The American Presidents Film & Literary Festival will take place Sept. 25 – Oct. 3, 2021 in Fremont, Ohio, home of America’s first presidential library. This new film festival focuses on the American Presidency through the themes of people, places, politics, and power.

Filmmakers of all ages and skill levels, from emerging to seasoned, are invited to submit a film to the festival and can do so at the Film Freeway here: filmfreeway.com/AmericanPresidentsFilmandLiteraryFestival.

2019 Sneak Peak

“This is the only festival that is devoted to the issues of social and political importance about where we came from as a country, where we are going and the people who brought us here through the American Presidency.” – Kirk Ellis, screenwriter for the HBO miniseries “John Adams” and 2018 Keynote Speaker

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Film Submission Information


  • The theme of this year’s festival is “People, Places, Politics, and Power.” We ask that films make some connection to this broad theme and encourage films that make some reference to the American presidency.
  • Any genre of film is welcome.
  • Foreign language films must contain English subtitles.
  • No refunds on registration fees.
  • If you are uncertain if your film meets the criteria, feel free to contact us!


We are excited to provide the following awards!

– $250 for Best Feature Length Film
– $250 for Best Short Film
– $250 for Best Production
– $250 for People’s Choice


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2019 Keynote Speaker


Adrian Miller is the author of “The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas.”

Miller also served as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton on the Initiative for One America—the first free-standing office in the White House to address issues of racial, religious and ethnic reconciliation.

He is a food writer, attorney and certified barbecue judge who lives in Denver, Colorado. He also is the executive director of the Colorado Council of Churches and, as such, is the first African-American and the first layperson to have that position.

Miller previously served as a senior policy analyst for Colorado governor Bill Ritter Jr.

He received a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Stanford University in 1991, and a doctor of jurisprudence degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1995.

He has been a board member of the Southern Foodways Alliance. Miller’s first book, “Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time” won the James Beard Foundation Award for Scholarship and Reference in 2014.

His second book, “The President’s Kitchen Cabinet” was published on Presidents’ Day 2017. It was a finalist for a 2018 NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Literary Work—Non-Fiction” and the 2018 Colorado Book Award for History.

In 2018, Miller was awarded the Ruth Fertel “Keeper of the Flame Award” by the Southern Foodways Alliance in recognition of his work on African American foodways.  

In 2019, he received the Judge Henry N. and Helen T. Graven award from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, for being “an outstanding layperson whose life is nurtured and guided by a strong sense of Christian calling and who is making a significant contribution to the community, church, and our society.”

Miller is currently working on a history of African-American barbecue, tentatively titled “Black Smoke.

Learn more about Miller at soulfoodscholar.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @soulfoodscholar.

2019 Children’s Illustrator


Jeff Ebbeler has illustrated more than 40 children’s books and has been creating art for kids for nearly a decade.

His drawings are featured in the book “Ellie Mae on Presidents’ Day.” The book shares the story of quirky and fun second-grader Ellie Mae, who loves learning about U.S. presidents and wants to hold her class’ flag during Presidents’ Day week.

Other books where his work is featured include “George the Hero Hound,” “When Bill Gates Memorized the Encyclopedia” and “Melvin the Mouth.”  Ebbeler has given lectures and demonstrations on his art in grade schools, colleges, and museums.  His programs in Fremont will take place leading up to the film festival, which is Oct. 4-6.

Specific times and dates for his programs have not been set and will be announced at americanpresidentsfilmfestival.org.

In addition to illustrating children’s books, Ebbeler created large-scale animal puppets for the Central Park Zoo. He also worked as an art director at Publications International Ltd. in Chicago for six years, where he designed and occasionally illustrated books and engineered pop-up books.

Ebbler attended the Art Academy of Cincinnati. He and his family live in Cincinnati. He spends his free time with twin daughters Olivia and Isabel.

Full List of Speakers

2018 People’s Choice Award Winners

The 2018 People’s Choice Film winners tell us why they love the American Presidents Film & Literary Festival.

2019 Judges

Holly Hey
Professor of film and video production, University of Toledo

Holly Hey is currently a professor of film and video production within the Department of Theatre and Film. She is also the head of the film program. Hey has a master of fine arts degree in film making from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in photography from Ohio University.

Her work has screened at professionally recognized festivals including The Aesthetica Short Film Festival – York, UK; the Ann Arbor Film Festival – Ann Arbor, Michigan; the Athens International Film and Video Festival -– Athens, Ohio; the Mix Festival – New York; the Onion City Film Festival – Chicago; the Denver International Film Festival; and the Vancouver Queer Film and Video Festival, among other national and international venues.

Hey has also had her short documentary, “Rat Stories,” distributed through The National Educational Television Association. “Rat Stories,” a 30-minute documentary, undermines stereotypes about rats to examine the importance of human connection. NETA distributes content for PBS licensees and educational entities in all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Hey is an “undependent” filmmaker and an experimental weaver of media who strives to provoke active relationships between her cinematic art and the diverse audiences that it reaches.

Tammy Kinsey
Professor of film, University of Toledo

Tammy Kinsey is the Faculty Advisor for the UT Film and Video Society. She was named a UT College of Arts & Sciences Master Teacher for 2009-2011. Kinsey teaches such courses as experimental film, advanced 16mm production, optical printing, documentary field production, film/video workshop, film censorship, The YouTube Phenomenon: Cinema in Cyberspace and history of video art.

Kinsey joined the University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film in 1997. She has a master of fine arts degree in photography and film from Virginia Commonwealth University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Virginia Tech.

Her research interests include visual language, experimental and documentary film making, arts censorship and issues of representation in popular culture.

Kinsey’s films have been screened in such venues as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Anthology Film Archives in New York, the Kaunas Biennial in Lithuania, SOMArts Cultural Center in San Francisco, the Telluride Experimental Film Festival, London’s Exploding Cinema, the Wexner Center for the Arts and the Ann Arbor Film Festival.

Kinsey’s written work appears in many publications, as well.

Craig Shoup
Reporter and columnist, Fremont News-Messenger

Craig Shoup is a 2009 graduate of Bowling Green State University, where he majored in broadcast journalism and minored in film studies.

He is currently a reporter with the News-Messenger in Fremont, a Gannett newspaper, and writes an entertainment column “Reel Talk.” He has worked for Gannett newspapers since 2014.

“Reel Talk” features takes on current movies, Hollywood trends and Shoup’s thoughts on the industry. Columns feature topics including Academy awards preview and predictions, the #MeToo movement and inclusion among female actors and directors.




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