Find your audience at Western New York's premiere cinematic event – the 18th Annual Buffalo International Film Festival!

Every fall BIFF screens over 100 features and short films from around the world - combining festival favorites with unique discoveries from local, regional, domestic and international makers. Now in its 18th year, the festival features films, episodic content, performances, panels, art installations, and special programs including Decolonial Films and Racial Justice in View! With a commitment to inclusion and amplifying diverse voices in narrative, documentary and experimental film; BIFF encourages works that push the boundaries of genre and form.

BIFF is proudly curated from our open call, with approximately 75% of our line-up programmed from submissions each year.

Over the past 10 years BIFF has had the honor of hosting the Western New York premieres of If You Were The Last, Fancy Dance, Kim's Video, Catch the Fair One, Memoria, The Lost King, A Rising Fury, Marshall, The True Adventures of Wolf Boy, St. Louis Superman, Thunder Road, Tower, Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present, Endless Poetry, A Woman's Work: The NLF's Cheerleader's Problem, Recorder: The Marion Stokes Story, The Last Out and many more.

Please visit our website to explore an archive of our recent programming.

BIFF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a platform for global content makers and our WNY community to exhibit, distribute and experience cutting edge offerings in contemporary cinema and related content. Our core values include: Artistry; Community Collaboration; Education & Engagement; and Diversity & Inclusion. To learn more about BIFF and our mission please visit:

Please note: BIFF’s Justice in View program is free to submit, however this program line is open exclusively to filmmakers in New York State, Southern Ontario Canada and neighboring Indigenous Nations for works under 10 minutes. A brief cover letter affirming your film qualifies for this category is required. Please see full terms and conditions before submitting. Films that are not eligible for Justice in View may be submitted through the traditional open call with applicable submission fee.
“As Buffalo continues to be a place for artists to grow and thrive, those behind the curtains of BIFF clearly intend to remain a vibrant part of the process, year in and year out.” - Dan Mecca, The Film Stage

"In the past three years, it has set itself the goal of becoming a world-class film festival, and it has kept on that course." - M Faust, The Public

BIFF's juried prizes include awards in the following categories:
- Best Narrative Feature
- Best Narrative Short
- Best Documentary Feature
- Best Documentary Short
- Best WNY Student Film
- Best WNY Feature
- Best WNY Short
- Best Episodic Project
- Best Animated Film
- Special Jury Prize

Additional awards include:
-BIFF Audience Award
A balloted award voted on by BIFF audiences! Feature films only.
-BIFF Boundary Breaker Award
Issued by the BIFF staff and awarded to a groundbreaking work.

Thank you for your interest in the Buffalo International Film Festival (BIFF). BIFF welcomes submissions from across the globe, and works to provide Western New York audiences with regional premieres of films from around the world and around the region.

BIFF requires all selected films to be Western New York (Erie County) premieres, if your film requires an exception to this rule please email our program committee to discuss your festival and exhibition plans. Films publicly available online (on platforms such as YouTube) will not be considered for the program.

BIFF is accepting submissions (with applicable fees) in the feature (over 45 minutes) and shorts (under 45 minutes) categories. Racial Justice in View submissions are free for qualifying projects.

To ensure that your project qualifies for a place in our 2023 line-up, please read through the following terms, conditions and rules governing our curatorial process. Your submission constitutes an acceptance of the following terms and conditions.

Terms of Entry - Shorts/Features/Student Films

1. Only entries submitted digitally (via FilmFreeway) will be considered. Private, password protected Vimeo links are preferred.
2. BIFF defines 'Short Films' as works under 45 minutes. Films over 45 minutes long must be submitted as 'Feature Films.' Films submitted in Racial Justice in View should be no longer than 10 minutes.
3. BIFF defines 'Episodic Content' as Narrative, Documentary or Experimental works with story arcs unfolding over multiple episodes. Makers may submit a single episode or provide multiple episodes as a single video file for review. Episodic Content over 80 minutes will not be reviewed. Preference will be given to work which has not premiered online. Work that will be publicly available online (other than in a film festival with a virtual program) prior to October 1, 2024 will not be considered.
4. All selections are required to be a 'Western New York premiere' as defined as not having screened publicly in the United States within a 30-mile radius of Buffalo, NY, prior to the festival.
5. Feature films and shorts in all categories available to the general public in their entirety within the United States via Video On Demand platforms (including Facebook and YouTube) are not eligible to screen at BIFF. Films that have screened on a limited basis (no longer than two weeks) in virtual cinemas or virtual film festivals outside of the Western New York market are eligible to screen at BIFF.
6. Films that have premiered prior to January 1, 2023 (either domestically or internationally) are not eligible for consideration.
7. Exhibition formats vary from venue to venue. Filmmakers are expected to provide a digital format acceptable to the screening venue. Formats generally are DCP and .mov via a physical drive or download link.
8. Works in Progress will be reviewed by our submissions committee. If your film is not yet complete please include your post-production schedule and work to be done (ie: color grading, score, sound mix) in your cover letter.
9. You may replace your original submission at any time, however any prior evaluation of your film will not be discarded. Filmmakers are strongly encouraged to provide films that are at or very near picture-locked.
10. All submissions are reviewed using the following criteria: strength of direction, storytelling, production/technical value, cultural value, and audience interest. We welcome diverse submissions that blur the boundaries between documentary, narrative and experimental work.
11. If invited to screen at the Buffalo International Film Festival, you acknowledge the festival is under no obligation to provide a screening fee, accommodations or travel arrangements.
12. The Buffalo International Film Festival endeavors to complete our selection process by the notification date and inform all submitting parties via email of their selection status.
13. Contacts designated on the submission record will receive information regarding your submission and applicable materials in the event your film is invited to screen. You agree to keep the contact information associated with your submission record up to date.
14. Showtime and venue scheduling is at the discretion of the festival and may be subject to change.
15. By submitting a project to BIFF you assert that you are the designated representative of the project’s producer and at this time have the right to enter into an agreement to exhibit the project at a film festival in the United States. You also agree should the project’s distribution status or premiere availability in Western New York change to inform the festival via email at prior to the Notification Date.
16. The Buffalo International Film Festival and its host venues aspire to provide the best quality presentation possible. All exhibition media provided in advance will receive a technical screening prior to its festival screening. BIFF and its venue partners will not be held liable for any failure in the technical quality of its presentation resulting in the cancellation or interruption of a screening. Submission fees are nonrefundable.
17. You agree to hold BIFF harmless in the unlikely event the 2024 Buffalo International Film Festival is cancelled, postponed or to move entirely online due to circumstances beyond our control including but not limited to a national, state, regional or city emergency. In the event the physical festival is canceled in whole or part submission fees will not be refunded, however BIFF will (1) complete the curatorial process (2) invite selected films to screen in a time and format BIFF is able to accommodate and (3) offer a fee wavier for a future project to filmmakers selected for the program.

By accepting our invitation to screen you agree to the following terms:

1. No project may be withdrawn after accepting an invitation to screen at the festival.
2. Your project is currently compliant with the rules set forth in the terms of entry.
3. You agree not to host a screening (of 15 or more persons) of your film in the United States, within a 30-mile radius of Buffalo, NY prior to your screening. Limited private screenings of less than 15 persons for the purposes of feedback (such as a small friends/family screening or for the purposes of fulfilling a thesis/class requirement) are permissible on a limited basis.
4. Your project has received, or will receive all applicable legal clearances required for a public screening in the United States. You agree to hold the Buffalo International Film Festival harmless and to indemnify the festival, its sponsors and venues against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages and expenses (including but not limited to attorney’s fees and court costs) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, and screening.
5. BIFF reserves the right to reclassify a submitted project for the purposes of programming and juried awards consideration.

BIFF’s programming team is available to assist should you have any questions. Please email for support.

About BIFF's Racial Justice in View category:

The Buffalo International Film Festival is committed to diversity, inclusion, and community collaboration programmatically and organizationally. Our mission is to amplify diverse voices by creating and maintaining open platforms with which to tell stories through cinema. Recent events in our nation and beyond have underscored the urgency of addressing racial injustice, and listening to the people that experience and witness these injustices first hand.

We support and stand by movements that work to educate, bring visibility, and spark discussions around the racism, systemic injustice and violence that has plagued this country since colonization. Through our festival platform, we hope to contribute to the work that BIPOC lead movements are doing to transform these systems in order to fully enable equal rights, liberty and justice for all.

In light of these on-going concerns, BIFF will again offer a submission-fee free call for RACIAL JUSTICE IN VIEW, a curated program of nonfiction film - documentary, experimental, video essays, and everything in between – exploring (de)colonialism, racism, protest, military and police brutality and inequality in the United States, Canada and sovereign Indigenous lands.

We invite makers from Western New York, the Tuscarora Nation/Ska:Ruh:Reh, the Tonawanda Seneca Nation/Onondowahgah, the Seneca Nation of Indians/Onondowahgah, the Cayuga Nation territories/Guyohkohnyoh, the Onondaga Nation/Onundagaono, the Oneida Nation/Onayotekaono, the Mohawk Nation/Kanienkahagen, Six Nations, the Shinnecock Nation, the Poospatuck Nation of the Unkechaugi, New York State, and Southern Ontario to submit video work under 10 minutes. We welcome old and new work for this category, but the work cannot be publicly accessible.

Racial Justice in View - Additional Terms of Entry

If your film is over 10 minutes long, does not include a racial, social, or environmental justice thread; or originates from outside of New York State, Ontario, and neighboring Indigenous Nations; you may submit a project with the applicable entry fee to the appropriate category.

By submitting to Justice in View you agree to include a brief statement qualifying the project for this category. Work submitted without a brief statement (using the cover letter feature) may be disqualified.

Overall Rating
  • Well Worn Boot

    Being part of BIFF was an absolute HONOR!

    January 2024
  • Lukia Costello

    I look forward to BIFF every year because it's always a great opportunity to, network and make friends with filmmakers from all over. The programming is always thoughtful, diverse, and high quality.

    I expected nothing less than an amazing experience as a participating filmmaker. Leadership is accessible and helpful - truly in it for the filmmakers and community and volunteers are super friendly.

    BIFF is supported by volunteers, student interns, and al ultra-dedicated and principled staff who work their a**** off to bring a truly world-class festival to our community.

    If you're looking for a supportive and fun experience in a culturally diverse community, don't miss this fest.

    October 2023
  • Diane Almeter Jones

    It has been a great honor to have BIFF launch our short film in the festival circuit. Thank you to John, Anna, and the interns for the great hospitality. As a local producer/writer I couldn’t be prouder to participate in a festival that highlights Buffalo’s art scene, professionally and enthusiastically.

    October 2023
  • Amelia Wyeth Ponirakis

    Grateful for the opportunity to be part of this festival, the programming team did such a good job piecing together features and shorts blocks. Such a great turnout as well and I was in love with the North Park Theatre. Thought it looked so beautiful and it was my first time in Buffalo and I hope to come back. Love all of the public art around and the amount of experimental and analog filmmakers that were showcased as well!!

    October 2023
  • Jono Hunter

    Had a really great time at the festival. Kind staff and cool movies!

    October 2023