Find your audience at Western New York's premiere cinematic event – the 15th 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 15th year, the festival features films, episodic content, performances, panels, art installations, and special programs including 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 5 years BIFF has had the honor of hosting the Western New York premieres of Marshall, Buffaloed, The True Adventures of Wolf Boy, Crown Vic, St. Louis Superman, Thunder Road, The Sentence, Tower, Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present, Endless Poetry, A Woman's Work: The NLF's Cheerleader's Problem, Recorder: The Marion Stokes Story, I Am Human, Freeland, The Last Out and many more. Please visit our website buffalofilm.org 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 and Engagement; and Diversity and Inclusion. To learn more about BIFF and our mission please visit: buffalofilm.org/about

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Our 2020 festival included drive-in and virtual screenings, events, panels, performances and media art installations. BIFF hopes to return to offering physical screenings in venues throughout the city of Buffalo, October 7-11, 2021.

Planning will proceed with the health and safety of our community and visitors as our top priority, while providing a platform to celebrate our official selections. We will keep all submitting filmmakers up to date on our plans for physical events and screenings in Buffalo as the year progresses.
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Please note: BIFF’s Racial 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 Racial Justice in View may be submitted through the traditional open call with applicable submission fee.
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“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:

- "Gold Bison" Best Narrative Feature
- Best Feature Film, Documentary
- Best Short Film, Documentary
- Best Feature Film, Documentary
- Best WNY Student Film
- Best WNY Short
- Best WNY Feature
- Best Episodic Project
- “Supersnipe" Best Animated Film

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 the finest in current contemporary cinema from around the world and around the region. 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 2021 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 virtual film festival) prior to September 1, 2021 will not be considered.
4. BIFF prefers, at a minimum, a Western New York premiere status. A 'Western New York premiere' is defined as not having screened publicly in the United States within a 50-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 are eligible to screen at BIFF.
6. Films that have premiered prior to January 1, 2020 (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. BluRays may be acceptable for features only.
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.
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 including print shipping and deadlines, attendance, and a general festival and Buffalo orientation guide. 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 info@buffalofilm.org 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 2021 Buffalo International Film Festival is cancelled or postponed 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 virtually and/or in a socially distanced venue at a later date 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 100-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 info@buffalofilm.org for support.

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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, as well as those occurring locally in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery , Elijah McClain and far too many others, 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 the Black Lives Matter movement, and its efforts 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 like BLM and many others 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 racism, protest, 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.

Topics for further consideration include (but are not limited to):
THE FIRE THIS TIME
RACE AT THE BOILING POINT
WITNESS NARRATIVES
INTERSECTIONAL INJUSTICE
COPS: THE GOOD, THE BAD + THE UGLY
STRUCTURES OF INEQUALITY
PROTEST + OTHER FORMS OF DISSENT
RIGHTS + LAW IN POSTMODERN DEMOCRACY
TACTICAL + STRATEGIC MEDIA
ENGAGING THE POLITICAL PROCESS (FOR BETTER +/0R WORSE)
RADICAL LOVE + REFORM

Racial Justice in View - Terms of Entry

If your film is over 10 minutes long, does not include a social or racial 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 Racial 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.

1. Only entries submitted digitally (via FilmFreeway) will be considered. Private, password protected Vimeo links are preferred.
2. BIFF prefers Western New York Premieres. A 'Western New York premiere' is defined as not having screened publicly in the United States within a 50-mile radius of Buffalo, NY, prior to the festival.
3. Exhibition formats vary from venue to venue. Filmmakers are expected to provide physical media which may include BluRay (Region A/1 or Region Free only), Digital Cinema Package (DCP) or .mov files. No other formats will be accepted for exhibition.
4. Only completed works 10 minutes long and under may be submitted to Social Justice in View.
5. You may replace your original submission at anytime, 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.
6. 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.
7. If invited to screen at the Buffalo International Film Festival, you acknowledge the festival is under no obligation to pay a screening fee.
8. 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.
9. Contacts designated on the submission record will receive information including print shipping and deadlines, attendance, and a general festival and Buffalo orientation guide. You agree to keep the contact information associated with your submission record up to date.
10. Showtime and venue scheduling is at the discretion of the festival and may be subject to change.
11. 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 info@buffalofilm.org prior to the Notification Date.
12. 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 or the cancelation of the festival. Submission fees are nonrefundable.
13. In the event the 2021 Buffalo International Film Festival is canceled in full or part due to circumstances such, but not limited, to a national, state, regional or city emergency the Buffalo International Film Festival, Inc may choose to exhibit Racial Justice in View virtually.
14. You agree to submit a brief statement affirming your project qualifies for the Racial Justice in View category.

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 100-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.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • We were absolutely thrilled to screen at the Buffalo International Film Festival! Everyone involved with the fest is so kind, accommodating, and genuinely passionate about the films in their line-up. I highly recommend BIFF and think that any indie filmmaker should submit their latest work!

    December 2020
  • Razid Season

    Very good and organized festival. I liked it, and I was provided an honorarium for the official selection! (Which was obviously surprising and it was unexpected!). We had a Q&A and a Red Carpet event. I recommend this festival.

    December 2020
  • Chris Hirschhaeuser

    Buffalo International Film Festival was a great experience for us ! Thank you for having our movie "Toprak" in the line-up and awarding us with the Best Feature Award ! The virtual Q&A was great, thank you so much to Anna Scime & John Fink for taking so nicely care of us!

    October 2020
  • Marc Schiller

    💪excellent customer service, red carpet was funny 😆

    October 2020
  • Sinah Ober

    Amazing festival! Very hospitable and well coordinated. Attended online and hope to visit in-person some other year.

    October 2020