Benicia is a vibrant coastal community on the San Francisco Bay that supports a thriving art community with strong goals for sustainable living. It is within this context that the Benicia Film Festival offers a platform for independent filmmakers to showcase their work. Our Bay Area audience loves independent films, both foreign and domestic; and we look forward to being inspired, entertained and enlightened by your work.

The Benicia Film Festival was conceived by the city's Art's and Culture Commission to expand the arts and culture offerings of the city by providing an opportunity for individuals and organizations to come together and celebrate independent films, filmmakers and student works. Proceeds from the Festival help fund public art works in the city. Benicia's Main Street sports nine Art Galleries and many businesses that regularly feature guest artists from around the region. ‘Arts Benicia’, a non-profit that offers an ambitious schedule of art exhibitions and classes, features the work of hundreds of Northern California artists through its gallery and other venues.

The Benicia Film Festival is held in our historic downtown in the midst of restaurants, boutiques, art galleries and the historic California State Capital Building (est. 1853). The Festival kicks off with a Friday night gala featuring wine and hors d’oeuvres, filmmaker talks, and selected short films. The festival continues throughout the weekend with selected films screened at the Benicia Veterans Memorial Hall on First Street.

Sustainability is a primary goal in Benicia. The city is guided by its 2009 Climate Action Plan and actively pursues policies to promote water conservation, renewable energy, waste reduction, sustainable transit and community gardens. In 2016, Benicia received the Beacon Award from the California Institute for Local Government for its sustainability best practices. The Benicia Film Festival also serves as a platform to engage and educate the general public about environmental issues through the “Eco-Sustainability” film category.

Cash awards will be given to winners of each of the seven film categories and to "Best of Festival".

To get a feel for the spirit of Benicia, please view the short documentary “Wind, Water, Land”, directed by John Beck. This film shows how collaboration by citizens and local artists resulted in an amazing public art piece!

Best film in each category will receive a framed certificate and cash prize as follows:
Eco-Sustainability - $200
Art in Film - $200
Animated Shorts- $100
Film School Student Shorts -$100,
High School or Younger Student Shorts -$100
Short Shorts - $100
Smartphone Shorts - $100
Best of Festival - Awarded to film best meeting the overall goals of the Festival - $300

EXCEPT FOR FILMS in the "Eco-Sustainability" and "Art in Film" categories, all short films must have a completion date no greater than 2 years before the first day of this film festival. Films in the "Art in Film" and "Eco-Sustainability" categories have no limitation on completion date. Once already exhibited and/or tracked online, re-edits and/or changes of title do not count as a new completion date for your film.

LENGTH: These running times must be inclusive of all titles and credits:

Short Films: 1-30 minutes
Other Films: 1- 60 minutes

To assure that all submissions get due consideration, all submissions must be made via the FilmFreeway account.

International and/or foreign films are encouraged. All non-English language films must be subtitled or dubbed in English. Please make sure they are embedded into your film, not separate or optional subtitle files on a menu; they sometimes do not carry over to the digital film you've submitted.

By submitting your project, you agree to the following: Benicia Film Festival (BFF) is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes. The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations. The BFF reserves the right to refuse entries. The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless the Benicia Film Festival from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.

If selected, all commercial/private property including all trademark/copyrighted materials shown or recorded on the project is the responsibility of the filmmaker. BFF will NOT take responsibility for any infringement of copy written materials and reserves the right to reject your project if found it doesn't have clearance.

The screening selections are at the sole discretion of the festival judges, directors, programmers, all decisions are final. Exhibition copies (for accepted films) will only be accepted as a digital (downloadable) file (.MOV / .MP4 / .AVI / Other--Please contact before you send).

FILM SCHOOL STUDENT FILMMAKERS (Any aged person with proof of attending a film school, institute, academy, or program that their project is a result of). Please indicate the ages of the film's writer, director, and producer in your submission. Film School Students have the right to submit their film into any of the non-student film categories.

Overall Rating
  • It was a great experience. Everyone was very professional and our film got a lot of exposure. Thank you so much.

    September 2020
  • It was an honour to be officially selected for the Benicia Film Festival with our Documentary: The Amazon Chargers - Cook to Empower. 
    Many Thanks for winning in the category Best Eco-Sustainability.
    Just wish we could have attended in person to experience the film event.
    All the best wishes, 
    Esther and Samuel

    October 2019
  • Ramie Streng

    We were so glad to be part of this film festival. A big thanks to all the volunteers who not only made us feel so welcome., but that you can see work so hard to put on this festival.

    September 2019
  • Makoto Sudo

    Great Festival. Thank you for your great host! I want to participate again.

    September 2018
  • We are so proud that we have been part of the festival. Thanks to the organizers and we wish you plenty of great editions to come!

    September 2018