The Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series is a two-day annual film festival founded by African Voices magazine. Established in 1997, Reel Sisters ( is dedicated to providing opportunities for women of color to advance their careers in the film industry. Reel Sisters accepts films written, directed, or produced by women/non-binary filmmakers of color. Reel Sisters is the first Academy Qualifying Film Festival for short narratives devoted to women of color across the globe. Reel Sisters is an IMDb qualifying film festival. Reel Sisters celebrates our 25th Anniversary in 2022!

APPLICATION INFO: YOU MUST SUBMIT PRODUCTION STILLS/PHOTOS and a TRAILER for your submission to be ELIGIBLE AND COMPLETE. You can screenshot photos from your film if you were unable to hire a photographer.

Reel Sisters is a competitive festival and films are selected by an independent jury. Please submit films early as deadlines are final. The festival provides quality customer service and does not offer fee waivers. The fee covers a small fraction of the administrative costs for running a professional Oscar qualifying film festival.

Reel Sisters accepts all genres and formats with a special interest in submissions from animated and web series producers. Send us films that will make our audience “cry, dance, laugh, sing and explore." The festival curates events throughout the year so all entries will be considered for Reel Sisters Tea & Cinema series. Join our worldwide community of film professionals in celebrating stories produced, directed and written by women of color!


Reel Sisters Micro Budget Film Fellowship Offers Women of Color A Chance for $5000 to Produce A Web Series Pilot or Short Film!

DEADLINE: January 31, 2022 Announcement: March 7, 2022

You will receive $5,000 to produce your short film or the first episode of your web series, which you can use as a calling card to attract a producer and other film opportunities. Short films of 15 minutes or less are also eligible. You will be guided on your journey in learning the art of creating a high quality micro budget short film. Story is Queen.

Be prepared to begin production and shooting of your short film or web series project shortly after you are selected as the Reel Sisters Fellow!

For complete application visit


• Listed in Film Daily's Top 10 Women Centered Film Festivals (2018)

• Profiled in Bushwick Daily, Shadow & Act, Film Daily, the Washington Post and Black Enterprise for presenting outstanding films by women of color from across the globe!

• Reel Sisters is a top tier film festival that provides a chance for women to gain distribution, network and access to opportunities in the film industry.

Reel Sisters screens original films by women across the globe each year — the festival has screened over 5,400 films since its inception. Awards for Best Director, Best Documentary, Best Screenplay, Best Experimental, Best Animation, Best Feature, Best Short, Best Narrative, Best Web Series, Best Original Soundtrack and the Reel Sisters Spirit Award are selected by an independent jury composed of filmmakers, community leaders and artists. In 2016, Reel Sisters presented the Reel Sisters/Centric Awards, which includes a distribution deal with Centric/BET Networks. The cash awards depend on our funding level.


Best Narrative Short - $1,000
Best Director - $500
Best Screenplay - $300
Best Animation - $200

For complete application information visit


TRANSLATION: Your film must be English dubbed or have English subtitles if it is in any other language.

PRODUCTION STILLS & TRAILERS: Please make sure you upload production photos with your submission and a trailer. If you do not have photos, you can screen shot a photo by pausing a scene in your film to create one. Your submission will not be complete without all promotional materials uploaded.

NO WAIVERS: Entry fees cover a small portion of the festival’s administrative costs for processing submissions and are non-refundable. We do not offer waivers.


- Please read our guidelines carefully before submitting your film as we do not issue refunds for entry fees. It is your responsibility to ensure your film meets our criteria and submission guidelines. We rarely accept films longer than 90 minutes. Your film must have a women of color as co-producer, co-director or co-writer, if the lead producer/director is male.

- We only accept films via FilmFreeway. PLEASE DO NOT EMAIL US ANY VIDEO LINKS. If you submit to FilmFreeway via a Vimeo link, you must provide a passcode to view. You must make your film downloadable for our production staff if your film is accepted. If you do not make your film downloadable by the requested deadline, your film will not be eligible for consideration.

- Please contact FilmFreeway staff if you have any issues uploading your film and making it downloadable for our production staff if you receive an acceptance letter.

- We will need downloadable trailer links from FilmFreeway or Vimeo to help promote your film in our festival. You must submit the trailers and photos with your application. If your materials are not submitted with your application, your film will be disqualified.

- Complete the details required, providing brief synopsis of the film, credits, production stills and trailers. We accept photographs in all formats including JPEGs, TIFFs and EPS (electronic photos must be 300 dpi resolution for promotional purposes).

- All accepted films will be notified via email. Please make sure ALL of your Contact Information is up-to-date. If your email changed between the time you submitted your film and our Notification Date, please update it ASAP so we can correspond with you.

- Entries must be delivered by the deadline.

**Failure to deliver a digital screening file on time Forfeits any previous accepted invitation

Overall Rating
  • Ellen Boscov

    We were honored to share our short animation, FIRST LIGHT, at this important and outstanding film festival!

    December 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for the warm regards! It was a pleasure having First Light in our 24th Annual Reel Sisters season!

  • Prarthana Goswami

    Thank you Reel Sisters for selecting my film
    ‘The Wait’. Huge honour and a big motivation for the entire team and me. Thank you for your crisp and timely communications. Looking forward to participating in the future.

    November 2021
    Response from festival:

    It was a pleasure having "The Wait" in our 2021 festival season! As we celebrate our 25th Reel Sisters Anniversary in 2022, we hope to have another opportunity to share your film with our audience! Thank you!

  • Abby Ginzberg

    Thank you so much for screening Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power as part of your 2021 Festival. I was honored to have the film receive the Best Documentary Award and your awards evening was wonderful.

    November 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for being a part of our 24th Annual Reel Sisters Festival Season! We hope to see you in 2022 when we return to the festival's live format! Wishing you continued success with Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power!

  • Domiziana De Fulvio

    It was an honor to be part of the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series. They are amazing crew! Many thanks for your job and to support the indipendent and good cinema!!

    November 2021
    Response from festival:

    Domi, it was such a pleasure and honor having you join our 2021 season! Thanks for being a part of the Reel Sisters Family! Wishing you continued success! Thank you for your kind sentiments!

  • Run by a crew of cool, caring, culturally aware, and intellectually driven curators, Reel Sisters is a blast of a festival! Thanks for inviting AL-SIT to take part in this gathering.

    November 2021
    Response from festival:

    It was such a pleasure and true honor of screening AL-SIT in our 2021 festival season! Thank you for the kind words! Your Reel Sisters Family wishes you continued success!