for filmmakers

Friends of the Festival

Friends of the Festival are a network of organizations throughout the greater Rochester area that offer support to Fast Forward filmmakers. Friends of the Festival support the festival’s mission and assist festival entrants by providing knowledge, resources, and other means where applicable throughout the submission period.

Our Friends circle is constantly growing. If you or your organization is interested in becoming a Friend of the Festival, contact us at for more information.

Festival Friends

Official Check In Sponsor: Yelp Rochester
The Nature Conservancy
Locations, preserve access
Interviewee subjects, connections, local experts
Information on nature topics
Genesee Valley Audubon Society (GVAS)
Information on birds and environmental conservation
RIT Sustainability Office
Sustainability topics
Art and Vintage on Main (AVoM), Art Gallery
Photographers, models, artists in Rochester
NYS Pollution Prevention Institute
Environment and pollution topics
Monroe County Central Library
Camera equipment, use of film editing equipment (available to High School aged and younger)
Rochester Movie Makers
Resources, forms, crew support, etc.
Rochester & Rochester/Finger Lakes Film Commission
Locations, interviewees, crew support
Jack Garner
Former chief film critic for Gannett Newspapers, author of From My Seat on the Aisle
Film knowledge, tips and advice
Rochester Documentary Filmmakers
Filmmakers may join this network of local filmmakers
Information on sharing communities or events
Harley School
Resource for Harley students, or topic of Harley green initiatives
Center for Environmental Initiatives, Riverwatch
Information on water topics
braineryRochester Brainery
Assistance with networking for speakers or interview subjects
Green Drinks
Information on green businesses in Rochester
Sierra Club of Rochester
Environmental preservation topics
Rochester Contemporary Art Center
Artists or green projects in Rochester
M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence
Sustainability or worldview topics
First Fridays Rochester, City Gallery Night
Artists or green projects in Rochester
Visual Studies Workshop
Access to photography and visual arts
Good LuckGood Luck
Java’s Café
RIT Film & Animation Department
Access to actors, film knowledge
Harts Local GrocersHart's Local Grocers
Topics on food, green initiatives, composting
Socially Good Business
Connection to local green businesses, topics on green business initiatives
Information on all things environment in Rochester
Seneca Park Zoo
Potential film location and interview subjects
EPIC10 Films
Filmmaking technical advice or consultation
New York Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation

Community Partners

Arena's For LifeConstellation Brands
New York Film Academy logoNew York Film Academy
Learning by Doing
Heron Hill Winery
Finger Lakes region
Rochester Solar Power Organizational Team
New York Women in Film & Television
Red Jacket OrchardsRed Jacket Orchards
Orchards * Juicery * Farmstore
Lori's Natural Food CenterLori's Natural Food Center
Impact EarthImpact Earth
Creating more sustainable communities

Thank you to our 2016 Friends of the Festival and Community Partners!

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Submission FAQs

When are submissions being accepted, and when is the submission deadline?

Submissions open August 8, 2016 and close on February 27, 2017.

Is there a fee to submit?

There are no fees to submit to the Fast Forward Film Festival.

Who can submit a film, and what type of film can be submitted?

Anyone from the Greater Rochester area can submit a film, which includes the Finger Lakes area (but not as far as Buffalo or Syracuse).

We encourage all ages to submit to the festival.  All genres and styles are accepted.

Are there submission categories?

Fast Forward 2017 has an Adult Program and a Youth Program.  Cash awards will be given to filmmakers for the most inspiring, compelling, and engaging films. The categories for the programs are as follows:

For the Adult Program:

(3) Winners of the adult program will each receive an award of $1,000.

(1) The Audience Choice Award recipient will receive an award of $500.

For the Youth (under 18) Program:

(3) Winners of the youth program will each receive an award of $500.

(1) The Audience Choice Award youth recipient will receive an award of $250.

Does my film topic have to be about Rochester?

The festival is all about celebrating the environmental voice of Rochester, but subject matter is not limited to the Rochester area. Please note that filmmakers must be from the Greater Rochester region, which includes the Finger Lakes area (but not as far as Buffalo or Syracuse).

Why is the limit 5 minutes?

The Fast Forward Film Festival is a short film competition. Limited only by runtime and driven by innovation and experimentation, short films transcend the rules of conventional storytelling and allow for greater creativity.

Short films submitted to Fast Forward must have a total running time of less than 5 minutes, including credits.

Can I submit a short film that has already been released publicly? 

There are no premiere or prior screening restrictions for short film submissions. Shorts that have been previously released via any home video outlet, broadcast television, internet, and/or publicly screened anywhere in the world remain eligible.

Can I use a pre-existing film for the Fast Forward Film Festival?

We will not accept a film that has already been submitted in previous years of the Fast Forward Film Festival. Otherwise, pre-existing films are encouraged and allowed.

If any film includes non-English dialogue, do you require English subtitles?

All films that contain significant non-English dialogue MUST include on-screen English subtitles at the time of submission. A translated list of dialogue on paper is not sufficient. If your film is mostly in English and you intend to intentionally leave out subtitles for any non-English dialogue included in the film, you do not need to provide subtitles for those particular sections.

How do I submit online?

Fast Forward Film Festival accepts entries via, an online submissions platform. FilmFreeway offers free HD online screeners, Vimeo and YouTube integration, and more. To submit, please go to: and click on “Submit Your Film”.

If you submitted your film via our online submission platform, you do not need to send us any physical materials. If you are not satisfied with the quality of your digital upload and would prefer to send a disc instead, please contact immediately, so we can modify your previously selected submission format.

Am I required to obtain rights for copyrighted material included in my film?

You must clear all copyrighted materials included in your film before you can publicly screen it. It is the sole responsibility of the entity submitting the project to secure permission from the copyright holder of the material in question, whether it is music, stock footage, or any other elements that could violate an existing copyright. Films that are accepted into the Festival must sign a waiver stating that materials used in the film do not violate any existing copyright.

How many films may I submit?

You may submit as many films as you would like, all will be eligible as long as they meet the criteria. Each film must be submitted separately.

What types of films are you looking for? What stands out?

We celebrate the independent spirit of unique and original storytelling. Diverse voices and films that push the limits of style and narrative also excite us, but there is no single aesthetic that we look for over any other. We value creative storytelling about an interesting environmental point-of view.

May I make trailers, clips, or scenes of my film available online?

Yes, you may make any shortened version of your film available online before, during, or after the festival. We ask that you simply do not air the entirety of your entry before the screenings at the Fast Forward Film Festival.

Who will review my film?

The Fast Forward Film Festival has four jurists who will be made publicly known during the submission process. These jurists review, score, and select the films for the Festival.

When and how, will I hear about my submission?

During the submission period, you will contacted if your film needs additional documentation. Within one month following the submission deadline, you will be notified via the email address you provided at submission if your film has or has not been selected.

Who do I contact if I have any questions after I submit my film?

Email with any questions during or after you submit your film. We make every effort to respond within 24 hours of your inquiry.

Where do I mail a submission if I choose to mail through the US Postal Service?

All submissions should be mailed to us at the address below along with the Festival Mail-In Submission Form.  This form can be requested by emailing  Please do not send us a DVD if you have already submitted your film through FilmFreeway.

Mail to:

Fast Forward Film Festival
274 North Goodman Street
Ste B267
Rochester, NY 14607


Event FAQs

When does the Festival take place?

The 2017 Fast Forward Film Festival takes place in the Spring. Festival dates will be announced in the Fall.

The Festival Film Screenings will take place on Friday, March 31 @ 7 pm at the Little Theatre.

The Festival Gala will take place on Saturday, April 1 @ 6-10 pm at the George Eastman Museum.

Additional details will be announced soon.

How do I buy tickets?

You can purchase tickets online beginning in March, 2017.

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Resources for Filmmakers – Downloads

Make sure that your film submission follows the Terms & Conditions (PDF) of the festival. Rochester Movie Makers has generously allowed Fast Forward Film Festival entrants access to their library of release forms. Depending on the type of film you submit, you may need to use the forms available below. For more filmmaking documents visit Rochester Movie Makers “Filmmaker Resources” webpage.

Adobe PDF

General Music Release ver2 PDF
General Location Release ver2 PDF
General Actor Waiver and Release ver2 PDF

Word DOC

General Music Release ver2 DOC
General Location Release ver2 DOC
General Actor Waiver and Release ver2 DOC

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