State of the Art Venues. 25K in Prizes. Lodging Provided. Iconic Grand Jury (Listed Below!) Industry Networking Events, Red Carpet Premieres, Panels & Parties – we’re a film festival created by filmmakers for filmmakers.
Located in the stunning Reno-Tahoe region of Nevada, the Cordillera Int’l Film Festival prides itself on killer 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, on the water, with an average audience of 2K!
As filmmakers, we understand we are all going through uncertain times, and choosing what festivals are worthwhile can be challenging. Since day one, Cordillera has provided the following to all our Official Selections – yes, all of them:
LODGING – What!? We know - it's awesome – and so is our host hotel!
FILMMAKER LOUNGE – MEALS, SNACKS & DRINKS. The cost of meals can become challenging, so we provide a light breakfast and meals every day of the festival. The lounge is a perfect place for Filmmakers, VIP Guests and Grand Jury Members to meet-up for great conversations and enjoy drinks and snacks with a Hosted Open Wine & Beer Bar from 11am – 10pm every night.
5TH DAY FUN – Official Selections are invited to join us on the Monday after the festival for an afternoon spent on the water and in the mountains, exploring beautiful Lake Tahoe.
In 2020, we successfully pivoted to a Hybrid version of our festival with Drive-In Screenings, Limited Attendance Live Audience Programming and Virtual Screenings. For 2021, our goal is to transition back towards a more traditional 4 Day Festival with in-person events, while still offering Virtual Programming for audiences not ready to venture out to the theater yet. We will continue to honor all recommended precautions to ensure attendees can safely participate in everything the festival has to offer.
1st – CIFF will be awarding cash prizes and production packages valued at over $25,000. With $6,500 in cash prizes going to our Focus on Inclusion categories dedicated to BIPOC, Female, Indigenous and LGBTQ+ filmmakers.
2nd – Our John Singleton Impact Award, celebrating stories that inform & inspire, will be presented by one of Mr. Singleton’s Adult Children and will include a $1,000 cash prize.
3rd – Our Grand Jury! With Australian Cinematographer and Academy Member, Peter Menzies, Jr., known for his diverse and critically acclaimed body of work which includes: A Time to Kill, Shooter, The Incredible Hulk, The General’s Daughter and Die Hard with a Vengeance, as Cordillera’s Chairman of the Board, we’ve assembled a who’s who of Hollywood, signing on as either Board Members or as part of the festival’s prestigious Grand Jury.
The impressive list of Oscar Award Winning and Nominated talent that have participated in our Grand Jury include:
• Writer/Director Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy, Tender Mercies, Double Jeopardy)
• Oscar winner/Writer/Actor Brian Currie (Green Book)
• Actor Wes Studi (Last of the Mohicans, Dances with Wolves, Geronimo: An American Legend, Avatar)
• Producer Hunt Lowry (Last of the Mohicans, A Time to Kill, Donnie Darko, A Walk to Remember)
• Director Simon West (Lara Croft Tomb Raider, Con Air, The Mechanic, The General’s Daughter)
• Hollywood Executive and Producer Ellen Goldsmith-Vein (Hollywood Reporter Power 100, Founder of Gotham Group; Producer of The Maze Runner Franchise, Creature Comforts)
• Director Benny Boom (All Eyez on Me, Movie Videos – Nicki Minaj, Drake)
• Emmy Winning Director David Nutter (Game of Thrones, Band of Brothers, The Pacific, The Sopranos)
• Actor Kristoffer Polaha CIFF Board & Grand Jury (Angel, North Shore, Mad Men, DC’s highly anticipated Wonder Women 1984)
• Director / Writer Will Gluck (Easy A, Friends with Benefits, Annie, Peter Rabbit Franchise)
• Colorist Mitch Paulson (Rogue One: Star Wars Story, Unbroken, Skyfall)
• Art Director Derek Hill (Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, The Postman, Three Kings)
• Director Alex Kalymnios (The 100, Titans, S.W.A.T. Once Upon a Time, EastEnders)
• Cinematographer Paula Huidobro (Barry, Tallulah, Shelter, Oh Lucy)
• Industry Executive Dick Walsh (Former AMC Film Chairman)

4th – Panels, Filmmaker Q&As & Table Readings of our Finalist Screenplays!

At Cordillera, we love what we do and we can't wait to see what the 2021 season brings to us. We look forward to getting to know you and your projects and hope to celebrate your project in July!

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 up to $25,000.


Grand Jury -
Grand Jury Award - Best of Fest - Feature Film - $1,000.00 Cash Prize.
Grand Jury Award - Best of Fest - Screenplay - $1,000.00 Cash Prize.
Grand Jury Award - Best of Fest - Short Film - $1,000.00 Cash Prize.

Special Jury:
John Singleton Impact Award - Stories that inform & inspire. $1,000.00 Cash Prize.
Innovate Award - Stories told in bold, refreshing & unexpected ways. $500.00 Cash Prize.
Best LGBTQ+ Film - $500.00 Cash Prize.
Best Female Filmmaker - $500.00 Cash Prize.
Best Indigenous Film - $500.00 Cash Prize.
Best Nevada Film - $500.00 Cash Prize.
Best Short Screenplay - Wins option to be produced in Reno, NV by the multiple award-winning Cordillera Films with an in-kind value up to $10,000.00 courtesy of the Film Nevada Initiative.

Audience Awards:
Best Nevada Film - $500.00 Cash Prize
Best of Festival - $500.00 Cash Prize


Feature Films -
Best Documentary Feature Film
Best Narrative Feature Film
Best Performance Feature Film
Best Director Feature Film

Short Films -
Best Music Video
Best Web series / Pilot
Best Documentary Short Film
Best Indigenous Short Film
Best Family Short Film
Best Documentary Short Film
Best Animated Short Film
Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Short Film
Best Horror
Best Thriller Short Film
Best Comedy Short Film
Best Drama Short Film
Best Int'l Short Film
Best Student Short Film
Best Nevada Short Film
Best Performance Short Film
Best Director Short Film

Screenplay Awards -
Best Short Screenplay - Wins option to be produced in Reno, NV by the multiple award-winning Cordillera Films with an in-kind value up to $10,000.00 courtesy of the Film Nevada Initiative.
Best Genre Feature Screenplay
Best Comedy Feature Screenplay
Best Dramatic Feature Screenplay

Best Nevada Film - $500.00 Cash Prize
Best of Festival - $500.00 Cash Prize
Best Feature Film
Best Short Film
Best Screenplay

-Cordillera International Film Festival accepts only accepts live-action films that have been completed after January 2019 and animated films that have been completed by January 2018.
- 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.

Posters & Marketing Materials - any shipping costs of marketing materials shipped to Cordillera prior to the festival must be borne by the sender and must indicate title, shipper's name, and FilmFreeway tracking number.

Overall Rating
  • Cordillera International Film Festival was an amazing experience. My screenplay “The Refuge” retitled “Refuge Nation” won the Grand Jury Best of Fest Screenplay Award. This festival has stellar Grand Jury Of Academy Award and Emmy winners. Due to Covid I was not able to attend but they were excellent at communicating and I had access to all the films online. I would recommend Cordillera to filmmakers and screenwriters that have a powerful story to tell. I see a great future with CIFF! Brigitte Timmerman

    September 2020
    Response from festival:

    Hi Brigitte! Thank you for the kind words - we're thrilled you had such a great experience with us, especially with our pivot to a hybrid version of the fest! We look forward to following your screenplay's journey!

  • Hal LaCroix

    I'm happy to have my feature screenplay, Grynszpan/Thompson, chosen as a finalist at this wonderful festival. The online experience was great -- from the filmmaker's brunch to the lineup of entertaining and provocative films. Hearing a scene from my script read by actors was a real privilege.

    August 2020
    Response from festival:

    Hi Hal! Thank you so much for taking the time to share such great feedback on our festival! We hope to see you at a future fest some day!

  • Great experience with this festival even in these trying times. Great movie lineup, great communication.

    August 2020
    Response from festival:

    Hi John! Thank you for the kind words and for sharing your films with us! We hope to see you again in the near future!

  • What an incredible experience! I had the extreme honor of having my feature screenplay be named a finalist, but the experience of having my words read by such talented actors (who were expertly directed) was something I will never forget. I also had a tremendous time getting to know the filmmakers through the filmmakers’ brunch that we did virtually through Zoom (and a Grub Hub gift certificate). As sad as I was not to get to experience this all this in a non-COVID world, I am impressed at how very much fun this hybrid event turned out to be.

    August 2020
  • Farah Nabulsi

    What a well organised hybrid festival at such a tough time during Covid19 and what an awesome Grand Jury. Thank you so much Cordillera. A young-ish festival that knows what they are doing, doing it well and for the love of film.

    August 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for the kind words and for taking the time to give us a review! We can't wait to follow you and your film's journey - it's certainly had an impressive run so far! Hopefully we'll get to see you - in person - at a future festival soon :)