Skip to content →

CFF 2023


We can’t wait to get this season started up! We have already received so many awesome films, and judging is right around the corner! Below, you’ll find updates on the festival, and added events (👀) and announcements (and boy do we have some fun stuff coming!)

You can also follow along on Facebook or Instagram for updates too!


Submit your doc, narrative, experimental and animations on FilmFreeway!

Last day to submit is July 1, 2023.

Introducing our Harriet Tubman Freedom Award Winner, RY FERRO!

Ry was a director and editor on her film MOVE WHEN THE SPIRIT SAYS MOVE: The Legacy of Dorothy Foreman Cotton, which explores Ms. Cotton’s work and legacy as a key player in the Civil Rights Movement.

Additionally, we’ll be honoring producer, PhotoSynthesis Productions and executive producer, The Dorothy Cotton Institute!

We will be screening MOVE WHEN THE SPIRIT SAYS MOVE: The Legacy of Dorothy Foreman Cotton on November 3, 2023 at Auburn Public Theater.


Dorothy Foreman Cotton was a bold and highly effective civil rights leader, who educated thousands in their citizenship rights and inspired generations of activists with her powerful freedom songs. The only woman on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s executive staff, Dorothy was a charismatic, courageous and consistently overlooked key player in the Civil Rights Movement, whose freedom schools, freedom songs and inspiring messages of the power within us all are profoundly needed today.

Directed by Ry Ferro & Deborah C. Hoard Produced by PhotoSynthesis Productions and The Dorothy Cotton Institute

Watch the trailer!

Ry Ferro is a graduate of the Park School of Communications at Ithaca College and has been shooting and editing award-winning documentary films since 2004. She is an activist filmmaker with a focus on human rights and civic engagement. THERE’S YOUR READY GIRL, her short film about Dorothy F. Cotton, won numerous awards and received significant praise for its timely and critical message.

PhotoSynthesis Productions is a little film company that exists on a big world stage. Owned by Deborah C. Hoard, Film Producer & Director, PSP has filmed the Dalai Lama, documented a total eclipse of the sun in Bolivia, and had their film, They Call It Myanmar named one of the top documentaries of 2012. Their work for clients like Cornell University and the National Geographic Society have won more than 200 national and international media awards. PSP is dedicated to using the power of film for education and social justice. For 30 years they have produced long- and short-form films that reach international audiences with diverse messages of equity and positive change.

The Dorothy Cotton Institute was first conceived in 2007 by Dorothy and a small group of her colleagues. Originally envisioned as a Dorothy Cotton Fellowship, this idea quickly expanded to imagining a small independent institute offering popular education and training to inspire and support people who want to foster and protect human rights and to advance civic participation for social transformation.


The Harriet Tubman Freedom Award is given to an industry professional who utilizes their talents in storytelling and voice to create powerful and meaningful art.

The Harriet Tubman Freedom Award is sponsored by the great folks at TourCayuga