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.

A cornerstone of Benicia’s arts community is ‘Arts Benicia’, an organization whose goal is to stimulate, educate, and nurture cultural life in Benicia primarily through the visual arts. An ambitious exhibition schedule features the work of hundreds of local and Northern California artists in the Arts Benicia gallery and in various venues downtown. The Benicia Arts and Culture Commission established the Film Festival 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.

The Benicia Film Festival is held in our historic downtown in the midst of restaurants, boutiques, art galleries and the historic 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 old Majestic Theater (500 seat capacity) 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 are 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).

FILMMAKERS UNDER 18 YEARS OLD: You must have a parent or legal guardian submit the film on your behalf to qualify. If selected, a signed parental consent form must be provided to BFF.

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
  • Mohammad Mohammadian

    Your Film Festival is Very Nice, Thank You so Much.

    September 2017
  • Steve Socki

    Very organized and kept in touch with me. Was honored to be a part of this.

    September 2017
  • fantastic festival in the world, very supportive team , we are proud of... our film CUP OF TEA screen in this festival & win the best short shorts film award. big thanks to all festival staff & jury <3
    best wishes for 2018 festival

    September 2017
  • Anthony Bradley

    We had such a great time. This festival and its host city is a hidden gem. Everyone was very nice and hospitable. Would submit again and will definitely be visiting the city again.

    September 2017