Film Submissions for GIFF XI 2017 — CLOSED

Film freeway

Film submissions for 2018 will open following our May 2017 Film Festival.
Follow us on Facebook or watch for our announcement via Withoutabox.



  • What are the dates of the next festival?
    May 22, to May 28, 2017
  • Where is the festival held?
    Multiple locations throughout the Washington, DC area.
  • What is the deadline?

Early deadline – October 15, 2016
Regular deadline – December 15, 2016
Late deadline – January 20, 2017
Extended deadline – February 10, 2017

  • Filmmaker Notification:
    NLT March 10th, 2017


The GI Film Festival is open to filmmakers of every experience level from first-timers to veteran directors and producers.

Prizes will be awarded for winners of four main categories: feature, documentary, short film, student film and best international film.

The GI Film Festival will also welcome short film submissions from any filmmaker who serves, or has served, in the U.S. Military regardless of whether or not the film submission involves the U.S. military.

What Filmmakers Are Saying

“What you have done transcends the world of film festivals by creating a true community where passionate film makers, our veterans and those who support them can gather for a few magical days.”

Gary MortensenDirector, Shepherds of Helmand

“Not all of us are called to serve our country as soldiers, but as filmmakers we can serve our country by honoring those that do; and the GI Film Festival has helped us accomplish this and much more.”

Arthur Fishel IIIFilmmaker

“The GI Film Festival is one of the most organized festivals I have been to. ”

Josh SampsonFilmmaker

“It was a powerful and unforgettable experience. My best festival experience on the circuit yet!””

Nicholas BrennanWriter & Director A Marine’s Guide to Fishing

General Information

  • How can I submit my film?
    Withoutabox or Film Freeway. See links above.
  • Where do I send my film?

GI Film Festival
2776 S Arlington Mill Dr #810
Arlington VA 22206

  • Is it a postmarked deadline or received by deadline?
    The submissions deadline is a postmarked by deadline.
  • Can I get confirmation that you received my submission?
    Yes, your status will be updated on
  • When will I find out if my film is accepted?
    We notify filmmakers if they are accepted into the festival approximately one month prior to the festival.
  • What are the categories of films accepted?
    GIFF accepts films of all categories including feature, documentary, short, and student.
  • What additional information do I need to provide for submission as a student/military filmmaker?
    Please include a photocopy of the front of your school ID or proof of military service.
  • If my film is not chosen, may I speak with a member of the selection team for notes or feedback?
    Unfortunately, due to time constraints and the large number of submissions, we are unable to give individual feedback.
  • What are the acceptable screening formats for your festival?
    For the submission process, we can screen DVD’s (Region 0 or 1), blu-ray, video files like .mov and .mpeg.


  • How are the films selected for the festival?
    Films submitted to the festival are reviewed by our selection team, which evaluates each film, looking for the best thematic and well produced films.
  • Do you accept rough cuts/work-in-progress?
    Yes, we will review and consider rough cuts and works-in-progress. Please note on the submission what elements are still being worked on.
  • Should I send a press kit?
    Please send an electronic press kit after your film has been selected to screen at the festival.
  • How long is a short film?
    Films under 60 minutes are considered short films.
  • How long is a feature film?
    Films 60 minutes and over are considered feature films.
  • Can I still submit if my film has distribution or has aired on television?
    Yes, however previously aired films are not eligible to win.
  • Can I submit more than one film?
    Yes, but each film must have its own submission form filled out and fee paid.
  • Do you accept multiple submissions on one DVD?
    Yes, see above.
  • Will my DVD be returned?
    No. Submissions will not be returned.
  • I still have a question that isn’t covered here?
    Contact Us

General Rules


Film entries will be judged by a Selection Committee.

Prizes in each competition will be awarded by a jury of industry professionals. Films that are in distribution are eligible for screening, but are out of competition and ineligible to receive prizes.


To be determined. All film entries without distribution are eligible for the Military Channel Award, which may include broadcast on the Discovery Military Channel. All film entries without digital distribution are eligible for the GIFF digital distribution program through GIFF’s digital distribution partner.


Competition is open to U.S. and International entries. No repeat entries. Send entries in sturdy, reusable containers or bubble wrap envelopes. There is no limit to the number of films you can submit to the festival. Each film must be submitted with a separate entry.


Entries must be submitted on DVD for pre-screening (NTSC). Festival screening format will be provided at a later date.


Although every possible care will be taken with tapes and films while in our possession, we cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage. Do not send original prints or tapes. Notification of acceptance into the festival will be made on or by March 15, 2014. Please keep the festival notified of any address/phone changes.


Submission of an entry gives the festival permission to have accepted work photographed, locally telecast, and reproduced, either in part or whole, for publicity purposes, unless otherwise requested in writing by the filmmaker.

To help the festival promote your film and drive attendance, please submit the following with your festival entry:

  • Entry fee (credit card, or money order in U.S. funds made payable to the GI Film Festival).
  • Digital still production photos/jpeg images of film for program guide. These are required upon acceptance.
  • Digital format trailer for film for posting on official festival website. Requested, but not required.
  • Digital photo of Filmmaker.
  • Filmmaker bio.
  • Any promotional materials available for your film, including, but not limited to, endorsement quotes/reviews, press clippings, etc.
  • Self-addressed, stamped postcard for notification of receipt of entry.
  • Copy of student ID (if applying as a student) or military ID (if applying as active duty military)

Past Festival Highlights

The GIFF awarded entertainers Robert Davi and Wynonna Judd the festival’s GI Spirit Award, which is presented to an entertainer who embodies the spirit of an American GI in their creative and philanthropic work.

  • Congressmen Kline honored World War II Veterans during the festival’s congressional reception.
  • GIFF hosted a Wounded Warrior Appreciation Night featuring the DC Premiere of the action feature film “Iron Man 3″
  • GIFF hosted a block of international films at the Canadian Embassy.
  • GIFF hosted a filmmaker boot camp featuring top Hollywood producers, directors and financiers.
  • GI Film Festival filmmakers also visited wounded warriors at Walter Reed hospital and toured the Pentagon as well.

The GI Film Festival has earned international press coverage from NBC, CBS, FOX, FOX News, The Associated Press, The Washington Post, and Variety, to name a few media outlets. The Pentagon Channel also covered the festival for the 2.6 million members of the U.S. Armed Forces around the world. Media partners have also included The History Channel and the Discovery Channel.

In 2010, the GI Film Festival featured dozens of its films on the Discovery Network’s Military Channel, providing unprecedented exposure to military films and filmmakers. All film entries without distribution are eligible for the Military Channel Award, which may include broadcast on the Discovery Military Channel. All entries without digital distribution are also eligible for the GIFF’s digital distribution program through GIFF’s digital distribution partner.

GI Film Festival 2012 launched a continuing weekly series on the Pentagon Channel where select GIFF films aired to 34 million homes.