December 10 and 11, 2021, Washington, DC

2021 BitterSweet

Invitational Story Festival

Learn More on FilmFreeway.com

A Celebration of the Anti-Blockbuster

A festival of story, inviting photographers and filmmakers to submit a narrative of monumentally ordinary proportions. These works should offer fresh and artful interpretations of BitterSweet’s credo: refuse cynicism, defy apathy, celebrate good. The inaugural festival will accept both film (up to 12 minutes in length) and photo essay (including 3 to 5 photographs) entries. Submissions will be judged against the credo.

As a community seeking to center the margins in our work, we invite both amateurs and professionals to submit and promise as low a barrier to entry as possible. From concept to format, we are engineering this festival to see what we can learn from the unlikely.

On December 10 and 11, we will come together in Washington, DC at the Twelve to celebrate and honor the official selections for the festival. Programming for the in-person event will be announced at a later date.

Apply on FilmFreeway

Films and photographs must be submitted through filmfreeway.com no later than November 1, 2021. Visit the festival website for official details.

Apply Now

Awards & Prizes

  • 1 grand prize winner will receive a cash prize of $2,000.00.
  • Films selected for screening and photography essays selected for display will be featured in an online showcase on BitterSweetMonthly.com following the festival.
  • 1 gift/swag bag will be given to filmmakers or photographers for each selected entry.

Rules and Terms

  • Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Submissions must have been completed after January 1, 2020 and ready for screening during the festival dates.
  • Films must be 12 minutes or less to quality for the festival.
  • Films and photographs must be submitted through https://filmfreeway.com/ with necessary details including password (if applicable). If the work is not accessible to the jury it will be disqualified.
  • Films or photographs that have been shown previously to a public audience or have been publicly streamed online are still eligible for the festival.
  • Submissions must be the original work of the filmmaker or photographer. The festival does not investigate the authenticity of an applicant’s statement of authorship or rights secured. By entering your work in the festival, you represent that you have secured all necessary rights.
  • Applicants are solely responsible for obtaining all necessary rights and permissions for third-party materials included in their submission, including but not limited to music, trademarks, logos, copyrights, and other intellectual property rights. BISF is not responsible for any violations of the foregoing.
  • There are no technology restrictions on "how" you create your submission (it can be made on a mobile device or with the latest and greatest technology). That said, it must be submitted in a digital format.
  • Applicants will be notified if they have been selected for screening or display at the festival in late November 2021.