Located in the stunning Reno-Tahoe region of Nevada, Cordillera is a festival run by filmmakers, for filmmakers that prides itself on killer luxury venues with packed houses – our Friday night screening is the only one that doesn’t take place in a luxury theater and that’s because it’s at an outdoor amphitheater, with an average audience of 2k!

We also know, the more affordable we make our festival, the easier it will be for you to attend - so we provide lodging for all of the invited filmmakers and screenwriters at our host resort. What!? We know - it's awesome. The cost of meals can become challenging, so we provide a light breakfast and meals every day of the festival. We understand the importance of getting to do Q&A's after screenings - so every film gets a Q&A. We know getting to network with other filmmakers is half the fun - so we organize mix and mingle events every night of the Festival and have a dedicated lounge, so you always have a place to meet up for great conversations, free drinks and snacks. And finally, we know you put in countless hours perfecting your film - so we honor it by screening all films in a luxury, top of the line venue - The Galaxy Luxury+ IMAX Theater Complex.

Along with providing informative workshops led by industry leaders, we strive to create an atmosphere aimed at attracting filmmakers, screenwriters, distributors and content producers alike. Cordillera has its sights set on becoming a festival known for being a place where long-term professional and personal relationships are fostered.

We offer our top finalist screenplays the opportunity to showcase their work with a table reading event.

We love what we do and we can't wait to see what the 2020 season brings to us. We look forward to getting to know you and your projects and hope to see you in July!

Cordillera (noun) [ cor·dil·le·ra ] :
The “chain” or “rope” that connects a series of complex, large and wide mountain ranges. The American Cordillera forms the western backbone of North and South America.

​Although we are located in base of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range, found within the American Cordillera, it’s not the only reason we selected our name.  The founders of the CIFF believe that film collectives should act like a Cordillera for filmmakers by connecting them to one another and working hard to provide all the elements that are necessary for the region's film community to grow and flourish. From facilitating sold-out screenings, to informative workshops, great networking events and inspiring future filmmakers, we strive to create an environment that truly celebrates the art of making films and the individuals that make them.

Screenings - in addition to the yearly festival, with your permission, films have an option to be screened again as part of the following special programs:

Movies in the Park - Cordillera is proud to continue the 24 year Reno Artown tradition of screening both classic and emerging independent films with an average audience of 1.5k - 2k every Friday night in July.

Women in Film - a weekend devoted to female filmmakers featuring Narrative and Documentary features and shorts.

Thanks to the support of our amazing sponsors, the Cordillera International Film Festival gives out custom, engraved awards and a series of prizes valued at $25,000.

Here are the Jury & Audience Choice Awards:
Jury Awards - Film:
Best Music Video
Best Web Series
Short Film Awards:
Best Family Film
Best Documentary Film
Best Animated Film
Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film
Best Horror/Thriller Film
Best Comedy Film
Best Drama Film
Best Int'l Film
Best Social Justice Film - Movies with a message that inspire social change.
Best LGTBQ Film
Best Student Film
Best Nevada Film
Best Female Filmmaker
Best Performance Short Film
Best Director Short Film
Jury Best of Fest - Short Film

Best Performance Feature Film
Best Director Feature Film
Jury Best of Fest - Feature Film

Best Short Screenplay - Wins the option to be produced by the multiple award-winning Cordillera Film Collective with a budget of up to 10K.
Best Sci-Fi/Horror/Fantasy Feature Screenplay
Best Comedy Feature Screenplay
Best Dramatic Feature Screenplay
Best Feature Length Screenplay - Overall highest scoring Screenplay.
Jury's Best of Festival (Short or Feature)

Mary Hughes Award - Independent, Bold & Unexpected.
Awarded to one short, feature & screenplay.
2020 winners receive an awards package valued at $500.00.

Impact Film Award - Stories that inform, inspire & impact.
Awarded to one short, feature and/or a screenplay.
2020 winner receives an awards package valued at $500 - $1500.00. Amount varies based on sponsor and will be announced when nominees are announced.

Audience Choice:
Best Narrative Feature
Best Documentary
Best Animated Short Film
Best Comedic Short Film
Best Dramatic Short Film
Best Screenplay
Best of Festival

Grand Jury Award - Best of Festival. Wins a package valued at $1500.

-Cordillera International Film Festival accepts only accepts live-action films that have been completed after January 2018 and animated films that have been completed by January 2016.
- Our Main Venue is DCP Only. We use Simple DCP. You can use their service to make a DCP for 20% off, or you can upload your own DCP to their service at no cost.
-Online screeners from secure sources are preferred. Include screener link and password in your submission.
-Press kit is optional - electronic only, please
- Nevada, World and US Premieres are not required, however premiere status may be one of the factors considered when determining a film's inclusion in the Festival.
-The Festival does not screen Feature films available on VOD or any online streaming portal at the time of the festival. However, the festival reserves the right to make exceptions to this rule. Non-Local Short Films & Music Videos can be available online, but films that are not online will be given preference.
-All films in a language other than English must be subtitled in English for festival presentation.
-The festival will consider work-in-progress, films with temporary soundtracks, digital outputs, and work that did not originate on film. Filmmakers must deliver final format (as indicated) for Festival screening.
-Future Filmmaker films MUST be works written, directed, and shot by students actively enrolled in school and must be 21-YEARS OLD AND YOUNGER.

Cordillera International Film Festival 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 individual or corporation submitting the film shall indemnify and hold harmless Cordillera International 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.
Should your film be accepted, we ask permission to keep a copy of the film for our festival library. This request is voluntary and is not conditional. The copy of the film in the CIFF library will not be used for profit. Should we consider re-screening the film for a public paid event, we will notify individuals or corporations representing the film for permission and conditions.

Packaging - ship your media in a bubble-pack envelope whenever possible. If you must use a fiberpack, please wrap the media with protective material. The festival is not responsible for damage incurred in shipping.

Costs and labeling - all shipping costs to and from Cordillera must be borne by the sender. All discs must indicate title, shipper's name, and FilmFreeway tracking number.
International entries - all entries from outside the US should be sent Air mail Registered or by a parcel express service. We cannot accept entries shipped via air-freight if customs and delivery fees have not been paid.

Overall Rating
  • CIFF is, hands down, the best festival that I've participated in. Emily and her team do everything to make filmmakers and screenwriters feel looked after while in their fabulous city. Accommodation and transportation are provided by the festival. The venue is spectacular and they offer both films and workshops to take advantage of. Opportunities to network are in abundance. I participated as a screenwriter and it was beyond amazing to hear an excerpt of my script read by local actors who absolutely brought it!! Overall, Cordillera was an incredible experience to be a part of and I'm grateful for the care and hard work of everyone involved with this festival.

    January 2020
  • James Ersted

    A very well organized and fun festival that screens your movie in a real theatre. Unlike some other festivals who pop in DVDs and thumb drives while the audience stares at a projected computer screen this festival makes sure to play all of the films in a block using high quality DCP files without interruptions, technical issues, or delays. Had a great time and am looking forward to next year!

    September 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for taking the time to write a review and for the kind words! We love that you appreciated the production level of our screenings - we're super proud of our venues! Hoping we'll get a chance to have you and your work as our guest again soon!

  • Jacob Lowder

    I had an absolutely amazing time! The theater the screenings were held in was a fully legitimate theater, with the super nice reclining seats (which was great for spending hours watching all the selections!).
    I really hope I get a chance to attend again, the festival was well organized, well timed, and had quality films and attendees. Overall: Awesome!

    August 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thanks for the kind words Jacob! We really appreciate you taking the time to leave a review! We hope to see you again soon!

  • Katy Dore

    Submit to and attend this festival! The quality of the selected films and scripts was top-notch. Emily Skyle, the festival director and her board made an effort to meet every filmmaker/writer in attendance and make us feel personally welcomed. The filmmakers' lounge and after-parties allowed for abundant opportunities to meet and network with other festival attendees. The grace and positivity that the entire crew of staff and volunteers showed--even when confronted with freak thundershowers and the inevitable challenges of hosting a large-scale event--is deserving of many kudos. The Cordillera International Film Festival is now on my calendar as a recurring annual event!

    August 2019
    Response from festival:

    Hi Katy! Thank you so much for the kind words and great feedback! We're super happy to hear our filmmaker's lounge and parties gave you some great networking opportunities! And thanks for handling our freakish storm with grace :)

  • Quite simply, CIFF blew me away! Run by powerhouse Emily Skyle, who is a talented filmmaker herself, along with her board and incredible volunteer team this festival took such lovely care of us. From the gorgeous DCP screenings, to the thoughtful Q&As, to the conversations with fellow filmmakers- this festival is a unique experience. The hospitality is off the charts(comped room, food & drink, filmmakers lounge) and the energy of the festival is so warm and welcoming- something special is brewing in Reno! Hope to be back soon!

    August 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for the beautiful review - we really appreciate it! So happy to hear that our venues, parties and Q&A's were a hit! And that you appreciated our lodging & hosted lounge and events! We look forward to seeing you here as our guest again in the near future!