Chagrin Documentary Film Festival Now Accepting Submissions

Submissions are now open for the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival (CDFF) 2020!

Visit to submit your film.

“The entire team at CDFF put on one of the best documentary film festivals in America. They treat the filmmakers like royalty and the entire town gets behind the festival making it a truly unforgettable experience.” Zachary Capp – Writer The Ringmaster


  • November 15, 2019 – Submission Opening Date
  • February 24, 2020 – Earlybird Deadline
  • May 25, 2020 – Regular Deadline
  • June 22, 2020 – Late Deadline
  • July 1, 2020 – Extended Deadline
  • August 3, 2020 – Notification Date
  • October 7 – 11, 2020 – Event Date


The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival is a celebration of documentary storytelling and of the filmmakers who bring us their stories. Founded in honor of late filmmaker David Ponce, the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival is proud to bring stories from around the world to Ohio’s beautiful Chagrin Valley.

This inspiring and highly attended documentary film festival is entering its eleventh year. Named to MovieMaker Magazine’s prestigious list of “Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” for seven years, the Festival takes place at venues in and around the lovely century village of Chagrin Falls, Ohio with a focus on honoring talented filmmakers from around the world. The 2019 festival will feature daily filmmaker panels, parties, and discussion forums. Our Filmmaker Lounge runs throughout the Festival and is a wonderful networking opportunity for visiting and local filmmakers.

The Chagrin Documentary Film welcomed an enthusiastic audience of more than 13,000 in 2019.


The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival is extremely pleased to present significant cash prizes to CDFF award-winning documentary filmmakers as part of the 2020 Festival. The winners will be announced at the Festival Awards ceremony on Saturday, October 10, 2020 and funds totaling $15,000 will be presented.

** CDFF reserves the right to schedule additional screenings of award-winning films.

– The David Ponce Best of the Fest award will include a $5,000 prize.
– True to its mission to support and empower filmmakers to tell their stories, the Festival’s Emerging Filmmaker Award winner will be presented with a $1,500 prize.
– A $1,000 prize will be given as part of the award for these additional categories: Best Feature, Best Student, Social Awareness, Local Documentary, Human Spirit Award and Short Documentary.
– The Audience Choice award winner will receive $500.


The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival (CDFF) is a celebration of the spirit of the documentary filmmaker, video artists and those working with the moving image from around the world and around the corner.

1. Dates and Venue
(CDFF) will take place in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, USA between October 7 and October 11, 2020.

2. Competition
The Festival reserves the right to place entries into alternative categories if they feel it is to the benefit of the title. Each submission must be entered separately. Entries will be assessed and successful submissions will be programmed for screening and enter the Festival competition.

3. Formats
For the selection process, we accept online screeners ONLY.

Please note: if accepted, we require a ProRes file 1080 either via upload or thumb drive.

Please address your entry to:
Chagrin Documentary Film Festival
PO Box 239
Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44022

4. The Festival committee reserves the right to invite films for the competition and program. The final award-winning entries will be selected by a Festival Jury. The winners in each category to be announced on Oct 5, 2019 in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, USA. CDFF reserves the right to schedule additional screenings of award-winning films.

5. Entry Returns
Submissions copies will not be returned unless requested. To ensure your submission copy is returned include a postage paid envelope.

6. Screenings
It is the responsibility of the entrant to ensure that films for screening are deposited with the Festival organizers at least 30 days before any scheduled screening. The Festival DOES NOT pay screening fees.

7. We reserve the right to use submissions for festival publicity and marketing purposes. Submitted films may be used for Festival and post-festival screenings for 12 months.

8. The administrator’s decision is final.
Chagrin Documentary Film Festival (CDFF) is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes for a period of 12 months. The Festival does not pay screening fees for any film submitted to the festival.

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.

By submitting, you indemnify and hold harmless the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival 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.