Better Cities Film Festival is the world’s premiere film festival about cities, towns, and neighborhoods.

It is a festival of stories about places - about how places shape our lives, and about how we can make our cities, towns and neighborhoods better places for everyone to live, work and play.

We honor the top films with awards, and screen those films to a vast audience around the world through our flagship event (a four-day film festival in Detroit, Michigan), and through satellite screening events in a growing number of host cities across the world (from small towns like Laredo and Oxnard, to international hotspots like Shen Zen and Milan).

UNITED NATIONS SCREENINGS
Beginning in 2020, we formed a unique partnership with the United Nations to create the UN-HABITAT BETTER CITIES FILM FESTIVAL, which brought the festival to Abu Dhabi, UAE for the Tenth Session of the World Urban Forum, the largest international conference on cities. Our partnership with UN-HABITAT will extend to bring the film festival to future global conferences and events in 2021 and 2022.

VIRTUAL SCREENING SERIES
Adapting to the pandemic and restrictions on theaters, we have partnered with Proud Places (www.proudplaces.com) to create an online monthly virtual film screening series, which will bring our films to a growing audience of highly engaged civic-minded people across the country throughout 2021.

ALL GENRES WELCOME
We accept films of any length and genre, that in some way relate to our theme. Past films have included stories relating to: architecture, bicycling, beekeeping, community life, street art & public art, main street, historic preservation, civic history, urban gardening, urban design, tactical urbanism, placemaking, sociology, economic development, environment, sustainability, ecology, transportation, mass transit, walkability, gentrification, housing, new urbanism, trains, subways, buses, stadiums, police stations, postal routes, parks, waterfront, rivers, murals, technology, innovation, racial equity and more.

JUDGES
Our roster of judges features influential thought leaders in urban design, architecture and film. Visit our official website to learn more.

ENGAGED AUDIENCES
Better Cities Film Festival attracts a highly-engaged niche audience of filmmakers, artists, activists, architects, authors, bicycle advocates, city lovers, community leaders, historians, journalists, ministers, mayors, politicians, urban planners, and everyday engaged citizens eager to improve their community.

FESTIVAL HISTORY
Originally founded as the New Urbanism Film Festival in Hollywood in 2013, we announced our new name Better Cities Film Festival in 2019 and relocated the flagship event to Detroit. In 2020, we adapted to the pandemic with an online virtual festival, screening over 80 films from 26 countries during October.

2021 FLAGSHIP FESTIVAL: DETROIT
In 2021, pending an end to pandemic restrictions, we plan to re-establish our live, in-person flagship festival in Detroit, Michigan, USA. Detroit is the poster child of urban revitalization, and living laboratory civic innovation and reinvention. Our 2021 Detroit festival will combine film screenings with tours, tactical urbanism, happy hour film discussions, and creative placemaking events throughout the Motor City, culminating with an awards ceremony to honor the winning films and filmmakers.

Prizes include:
Award Certificate
Gifts from our sponsors and media partners
Free submissions for life
All Access Pass to BCFF2022


2021 RULES & TERMS FOR ENTRIES
As used herein, the term ENTRY includes a film, an animation, a television (TV) pilot, a documentary, a web series of any type or kind, and/or a music video, stills, and combinations thereof.
BCFF means Better Cities Film Festival
General Rules
1. Film ENTRIES must be submitted online via FilmFreeway.com
2. Each ENTRY will only be considered for screenings hosted after the corresponding deadline on FilmFreeway.
3. Films must be submitted to the proper length category and with the proper fee to be considered for the festival. Fees paid to an inappropriate category will not be returned.
4. All ENTRIES must be in English, subtitled, or dubbed into English.
6. All authors and/or owners of the ENTRIES including the films selected for screening at the festival grant BCFF a nonexclusive, global, royalty free right and license to use stills and excerpts of up to two minutes long for promotional purposes, online, at BCFF exhibitions, or at any exhibition promoting the BCFF. The authors and owners also grant to BCFF a nonexclusive, global, royalty free license and right to right to make copies of the ENTRIES, including films selected for screening and derivative films based on the films selected for screening, and including the rights to distribute copies of the films selected for screening to third parties and the rights to publicly display the films selected for screening, and the rights to publicly perform the films selected for screening by means of a digital audio transmission, and to otherwise use the ENTRIES in any way and manner it chooses.
7. BCFF is not responsible for any lost, stolen or damaged entries.
8. Exceptions to the festival regulations must be authorized by the Festival Director of the BCFF.
9. Multiple entries are permissible, but each entry must be made separately via FilmFreeway.
10. Submissions will not be returned. 11. All fees are nonrefundable.
12. BCFF reserves, in its sole discretion, the right to refuse to consider any submission. In the event BCFF refuses to consider a submission no fees and no entry fees will not be returned or refunded.
13. Film ENTRIES may be screened more than once at the festival or at any future festival event.
14. BCFF retains rights to screen all ENTRIES at any future BCFF event without compensation to the authors and owners without needing permission from the authors and owners.
15. All authors and all owners of the ENTRIES including film submissions waive the right to collect any screening fees from BCFF and waive the right to collect any other fees associated therewith.
TERMS & CONDITIONS
I/We wish to have our film/animation/TV pilot/documentary/web series/music video/ entry(ies), collectively referred to ENTRIES included in the BCFF. If more than one (1) party signs this agreement as submitter, then reference to “I”, “me”, “my” throughout this agreement shall apply to each party; jointly and separately.
I hereby do grant BCFF, its festival director and producers, a nonexclusive, global, royalty free license and rights to use stills and excerpts of any ENTRY up to two minutes long for promotional purposes, online, at BCFF exhibitions, or at any exhibition promoting the BCFF, and grant to BCFF a nonexclusive, global, royalty free license and rights to show for promotional purposes on television, on the BCFF website, Twitter, and Facebook page, on sponsors’ websites, print and digital promotional material, press releases, etc., any media including the ENTRY and/or stills submitted by me with this application. No more than two minutes or up to the length of the trailer submitted by the filmmakers may be used. I understand that no materials included with this application/submission will be returned.
I hereby do grant BCFF, its festival director and producers a nonexclusive, global, royalty free license and permission to use my entire ENTRY for broadcast, duplication, copying, and advertising in association with BCFF, for the purpose of viewing on television, in theatres, on the internet, on the BCFF website, on sponsors’ websites, podcasting and/or for archival purposes and for any other valid, lawful purpose in any and all media now known or hereafter developed or devised, worldwide and in perpetuity. I waive any right to inspect or approve the finished videotape, sound track, photograph, advertising copy, audio piece or printed matter that may be used or to the eventual use that it may be applied. I hereby do grant to BCFF, its festival director and producers a non exclusive, global, royalty free license the rights and permission to make or have made derivative works of my ENTRY.
I hereby release, discharge and agree to hold harmless BCFF, its officers, agencies employees and sponsors, from and against any liability as a result of any use, distortion, blurring or alteration that may occur or be introduced in any use or broadcast of the material.
I waive any and all rights to compensation for and use by BCFF of the ENTRY, and I waive any and all rights to any compensation for derivative works created by BCFF based on the ENTRY, and waive the right to compensation, for any broadcast, duplication, and advertising of any ENTRY presented at the festival.
All intellectual property ownership of all ENTRY remains with the personnel who contributed to the ENTRY. I still retain the right to sell, distribute, and exhibit my ENTRY elsewhere, including but not limited to other festivals and broadcast outlets. I own the intellectual property rights to all material submitted with application and that will be viewed at BCFF.

The nonexclusive, global, royalty free licensing and permission to use my entire ENTRY exists in perpetuity. In the event that I sell my intellectual property rights in the ENTRY to another entity, I sell the rights to said intellectual property encumbered with this nonexclusive, global, royalty free license to the ENTRY. Thus, BCFF will still have the right to use my ENTRY even if I sell the intellectual property rights to another entity.
I understand that BCFF, its producers and sponsors are relying on this release and accordingly, I hereby irrevocably waive any and all rights to seek or obtain any injunction or other equitable relief against BCFF, its officers, agencies, employees and sponsors.
I do hereby agree and consent to and hereby do grant BCFF a nonexclusive, global, royalty free license and rights to license my ENTRY or ENTRIES to any third party film organization, a third party entity, or other person without having to compensate me and without having obtain any consent from me, and without having to advise me of any such licensing of ENTRIES, and without having to compensate me.
I warrant that the use of the rights granted here and of any material supplied by me/us will not violate the rights of any third party. I agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless BCFF, its officers, agencies, employees and sponsors from any claims by third parties alleging that our content or material infringes on any third party’s rights. This Release and Hold Harmless Agreement shall bind my assigns and any representative.
This contract is the entire agreement between the parties hereto, and replaces and supersedes any prior agreement or understanding, verbal or written, with respect to the subject matter hereof. No amendment, addendum, modification or waiver of this contract or any portion hereof shall be valid unless contained in a writing signed by both parties hereto.
In consideration for this release and in consideration of permitting BCFF to use my ENTRY as detailed above, I receive the opportunity to have my ENTRY shown at BCFF and any future BCFF events. I accept and hereby do acknowledge that there is no promise of payment, in any form for likeness, image, biography, recording, equipment, or for any other contribution to us on this production.
I hereby certify that I am over eighteen years of age and competent to contract in my own name. If I am signing on behalf of an organization, I certify that I have authority to do so and that my signature binds the organization and its performers to all elements of this contract.
I have read the foregoing release and authorization and agreement, before affixing my signature below, and warrant that I fully understand the contents thereof.
I am authorized to sign and give consent for everyone (including but not limited to performers, writers, directors, technical crew, distributors) who contributed to all ENTRY(IES) and all materials submitted with this application to the Better Cities Film Festival 2019.

FAQ
Save yourself a headache and read these answers to our Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. Do you accept films completed prior to 2021?
A. We accept all films regardless of date filmed, completed, distributed, etc. Our mission is to curate the best films about urban design.
Q. I produced a series of videos on this issue, can I submit more than one in my series?
A. Yes! If you produced a web series or episodic piece about urban planning, please send it in. You can submit individual episodes as short film entries, or you can submit the entire series as a feature. If you submit as a feature, we’ll watch the whole series and consider it as a feature and also consider individual episodes as short films in the relevant categories.
Q. Can you waive my entry fee? I am a starving filmmaker / work for a good cause and I can’t afford the entry fee.
A. While we are fellow filmmakers and can completely relate, unfortunately we cannot waive any fees. It’s just not fair to all the other starving filmmakers. We do suggest submitting early to take advantage of the reduced fees.
Q. How will I know if you received my DVD?
A. We strongly discourage sending physical copies for consideration. If you have to submit through the mail, please contact us first. We’ll want to make sure your format is compatible with our players. This has been a problem in the past, so please message us and we will help you get your video to us.
Q. Will the DVDs be returned?
A. Nope.
Q. Can I submit more than one film?
A. Sure, you can submit a thousand films – as long as they all accompany their own entry form and fee.
Q. Am I eligible if I live outside the U.S.?
A. Absolutely! Submit it online using FilmFreeway.com. Please note that the film must be in English or have English subtitles.
Q. Can I submit a rough cut?
A. Yes, but the final version must be uploaded before the final deadline. We try to make accommodations for updated versions, but make no guarantees.
Q. Can I submit my film if I am under 18?
A. You can, if you have a parent or guardian submit it for you.
Q. Can I enter if my film has screened at other festivals or on the Internet?
A. Yes. And please let us know if you’ve won any awards!
Q. My film was made a while ago, can I still submit it?
A. Yes. We have no time limit on when it was made. As long as it is still relevant.
Q. Is the deadline ‘received by’ or ‘postmarked by’?
A. Received by. And seriously, submit it online.
Q. I have a film that I think might fit in the theme, but I am not sure. Can you preview it and tell me if I am wasting my entry fee?
A. Send us a link and we’ll take a look. Email us at info@bettercitiesfilmfestival.com. We’ll be happy to watch a trailer or the first few minutes of your film and let you know if it fits.
Q. I just missed your deadline – am I screwed?
A. Email us at info@bettercitiesfilmfestival.com. If we still have enough time to fairly review your project, then we may waive the deadline.
Q. How will I know if I am accepted in the festival?
A. We will notify you by email with a series of instructions arranging to get a screening copy of the film, film stills, a video trailer, press release, and how to tickets for you/your crew. The FilmFreeway.com website will also send a notification but will not provide information or instructions regarding screenings.
Q. How will I know if I won the big contest?
A. We announce the winners on the final night of the festival. If you are not present, follow the hashtag #BCFF2020 for all the updates on the festival, including award winners.
Q. Do you offer any discounts on submissions?
Yes, we offer discounts for students, volunteers, previous years’ winners, CNU members, and members of sponsoring organizations. Email us for details.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Jim Hall

    Highly recommend! BETTER CITIES is a festival with a heart the size of Detroit and that heart cares. My wife is a former Urban Planner, so with the Official Selection, I had instant street cred in our house because this festival is well known throughout the world. Enter your film now! Support the people who dare envision a better future for our cities. Now, what's BETTER than that?

    March 2021
  • Michelle Yates

    Because of the pandemic, 2020 was an unusual year where festivals had to go virtual. Better Cities Film Fest did a fabulous job with this. Communication was excellent! The streaming platform worked really well. The festival provided a platform and space for filmmakers to network and connect remotely. The films were really good! I was honored to have my film screen here, and in spite of the unusual circumstances.

    October 2020
  • Everyone did a wonderful job at the Better Cities Film Festival! I watched several different programs, and each one was fascinating and well-curated. As a filmmaker, I attended a virtual happy hour where i met other filmmakers and the festival organizers. It felt welcoming and the questions and feedback were interesting. The program my film was in, Next Generation & Cities, showed initiatives throughout the world to make positive changes. Experiencing voices and smiles from the US and abroad was refreshing. "Literacy for Environmental Justice" was inspirational to my own non-profit work. "Making our place," filmed in Vietnam, was particularly relevant and heartfelt to me. I saw kindred spirits in the women, appreciating their shyness and uncertainties, and also their actions and their art, their receptiveness to mentorship and hope. "Cycling towards a Brighter Future" also gave a strong sense of community connection and conversation. Better Cities Film Festival definitely succeeds in its mission to show us how to make better cities and better lives with each other. The film festival organizers communicated well and extended respect and thoughtfulness in their selections and interactions. Definitely apply if your work suits the themes!

    October 2020
  • Nice Experience with this festival

    October 2020
  • Tamer Soliman

    Despite being virtual, this is one of the best festival we've ever been a part of. We can only imagine what it would have been liked if we were all in the same city and cinemas watching films together, networking and talking about how to make cities better. Looking forward to the day where we can all gather. ENCORE!

    October 2020