Cinequest was voted Best Film Festival by USA Today Readers. Cinequest programs 85-90% of its festival from paid submissions annually, one of the highest percentages of the world's most influential film festivals.

"I think the most important thing about Cinequest is it's definitely the first time I've ever come to a festival where my immediate reaction is, 'What do I have to do to be invited back?' and that's not normally my reaction. It's a perfect film festival in a glorious place." - Neil Gaiman, Maverick Spirit Award Winner

Cinequest Film & VR Festival (CQFF) will occur both Live in San Jose / Silicon Valley and Globally via its proprietary Virtual platform. Cinequest has been a leader in building community, audiences, and opportunity for film and filmed media via groundbreaking tech and paradigms for decades and will continue the golden combination of live and online post pandemic.

Organizationally set in the home of the world’s most influential media technology companies (Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, LinkedIn, Occulus etc.) CQFF showcases premier films, renowned and emerging artists, and breakthrough technology—empowering global connectivity between creators, innovators and audiences. CQFF has led the world in its showcase and implementation of the technologies that have revolutionized film making, exhibition and distribution. CQFF’s blend of the artist and innovator gains focus through its Maverick Awards. Its Maverick Spirit Awards recognizes artists (Harrison Ford, Nicolas Cage, Elle Fanning, J.J. Abrams, Tatiana Maslany, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bill Nighy, Sir Ben Kingsley, Rosario Dawson, Spike Lee, James Franco, Neil Gaiman, and Sir Ian McKellen are among the guest recipients). Its Maverick Innovator Award recognizes technologists (including Martin Cooper, father of the cell phone, and Steve Wozniak, Co-founder of Apple Inc.). A Maverick stands apart from the crowd willing to create and innovate from a place of personal yet global vision.

Cinequest connects artists, innovators, media, and audiences—as people converge to experience a potent mix of immersive stories from around the globe and breakthrough technologies. Yet, Cinequest’s stellar reputation not only hinges on its knack for creating a powerful line-up, but also for securing distribution for many of its honored filmmakers. Netflix, IFC Films, Amazon, MSNBC Films, Oscilloscope, Sony Pictures, Magnolia Pictures, Kino-Lorber, eOne, Lionsgate, PBS, and HBO are just a few of the many that have signed deals with some of Cinequest's success stories.

Also, as an Academy-qualifying festival for the short film categories, Cinequest is proud to honor the winners of its Best Short Narrative and Best Short Animation prizes with a shot at every filmmaker's dream...Oscar gold.

"This festival is one that sets the trends and is actually ahead of the trends. Other festivals are copying Cinequest; I see it all the time."-- Chris Gore (Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide)

Exhibiting unique social and artistic visions from around the globe, Cinequest’s dynamic festival engages audiences in thought-provoking dialogue, giving film artists and film lovers alike an opportunity to connect. Furthermore, Cinequest provides cutting edge technology and movie-making forums to empower professionals and students.

“What unites them all under the festival’s big tent is clear: Being a part of Cinequest is not to follow industry trends, but to witness the moment they’re being set.”-- MovieMaker (Max Weinstein)

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (dir. Terry Gilliam; starring Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce)
Hotel Mumbai (dir. Anthony Mara; starring Armie Hammer, Dev Patel)
The Public (dir. Emilio Estevez; starring Emilio Estevez, Alec Baldwin, Jena Malone)
Teen Spirit (dir. Max Minghella; starring Elle Fanning)
Beirut (dir. Brad Anderson; starring Rosamund Pike, Jon Hamm)
Borg/McEnroe (dir. Janus Metz; starring Shia LeBeouf)
Krystal (dir. William H Macy; starring Nick Robinson, Rosario Dawson)
Submergence (dir. Wim Wenders; starring James McAvoy)
What They Had (dir. Elizabeth Chomko; starring Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon)
The Humanity Bureau VR (starring Nicolas Cage)
Six Minutes to Midnight (dir. Andy Goddard; starring Eddie Izzard, Judi Dench)
Rams (dir. Jeremy Sims; starring Sam Neill, Miranda Richardson)

I Love You Both, dir. Doug Archibald (narrative, Magnolia Pictures)
East Side Sushi, dir. Anthony Lucero (narrative, Sony Pictures)
Auggie, dir. Matt Kane (narrative, Samuel Goldwyn Films)
Midnight Clear, dir. Dallas Jenkins (narrative, Lionsgate)
Before the Fire (dir. Charlie Buhler, Showtime)
Fixed, dir. Alonso Mayo (narrative, Gravitas Ventures)
Witch Hunt, dir. Don Hardy, Dana Nachman (documentary, MSNBC Films)
Mine 9, dir. Eddie Mensore (narrative, Raven Banner Entertainment)
Temps, dir. Ryan Sage (narrative, FilmBuff)
Every Time I Die, dir. Robi Michael (narrative, Gravitas Ventures)
A Beginner’s Guide to Snuff, dir. Mitch Altieri (narrative, Indican Pictures)
Dear Zachary, dir. Kurt Kuenne (documentary, Oscilloscope Pictures)
Impossible Monsters, dir. Nathan Catucci (narrative, Gravitas Ventures)
Buddy Solitaire, dir. Kuang Lee (narrative, Gravitas Ventures)
Dependent’s Day, dir. Michael David Lynch (narrative, Freestyle Digital)
Lost Solace, dir. Chris Scheuerman (narrative, Raven Banner Entertainment)
Friends Effing Friends Effing Friends, dir. Quincy Rose (narrative, Gravitas Ventures)
Search Engines, dir. Russell Brown narrative, (Indican Pictures)
ToY, dir. Patrick Chapman (narrative, Gravitas Ventures)
Wake, dir. Ellie Kanner (narrative, E1 Entertainment)
Blood Car, dir. Alex Orr (narrative, TLA Releasing)
Love in the Time of Monsters (narrative, Indican Pictures)
The Skeptic, dir. Tennyson Bardwell (narrative, IFC Films)
On the Doll, dir. Thomas Mignone (narrative, Peace Arch)
El Camino, dir. Erik Weigel (narrative, Lifesize Entertainment)
Family Inc, dir. Emily Ting (documentary, Seventh Art Releasing)
Monster Camp, dir. Cullen Hoback (documentary, Lifesize Entertainment)
Critical Condition, dir. Roger Weisberg (documentary, PBS)
The Nature of Existence, dir. Roger Nygard (documentary, Walking Shadows)
The Brainwashing of My Dad, dir. Jen Senko (documentary, Gravitas Ventures)
The Truth About Marriage, dir. Roger Nygard (documentary, Gravitas Ventures)
God Knows Where I Am, dir. Jed Wider, Todd Wider (documentary, BOND360)
Bel Borba Aqui, dirs. Burt Sun, Andre Costantini (documentary, Oscilloscope)

Festival Awards include:
* Best Feature Film: Drama
* Best Feature Film: Comedy
* Best Documentary Feature
* Best Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror Feature Award
* Visionary Award (for the New Visions category)
* Global Vision Award
* Audience Award for Feature Narrative
* Audience Award for Feature Documentary
* Best Short Narrative Film
* Best Short Animated Film
* Best Short Documentary Film
* Best College Short Film
* Best High School Film
* Best Family Short
* Best Television Episode or Webisode
* Best Music Video
* Virtual & Augmented Reality Awards (see VR section for more information)

REGULATIONS & REQUIREMENTS: Cinequest continues to present and discover hundreds of international films and filmmakers. This prestigious event gives emerging filmmakers an opportunity to gain the recognition necessary to launch distribution and promotional campaigns.

SCREENINGS: If selected, filmmaker authorizes Cinequest to conduct up to four (4) theatrical screenings during the Cinequest Film & VR Festival.

FESTIVAL SECTIONS: By submitting to Cinequest, filmmakers will be submitting for consideration to all of the following sections for which their film qualifies with ONE submission fee:

Narrative and Documentary Feature Films:
If submitting to any of the following categories, you need only submit ONCE. The programming team will consider your project for any category for which is qualifies. You do not need to pay more than one fee to submit to multiple categories.
Comedy Feature Competition * Dramatic Feature Competition * Thriller, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Horror Competition * New Visions Competition * Global Landscapes Competition * Documentary Feature Competition * Films for Families

Narrative and Documentary Short Films:
Short Film Competition * College Short Film Competition * High School Film Competition * Films for Families

Narrative and Documentary Virtual Reality Projects (all lengths):
Virtual Reality Competition and Awards

Narrative and Documentary Television or Webisodes:
Television Episode / Webisode Competitions (Long Form or Short Form)

Music Videos:
Music Video Competition

PLEASE NOTE: All films qualify for Audience Awards.

MARKETING AND PUBLICITY: Cinequest’s publicity and marketing teams will craft a specific promotional campaign for the film program. To assist in this campaign, filmmakers will be responsible for providing the following materials by January deadlines to Cinequest, if selected to participate:
* Digital images
* EPKs
* Secure Online Screener of their film, for media
* Trailers and film clips
* Any other marketing materials you wish to be used to promote your film (NOTE: The publicity team will send a more specific list once films are selected)

FILM FORMATS AND SHIPMENT: Filmmaker must provide one of the following screening formats for the Cinequest festival screening:

If a film is selected, the participating filmmakers will be responsible for covering the costs of the shipment of the film to Cinequest. Cinequest will cover the return shipment costs to the filmmaker. If a film is being shipped to another festival, the receiving festival must pay for shipping.

VR FORMATS: VR submissions must work on either the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, or HTC Vive. If your submission is not compatible with the Rift, Gear VR, Vive OR additional technology is needed, please email ( additional information about your submission so we can determine if we will be able to accommodate for consideration.

* VR Application for Interactive VR: Please provide Cinequest with a link to your mobile (.apk) or PC installation package via the submission form. If your application is already in the Oculus Store, please provide a link to the application located in the Oculus Store.
* 360° Video: Provide Cinequest with a link to your 360° file via the submission form. The following video and audio file types are supported:
**Video File Types: .mp4, .m4v, .3gp, .webm, .mkv, .wmv, .asf, .avi, and .flv
**Audio File Types: .mp3, and .aac
*VR File Upload Instructions: If you do not have a link to your mobile or PC installation package, and would rather securely upload your Interactive VR or 360° Video to Cinequest, please do the following:
** Finish your submission, and write down the Tracking Number that is assigned to your submission. Please properly label your file using your Tracking Number; Example for VR Application: F30-1234.apk or F30-1234.apk; Example for 360° Video: F30-1234_360.mp4 or F30-1234_360.mp4
** Upload your file to us using our secure MediaFire File Drop (

RELEASE: Cinequest (San Jose) 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 undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless Cinequest Film Festival (San Jose) 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.

Overall Rating
  • Adam Smith

    This is such an amazing festival!

    October 2021
  • Tristen Stafford

    WE LOVE CINEQUEST!!!! A huge shoutout to the entire team for delivering a wonderful festival virtually and being so accommodating and inclusive! There were so many great films and wonderful filmmakers to meet and programmers to chat with and everything Cinequest did for us helped build our films visibility. 10/10 wonderful festival and wonderful people. I can’t wait to see you all in person next year 😉

    August 2021
  • ANCHOR POINT loved being a part of the Cinequest Film & VR Festival for 2021! They did such a wonderful job of making it more like a live event for the filmmakers and their audiences. We loved attending the virtual lounge and made many new filmmaking friends there. Definitely our favorite festival and hoping to be live in San Jose in the future! Cheers!

    May 2021
  • Kersti Bryan

    Hi dear Cinequest Team what innovation and bravery it took to move your festival online. An enormous amount of work was put forward on the backend to make this happen for all of us, but the communication was always so positive and we were so honored to be part of it. I only wish we could have done this in person!

    April 2021
  • Ryan McDonough

    I can't speak (or write) highly enough about the outstanding job Cinequest did this year under extremely challenging circumstances. I was thrilled to have my feature premiere and get so much wonderful attention from the staff throughout the process. The virtual VIP lounge was always open and a key part of the experience for me in lieu of being able to meet in person. I was able to meet with so many wonderful filmmakers with such passion and commitment, as well as tireless volunteers and enthusiastic fans. The viewing parties worked incredibly well, too. Kudos, Cinequest, and thank you for taking such good care of us and Last Night in Rozzie. Can't wait to be able to come in person.

    April 2021