Current Festival Dates: October 1st - 4th, 2020


Last Updated 7/10/2020

Please see below our current plan for Blackbird 2020:


Main 2020 Festival Updates:

  • All films will be screened outside during the early evening for the community, filmmakers and students to enjoy!

  • Tentative Dates: October 1st - 4th with additional dates likely due to time constraints.

  • A "limited" virtual screening link will be available for those who cannot attend in-person (see below for more info).

  • Exact screening location TBA (likely on SUNY Cortland's main quad).

  • Virtual Q&A via ZOOM after screenings for filmmakers who do not feel comfortable attending.

  • Online "Networking Portal" to be created for filmmakers / attendees to connect remotely.

  • Unfortunately, all 2020 in-person parties / networking events must be rolled into Blackbird 2021.

  • Updated screening schedule to be released as soon as screening location approved.

  • All 2020 filmmakers will have the opportunity to attend and screen again at Blackbird 2021 as an encore presentation!



Where will films be screened?

  • Films will be screened OUTSIDE during the evening in Cortland, NY for our audience to enjoy!

  • While the specific location for the screen is still being worked out, we are hopeful the screen will be installed on SUNY Cortland's main quad where students and community members can gather at a safe distance for a lovely evening of cinema!

When will this event take place?

  • As of now, we are still planning on the October 1st - 4th dates however, this may change as we assume we will only be able to screen 2-3 blocks per nights. Therefore, we may need to add a few additional days.

  • With that said, SUNY Cortland's "restart" plan is contingent on the NY Governor's (Andrew Cuomo) approval. While the college President does not anticipate any major disruptions, COVID19 has certainly taught us all to be cautious moving forward with any sort of plan.

Will there be any parties or networking events?

  • Unfortunately, given the high risk associated with social events like this, we will not be hosting any in-person parties or networking events this year. It hurts our hearts tremendously to cancel this aspect of the festival as we strongly believe these events are what make a film festival different from plain-old screenings but we simply cannot risk the safety of our filmmakers, community and staff.

  • HOWEVER, we will be creating an online "Networking Portal" highlighting all filmmakers as a way for you to connect with each other remotely. 

  • With that said, all 2020 filmmakers will have the opportunity to attend ALL parties / networking events in 2021.

What about the Awards and the Award Ceremony?

  • There will still be nominations and awards for Blackbird 2020! However, the in-person Award Ceremony will need to be combined with Blackbird 2021 due to social distancing restrictions.

  • With that said, we will still announce 2020 nominations and awards as usual during the 2020 event.

  • Prize Medallions, Award Certificates and Monetary awards will be mailed out to filmmakers who are unable to attend after the 2020 event.

How can filmmakers be included / get involved?

  • Please know that filmmakers are WELCOME to attend the new outdoor screenings! We will host a live Q&A for any filmmakers in attendance. However, we understand completely if you do not feel comfortable traveling and/or being part of an outdoor crowd.

  • Therefore, we will also be hosting a VIRTUAL Q&A after each screening for interested filmmakers.

  • Additionally, we welcome any interested filmmakers to submit a video-intro (less than 1 minute) for themselves / their film which we will play directly before your film screens.

What will the Virtual Screening option look like?

  • With the filmmaker's permission, films will also be available online for a limited virtual screening for those who cannot attend the live event. The specifics of this virtual component are still being worked out and more information will be available soon.

  • PLEASE KNOW: the Virtual Screenings will ONLY include films that Directors agree to release virtually. NO film will be included in the Virtual Screening without the filmmakers permission.

So, what is the plan for Blackbird 2021?

  • As of now, Blackbird 2021 is scheduled for April 29th - May 2nd, 2021 and our hope is that nothing changes with those dates.

  • With that said, we have decided to program several "ENCORE" screening blocks during the 2021 festival reserved for 2020 films and filmmakers. Unfortunately, we will not be able to re-screen all 2020 official selections during the 2021 event due to time restrictions and therefore we want to give any 2020 filmmakers interested in attending the 2021 festival the opportunity to re-screen their film as well as participate in all 2021 VIP / Filmmaker events!

  • More information on this option will be available soon!


Again, we are still a bit stunned by all this and promise we will do everything we can to make your experience with the Blackbird Film Festival the best it can be - whether in 2020 or 2021. We will continue to update this page as we finalize more aspects of Blackbird 2020.

In the meantime, please stay healthy and feel free to email if you have any questions, comments or concerns.

All the best,

Sam Avery

Festival Director


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Blackbird Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in Cortland, New York.

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