New York International Children’s Film Festival


The Oscar®-qualifying New York Int’l Children’s Film Festival has become the largest film festival for children and teens in North America over its 23-year history. Presented over four weekends at major venues throughout New York City, the Festival showcases approximately 100 short and feature films, filmmaker Q&As, retrospective programs, parties, premieres, and industry forums. As an Academy Award®-qualifying Festival in the Best Live Action and Animated Short Film categories, the Festival attracts a prestigious jury: esteemed directors, academics, actors, and industry leaders such as Sofia Coppola, Peter Ramsey, Taika Waititi, Melissa Cobb, Jorge Gutiérrez, Elizabeth Ito, Kyle MacLachlan, Uma Thurman, Nora Twomey, and more. Winners of the Festival’s juried prizes are eligible for consideration at the annual Academy Awards®. Audience awards are presented in each film category, with audience members of all ages voting on the Festival-winning films. NYICFF receives major editorial coverage in The New York Times, and its Best of the Fest programs tour to major museums, arthouse theaters and film festivals across the U.S.

More than 100 filmmakers participate in the Festival annually, from established veterans to emerging makers. They represent wonderfully diverse voices working in all genres and formats, producing work for audiences of all ages and lending their artistic voice to the festival. We often program films not initially created with a young audience in mind, and we encourage filmmakers to share work that may very well have expanded audience potential. Our audiences are up for the challenge of artistically complex work, and our written materials, intros & Q&As offer compelling context and spark great dialogue around your films.

NYICFF offers travel stipends to feature films in competition and where possible, supports cultural funding and discounted accommodations for shorts filmmakers. Through our industry forums, parties and q&a events, we facilitate meetings with studios, distributors, agents, funders and partner festivals (Sony Pictures Animation, Tonko House, 9 Story, Silvergate Media, Sesame Workshop, NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, and more) and foster inclusive practices and expanded access for talented filmmakers to be heard and grow.

As a world-class event, New York Int’l Children’s Film Festival is, above all, about great films (and filmmakers) that inspire, surprise, delight and challenge audiences of all ages. Expect expert curation, personal attention, care and respect for your artistry as a filmmaker, and a genuine desire to further, as our mission states, a more intelligent, and diverse, film culture for kids. Add to that our Oscar-qualifying status, top-caliber industry jury, industry forum with eye-opening talks, panels, and meet and greets, enthusiastic, sold-out audiences and taste/decision-maker following, moving & inspiring q&a’s, filmmaker community facilitation, national touring options, and more, and you have a recipe for meaningful success through NYICFF!

Film reflects your artistry, a distinct vision, a record of a time. It opens eyes and possibilities, especially key in our young audiences, and sparks meaningful dialogue--all of which has never been more vital than now. Thanks, filmmakers, for being the visionaries that you are. We can’t wait to see -- and share -- your work.

We realize this is a challenging time for everyone, filmmakers included, so we are expanding ways to access discounted submission fees during our early call period. We especially want to encourage submissions by filmmakers of color and under-represented communities; please feel free to reach out to us if submissions fees are an issue for you.

Covid-19 Update:
Our nearly 25 years of experience and the way in which we quickly and successfully adapted to online delivery give us the confidence and know-how to successfully prepare for a fluid situation and the possibility of both in-person and online events. NYICFF staff are already working with major virtual festivals internationally, and in dialogue with the festival/filmmaking community, stay on top of the latest, most engaging practices. Our impressive industry jury to select Oscar-qualifying winners will continue to support the recognition of top talent at NYICFF. Our Industry Forum will again be a major highlight of the Festival and opportunity for emerging and established filmmakers to learn and engage directly with major executives, producers, filmmakers, and others (most recently leaders such as Oscar-winner Karen Rupert Toliver of Sony Pictures Animation, Dice Tsutsumi, Founder of Tonko House, and Julie Ann Crommett, EVP, Walt Disney Corporation). And NYICFF audiences have enthusiastically followed our online offerings, and expressed their hunger for more!

We will also aim to craft amazing in-person experiences in partnership with our major venue partners (IFC Center, Alamo Drafthouse, and others) that adhere to up-to-date guidelines and support the well-being of all participants. We’ll be equally prepared to execute an exciting, content-rich, interactive Festival experience with the capacity to reach audiences and integrate major production markets beyond New York. We’re excited to continue shaping an outstanding Festival for filmmakers, industry, and all ages audiences in 2021, and even more excited to see your work!


In addition to presenting the annual event, New York International Children’s Film Festival is a multifaceted arts organization that offers national touring programs, special sneak peek and premiere events, education programs, virtual cinema offerings and additional year-round engagement. The Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts organization.

NYICFF is an Academy®-qualifying festival. Recipients of the NYICFF jury prizes are eligible for consideration in the Live Action Short and Animated Short Film categories of the Annual Academy Awards®. Our 2019 Jury included: Taika Waititi, Elizabeth Ito, Kyle MacLachlan, Melissa Cobb, Sofia Coppola, Jeffrey Wright, Ira Sachs, John Canemaker, Matthew Modine, Geena Davis, Hope Davis, Jorge R. Gutierrez, Zoe Saldana, Nora Twomey, Mark Osborne, Madeleine Di Nonno, Uma Thurman, and Lynne McVeigh.

All official selections, both short and feature, are voted on by our audience and are eligible for our Audience Awards.

Jury Awards
- Best Animated Short Film
- Best Live Action Short Film

Audience Awards for Best Short Film
- Ages 3-6
- Ages 5-10
- Ages 8-14
- Ages 12-18
- Grown Ups' Award (Audience members 18 and over)

Grand Prize Awards
- Short Film
- Feature Film


Purpose of these Rules.
The following terms and conditions (these “Terms”) govern the submission of films to the New York International Children’s Film Festival, Inc. (“NYICFF”) for consideration for the 2021 New York International Children’s Film Festival (the “Festival”). To the extent this document is inconsistent with any other document prepared by NYICFF or anyone else, this document will take precedence. Any questions about these Terms should be directed to programming@nyicff.org. NYICFF reserves the right to decide all questions not specifically provided for herein.

NYICFF and the Festival.
Founded in 1997, NYICFF has established itself as the premier film festival for children and teens in North America.

The Festival is an Academy Award®-qualifying festival, one of only two children’s film festivals in the United States to hold that honor. Winners of the Festival’s juried prizes in the live action and animated short film categories are eligible for Oscar® consideration. To find out more about eligibility, please visit www.oscars.org.

Submission and Eligibility.
By submitting a film (an “Entry”) to NYICFF for Festival consideration, the submitter (the “Applicant”) represents that he, she or it has obtained consent from any and all owners, creators, writers, producers and/or other authorized representatives of the Entry whose consent is required to submit the Entry to NYICFF (collectively, the “Film Owners”) and screen the Entry at the Festival and at associated events, in theaters or online, and has read, understood and agreed to these Terms.

NYICFF may disqualify or reject, but is not required to do so, any submission that it determines, in its sole and absolute discretion, is not in compliance, in whole or in part, with these Terms, and may do so without returning the Applicant’s submission.

NYICFF designates “short films” as works with a running time of less than 40 minutes in length. Works with running times of 40 minutes or longer are designated as “feature films.”

NYICFF accepts submissions throughout the calendar year. Entries received prior to November 15, 2020 for the short film category, and December 1, 2020 for the feature film category will be considered for the annual New York International Children’s Film Festival taking place in February/March 2021. NYICFF may accept late submissions in its sole and absolute discretion.

To be eligible to screen in competition, production must be completed no earlier than January 1, 2019.

If the Entry contains dialogue or narration not in English, the Entry must be subtitled or dubbed in English.

If submitting a link to an online screener, please ensure that it does not expire and provide any necessary passwords. Please include available promotional materials such as high-resolution stills, production credits, and director’s biography and press reviews.

Entry and entry materials will not be returned. You will be contacted by NYICFF only if your Entry is selected for participation. The 2021 Festival lineup will be posted at www.nyicff.org.

Once submitted, Entries may not be withdrawn from participation in the Festival.

In the event of selection, the Applicant must deliver to NYICFF an HD digital video file of the Entry by electronic file transfer or on a physical digital storage device. All costs and expenses for the delivery to NYICFF of any Entry shall be borne by the Applicant.

Intellectual Property; Grant of Rights.
By submitting the Entry to NYICFF, the Applicant and Film Owners (the “Submitting Parties”) hereby represent and warrant that: (i) the Entry is wholly original and is not copied from and does not include any other work that is the subject of copyright or other protection, unless such work is in the public domain or the Submitting Parties have obtained any and all consents, releases, licenses and other authorizations or waivers of any kind necessary for the inclusion or reproduction of any person, character, location, thing, trademark, sound recording, musical composition or other work in the Entry; (ii) the Entry does not defame any person or violate the common law or statutory rights, including, without limitation, the rights of privacy and publicity or any other right of any person; (iii) the Entry is not the subject of litigation, nor any dispute that could give rise to litigation; (iv) there are no agreements, nor will there be any agreements made subsequent to the date of the submission of the Entry that would or could have the effect of impairing the Submitting Parties’ ability to provide the Entry as contemplated herein, or otherwise conflict with any provision of these Terms; and (v) the Submitting Parties have the full right, power and authority to submit the Entry to NYICFF for Festival consideration and to grant all of the rights granted hereunder and there is no obligation or disability that would in any way impair, restrict or impede the Submitting Parties from fully performing all obligations pursuant to this submission and these Terms. The Submitting Parties agree to indemnify and hold harmless NYICFF, its licensees, successors and assigns and its and their members, officers, directors, employees, volunteers, agents, representatives, associates and affiliates (each a “Releasee”), from any claim, suit, action or other proceeding brought against a Releasee and from any losses, costs or damages, including the Releasee’s full legal fees, costs and expenses (including any legal fees, costs and expenses expended in connection with enforcing this indemnity), which it may have suffered or incurred or may suffer or incur, directly or indirectly based on, in connection with, or arising from the use and exhibition of the Entry submitted by the Applicant or the breach or alleged breach of any representation, warranty or other agreement made by the Applicant in these Terms.

If the Applicant’s Entry is selected for participation in the Festival, the Applicant hereby irrevocably grants NYICFF the following rights with respect to the Entry on a “free-use” no-fee basis, without reservations, conditions or qualifications: (i) the exclusive right within the greater New York City area to exhibit the Entry publicly one or multiple times during the Festival and for a period of six weeks thereafter; (ii) the right to exhibit the Entry on a secure streaming platform; (iii) the right to present or allow others to present excerpts of the Entry up to a total of three minutes in length in any medium for promotional purposes; (iv) the right to incorporate and use stills, art, footage, biographical material, names and likenesses from the Entry for promotional purposes and in NYICFF merchandise; (v) the right to provide screeners of the Entry to the press and media for review; (vi) the right to exhibit the Entry at press and promotional screenings; (vii) the right to exhibit the film for educational use; (viii) the right to electronically duplicate the Entry for the purpose of compiling a screening master for projection; (ix) the right to make the Entry available for public exhibition at U.S. venues nationally for a period of twelve months following the Festival as part of the “NYICFF Kid Flicks” touring festival programs and/or at NYICFF-produced festival events nationally and internationally; (x) the right to share preview screener links of the Entry with NYICFF-partner presenters; (xi) the right to exhibit the Entry in an online festival, screening event, or compilation; (xii) the right to use the Entry in a limited run DVD or digital compilation to be sold by NYICFF for fundraising purposes; and (xiii) the right to retain any and all revenues from ticket sales, merchandise, rental fees and sponsorship associated with the Entry’s participation in the Festival or any associated events.

NYICFF shall use its best efforts to ensure correct title and credits are listed on Festival materials but shall not be held liable for inadvertent errors and omissions.

NYICFF reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to schedule or adjust dates and times of all film screenings at the Festival or any associated events and to shift the presentation of the Festival from theaters to an online experience.


New York International Children’s Film Festival