The New York International Children’s Film Festival was first held back in 1997. 2018 marks the 21st annual edition of the festival that was set up to celebrate children’s achievements in film. All children from the ages of 3 to 18 are eligible to take part in the festival with the hope that this will help to nurture their budding talents.

Last year the New York International Children’s Film Festival screened over 100 films that included animated and experimental short films and features. These films came from all aspiring child filmmakers from all over the world and as well as the United States.

Despite only pulling in very small crowds during its first few years, the event has grown massively. The 2017 New York International Children’s Film Festival had a total audience attendance of 25,000. The festival has been sold out year-on-year since 2000. People attend from all over the world in what has become North America’s largest film festival for children.

How the New York International Children’s Film Festival helps develop talent.

With the stated aim of recognizing powerful new works of art and their filmmakers, the festival helps to get young artist’s work noticed on a nationwide level. For the lucky few, this will lead to their films getting some form of distribution. It also helps these young filmmakers to attract both film producers and finance that will help them go on to make further films.

Each year the New York International Children’s Film Festival hosts a range of workshops to help aspiring young filmmakers. These workshops include helping children learn new filmmaking techniques and how to write scripts. So successful were these workshops that they are now run throughout the year to allow even more children to attend.

The event is attended by some of Hollywood’s biggest stars including Gus Van Sant, John Canemaker, Lynne McVeigh, Matthew Modine, Sofia Coppola, Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Julianne Moore, Christine Vachon, Taika Waititi, Richard Pena, James Schamus, Bill Plympton, Dana Points, and Jeffrey Wright, all of whom were jurors at the 2016 event.

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What other events are on during the festival?

Aside from the New York International Children’s Film Festival film screenings and workshops there are a number of great events held annually. As with all other film festivals, the main event is the Awards Ceremony. During this time, winners of the much converted prizes will receive their awards.

There are a number of gala premieres and several retrospectives each year that celebrate past films or filmmakers in an effort to reignite interest in them. Thanks to the success of all these events, the New York International Children’s Film Festival film now runs a year-round program that includes an online festival, film screenings, and even a touring festival that includes film workshops for children aged between 6 and 16 years old.


Success in the New York International Children’s Film Festival can lead big places. The festival is recognized as an Academy Awards qualifying event. Winners in the Live Action Short and Animated Short film competitions will be put forward for Oscar consideration.

The awards were given out each year at the New York International Children, n’s Film Festival are as follows:

  • Best Animated Short Film – (Jury Award)
  • Best Live Action Short Film – (Jury Award)
  • Best Short Film – Ages 3 to 5 – (Audience Award)
  • Best Short Film – Ages 6 to 11 – (Audience Award)
  • Best Short Film – Ages 12 to 17 – (Audience Award)
  • Best Short Film – 18 and over – (Audience Award)
  • Best Overall Short Film – (Grand Prize Awards)
  • Best Overall Feature Film – (Grand Prize Awards)

The Audience Awards are voted on by audience members who have attended festival screenings. Every film selected for entry into the festival, including both shorts are feature-length films, qualifies for entry into the Audience Awards.

How to Enter

While all those young filmmakers might be a little disappointed to discover that entry for the 2018 New York International Children’s Film Festival is now closed, they can still enter them for next year’s event.

The main categories for entries include:

  • Short Film Live Action
  • Short Film Documentary
  • Short Film Animation
  • Feature Film Live Action
  • Feature Film Documentary
  • Feature Film Animation

International and domestic applications are welcome for all awards. Short films should be no more than 40 minutes in duration. All longer films should be entered into the feature film category.

The New York International Children’s Film Festival accepts entries all year-round. The deadline for the upcoming year’s festival can be found on their website. Should you miss the deadline your film will be considered for entry into the following year’s festival. Film materials used to enter your film will not be returned.

To find out more about exactly how to enter films just click this link and head to their website.

Please remember to read all the festival’s terms and conditions properly.

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The New York International Children’s Film Festival is held from 23 February to 18 March, 2018.

For more information regarding the festival’s events and programs please visit their website via this link.