Carmel is an idyllic little hamlet by the sea with world famous white sand beaches, a quaint European-inspired downtown shopping district, renowned restaurants and hotels. So it stands to reason that Carmel would also be home to an international film festival. Screening over 125 films in unique and beautiful venues over five days, the festival is quickly becoming a cultural phenomenon on the West Coast and beyond. Few places on Earth compare to the natural beauty and sophistication of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Carmel International Film Festival is held throughout the city of Carmel-by-the-Sea and surrounding towns. Some of the venues include: The Sunset Cultural Arts Center, Golden Bough Theater, Cherry Center for the Arts, Carmel Youth Center Theater, Carmel Youth Center Auditorium, Carmel High School Performing Art Center, Carmel Beach, Devendorf Park and 13th Avenue Beach.

Estimated attendance 2016: 24,000 people

Carmel International Film Festival attracts a diverse group of attendees and filmmakers, from emerging artists to Oscar Award-winning. If you are an art lover of any sort, you will find something at this festival for you. And chances are, you will come across someone you know.

The Carmel International Film Festival presents four awards at the festival in October: Best Feature, Best Documentary, Best Short and Best Student film.

1. Eligibility Requirements: To be eligible for consideration, The Carmel International Film Festival accepts the following formats for festival screening: Blue-Ray and in some select cases DCP & DVD. The films must be in either English or in their original language with English subtitles. The Festival will not consider any other formats.

2. Promotional Usage: Filmmakers and/or their agents agree that all publicity materials related to their film may be published in the Festival Program Guide, Web Page, and other promotional materials.

3. Requirements for Selected Films: All eligible entries will be reviewed by a Film Festival Selection Committee with Official Selections announced by September 15, 2017. Once films are selected for entry into the Film Festival, the filmmaker and/or their agents will be contacted, delivery of press materials for the film, and approved screening print. All travel expenses will be the responsibility of the filmmaker and/or their agents.

The Carmel International Film Festival does not assume any liability for damage to films, videotapes, or publicity materials.

Overall Rating
  • Michael Raso

    Although I couldn't attend, Carmel International Film Festival provided great correspondence and service in the lead up to the festival. A couple of my friends were able to attend and thought it was a fantastic event! Thank you Carmel for all your efforts!

    November 2017
  • Imelda O‚ÄôReilly

    This festival is excellent. They take care of the filmmakers and do a Q and A after each screening. I liked the locals I met there also very smart and interested in the arts. The festival does a great job of getting the locals as well as filmmakers to attend the events. The highlight is a wonderful catered party on the beach it was stunning. I highly recommend this festival!

    November 2017
  • Azadeh Navai

    We had our feature's world premiere at Carmel this year (2017) and we are really happy that we did! The staff is overwhelmingly supportive and the relationships you can build at this festival are so real. Carmel is a quaint, small town with a lot of love for cinema. The venues are gorgeous and the festival is just really fun to attend. We hope to get to go again soon.

    October 2017
  • Adrian Roup

    If you're fortunate enough to attend this festival is a once in a lifetime experience and not to be missed. Screenings are held in excellent venues and are well attended. A small army of smiling volunteers man the festival and show up in force to help out. Films and attendees are curated with care and guarantee and excellent networking and festival experience. The festival left absolutely nothing to be desired. Thank you CIFF!

    November 2016
  • Michael Taylor Jackson

    I had a wonderful experience at the CIFF! The attentiveness of the viewers, the integration of the community, the fabulous parties and beautiful scenery all enhanced my appreciation. Great festival!

    October 2016