The Columbus Film Council was founded in 1950 by Dr. Edgar Dale, professor of educational media at The Ohio State University, and other media professionals interested in promoting the use of 16mm motion pictures. Dale was an early advocate of using the latest media as tools for education and communication. In 1952, their efforts grew into the Columbus Film Festival, further spreading the gospel of easy-to-use 16mm film and the documentary wonders it made widely available.
The Festival has run continuously since, making it the longest-running film festival in North America. As the decades passed, the Festival kept up with the times, as Dr. Dale would have wanted, becoming more international, adding video in the ‘80s, adding CD-ROMs in the ‘90s, and embracing digital video today.
Through the years, the Festival has honored thousands of films, filmmakers, and producers. The Chris Award—our top honor (a reference to Christopher Columbus)—is proudly displayed in production offices around the world. The Chris Award has also at times been a qualifying festival for the Academy Awards.
The Festival’s awards remain a revered prize for industry professionals, but the organization is equally passionate about supporting independent film. The juried competition focuses on rewarding the world’s best films, regardless of origin, while the Festival serves to promote and screen more and more films every year.