Set in the historic eastern shore town of Easton, MD the Chesapeake Film Festival is the perfect location for established and aspiring filmmakers eager to showcase their storytelling artistry to audiences hungry to be moved, enlightened and entertained. Entering it’s 11th year, the festival has been an industry favorite drawing audiences from small towns, as well as, nearby Washington, DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City.

The Chesapeake Film Festival honors leaders in the film industry, from directors and producers to actors, screenwriters, entertainment journalists, personalities and editors. Previous festival honorees and filmmakers include Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese, John G. Avildsen, John O’Hurley, George Stephanopoulous, Paul Lingas, Sandy Cannon-Brown, Tom Horton, Dave Harp, Jess Jacklin and Lynn Tomlinson. The Chesapeake Film Festival offers a diverse community of filmmakers, experts and audiences who engage in dynamic panel discussions to enrich the film experience.

As the Festival launches its second decade this October 12-14, we have expanded our shorts programming, added slots for narrative and documentary features with the highest production value, and expanded environmental and student programming.

In addition to moving audiences with compelling scripted dramas and comedies, the Chesapeake Film Festival aims to shed light on topics that impact the Maryland Eastern Shore community, as well as the nation, especially in the areas of social justice, including the African American experience, climate change, the ecology of the Chesapeake Bay, and the influence of the arts on American life.

The beautifully restored Avalon Theater, built as a cinema in 1921 is located in historic downtown Easton and serves as the primary venue for festival films and events. The Chesapeake Film Festival supports independent filmmaking by giving emerging talents relief from the large number of submission fees they face in their quest for recognition. The festival waives submission fees for student films until June 15. Waivers for other categories are granted by invitation only.

Festival Awards will be given for Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short and Best Student Short films. Awards will also be given for Best Actor and Best Actress, Best Director and Best Editor. Other special awards categories may further be announced.

The General Rules are as follows: 1.) The Chesapeake Film Festival is accepting entries with a completion date for production of June 1, 2016 or later for the 2018 festival. 2).) All films for consideration must be submitted online through 3.) Filmmakers will be notified by approximately June 20, 2018 if their film has been accepted to the Chesapeake Film Festival. 4.) Upon acceptance, additional exhibition copies and press materials will be requested. Exhibition materials and media must be received no later than July 31, 2018. The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations.


An important feature and a valuable service which comes with each film submitted to the Chesapeake Film Festival for current year acceptance is critical feedback from an expert and experienced panel of film reviewers.

The Festival board of directors has developed and refined a set of review criteria and guidelines for this process.   The application review panel of the festival's board applies this instrument diligently when undertaking its critical review of each film offered for consideration and will provide a summary and feedback to each filmmaker regarding their specific film submission(s) subsequent to review whether the film is accepted to the festival or not, upon request.

Overall Rating
  • Jennifer Ting

    Cid Collins Walker, the Artistic Director of the Chesapeake Film Festival was wonderful to work with. She immediately made me and my entourage feel comfortable and welcome. Also the Board Members and Volunteers we met were so kind and helpful. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to screen our film in a historic theatre in the beautiful town of Easton and at a cinema in Cambridge. Thank you for all that you do tohelp give independent filmmakers opportunities to present their work! Your Galas were such fun as well!

    October 2018
  • Theodore Adams

    Hands down one of my favorite festivals. The town of Easton is very charming and the host community is extremely welcoming. I highly recommend this festival. This is one you’ll want to attend even if you are not screening a film.

    October 2018
  • Justin Ward

    The epitome of boutique Festival. They treated the filmmakers with respect and we were thrilled to show our film at the festival. Tank you for a great experience.

    January 2018
  • wayne gibson

    I am forever grateful for The Chesapeake Film Festival for accepting my documentary. They were extremely hospitable and their communications and correspondence left no confusion. I was sorry that I was unable to attend but am a big fan of this organization.

    November 2017
  • Brad Bennett

    Chesapeake Film Festival was always on our radar for a quality and somewhat local festival, so we were quite pleased to be a part of the program. We were slotted to screen twice during the festival in two beautiful theaters in town. Wish the online presence was a bit more engaging with the community, but overall great festival!

    November 2017