Founded in 2004, the Houston BFF is a celebration of cultural diversity, community outreach, and the art of visual storytelling. Our goal is to offer a creative outlet for independent storytellers and connect them with industry professionals within the entertainment capital of the world. One of our favorite events, PATIO PITCHES, garnered great reviews. We also stay committed to hosting at least one event out in the community during or festival.

We aspire to bring a collective, cohesive and creative environment for the Houston, Texas Film Mecca; the fourth largest metropolitan city in the United States. As such, just as our original tagline states, "We have been bringing Hollywood to Houston", for years. Our focus is to proactively enhance the process of developing, producing and distributing films by black filmmakers.

Our goal is to also bring a unique dominion to films by providing a program that will directly impact the viability and quality of films introduced to the market by the implementation of such ‘special segment’ as The Book to Film Screenplay Search Project, which aims to become an amenable bridge between proven published African American authors and filmmakers in hopes of bringing more book to film adaptations by writers of color to the big and small screen.

Our commitment is to quality over quantity when selecting films to showcase. These works are worthy of a platform for the Houston community and beyond. This is a momentous occasion for our city as we connect with filmmakers and immerse them in the Houston storytelling community of Houston based writers. The five-day festival includes an array of social engagements in various venues around our great city.

Awards & Prizes

NEW* Best Art Activism Film, ($500) Best Short, Best Feature, Best Screenplay, Best Music Video, Best Web Series, Best Horror, Best Thriller, Best Fantasy, Animation, Best Anime', Best Doc, Best MicroDoc, Best Sci-Fi, Best Comedy, Best Student Short, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Soundtrack, Best Score, Audience Choice Award, Honorable Mention, Plus More!

Rules & Terms

Films submitted to the Houston Black Film Festival festival MUST NOT HAVE SCREENED WITHIN either a six month time period or within a 75 mile radius of the Houston Black Film Festival. If so, they are disqualified from screening at the Houston Black Film Festival.

Films will be promoted on our website, in printed materials (such as the festival program) and in our press and marketing efforts. The filmmaker gives us the right to use the name, likeness to include the film images, cast, and crew images mentions as cleared by the filmmaker prior to submission.

Once a film is officially accepted to the festival, the filmmaker can no longer withdraw it from the festival lineup. The filmmaker is also responsible for submitting the screening materials at least four weeks before the festival. If the screening will be a world premiere, please let us know as we will do our best to promote to the local community, and please keep us abreast of production and marketing activities!

Houston Black Film Festival is also hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt (about 1 minute or less) from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes. 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. The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless Houston Black Film Festival or its assignees, from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.

Filmmakers also note that NO SCREENERS WILLL BE RETURNED, period by the Houston Black Film Festival. Also, filmmakers may submit trailers of works that are not complete as long as these works will be completed by the festival deadline. Filmmakers are responsible for all clearances, or licenses associated with their film submission.

Houston BFF accepts film submissions from all filmmakers; however, to be eligible for the festival’s competitive program, one of the film’s creative principals, i.e. the writer, director or producer must be Black or of African heritage.

Narrative feature films should be at least 60 minutes in length; short films should be 30 minutes in length or less, and student films must have been completed while the filmmaker was enrolled as a full or part-time student in a college or university. Web series content creators must submit at least 3 episodes, in ALL genres, less than 20 minutes in length each.

6 Reviews

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
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    Isaac Taylor

    Great time! Some last minute venue changes, but everything worked out and people had a good time. Was happy to be a part of this festival and have my family come out to support my film.

    Thank you.

    September 2017
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    Response from festival:

    Isaac, thanks so very much for taking the time to leave us such a wonderful review. Best,

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    Isaac Green

    I had an excellent time at Houston Black Film Festival. The programming was top notch as was the sense of community created by Vanessa Morman, her staff, and the filmmakers she invited to take part in the festival. They chose a fun and intimate location with great food and a nice outdoor area. Vanessa went out of her way to make sure my needs were met while I was in Houston and made me feel like I was at home. I was amazed and inspired by the hospitality I was shown. Excited for next year!

    September 2017
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    Response from festival:

    Thanks so much for your review Issac. Much appreciated!

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    carmen Elly Wilkerson

    My experience with HBFF was mixed. It's a young festival that has a good leader, however I thought they were not organized and that was frustrating. I didn't go to the festival so I can only speak of the tribulations of my screening. As a filmmaker it was disappointing that the time/date of my screening was not ever told to me so I couldn't prepare to go. That was not good. I wish they had sent me a festival guide before or after the festival. Houston is a creative town with lots of potential so I hope it improves and I wish them luck next year.

    September 2017
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    Response from festival:

    Thanks Carmen, I appreciate your candid feedback, and do not dispute your input. As we discussed directly via our private emails, by the time I intervened to address your concerns, I believe it was a bit late. As noted before, we have installed a new team. I look to provide filmmakers with a bigger and better experience next year.

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    Howard Davis

    I will start by saying that I am happy for the opportunity to have screened at this festival however this festival must be made accountable for their actions.

    In future I think this festival should only accept local filmmakers within its state. If you are an international filmmaker (like myself from Canada) you should think twice about applying to this festival until they address their communication issues.

    I also sent a self-addressed stamped pre-paid envelope with my film in order to get my film returned to me. The first shipment was never picked up and after speaking with the festival director Vanessa, who was shirty, promised some form of reimbursement for their error so I sent another copy of the film express post.

    I was never reimbursed for anything and am still waiting for my film to be returned and felt disrespected.

    April 2017
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    Response from festival:

    Responded to on facebook with filmmaker using a different name. Please refer to our Terms-SCREENERS WILL NOT BE RETURNED. This is standard with many festivals. This notice has always been disclosed since the beginning of this fest. Please do not give a poor review for something that is pre stated. Also, filmmaker is not being totally honest about the refund. He never requested permission to overnight his film from Canada. He had weeks to send the film via regular mail. His procrastination does not constitute an emergency on my end.

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    Tracey Anarella

    I held back on writing a bad review because I don't like to discuss that. However, I sent a self-addressed stamped envelope to get my blue ray disk returned to me, and they never did. I emailed them more times than I can remember and they never responded. Also, friends wanted to attend my screening but they never had the times accurately listed. Very disappointing.

    April 2017
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    Response from festival:

    Tracy, your material was returned. However, we have a no screener return policy as do many other festivals. This policy continues throughout 2018. Additionally, the scheduling issue was addressed and corrected promptly. However, I do apologize for the initial hiccup Thanks.