The Columbus International Film & Animation Festival started in 1952 (making it the oldest film festival in the United States). The festival showcases world-class independent films from around the globe.

Check out some of the film festival’s notable moments since its start.


The Columbus Film Council (later renamed the Film Council of Greater Columbus) is founded by Dr. Edger Dale, Professor Emeritus of The Ohio State University.


The Columbus Film Festival — aka the Chris Awards — is introduced. Top Awards statuettes are modeled after the Christopher Columbus statue in front of Columbus City Hall.


The festival goes global — and so does its name, becoming the Columbus International Film Festival.


And the award goes to … Steven Spielberg, a Cincinnati native, who receives the festival’s first Governor’s Award. The award was created to honor an outstanding Ohio native whose work in film or video arts brings honor to the Buckeye State. Chris Award films are screened at the Upper Arlington Municipal Center. (Check out this poster!)


Film council President Dan Prugh observes that the word “film” could be in transition.


For the first time, the festival includes VHS videotape documentaries in its judging. Not long thereafter, the festival changes its name to the Columbus International Film + Video Festival.


For the first year in the festival’s history, a Columbus effort brings home the President’s Award for best of show. The Sam Nahem documentary about the Holocaust, Looking into the Face of Evil, includes interviews of three Columbus survivors of the Holocaust.


Festival entries can now be submitted in CD-ROM.


The Silver Chris Award, presented to the top work in each division, debuts. Only these winners are eligible for the festival’s top honor, the President’s Award.


The President’s Award goes to Berga: Soldiers of Another War, the last documentary produced by four-time Oscar winner Charles Guggenheim.


Along with traditional documentary and fiction divisions, the festival adds a group of new categories: Basement Film, Animated Film, and Broadcast Journalism.


The film festival celebrates its golden anniversary.


Although LGBT films have long been part of the festival, that relationship is formalized with the addition of a category for films with a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender perspective.


The film festival drops the Chris Awards and gives out best of category awards instead.


Live-action and animated submissions strike a balance — the festival revises its name to Columbus International Film & Animation Festival (CIF+AF).