The Malibu Film Festival accepts films in every genre, on any topic, from every country around the world. We showcase low-budget Narrative and Documentary Features by first-time directors, Breakout Features from non-first time directors, short films across genres, and episodes. We do not disqualify any films based on premiere status or date of completion. 

The festival program is selected entirely from our blind submissions pool and no films are given special treatment based on who made them or who they know. Malibu Film Foundation established in 1997 is the 501(c)(3) non-profit that is responsible for the organization of the festival. Malibu Film Festival programers are comprised of festival alumni, union members of DGA, SAG/AFTRA, IATSE and members of the Malibu community with diverse backgrounds, interests and talents.


Friday July 9, 2021



Monday August 16, 2021



Friday September 17, 2021



October 18, 2021



November 15, 2021


December 31, 2021


February 1, 2022



MARCH 2022

-We consider films in any language, from anywhere in the world. If your film is not in English, make sure it has English subtitles where necessary.
-We consider work in progress. Please include a title card describing what is unfinished at the beginning of the submission screener.
-We consider films regardless of their premiere status. Even if your film has already premiered at another festival, whether it screened at a physical venue or online, it’s still eligible for consideration.
-We consider films regardless of their completion date. You can submit any film no matter when it was made.
-Features previously or currently being released in the US by a third party distributor are not eligible for consideration.
-Features previously self-distributed by the filmmakers online are not eligible for consideration in Feature categories.
-Only directors' debut features with a budget under 1 million USD are accepted to the Narrative and Documentary First Feature competition. If your work is not your first feature film, submit it to our Breakouts competition.
-Only independently produced episodes completed in 2020 or later are accepted to the Episodes category.
-There's no additional eligibility criteria for short film categories. All shorts are eligible!

-We strongly recommend that ALL submitted films regardless of category include English subtitles (whether the film is in English or another language) so that they may be accessible to all of our Programmers. Films in a language other than English MUST include English Subtitles or they will not be considered.
-All screeners must be uploaded by the appropriate deadline.
-Deadlines close at 11:59 PM PST.
-We will contact entrants if there's anything wrong with the submission. If this occurs, you will need to fix the submission issue by the requested deadline, otherwise we can't guarantee that your film will be watched in time.
-We don't provide refunds for festival entries.


-Each film will be watched by at least two different programmers.
If a film gets two or more recommendations after the first round of watches, it will be watched by more programmers and discussed at deliberations sessions.
-Deliberating programmers determine a festival selection through discussion and voting. -Each participating programmer has an equal vote and no festival selections are made outside of this process.
-Our programmers are not required to read submission cover letters and other supporting materials, but we encourage you to submit them in case they want to learn more about you and your work.
-We generally don't share programming feedback with entrants.
-The programmers' decisions are final.


Accepted filmmakers will be notified via email, phone or text. Filmmakers must confirm their participation by the given deadline, otherwise they might lose their spot in the line-up.
-Accepted filmmakers must be the authors of their submitted work and be ready to sign an agreement stating that they own all rights to their film and its components ahead of screening at Malibu Film Festival.
-If accepted, entrants are responsible for delivering their festival exhibition copy, trailer, screener link, press stills and press-kit on time.
-All accepted films must have Closed Captioning in English ready in time for their festival screening. We highly recommend you work on this while you wait for your festival acceptance since it will make your film more accessible to audiences wherever it may be shown.
-If accepted, filmmakers are expected to attend the festival.
-We don't cover filmmakers' travel expenses.
-We don't cover shipping expenses for screening copies and other materials.
-We don't provide screening fees.
-If accepted, will deliver the screening copies and other materials to the Festival office upon request.

​Malibu Film Festival proudly accepts entries on FilmFreeway, the world's #1 way to enter film festivals and creative contests.