit multiple entries in one or more categories. Use of any third party materials without both acknowledgement and written permission of the copyright owner, including but not limited to third-party prose, song lyrics, photography, or video, will result in disqualification.

3. SUBMISSION. As per FilmFreeway requirements (links only). VAQFF screens films as digital files during the Festival and does not screen films on Blu-Ray, HD-CAM, or DCP. If you are unable or unwilling to provide us your film as a digital file for exhibition, please do not submit your film.

4. JUDGING. Entries will be judged based on artistic merit and technical excellence. The Virginia Queer Film Festival reserves the right to use alternate judges if necessary. All judges’ decisions are final.

Films with US distribution (obtained prior to being selected for VAQFF screening) or films produced, financed or initiated by a major film studio or television network are ineligible for competition, but may be considered for a special screening. Selection for screening will be determined no later than one month prior to the festival. Films that have screened on US network or cable television or distributed to theaters prior to the festival dates are also ineligible for competition.

Short films that are publicly available online prior to the Festival may be considered for exhibition during the Festival, but will be ineligible for Jury Awards. We prefer that shorts not be publicly available online. Online, private screenings through a festival’s online program do not count as publicly available online.

5. PUBLICATION AND LICENSE. By entering this Contest, in the event your film is chosen, you hereby grant to the Virginia Queer Film Festival the right to use your name, likeness and film for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers and other publications and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the Internet and picture data storage) which the Virginia Queer Film Festival may deem appropriate.

6. FESTIVAL ATTENDANCE. Entrants are encouraged, but not required, to attend the festival. Entrants are responsible for all costs incurred to attend this festival. Entrants receive two free full fest passes to the film festival.

7. RELEASE. Entrant acknowledges that the Virginia Queer Film Festival may not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with this Contest. Entrant agrees to indemnify the Virginia Queer Film Festival for all costs, damages, and attorney’s fees resulting from any third party claims, including copyright infringement, arising from entrant’s participation.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS
I, the undersigned, acknowledge and affirm that, while Virginia Queer Festival is a not-for-profit that works to further its mission to actively support local artists and integrate a wide range of arts into the life of the entire community, the scope of its mission does not include filmmaking and/or protection of copyright.

I acknowledge and affirm that my participation with Virginia Queer Festival is voluntary and is made with the understanding that I am acting as an individual who is independently responsible for my actions and the propriety of my film. In consideration for Virginia Queer Film Festival permitting me (the undersigned) to participate with the Virginia Queer Film Festival, I agree to unconditionally and absolutely RELEASE, WAIVE, INDEMNIFY, HOLD HARMLESS, AND DISCHARGE Virginia Queer Film Festival, its officers, employees, agents, representatives, successors assigns and volunteers (“Released Parties”) for any and all claims, expenses, damages (including injury to person or property or death), actions, and causes of action, of whatsoever kind or nature, whether caused by the negligence or gross negligence of the Released Parties, arising out of the undersigned’s participation with the Virginia Queer Film Festival.

I also agree to indemnify the Released Parties against any and all claims, expenses, damages (including injury to person or property or death), actions, and causes of action, of whatsoever kind or nature, brought by and/or incurred by third parties, whether caused by the negligence or gross negligence of the Released Parties, arising out of the undersigned’s participation with the Virginia Queer Film Festival.

In the event my film is chosen, I hereby grant to the Virginia Queer Festival the right to use my name, likeness and film for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers and other publications and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the Internet and picture data storage) which the Virginia Queer Film Festival may deem appropriate.

The undersigned acknowledges that the Virginia Queer Film Festival may not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with this Contest, and agrees to indemnify the Virginia Queer Film Festival for all costs, damages, and attorney’s fees resulting from any third party claims, including copyright infringement, arising from entrant’s participation.

The undersigned agrees that any lawsuits arising out of or relating to this Agreement shall be maintained only in Hampton Roads, Virginia. The undersigned agrees that the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia shall govern the use, interpretation and application of this Agreement.

The undersigned acknowledges that this release, waiver and indemnification Agreement is intended to be as broad and inclusive as permitted by law, and that if any portion of the agreement is held to be invalid, it is agreed that the balance of the Agreement shall; notwithstanding, continue in full legal force and effect.

The undersigned further acknowledges that he/she has carefully read this Agreement and knows and understands its contents, and further knows and understands that by signing this Agreement he/she voluntarily gives up substantial rights and assumes all risks, and signs this Agreement as his/her own free act.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • John Lincoln

    Fantastic experience with this festival!

    June 2023
  • Nathan King

    As a queer Virginia filmmaker it was an honor to be an official selection for the inaugural Virginia Queer Film Festival. This will absolutely be a festival I attend again.

    June 2023
  • John Gigrich

    So happy we could be part of the first year of this important festival!

    June 2023
  • Bryan Powers

    Great communication and organization. Was proud to be included but sad I could not attend.

    June 2023
  • I had such an incredible experience attending the inaugural Virginia Queer Film Festival. The selection of films were top tier, but what really set it apart were the kindest, helpful, most dedicated staff members behind the event. I cannot wait to see how this festival blossoms in the future!n And thank you so much for awarding Lovie Dovie the Best Student Film!

    June 2023