Call for Submissions


Rooftop Films

Brooklyn, New York 11215




Dec 07, 2020

In May 2021, we will begin celebrating our 25th year of presenting the best independent films outdoors in New York City. If selected, you will participate in one of the most unforgettable, unique, filmmaker-friendly, independent film events in the world!

The Summer Series runs annually in New York City and features daring new films, screened outdoors, in front of big, loyal audiences in parks, on boats, and on rooftops overlooking the greatest city in the world. Tens of thousands of people attend Rooftop screenings every summer, making it one of the most popular festivals in New York City and one of the biggest festivals for independent films in the world. We believe that a film festival has a responsibility to present films in exciting and innovative ways so that we can reach wide audiences and show interesting work in a manner that maximizes the impact of the films.

“The audience numbers are mind-boggling. Most of the industry people I’ve met at other festivals seem to have seen my film at Rooftop, yet I think Rooftop is perhaps the only truly populist screening venue for underground movies in America.”
–Benh Zeitlin, Director, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Submitting to Rooftop

At Rooftop, we believe that the role of a festival is to help creators bring their works to excited and engaged audiences. We’re committed to helping filmmakers get their films screened and we believe that it’s the responsibility of a festival to make that process as easy as possible. That is why we keep our submission fees low. If you submit a work to Rooftop you will automatically get 2 free tickets ($30 value) to any one Rooftop Summer Series show or one free entry to a drive-in screening, whether or not we are able to screen your film. Tickets are transferable.

We have always had a low, recommended submission fee, which must only be paid once regardless of how many films you submit to the festival. No film will ever be turned away due to lack of funds. If you are submitting multiple films or are unable to pay the submission fee for any reason email to request a fee waiver.

We keep our submission fees and ticket prices low so that filmmakers and audience members can, at least in one small way, contribute equally to the Rooftop community and neither need be saddled with an unfair expense.

Rules And Guidelines
Rooftop Films is committed to providing a venue, an audience and a community for the wide array of short and feature length films that are under-served by conventional commercial distributors, industry festivals, art galleries, and repertory theaters. We want films that tell us about where and how you live. We seek independent movies with original ideas. We screen the work of experienced professionals, long-time amateurs, and first-time filmmakers alike. We strongly encourage women, veterans, people with disabilities, people of color and gender nonconforming filmmakers to submit to our festival.

We show films of all genres, formats, and lengths, as long as they’re daring, creative, and unique. We always search for films that break down boundaries or feature innovative, personal, and eccentric or hilarious takes on old forms. We love animation, satire, comedies and dramas, experimental and abstract films, personal and political documentaries, and every other form of film, entertainment or video art.

We screen hundreds of short and feature length films each summer and work tirelessly year round to bring these films to new audiences.

If you have any questions regarding submissions, please email

* Fiction Features are features length films, sixty minutes and longer. We screen dozens of feature length films each summer.
* Fiction Short Films are short films 59 minutes and under. We screen over 100 short films each summer.
* Documentary Features are non-fiction feature length films, sixty minutes and longer. We screen dozens of feature length documentaries each summer.
* Documentary Short Films are non-fiction short films, 59 minutes and under. We screen over 100 short films each summer.

Previews & Entry Form
* All submissions not made through FilmFreeway must go through our Submission Form.
* Submissions must be in English or have English subtitles and there must be a preview AND screening copy available in English or with English subtitles, excepting music videos and films without dialogue.
* Rooftop accepts submissions via online links.

Screening Rights
* Should your work be selected to be part of the Rooftop Films Summer Series, Rooftop Films reserves the right to screen your film at any Rooftop screening throughout the summer, between the start and end dates of the Summer Series for which your film was submitted.
* After the Summer Series end date, Rooftop Films shall not screen any submitted films without the expressed consent of the filmmaker.
* If your film is accepted, Rooftop generally screens digital files but we can often assist filmmakers in making transfers from other types of masters if necessary.
* If your film is accepted, we will get a screening copy from you, and will mail them back at our expense.

Early Bird: $15, January 5, 2021
Regular: $20, January 27, 2021
Late: $25, February 26th, 2021
Extended Late: $30, March 8th, 2021
Notification Date: No later than May 15, 2020

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