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How is cine different?

We’ve built our legacy on discovering independent and emerging talent, and now we’re partnering with film festivals to help us honor the best.

Every entry has an equal opportunity to reach the final jury. Our initial review teams evaluate each entry through an openly published set of evaluation criteria — and all entrants may access their comments when the process is complete.

Top projects are sent to a jury of notable filmmakers, producers and former CINE winners. They select up to five finalists and a CINE Golden Eagle Award winner.

Win a jury prize at a CINE Select partner film festival and you’ll receive free submission into the CINE Golden Eagle Awards. Win a CINE Golden Eagle Award and you could get a screening as part of a CINE showcase at an upcoming event or partner festival.

Submit your project through CINE’s Awards System or one of our entry partners, FilmFreeway or Withoutabox.


What's New

One Cycle

In the past, CINE offered both a spring and fall cycle open to everyone — students through professionals. Since the needs of every media maker are different, we have split the cycles into three distinct rounds. The new CINE Golden Eagle Awards for Independent & Emerging Media are presented only once a year: one round, one set of deadlines.

New Structure

We have adopted a “nominee” structure. Three to five CINE Golden Eagle finalists will be nominated in each category, with one production per category selected to win the CINE Golden Eagle Award. By reducing the number of overall winners, we can now present each award-winning production with a beautiful Golden Eagle award trophy — free of charge.

CINE Select Film Festivals

Jury winners from our CINE Select Festivals — events that share our core values based on standards of excellence, festival history, jury award system, industry influence and audience demographics — receive complimentary entry into the CINE Golden Eagle Awards.

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More CINE Selects Festivals may be announced.


CINE is committed to transparency. Our evaluation criteria is published below, and all entrants may access reviewers’ comments and scores. In addition, our distinguished jurors — those selecting the finalists and award recipients — will be posted.

Easy Process

We have reworked our online entry form to make it easier to submit projects. Our new form features a login system that allows you save your entry forms in-process, receive automatic deadline reminders, then submit and pay as you’re ready.

Awards Information



  • Film must screen or be scheduled to screen at a U.S. film festival after January 2015
  • Film may not have a commercial digital, theatrical or broadcast distribution deal at the time of entry (unless automatically nominated by a CINE Select Festival)
  • Film may not have been originally commissioned by a professional entity (client or distributor)
  • Film was not produced in a school or educational program
  • Film must have been completed after May 2014
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CINE Golden Eagle Awards will be presented in the following categories.
A FEATURE is defined as 40:01 minutes or more in length.
A SHORT is defined as 40:00 minutes or less in length.

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Independent & Emerging Media
  • Narrative Feature
  • Documentary Feature
  • Animation Feature
  • Narrative Short
  • Documentary Short
  • Animation Short
  • Digital Series
  • Virtual Reality — Narrative/Animation Short
  • Virtual Reality — Documentary Short

Jurors may also elect to give commendations for Outstanding First Feature


What do our jurors want to see? The essentials, of course: excellence in production technique and storytelling.

But what truly sets Golden Eagle Award winners apart is our focus on originality. In the crowded media landscape, jurors and audiences want to know: What is the unique vision that your production offers? Do you present it in a creative way?

Reviewers will also briefly comment on the strengths and weaknesses of the production, and whether the production is deserving of  a CINE Golden Eagle Award. Reviewers’ comments will be available to all entrants.

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The story presents the information or plot clearly and in an engaging way, with concise, original dialogue or narration.



The entry shows creativity or innovation that makes it stand above similar productions in its genre.



The entry’s resources (stated or implied) were effectively demonstrated through footage (original and archival), personnel and post-production.


Production Technique

Production values— including cinematography, graphics, score, acting and sound design — serve the story.



The film is edited at a pace that engages the audience. The entry’s length is appropriate for the content or story.


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Submissions Open: January 4, 2016
Early Deadline: February 12, 2016
Final Deadline: March 25, 2016
Notification Date: June 28, 2016


Enter by
February 12, 2016
Enter by
March 25, 2016
Independent/Emerging — Feature
Narrative, Documentary and Animation
$50 $75
Independent/Emerging — Short
Narrative, Documentary and Animation
$35 $50
Independent/Emerging — Digital Series
Narrative, Documentary and Animation
$35 $50
Independent/Emerging — Virtual Reality
Narrative, Documentary and Animation
$35 $35


Please read this agreement carefully before you submit your production. By submitting your entry, you expressly acknowledge and agree that you shall be bound by the terms of this agreement.


Productions must have been completed after May 1, 2014. All non-English language films must have English subtitles. A separate entry application and entry fee must be submitted for each entry.


All films must be submitted and paid for through or one of our online entry partners. Illegible or incomplete entry forms will not be accepted. Entry forms that do not include full payment of entry fees at the final deadline will not be accepted. Preview copies must be included with the submitted entry form. Submissions may not be withdrawn once they have been entered, except at the sole discretion of CINE. There are no refunds for entries with incomplete entry forms, or incorrectly formatted preview materials.


CINE only reviews online screeners—DVD and tape is not an allowable format. We accept online materials through (preferred), YouTube or a streaming service that does not require a paid subscription. CINE cannot watch entries uploaded to any other platforms. Private links must be accompanied by a valid password. CINE, its members, directors, employees, and volunteers are not responsible for broken, expired or incorrectly submitted URLs or passwords.

Entrants to Virtual Reality categories will coordinate delivery of a digital file that can be played on any Google Cardboard device for judging. CINE will ensure that all reviewers and jurors in these categories have the proper equipment to screen and evaluate VR submissions.


All entry forms must be completed and submitted with online links included no later than 11:59 PM EST on March 25, 2016.


All entries are screened by CINE in consideration for an award. Submissions will be watched by CINE reviewers, a volunteer group of CINE award-winning alumni, professional media makers and critics, and qualified media enthusiasts. CINE reviewers and jurors are contractually bound to keep all screening materials and judgments private.

Productions will be evaluated using the criteria outlined. Productions will receive a written review; all entrants will receive comments at the conclusion of the review process. CINE staff monitors the review process for quality control.

Top scoring productions are sent to CINE Jurors for a second stage of evaluation. CINE Jurors — recruited from a pool of distinguished CINE alumni, past presidents and board members, and media professionals — score these productions using the same criteria and evaluation form, and select, at their discretion, between three and five CINE GOLDEN EAGLE FINALISTS, and one CINE GOLDEN EAGLE AWARD WINNER. Jurors may also choose to give a special Outstanding First Feature commendation.

CINE reserves the right not to name finalists or give a CINE Golden Eagle Award in a category at the discretion of CINE reviewers, jurors or staff.


CINE will publish the complete list of official finalists and winners for each category on by June 28, 2016.


CINE will send notification for each submission to the attention of the contact listed on the entry form. Please make sure all contact information — mailing address, email address and phone number — is accurate. Change of contact information can be sent to CINE is not liable for emails delayed by spam filters, server rejections or outdated addresses. CINE staff can be reached by email at, or by mail at CINE, 1003 K Street NW, Suite 208, Washington, DC 20001 USA. The office phone number is +1-507-400-2463.


Beginning with the 57th annual CINE Golden Eagle Awards for Professional Media, CINE will present one complimentary Golden Eagle Award trophy to each CINE Golden Eagle Award winner, and one complimentary certificate to each CINE Golden Eagle Finalist.  If an Outstanding First Feature commendation is given, the filmmaker will receive a complimentary plaque. CINE awards will be inscribed and shipped at the  request of the recipient. Additional CINE Golden Eagle Award trophies, finalist plaques and certificates may be purchased. Prizes are subjected to change, and any updates will be posted online at


All selected entries may be excerpted for publicity purposes. CINE reserves the right to promote any entry to print, broadcast or internet media as required to market the CINE Golden Eagle Awards or CINE. No production will be screened or distributed in its entirety without the permission of the entrant. CINE may use your name, approved likeness, biography and other information regarding your submission for the purposes of marketing, advertising and promoting the Golden Eagle awards and CINE’s mission of promoting quality filmmaking.


CINE will package certain CINE Golden Eagle Finalists and CINE Golden Eagle Award recipients for showcases at partner festivals and film schools. Participation is not guaranteed, and CINE will contact filmmakers before finalizing each showcase for non-exclusive screening permission. All ticket sales are property of CINE and/or accredited partner festivals.


CINE promotes CINE Golden Eagle Award recipients through the CINE Films portion of Any production that is made available by the production team on a free website that does not require a subscription or password (Vimeo, YouTube, etc.) will be embedded on its listing on CINE Films. Productions that are available on subscription sites (Netflix, Hulu+) will be linked from their listings on CINE Films. Productions that are password-protected will not be shared publicly.


The individual or corporation (entrant) submitting an entry to CINE and the CINE Golden Eagle Awards hereby warrants that they are authorized to submit the media project for consideration. Please ensure if you are submitting an entry that contains copyrighted material by anyone other than yourself or your collaborators, if a joint work, that you have obtained proper clearances and/or licenses for that material used. You agree to indemnify and hold harmless CINE, its organizers, judges, sponsors, and partners, individually and collectively, from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney’s fees, and court costs) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to submitted material. The burden of determining that any material is not protected by copyright, trademark, rights of privacy, publicity or any other proprietary rights rests solely with the entrant. The entrant shall bear the sole liability for any damages resulting from any infringement of copyrights, proprietary rights, or any other harm which is alleged as a result of such a submission.


This License shall be governed by the laws of the United States and the District of Columbia without consideration of conflicts of laws provisions and principles. All claims between the parties, regardless of legal theory and whenever brought, shall be resolved in the state or federal courts of the District of Columbia, USA, and you stipulate that you expressly submit to the personal jurisdiction of such state and federal courts, and you further agree that any judgment may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof. If for any reason a court of competent jurisdiction finds any provision, or portion thereof, of this Agreement to be unenforceable, the remainder of this License shall continue in full force and effect.


This License constitutes the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the use of productions and supersedes all prior or contemporaneous understandings regarding such subject matter. No amendment to or modification of this License will be binding unless in writing and signed by an authorized representative of CINE. Nothing in this Agreement constitutes a waiver of CINE’s rights under the United States of America patent and copyright laws or any other Federal or State law, nor of any of CINE’s rights under the rules or laws of any country, territory, republic, and/or province.

CINE reserves the right to remove an entry from consideration for any reason or for no reason and shall not be liable for any refund or claims of any kind arising out of such removal.

CINE may, at our discretion, transfer a portion of your submitted work to a compilation DVD, tape or online video file for promotional purposes. This will be done if the production contact has not provided promotional material by an agreed-upon deadline.

By submitting to the CINE Golden Eagle Awards for Independent and Emerging Media, you agree to the general rules and terms and conditions. You agree that failure to adhere to any of the general rules or terms and conditions may result in disqualification for which no refund for entry fee(s) is due.

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