Ann Arbor Film Festival opens call for entries for 2021 season

Entries accepted from July 1 to Sept. 30

Credit: Doug Coombe

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Ann Arbor Film Festival will open its call for entries for its 59th annual festival on July 1.

Submissions will be accepted until Sept. 30, 2020. Early submissions will be accepted throughout July, regular submissions until the end of August and late entries until the end of September.

The dates for the upcoming festival are March 23-28, 2021. 

Every year the Ann Arbor Film Festival offers around $22,500 cash and in-kind awards to filmmakers. An AAFF award can qualify filmmakers for an Oscar nomination by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the short film category. 

Films can be submitted through FilmFreeway or InfoReady. 

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Here’s what you need to know:

  • The film festival currently accepts feature films and short films. Features must be 60 minutes or longer while short films must be 59 minutes or less. 
  • Entries are accepted through secure online screening and 16mm only. 
  • Work previously submitted may not be re-entered.
  • English subtitles are required for films not in English. 
  • Work-in-progress submissions can be submitted but will be juried in the same pool as other submissions. 
  • Submissions must have been completed within the last three years.

Fees and Deadlines


  • Early-bird deadline: July 1-31: $40  
  • Regular deadline: Aug.1-31: $55 
  • Late deadline: Sept.1-30: $70 


  • Early-bird deadline: July 1-31: $30 
  • Regular deadline: Aug. 1-31: $45 
  • Late deadline: Sept.1-30: $60  

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is offering a $20 submission fee discount code to Black, Indigenous and people of color filmmakers “to welcome more diverse voices to our festival,” according to an email from AAFF. Filmmakers need to email the festival in order to receive the code. 

The discount is also given to alumni filmmakers of the festival. 

Learn more about eligibility and find the call for entries here.

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.