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4th Annual Blackbird Film Festival

Celebrating Filmmaking of All Experience Levels at SUNY Cortland

The Blackbird Film Festival was originally created for student filmmakers by students but has grown to now be an inclusive festival where experienced and first-time filmmakers alike network and learn from one another.

Executive and Artistic Director Sam Avery stated that the festival originally started online, but has since grown to be a year-long effort, with the base of operations at SUNY Cortland.

This year’s festival will have over 100 films spread across 13 screening blocks will be shown, with an emphasis on short-form production. Each block focuses on a different genre of film, from action, to romance, animation, documentary, environmental, and much more.

Blackbird may no longer just be for students, but the festival is still geared towards the learning experience and attracts many students. They are strong supporters of female filmmakers, and this year more than half of the films were made by women. There will even be a ‘Women in Film’ panel, which will take place 3:30pm on Saturday at SUNY Cortland’s Brown Auditorium. There will be a special screening, followed by a moderated panel discussion addressing the many issues affecting female filmmakers working in the industry today, and brainstorming solutions to create a more safe, fair, and productive work environment on set.

Also on the agenda is a NYS Filmmakers roundtable on Friday at 3:30pm, where you are able to meet the NYS Governor’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Development for a discussion of all things production in the state.

The entire festival is free to attend. The Blackbird Film Festival will take place April 20th-22nd at the Sperry Center on the SUNY Cortland campus in Cortland, New York. For more information and to view the full schedule of screenings, please visit

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