Voted one of Movie Maker Magazine’s Top 25 Genre Film Festivals in the World three years running the Chattanooga Film Festival loves everything about cinema: the films, filmmakers and audiences; the critics, collectors and curators; and most especially the popcorn. We share films that are unique, challenging, critically significant and a helluva lot of fun. We particularly love little films that feel like big films, because we like to think of Chattanooga as a small town with big ideas. Our ultimate goal is to remember, discover and cultivate cinema worthy of everyone’s love and respect.

Here's what the press and a few of our past guests are saying about us!

"The Southern Sundance. Given my experience at this year’s fest, I wouldn’t find it surprising if the Chattanooga Film Festival one day surpassed its elder cousin in the North. For the non-film nerds among you, this is a killer lineup. This is Haight-Ashbury in 1969."

"The Chattanooga Film Festival [rated among the top 30 genre fests in the world] has rapidly developed a solid rep as a back-to-basics exhibition of noteworthy cinema. On the genre circuit, it has become a key destination for Southern fans in search of the best fear fare, shown in both its main CFFeatures and MES After Hours categories. It treats aspiring auteur attendees right, as well."

“The Chattanooga Film Fest has [quickly] done what many festivals strive for for decades: to collect an electric group of filmmakers and connect them to a community tremendously eager to meet them. The energy is palpable, the films exceptional, and the backdrop of Chattanooga’s arts and technology scene only serves to create one of the most attractive young festivals in the nation.”

“Chris Dortch and his incredible team have crafted an excellent film festival with fantastic programming that brought everyone together in a celebration of cinema. I look forward to its continued growth and to hang out in Chattanooga again!”

“I was so fortunate as a youngster to find a productive place in the film and television industry, and when the Chattanooga Film Festival wanted to honor my 55 years of contributions to entertainment, I was humbled and proud. I’m not a center-of- the-bulls-eye kind of actor, so when a truly independent festival, run by independent folks, want to acknowledge me, it makes me realize that I’m doing something right. I love how the festival began, I love it that Chris Dortch has tremendous passion for film, and I love how the filmgoers in Chattanooga (and the surround-ing region) support and embrace projects three minutes to three hours.”

“In an era when film festivals have become bloated commercial bazaars full of hustlers, propagandists and job seekers, Chattanooga has a refreshing innocence as a place where movie lovers gather by the Tennessee River, expecting to be amazed by the art form itself. There’s a renewal going on here, a return to basics, and anyone who cares about the future of cinema should become part of it.”

“The Chattanooga film festival is more than just another fledgling, regional film festival. It is truly special and has the potential to become one of the mini-majors. The force that makes CFF a standout is founder Chris Dortch, who is both a serious and passionate cineaste and a civic-minded community builder. The movies are great, but as important is the support for regional artists. It was an honor to be a part of the festival program this year.”

"An amazing festival! It was hard to believe how young it is!’

Best Feature
Best Short Film
Best Documentary
Audience Award - Feature
Audience Award - Short

General Rules

-Entry fee is per category and non-refundable.
-Submission does not guarantee screening.
-All genres of film are accepted.
-Films must be submitted before the end of the deadline that you paid for. For example, if you pay early submission, your film must be submitted and watchable by December 4th.
-Online screeners (Vimeo, YouTube, etc) are preferred.
-DVDs only accepted with FilmFreeway tracking number and must be postmarked by the deadline under which you are submitting (for example, if you pay to submit during early submission, you must have your package postmarked and by 11:59pm December 4th).
-Short films must be under 30 minutes
-Foreign language films must be subtitled or dubbed in English
-Please do not send press kits with your screener. If your film is selected, formatting guidelines, a press kit, and promotional items will be requested
-DVDs will not be returned.
-Fee waivers are not available.
-Student submissions must be accompanied by a copy of current student ID or submitted with a .edu email address.


I agree to the terms outlined in the General Rules section of the Chattanooga Film Festival (CFF). Submission grants CFF the right to utilize an excerpt from any film (up to 2 minutes) submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes. 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. Submitting person or persons shall indemnify and hold harmless CFF 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.

Overall Rating
  • Ryan Cauchi

    Hands down - one of THE best genre film festivals in the world! Great communication and hospitality - this is a team that really cares about the filmmakers! Loved having the DISCORD platform to communicate with the team and other filmmakers. I can not recommend these guys enough!

    October 2021
  • Eric Jungmann

    Chattanooga Film Fest was fantastic. A truly supportive and devoted community of genre fans and filmmakers - with a stellar lineup of sickening cinema. Very proud to have been included with my short film, "BODY OF THE MINED".

    July 2021
  • Filmmaker friends had told me that Chattanooga Film Fest is a ton of fun to attend; so getting in with a film in 2021 was bittersweet because I was honored to be part of it but worried I wouldn't get the full experience. And while that was the case in a literal sense (didn't get to see my film with an audience on a big screen), the festival team really went above and beyond my expectations for a virtual festival. They created a sense of community amongst filmmakers and audiences through a Discord channel that had non-stop engagement from film fans every day of the festival. I felt immersed in the experience of "attending" the fest in a way I didn't think was possible online. The program was truly excellent, from the films to the panels to even the virtual meetups. Also, shorts often get overshadowed by features at festivals, but this team made it a point to highlight all films and filmmakers so that attendees were encouraged not to sleep on the shorts blocks. I've truly never gotten so much attention for a short at a festival before - with dozens of reviews on letterboxd and direct comments in discord and on twitter. They have an exceptionally large audience of film fans who really care about the filmmakers behind the stories. I'll definitely be submitting again, and hope to attend in person in the future.

    July 2021
  • David Prendeville

    A brilliant festival. The online aspect of it worked so well. The organisers were extremely helpful. It was really great being a part of it. I hope to get to go to it in person someday in the future. Would highly recommend!

    July 2021
  • Everyone was so kind and welcoming! The only thing that would have made it better is to have been able to do it in person. Can't wait for net year!

    July 2021