"Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World" - MovieMaker Magazine

Nestled among towering mountains and golden aspen trees, our intimate and free-spirited international film festival inspires and awakens through an engaging setting of quality film screenings, stimulating discussions, and authentic connections.
In alignment with our mission, we curate bold, visceral, high-quality films that activate real emotion and invite personal, social, and environmental transformation.

Always held during the last weekend of September, this ten-day virtual experience (with some in-person components) encompasses the screening of 75 feature-length and short films spanning the categories of narrative, documentary, outdoor adventure and children’s films. Additional programming sprinkled throughout the festival includes panel discussions and other virtual social networking events.

At Crested Butte Film Festival, you are sure to be inspired by the transformative power of stories while fostering incredible connections in an atmosphere of spontaneity fueled by great films, shared experiences, bikes, hikes, and magical mountain scenery.

"What. A. Festival. I’ve never had, and could not imagine a better film fest experience. From the organizers to the volunteers to the people that come to see the films, there simply isn’t a more authentic, excited and loving group of people anywhere else. Everything about this fest is conducive to having a great time and meeting great filmmakers. Not to mention, Crested Butte is one of the most stunning places to see in the country. You can’t really explain it, you just have to go”

— Hugo Cordova, Filmmaker

“The organizers are truly committed to independent cinema and our community. As the pandemic closed so many festivals, the Crested Butte team doubled down to make their virtual version of the festival feel personable and inclusive. They even created a virtual Red Carpet festival event, complete with musical entertainment and virtual tables at which filmmakers could mingle. I look forward to having future work at the festival and actually attending in person. If their virtual fest is any indication, it must be quite a treat!”

— Márcia Mayer, Producer


Known as a “filmmakers festival,” you’ll experience an atmosphere of inspiration through well-attended virtual screenings, high-quality programming, stimulating panel discussions, and opportunities for authentic engagement. This festival thrives on fostering lasting connections and partnerships among attendees, filmmakers, and industry professionals.


Genius. Artistry. Creation. A new way of telling a story. Connection through film, transformative experiences. Simply put, the best in narrative, documentary, short, outdoor adventure and children's films. We believe in the transformative power of film.


Town: Crested Butte is a historic mining town turned tourist destination with world-class skiing, biking, and hiking.
Size: At just six by ten blocks with a year-round population of only 1,500 people, Crested Butte is a small town that's packed with local character.
Altitude: A true mountain destination at 8,885 feet above sea level.
Beauty: We're literally surrounded by mountains. Think epic panoramic vistas with snow capped peaks and dazzling golden aspen trees.
Fun: Off the charts. Bike parades, hikes through golden aspen groves, delicious food, craft rum, and plenty of magically spontaneous moments.


Through the transformative power of film, Crested Butte Film Festival fosters connection and inspires creativity, cultural awareness and social action.


Films have the power to bring people together which is now more important than ever. Thank you for submitting your film to Crested Butte Film Festival. We’re excited to experience it!


BEST SHORT FILM - Narrative, Documentary and Comedic categories
ACTNOW AWARD (call-to-action, monetary prize awarded to one nonprofit associated with film)


Each and every submitted film is considered for a Jury Award. Selected films are then shortlisted based on their genre and characteristics and sent to our Festival Jury. The Jury then awards films based on merit, innovation, and outstanding qualities.


A sure measure of success for filmmakers is winning the CBFF’s coveted Audience Choice Award. Solely determined by our audience, the Audience Choice Award is open to any screened entry and is determined by a weighted, tabulated-ratings ballot system on our festival app in conjunction with online trending and audience street reviews.


Our social action award - this is a cash award that goes to a nonprofit organization linked to a documentary film. If your film has a call-to-action component to it, and it is designated as an ActNow Film by the Crested Butte Film Festival it will be considered for this award.

2020 Recipient - MOSSVILLE
2019 Recipient - SANTUARIO
2018 Recipient - LIFEBOAT
2016 Recipient - NEWTOWN
2015 Recipient - RACING EXTINCTION
2014 Recipient - VIRUNGA
2013 Recipient - BLOOD BROTHER
2012 Recipient - BIDDER 70

For our 2021 season, we are open for submissions from December 1, 2020 - April 10, 2021.

Before filling out the submission form, please be prepared to provide the following:

Contact information
Full film information including a short synopsis
Entry fee (credit card)
A link to your online screener
Acceptance of Rights and Releases

All submitting filmmakers will be notified on or before July 1, by the email provided with your submission. Please add director@cbfilmfest.org to your email address book to ensure receipt of notification.

For environmental reasons, we request that your submission be sent to us through an online link. Thank you. Your entry can be made via FilmFreeway's Secure Online Screener platform.

Film entries may be of any subject, from any country, and of any length. Submitted films should either be in English or include English subtitles. If the film is selected for the Festival, it is the responsibility of the filmmaker to provide the Crested Butte Film Festival with a file or exhibition copies by July 1, 2021.

If you would like to remove your film for consideration to the virtual festival and request a refund for your submission fee, you must do so via email to michael@cbfilmfest.org prior to August 1, 2021.  

Call Michael Brody, Programming Director, at 310.463.0707 or email michael@cbfilmfest.org

We really appreciate you sending your work to us and giving us the opportunity to program it for our festival. Obviously, films are the foundation of our festival, and we appreciate the vision, creativity, time, commitment, and money that went into your work. Thank you!

Overall Rating
  • Christopher Smith

    Even though Covid kept me from attending in person, never-the-less, CBFF created yet another wonderful experience and I highly recommend filmmakers submit to this charming and inspiring festival. Thanks to Michael and Jen and the whole CBFF team for putting on a wonderful festival during a global pandemic.

    October 2020
    Response from festival:

    Hello Christopher, as always, we are big fans of your work, from TINY HOUSE right on up to your super-ambitious, CURRENT SEA. We feel you epitomize the films we love showing at Crested Butte: important and independent works that speak (thunder) to us and our audience's heart. Thanks so much and looking forward to your next, most personal work.


  • Marcia Mayer

    The organizers are truly committed to independent cinema and our community. As the pandemic closed so many festivals and forced others to do some makeshift virtual issue, the Crested Butte team doubled down to make their virtual version of the festival feel personable and inclusive. They even created a virtual red festival event, complete with musical entertainment and virtual tables at which filmmakers could mingle. I look forward to having future work at the festival and actually attending in person. If their virtual fest is any indication, it must be quite a treat!

    October 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you. Marcia.
    We feel very lucky that we were able to show INEZ & DOUG & KIRA at Crested Butte and we loved working with you to bring it to our festival audience. Also, so great to have Julia attend our Red Carpet Filmmaker event! Yours is the kind of film Crested Butte is committed to: outstanding, independent American cinema and you nailed it with INEZ & DOUG.
    Thanks you both. Can't wait to have you out to CB.

    Michael Brody

  • Jill Shinefield

    With so many film festivals cancelling and postponing for 2020, we tip our hat to the Crested Butte Film Fest for staying the course and making the bold switch to an online festival this year. There was a slate of wonderful films that needed to be seen –and were available to be seen worldwide in virtual mode. All this gave us a tremendous sense of connection in this time of social distancing. Thanks again to Michael and the terrific CBFF team for pulling off an amazing event.

    October 2020
    Response from festival:

    Jill, thanks so much for seeing us so clearly and all the work our team puts in to make it happen. For us, it's really simple: we love finding great films and sharing them to our audience.
    For all those reading this, I strongly encourage you to see Jill's film OUT LOUD as it has some of the most intriguing people ever brought to the screen it it.


  • Will Kindrick

    Loved being a part of this festival!

    October 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thanks, Will. It was our great joy to bring STORM to Crested Butte after Tribeca shared it with us. Months into Covid, we came across your film: one filled with fun, hope, romance and love; really all the things missing in today's world. Your film was one of the simplest decisions we ever made. A slam dunk. Thanks to you and your team, Will. Looking forward to seeing what's next.

  • Brian Elliott

    Awesome folks who guided us through the fest experience during truly unusual days. Great job CBFF! Thanks for supporting the films, filmmakers and your community so well! hopefully we can all do it again in person soon! peace, b

    October 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Brian. I'm often stopped on the street by folks telling me how much they loved AGE OF BRYCE.
    Thanks for working so easily with us and hoping to meet you in CB soon.