The Columbus Film Festival is the oldest film festival in the United States and entire North America. Its history began in 1950 when a group of progressive educators founded the Columbus Film Council. The festival itself was founded in 1952 and received its current name in the 1980s. The event is supported by the Columbus College of Art & Design and the Ohio Arts Council.
The Columbus International Film + Video Festival is a competitive festival. Its jury consists of industry professionals who select films for public screenings and determine winners in all categories. The winners are presented with the Chris Awards named after Christopher Columbus.
The list of categories might change slightly from year to year. For example, the program of the 2015 edition featured the following categories: Narrative Films, Student Short Films, LGBT Films, Documentary Films, Student Films, Animation, Experimental Films, and Web Series.
Along with the Chris Awards, the Columbus International Film + Video Festival presents other awards for special accomplishments. For example, the Bronze Plaque Award is given to high-quality films that have made a significant contribution to the subject they are dedicated to. Other special awards presented at the festival include the Honorary Mention Award, Edgar Dale Award, Robert Wagner Award, Ben Franklin Award, Festival President Award, Audience Award, and more.
Along with competitive screenings, the program of the festival includes other public screenings such as the opening film, the closing films, a children’s program, a student film section, a documentary section, and more. CIF+VF also hosts events for visiting filmmakers and film students such as panels, workshops and networking sessions. Attracting over 15,000 attendees each year, it is one of the country’s major film industry events.