14th Annual

Harlem International Film Festival

May 16, 2019 to May 19, 2019

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2214 Frederick Douglass Boulevard
New York NY 10026

OPEN CALL FOR ENTRIES • Select a Category of Entry to continue.

Feature Narrative
Narrative Feature Films are films in any genre, about anything, by anyone from anywhere in the world encompassing experimental, mockumentary and animation stylistic approaches. The only restriction is they must be at least 60 minutes in total running time (including all credits)
Feature Documentary
Documentary Feature Films are films by anyone from anywhere about any topic or individual under the sun. Experimental, animation and other cutting edge stylistic approaches that push the boundaries of the form are allowed and encouraged. The only restriction is they must be at least 45 minutes in total running time (including all credits) to be considered a feature. Otherwise, enter as a Documentary Short
Short Film
Shorts are films in any genre, style or subject with a total running time 44 minutes or under for Documentaries and 59 minutes or under for Narrative work.
Animated Short
Animated Short films in any genre, style or subject matter with a total running time UNDER 45 minutes
Youth Film
Dedicated to the under 21 age group, programming includes films by young people, featuring a young cast and films containing topics that are important to youth. To enter this category the writer, director, major cast members and/or producer must have been under 21 years old at time of production. Shorts and Features of any length are accepted for this category.
World Cinema
Films in this category must have completed at least 50% of production outside of the USA and be feature length - over 45 minutes for Documentary and over 60 minutes for Narrative submissions.
Full Length Script (Competition)
Original Full Length Screenplays (For Short entries see "Short Screenplay") are screenplays 60 minutes or over from any country, in any genre and subject matter. Screenplays for films that have already been produced are not eligible.
Music Video
Harlem International Film Festival welcomes and excepts Music Videos from anywhere in the world that accompany any musical style. Videos must be under 30 minutes in length and we especially encourage projects that push the boundaries of the art form.
Harlem International Film Festival welcomes and accepts Webisodes from anywhere in the world about any subject matter and in all styles and genres. Webisodes may be 1-30 minutes in length per episode. We especially encourage projects that push the boundaries of the exciting new medium.
Short Script (Competition)
Original Short Screenplays (for full length entries see "Full Length Screenplay") from any country, in any genre and subject matter. Screenplays for films that have already been produced are not eligible.
VR/Experimental /MultiMedia /Art Installation
Harlem International Film Festival accepts Virtual Reality, Experimental Films, Multi Media and Art Installation from anywhere in the world especially projects that push the boundaries of their art form. All work must be 59 minutes or less or submitted under the World Cinema category.
Harlem and Uptown Cinema
Keeping in line with its mission, Harlem Int'l offers free admission to films produced in Harlem or Upper Manhattan, centered on the area and/or its rich history or featuring key cast or crew members from Harlem or other Uptown neighborhoods (North of 96th Street Manhattan). The annual Harlem Spotlight is awarded to the best local film.
Harlem Int'l Science Cinema Youth Laboratory (Hi-Sci Lab) & Photo Exhibit
The Harlem International Film Festival (Hi) is initiating a new program called the Harlem International Science Cinema Youth Laboratory (Hi-Sci Lab) & Photography Exhibit. All cinematic approaches and formats, VR/360 & photography concerning science and related fields/themes (environment/climate change, health, technology, engineering, agriculture, etc.) are welcome to apply. The program will coincide with the annual Harlem International Film Festival taking place May 16-19, 2019 and submissions open in October 2018.

In line with general submissions, work will be open to everyone around the world under the age of 21 (at the time of project completion) in all categories and genres. We are particularly interested in showcasing the work of underrepresented youth, those with limited resources and/or those that present unique and compelling perspectives on the subject.


Celebrating the art of film in the home of the Harlem Renaissance, the 14th Annual Harlem International Film Festival (Hi XIV) inspires and entertains by honoring films and screenplays that offer honest, exciting and thought-provoking portrayals of our world.

Hi actively seeks and exhibits fresh and dynamic work from Harlem to Hong Kong.

Since the inaugural in 2005, the festival has showcased over 1000 of the worlds finest films from scores of countries, including: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Lebanon, Mexico, Mozambique, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Panama, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, India, The Philippines, Trinidad & Tobago, United Kingdom and the USA , bestowing a total of over 400 awards including the illustrious annual Mira Nair Award for Rising Female Filmmaker.

Hi is committed to exemplifying the eminence that Harlem represents during this four-day extravaganza consisting of film screenings in state-of-the-art facilities, social-networking events and Harlem’s unsurpassed fashion, music, cuisine and nightlife.

Welcome to Harlem!


Join scores of filmmakers and screenwriters from all over the world and have your work showcased in Harlem, New York City!

As always, we do not shy away from passionate or even controversial work. In fact we encourage it.

The marriage of Little Africa to El Barrio, Jazz to Dance, History to Art, and cinema to one of the world's most vibrant communities signifies the 14th Annual Harlem International Film Festival (Hi XIV). Home to New York City's richest cultural and academic institutions, landmarks, boutiques, parks and restaurants, Harlem is an experience that satisfies the five senses. As the epicenter of New York's current arts movement, Upper Manhattan and Hi embody the New Harlem Renaissance.

The Festival has premiered works from today's most promising international filmmakers. Subject matter is varied and compelling: An IRA leader hiding out in a British-Jamaican neighborhood; A mother's life dedicated to her two sons,one with down-syndrome; A musician's journey through War ravaged Iraq; a Harlem Man's struggle with loss of love. Hi is a festival that truly embraces the beauty of diversity and is committed to representing it on our screens.

Keeping in line with its mission, Hi offers discounted admission to work produced in Harlem or Upper Manhattan and the Bronx, about the area and its history or featuring key cast or crew members from Uptown NY. We award the best local work and hope you will join us for the magic in May 2019.

In September 2005 the Festival opened in historic Harlem at Columbia University with the Renaissance Awards by honoring Oscar winning actress Susan Sarandon; Harlem's own Emmy Award-winning actor, Keith David; and Mira Nair, the Oscar-nominated director of "Salaam Bombay", "Monsoon Wedding", "Mississippi Masala", "Vanity Fair" and "Namesake".

Hi has since become known as the festival that "brings the world to Harlem and Harlem to the world". Filmmakers and attendees have journeyed from across the globe to experience this five day event consisting of film screenings in state of the art facilities, celebrity-filled awards ceremonies, networking events and Harlem's unsurpassed night-life and history.

New York, known for its array of world class directors such as Martin Scorcese, Spike Lee, Jim Jarmusch and Mira Nair, is also a mecca for aspiring auteurs. We offer audiences the opportunity to experience stories by New York's finest filmmakers featuring the City and its Burroughs in a uniquely artistic way.

All submission fees are discounted for this category. Furthering our efforts to encourage continued recognition of the Harlem, Uptown Manhattan and Bronx communities and the contribution of the numerous artists that reside within, Hi spotlights films produced or directed by local residents; films where at least 50% of the production has taken place in Harlem or Uptown; or films about Harlem or the Bronx and their incredible history.

In line with the Harlem Renaissance - the home of the foremost comprehensive art movement in US history ranging from poetry, literature, performance and painting to sculpture, music and cinema, Hi has established the Video-Art Space. With an abundance of contemporary art galleries and open spaces, Harlem serves as an ideal location to experience modern video art installations and Harlem360/ Virtual Reality.

The excitement and anticipation of the entire festival culminates during this final awards celebration crowning the leading international films and hosting directors from around the world. The place where magic happens!

Best Film, Best World Film, the Mira Nair Award for Rising Female Filmmaker, Best Documentary, Best World Documentary, Best Director, Best Documentary Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Animation, Best Experimental Film, Best Short, Best Documentary Short, Best Youth Film, Best Music Video, Best Webisode, Audience Award, New York Showcase, the Harlem Spotlight Award and several Screenplay Awards.


B. Lorenzo Roaché (Director of Operations-Co-Founder); Karen Mustaine (Office Manager); Nasri Zacharia (Program Director-Co-Founder)


- Works can be submitted regardless of when they were completed.
- Screenplays may be submitted online as PDF or Word documents or sent directly to our mailing address.
- Submissions do not have to be premieres to be selected for exhibition.
- Shorts are considered Documentary works under 45 minutes and Narrative Fiction under 60 minutes.
- Works in progress may be submitted, but only during the Late or Extended deadlines and only if the film will be completed for final review at least one month before the Festival opening.
- Films that have had a limited commercial theatrical run or other distribution are allowed to submit.

- There is no limit on number of works submitted, but each entry must be separate, appropriately labeled and accompanied by the required fee.
- Submit works on DVD or online only (only NTSC Region 1/North
America, or Region 0). Please make sure your DVD works in different makes and models of players. It is recommended to submit two copies.

- Label all materials (DVDs and/or press) clearly with the name of the applicant and contact info.
- In rare cases the filmmaker may have to provide another format version to be screened if the film cannot be programmed into a slot where the original format can be projected.
- Submitted screeners, screenplays and press materials will not be returned.
- The Harlem International Film Festival is not responsible for lost or damaged materials.


Upon selection applicant is requested to provide Harlem International Film Festival (Hi) with available trailer, color film stills and posters, and any other available press materials.

Once accepted applicant gives Hi the right to use images and information from the film and trailer for all advertising and promotion purposes.

Submission of film indicates applicant's full intention to exhibit at the Harlem International Film Festival if selected for programming. As such, filmmaker waives the right to withdraw their film from the Harlem International Film Festival at any time for any reason.