The glitz and glamor of showbusiness in the mainstream film festival can sometimes detract from the true purpose of the event — the celebration of creative film-making. While the red carpets, the champagne parties, and the high admission prices may be good for grabbing headlines and driving profits, they may also prevent the dissemination of art to the audience.

At the Amsterdam Independent Film Festival, we focus on film. The event will bring independent artistic visions to an audience that demands a more fulfilling experience than the latest Hollywood fare.

In Amsterdam’s Lab 111 — a cult cinema located in a former anatomical pathology hospital — we’ll be screening the world’s best independent films free of charge, giving film-makers the widest possible exposure and freedom from commercial constraints.

We’ll also pay tribute to the masters of the independent film industry and explore their creative journeys. In 2018 we looked into the work of Jim Jarmusch and in 2019 our focus was the early work by David Lynch. In 2020, we look at famed Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman (1950-2015). A pioneer of modern feminist cinema, her oeuvre explores the mundanities of everyday life with a clear, personal eye and has left a considerable mark on avant-garde cinema.

Alongside our showcase of independent film will be the carefully-curated “Red Lights” selection, featuring the best of modern erotic cinema. This presentation of unique and original art will be a tasteful exploration of human sexuality — demonstrating the full spectrum of human experience through the medium of motion picture.

No red carpets. No elitist audiences. No distraction from the art itself. The Amsterdam Independent Film Festival will provide an intimate environment for film-makers and film lovers to come together and share in the beauty of artistic expression.

The announcement of a new partial lockdown on the first evening of the 2020 festival threatened to throw a wrench in our live events, but we were relieved to hear cinemas were allowed to remain open, at reduced seating capacity. The festival team was very pleased to be able to safely welcome a limited number of guests at our screening venue.

Join us in October 2021 with your own independent work, and embrace a new type of film festival — one where the films take center stage.

Amsterdam Independent Film Festival supports the Connecting Cultures Program by The Bigger Screen. Each year, The Bigger Screens select ten countries and grant filmmakers from those areas the ability to submit their work free of charge to partner festivals all over the world. This opens the door of film exposure to those who may not otherwise be able to enter. As we support inclusivity and shareable films, this program exemplifies our mission. From February 2021 until February 2022 included, The Bigger Screen Connecting Cultures Program supports filmmakers based in the following countries: Burundi, Eritrea, Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Nepal, Myanmar and Iran.

All selected filmmakers will receive The Tarkovski Grant, a film festival submission fee waiver package with an average value of about $250. This not only saves you a lot of money, but it also recognizes your work as something to watch for during the selection procedure, making a selection with another partner film festival more likely - but of course, never guaranteed. The Tarkovski Grant supports hundreds of filmmakers each year in their challenging journeys as independent filmmakers, by promoting existing films, no matter the genre, style or length. The Tarkovski Grant is supported by film festivals from all over the world. Find out more here:

All selected films are also automatically in the running for Producer's Night.
Producer's Night is an opportunity for independent filmmakers to have their work screened to a private group of elite Hollywood producers. For many directors, it could mean their ticket to the mainstream. The exclusive screening presented by Cinematory, Tarkovski, and Hollywood producer Bhavani Rao, member of the PGA, will show the best of independent cinema from the past year's film festivals at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in West Hollywood. The only way to be considered for this by being selected at one of the partner film festivals. Amsterdam Independent Film Festival is a proud partner film festival of Producer's Night. More information:

Each edition, the festival will also give out awards in the following categories:
Best Narrative Feature Film
Best Documentary Feature Film
Best Narrative Short Film
Best Documentary Short Film
Best Experimental Film
Best Animated Film
Best Red Lights Film
Best Dutch Film

The Amsterdam Independent Film Festival accept all forms and genres. All non-English language films must be subtitled in English. Entry does not guarantee acceptance into the festival. Submissions WILL NOT be returned. We also accept submissions that have premiered elsewhere and that may have distribution agreements already in place. However, TV, theatrical, online video, other festival, or other distribution outlets that run concurrently or in the same month of the festival may not be eligible for screening. Rough cuts and incomplete projects are not accepted. Multiple entries are allowed, however a separate entry form must be submitted for each. The festival has the capability to screen H264 1080 MP4 files or DCP.

Screenings are scheduled during the Festival at the discretion of the Amsterdam Independent Film Festival. Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the published schedule, Amsterdam Independent Film Festival reserves the right to make changes at any time for any reason. Amsterdam Independent Film Festival will not be liable for any costs claimed as a result of a change in scheduling. No film may be withdrawn from the festival program after its selection. If chosen as an official selection, Amsterdam Independent Film Festival is granted the permission to exhibit the film at the Amsterdam Independent Film Festival and all associated screenings. Location and timing of any screenings of the film shall be the sole decision of the organizers of the Amsterdam Independent Film Week. Filmmakers will be solely responsible for all costs resulting from the submission of the film to the Festival including but not limited to postage or insurance of the film, and expenses of your staff or any representatives of the film. Producer will indemnify the organisers of the Festival against all claims, demands, costs, damages, expenses (including legal fees), proceedings and losses resulting from the screening of the film at the Festival or from claims by any third parties.

Although every precaution will be taken to prevent loss or damage to materials while in the possession of the festival, The Amsterdam Independent Film Festival is not responsible should any materials be damaged while in transit to or from, or while in the possession of the festival.

The filmmaker holds the Amsterdam Independent Film Festival, its management, juries, subsidiaries, agents, sponsors, affiliates, and etc. harmless from any and all claims of liability resulting from entry. The filmmaker certifies to have full rights. Producer will indemnify the organisers of the Festival against all claims, demands, costs, damages, expenses (including legal fees), proceedings and losses resulting from the screening of the film at the Festival or from claims by any third parties.

The festival does not offer screening fees for its films. By submitting through FilmFreeway you are agreeing to NOT request a screening fee as a requirement for your film's participation in the festival, should your film get selected for the program.

Since the festival only requires a nominal entry fee, we will NOT accept requests for other entry fee waivers.

Overall Rating
  • It's a great honor to be selected by the Amsterdam Independent Film Festival. Thank you!

    October 2020
  • Mark Engelsman

    Emilia thanks for the great communication! Really appreciated

    October 2020
  • Zachary Kerschberg

    We are thrilled to have screened at the Amsterdam Independent Film Festival - and appreciate the extra effort that was made during 2020 so that audiences could see our films. Thank you to the programmers and organizers and congrats to all the filmmakers!

    October 2020
  • Stéphane Rizzi

    Proud my film participated to that exciting LIVE festival in that terrible period ! Very good communication.

    October 2020
  • It's an honor to be a part of this film festival.

    October 2020