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Join the Celebration of Documentary Storytelling at the Friday Harbor Film Festival 2023

Updated: May 18, 2023

Now is the time to submit your film to be a part of this remarkable celebration of storytelling!


Every year, nestled in the heart of beautiful San Juan Island, Washington, the Friday Harbor Film Festival (FHFF) unfolds. It’s a vibrant gathering of dedicated and talented filmmakers, and it’s your chance to share your unique narrative with a passionate audience eager to be entertained, enlightened, and inspired.

Now is the time to submit your film to be a part of this remarkable celebration of storytelling. The FHFF 2023 is currently accepting submissions for documentary features, shorts, and student films.

The deadline for documentary features and shorts is August 1, 2023, while student film submissions are open until September 1, 2023.

Each film screened during the festival's opening weekend, October 26 – 29, will be followed by a Q&A session with the filmmaker, providing an opportunity to engage directly with the audience. Even if you can't attend in person, the festival facilitates virtual participation, letting filmmakers join Q&A sessions via live stream.

The award ceremony, a highlight of the festival, will be held in person on October 29. Prizes are awarded based on audience choice, giving you the chance to win the coveted Audience Choice Award. Winners will receive a personalized metal salmon sculpture, an emblem of recognition, and a token of accomplishment.

Awards night 2022 (from left): Peter Nelson (“The Pollinators”), Capt. Paul Watson and Lesley Chilcott (“Watson”), FHFF Board members Karen Palmer and Mark Kyle, and Filipe Leite of “The Long Rider".

The festival's awards span several categories, including Feature Film, Short Film, and Student Film, as well as thematic categories: Explorers and Adventures, Things to Consider, and Tales from the Heart. Regardless of your focus, there is a platform for your voice at FHFF.

Our Explorers & Adventures category is for films that follow extraordinary individuals on their scientific and exploratory expeditions, emphasizing the need for the preservation of natural resources. If your film explores challenges that the world faces today, ranging from climate change to social justice, it might fit best under Things to Consider. Lastly, films that tell human-interest stories, highlighting the beauty of nature or the resilience of individuals, should be submitted under Tales from the Heart.

Student filmmakers, we encourage you to participate in the Student Filmmakers Competition. We're accepting films from two age groups: 11-17 years and 18-26 years. Whether it's a live-action or an animated documentary short film, we're eager to see your work.

Following the festival weekend, selected feature documentaries, shorts, and student films will be available on demand from October 30 to November 5, 2023, allowing a broader audience to appreciate your work.

Attendees gather in the lobby of the San Juan Community Theatre on opening night of the 2022 festival.

FHFF provides an extraordinary stage to illuminate the richness of our world. We invite you to uncover the magnetic allure of island cultures, plunge into the secrets of marine ecology, and share the thrill of heroic adventures. Let your films echo the rhythm of sustainable agriculture practices, and amplify the resounding calls for social justice. Unveil the urgent environmental challenges we face, and touch hearts with stirring stories of human interest. Your lens can capture and convey the tapestry of diverse cultures and environments spanning the Pacific Rim and beyond, adding to the global conversation in a truly meaningful way. Let your film be the voice that sparks change, empathy, understanding, and action.

Don't miss this opportunity to share your unique perspective with a passionate audience. Whether you're a seasoned filmmaker or a student exploring the art of storytelling, the Friday Harbor Film Festival is a chance to make your mark, share your voice, and be a part of a community that values your unique contribution to the art of filmmaking.

Submit your film today and join us in the celebration of documentary storytelling at the Friday Harbor Film Festival 2023. We can't wait to see what stories you'll bring to the big screen!


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