The BlackStar Film Festival is an annual celebration of the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and of global Indigenous communities, showcasing films by Black, Brown and Indigenous artists from around the world.

Best Feature Narrative & Documentary
Best Short Narrative & Documentary (ACADEMY AWARDS® qualifying)
Best Experimental
Audience Awards


To be eligible for consideration:

Films must be directed by a person of African descent or who otherwise identifies as Black, Brown or Indigenous, and feature persons of African descent, or tell a story of Black, Brown or Indigenous experiences.

Narrative feature films and documentary films must not exceed a running time of 120 minutes.

Shorts must not exceed a running time of 40 minutes.

Non-English language works must have English subtitles at the time submitted. Dialogue lists will not be accepted.

Though not required for eligibility, preference is given to Philadelphia and North American premieres.

Note: Submissions may be in work-in-progress form; however, works that are not final cuts must be clearly marked “Work in Progress (WIP)” or “Rough Cut” with an indication of what will change or what is missing (e.g., temp sound, missing animation, etc.). If accepted, final prints/media files must be received by June 15, 2021.

Entrants must fully comply with these entry rules and regulations, including all deadlines, film length, entry material and other requirements.

Note: Entry fees are in U.S. dollars, are per film and are non-refundable. BlackStar reserves the right to disqualify a submission, without refund of any kind, if eligibility requirements are not met including if eligibility status changes post-submission. Shorts are films 40 minutes or less; features are films greater than 40 minutes, but not exceeding 120 minutes.

Students: Entry fees for student submissions for the Official Entry Deadline will be waived upon receipt of a photocopy of a current and valid student ID card or a letter from an accredited school that verifies enrollment. For questions, contact

Films will be automatically entered into juried competition unless the entrant(s) request to be withdrawn. Entrants must make this request at the time of application.

Please note that recipients of the Short Narrative and Short Documentary Awards are eligible for consideration in the Live Action Short and Documentary Short categories of the Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy's rules.

Overall Rating
  • It was an honor to be in your Festival!

    September 2020
  • Anna Albelo

    A powerful festival and an amazing community

    September 2020
  • Dennis de Groot

    BlackStar is an anomaly amongst film festivals in what it represents and offers to both its audiences and filmmakers. It presents filmmakers of color with a unique, but much needed, opportunity to present their work amongst an inclusive community of likeminded individuals, which is incredibly empowering and inspiring. Its staff works around the clock to maintain the familial energy that bursts throughout the festival. After experiencing this once, I truly want to return every single year.

    September 2019
  • Raafi Rivero

    top notch festival. 'nuff said.

    August 2019
  • Yolonda Johnson-Young

    It was an honor to be among the official selections for the 8th annual BlackStar film festival. As a 1st time director, I was totally shocked to learn of being awarded the Audience Award for Short Documentary! Thank you for such a great experience.

    August 2019