Each year on Memorial Day Weekend, Hawai'i Island celebrates brand new independent narrative films. This "Talk Story" film festival brings filmmakers and film lovers together for five days in a beautiful setting at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai'i to share their stories, wonderful food events, workshops, Hawaiian Music, and MOVIES day & night. Big Island Film Festival is the place to meet and network with industry professionals and fellow filmmakers while watching your film being screened before an appreciative audience. A Q&A session following each film set provides instant feedback and connects the audience and filmmaker in a very special moment. It's an inspirational experience each and every year.

Golden Honu Awards are presented in a dozen categories to top feature and short films from Hawai'i and around the world. Celebrity guests receive a special award for their work and are an integral part of the festivities.

A Scriptwriting Contest is a new element this year for feature films. The winner of this competition will be announced at the Awards Brunch with the Filmmaker Awards on Memorial Day. This event to be listed separately with FilmFreeway.com by Sept 1, 2015.

1. In order for films to be considered the films must have been completed after January 1, 2015.
2. Only narrative films are eligible. No documentary films will be accepted.
3. All non-English films must subtitled or dubbed into English.
4. The film must be submitted on DVD (NTSC), BluRay (NTSC), or by posting to FilmFreeway.com. FilmFreeway accepts digital submissions via HD upload, Vimeo or YouTube.
5. The selected films must be available for projection in autoplay DVD or BluRay with no separate soundtrack.
6. A "short" shall be a film of under 30 minutes and a "feature" shall be a film 60 minutes or longer.
7. The submitting person shall be either a producer, director or authorized agent of the film.
8. By submitting the film, the producer or director affirms that the film has all necessary photo, product and music clearances and Big Island Film Festival, LLC shall be held harmless for any errors or omissions.
9. Multiple submissions must be submitted individually on separate DVDs and entry forms. Multiple submissions or compilations on DVD are not accepted.
10. Selection to the festival and selection of Golden Honu Award winners shall be determined by the Big Island Film Festival’s panel of judges.
11. Other than for Audience Choice Awards, films need not be represented in order to be eligible for Golden Honu Awards. However, those who win Golden Honu Awards and are not in attendance at the Awards Brunch will be held responsible for the cost of shipping awards.
12. All materials included on entry form checklist and non-refundable entry fee must be submitted to the festival by entry deadlines.
13. Selection to Big Island Film Festival will be made by email. Please make certain that we have current email. Always include name of film project in all correspondence.
14. No screeners and submission materials will be returned.
15. If film is selected for Big Island Film Festival, film may be shown up to two more times as part of promotion of Big Island Film Festival.
16. If selected for the festival, the applicant will provide a digital media kit to the festival no later than March 15, 2016, if no media kit is on FilmFreeway.com. The media kit will include: 50 words or less biography of producer, screenwriter and director; at least one color high resolution photo; news clippings (if applicable). A film trailer is requested for website, FB and Twitter if available as soon as possible after selection.
17. No airfare or lodging for filmmakers will be provided by the festival, although the festival will provide special filmmaker rate at our festival hotel. Airfare discounts may be available to filmmakers, as well as all festival participants. Please do not take this as not appreciating filmmakers; we simply do not have the resources to provide airfare or lodging for our filmmakers. Each film selected will receive up to two all-inclusive Filmmaker Passes for use by their representatives attending. These passes are not transferrable. Additional tickets and/or passes may be purchased at special 25% discount.
18. Fees and Deadlines - Fees are non-refundable.
Early: Nov. 1, 2015 Regular: Jan. 1, 2016 Final: Feb. 1, 2016
Feature $50 $60 $70
Short $40 $50 $60
Student $30 $35 $40

*25% discount of non-discounted entry fee if filmed in Hawaii or by Hawaii resident filmmaker or BIFF Alumni.

** Students must include a photocopy of his or her student ID and no other discounts will apply.

Discounted projects must be submitted directly instead of through FilmFreeway.com. Discount may be either Hawaii Film or Student or Alumni.(only 1 discount may be applied)
Payments: Through FilmFreeway.com

Overall Rating
  • What a wonderful film festival (and vacation). If you get into this festival I highly suggest going and staying at the host hotel. The grounds are beautiful. We had an extraordinary time and saw some great films while there as well.

    September 2017
  • Benjamin Dewhurst

    Absolutely worth the modest fee. One of my favorite fests I've ever been to. Though I live several thousand miles away, the warm hospitality of this festival made me feel right at home. The speakers are incredible. The venue is sensational. The organizers really CARE about you. And I'll always cherish getting to "talk story" with so many other filmmakers. I wholeheartedly intend to make it back to this fest.

    August 2016
  • Andrew Chiu

    Leo and Jan show they really care about film and filmmakers. They choose wonderful creative talent from L.A. to come speak with us, who were all helpful and kind. Their team, especially Cathey, were very responsive with any questions and communications. Truly a great festival to be Ohana with!

    July 2016
  • Stuart Brennan

    A great film festival, wonderfully produced, full of great events, top quality screenings and plenty of film-makers. Plus the greatest location on earth. What more could you want?

    June 2016
  • Jesse Binger

    We were grateful to be accepted last year for our short film "Captive". Unfortunately due to a prior festival engagement, we were unable to attend, so can't speak to the actual "physical" festival itself. But can say, great communication--these are festival founders that you can tell care about the filmmaker and supporting the independent spirit. Would have loved to watch my film outside amongst the stars in beautiful Hawaii--who could beat that location! If we get the opportunity again to garner a selection, we'll be sure to make it there.

    June 2016