Hopefully you'll find the answers you seek here but if you don't, feel free to CONTACT our support team at anytime.



When and where does the Blackbird Film Festival take place?

The Blackbird Film Festival takes place annually in Cortland, NY – typically around early May. However, due to growing safety concerns around the COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the 2020 festival weekend has been reschedule to Thursday, October 1st to Sunday, October 4th. Most film screenings take place at the State University of New York, College at Cortland in the Old Main, Brown Auditorium Theater. However, screening events on Thursday, October 1st are currently scheduled at the Center for the Arts in Homer, NY.

What is the address of the theater?

Use the following address to locate the Old Main Brown Auditorium Theater. When you arrive, there will be Blackbird signs pointing you in the right direction!

32 Graham Ave

Cortland, NY 13045

Does the festival have a MAILING ADDRESS?

Yes, if you wish to send material to Blackbird, please use the following address:

Blackbird Film Festival

ATTN: SUNY Cortland

125F Van Hoesen Hall

Cortland, NY 13045

​How much does it cost to attend the festival?

All film screenings at the Blackbird Film Festival are FREE for all to attend. However, attendees may need to purchase a "VIP Festival Badge" to participate in special events such as workshops, panels and parties.


How old is Blackbird?

Blackbird was started in 2015 as a small film festival for high school aged students in Cambridge, MA. However, Blackbird soon began accepting film submissions from around the world and hosted an online festival in late December 2015. In 2016, Blackbird moved to Cortland, NY and developed its physical festival presence.


Who attends Blackbird?

Because Blackbird is located on a college campus, many of the festival attendees are media production students and faculty. However, we also attract a large number of film enthusiasts, community members and filmmakers from the surrounding areas – NYC, Boston, Toronto, Montreal, Syracuse, and Buffalo.


I am strictly a film fan and don't work in the business. Can I attend the festival?

Absolutely! It's FREE to attend all film screenings.


How can I contact Blackbird?

The best way to contact Blackbird would be to visit the CONTACT page and submit a message. If you are a filmmaker with an accepted film, you should consider contacting your Official Blackbird Contact Person for more personalized help.


What can you tell me about Cortland, NY?

Cortland is a small town located in Central New York near the Finger Lakes Wine Region. The town is about 30 minutes south of Syracuse, 20 minutes northeast of Ithaca, and about 4 hours northwest of New York City. The town is home to the State University of New York, College at Cortland and has a population of about 20,000 – not including students. During the winter months, Cortland is known for the many ski resorts surrounding the town like Greek Peak Mountain Resort – one of Blackbird’s sponsor. In the spring and summer months, the area is known for wine tasting and water sports on the Finger Lakes. During the fall, the area becomes a rich burst of color as all the leaves change to a vibrant red, orange, and yellow. Cortland has a lot to discover!


What kind of weather can I expect during Blackbird’s weekend?

Hard to predict the weather during the month of October. It could be 75 and sunny or 45 and chilly. We would suggest checking the weather online a few days before attending. However, the festival is located in an air controlled building so the weather shouldn’t disrupt much.


Where can I go for help finding a hotel room for my stay in Cortland during the festival?

Please visit the ATTEND page for a listing of local area hotels. Several hotels are offering special room block rates for Blackbird. Make sure to ask about those rates before booking.


Are the Blackbird screening venues accessible?

Yes. All Blackbird venues are accessible.
For information on accommodations please contact


What should I do to ensure that I get a seat at a festival screening?

All seating is first come, first serve. We would encourage you to arrive at least 15 minutes early to screening blocks to ensure you get a good seat. The screening blocks do tend to reach full capacity – especially during the afternoon and late night screenings.


If I have a car, where should I park when I get to the festival?

There is ample free parking on SUNY Cortland’s campus. Look for Blackbird signs when you approach the SUNY Cortland entrance.


How can I market my company and/or film at Blackbird?

Blackbird will have several promotional tables and towers for filmmakers to place/hang promotional material at the festival. We encourage any and all forms of creative marketing. Feel free to contact us directly if you have a question or concern about this.




How much does it cost to attend the Blackbird Film Festival?

All film screenings at the Blackbird Film Festival are FREE for all to attend. However, attendees may need to purchase a "VIP Festival Badge" to participate in special events such as workshops, panels and parties.

What types of festival badges are there?

At Blackbird, we have several types of festival badges with different access levels. Our BIRDIE Badge is FREE and gives you access to all film screenings as well as several special events. Our VIP "All Access" Badge is $20 - $40 and gives you additional access to all the film screenings, special events, workshops, panels and parties. We also have FILMMAKER badges for directors representing a film at the festival which give full access to everything. FILMMAKER badges are not for sale.

Where can I purchase VIP "All Access" Badges?

VIP "All Access" Badges can be purchased online ahead of time HERE or at the theater the day of.

How many complimentary VIP "All Access" Badges do accepted Filmmakers receive?

Every director with a film in the festival will receive a personalized FILMMAKER badge for themselves along with five VIP "All Access" Badges for cast and crew and/or friends and family. Additional VIP "All Access" Badges can be purchased HERE or at the theater the day of.

Does Blackbird offer PRESS passes?

Yes, if you are a member of the press, you can apply to receive an All Access Press Badge HERE.

Does Blackbird offer group rates for VIP "All Access" Badges?

Yes, we will offer a VIP badges at a reduced rate if you are purchasing 8+ VIP badges. Please contact for more information.




How can I submit a film to the Blackbird Film Festival?

Blackbird ONLY accepts film submissions via FilmFreeway. Anyone interested in submitting a film to Blackbird will need to create a FREE account on FilmFreeway and upload their project first. Once you have a FilmFreeway account, you can submit a film HERE. Please feel free to contact us at anytime if you have any questions or concerns about this.

How can I submit to the New York State category as it is password protected?

You can apply for the category password HERE by completing a simple questionnaire.

Is there a runtime / length limit for films?

Yes, Blackbird has a runtime limit of 150 minutes. However, be aware that longer films are very hard to program and therefore, we typically only accept a few films over 40 minutes each season making it very competitive. We would encourage you to review submission statistic information HERE before submitting.

Is there a release date requirement for films?

Technically, we'd liked films to have been completed within the last three years. However, we have included older content before. With that said, we'd like to bring new content to our audience and so older films may have a harder time being accepted.

My film has already screened at several film festivals, does this mean it is disqualified from Blackbird?

Absolutely not! Blackbird does not have any premiere restrictions.

My film is available online, does this mean it is disqualified from Blackbird?

Absolutely not! Blackbird does not have any release restrictions.

If my film is Officially Selected, does Blackbird pay a "screening fee"?

Only feature films receive a screening fee contingent on the filmmaker's attendance.

Can I submit more than one film to Blackbird for consideration?

Yes, you can submit as many films as you like. However, please be aware that we rarely include multiple films by the same director.

When do I need to send my film to Blackbird?

​Only after you receive the Official Selection notification from FilmFreeway. Instructions will be included in that email when the time comes.


​If Officially Selected to the Festival, how will my film be shown?

Films selected for inclusion in the festival will be assigned a screening block during the festival weekend in Cortland, New York. Filmmakers will be provided with a complete schedule of events around the time Official Selections are announced.




Does Blackbird offer submission fee waivers?

No, at this time Blackbird does not offer submission fee waivers. Submission fees are necessary parts of Film Festivals that go to cover a variety of event costs such as venues, foods, entertainment, promotional material, etc. However, Blackbird does offer a variety of promotional codes throughout the festival season. Follow Blackbird on Twitter @Blackbirdfest or on Facebook for special deals and promotions.

Are there any discounts available?

Yes, please use the promotional code: WEBSITE for 30% off submission fees on FilmFeeway.

I am from a US sanctioned country (such as Iran) and therefore cannot pay a submission fee, can I receive a fee waiver?

While this is very unfortunate and unfair, we still cannot offer you a fee waiver. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, we receive hundreds of requests like this each season and we simply cannot ask our judges to review so many additional films that have not paid a submission fee. Our judge's time must first go to the filmmakers who have paid a fee to submit their work. Secondly, we have no way of verifying whether a filmmaker is actually from a sanctioned county. Unfortunately, we discovered that some filmmakers were using this as an excuse when in fact they are not currently living in a sanctioned country. So again, we do not offer fee waivers for this.