We are a premier arts event that draws film lovers from throughout the Pacific Northwest to Kittitas Valley each year. We curate an annual selection of local, national, and international narrative and documentary films that entertain as well as create a positive dialogue within our community. Ellensburg Film Festival is operated under the auspices of Laughing Horse Arts Foundation a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with generous support from the Ellensburg Arts Commission and donations from our community.

EFF is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that attempts to maximize cash award amounts to filmmakers while ensuring the festival remains fiscally viable for future seasons. All proceeds from film submissions are used to offset the costs of producing the festival and cash awards to filmmakers.

Monetary Awards

Amounts of monetary awards are determined by the number of entries and sponsorships sold. Award amounts will be announced five days after the regular submission period has ended. Monetary awards are given for the following categories:

Best Narrative Short
Best Narrative Feature
Best Documentary Short
Best Documentary Feature
Best Pacific Northwest Film Short
Best Pacific Northwest Film Feature

Donations of non-cash prizes from our Festival Partners may be awarded from time to time, and at Festival Board discretion. Award criteria for these special awards is determined by our Festival Partners and will be announced as they become available. All festival entries that meet award criteria are automatically entered.

In addition to monetary and merchandise awards, the Festival Board may, at its discretion, issue special recognition for exemplary work of cast and crew.

Films selected for screening may display Laurels with the words Ellensburg Film Festival Official Selection.

1. Film submissions must be submitted digitally via FilmFreeway platform.
2. Due to Covid-19, the 2021 Festival will be virtual festival, with ticket screenings using Eventive, a secure streaming service that provides advanced Digital Rights Management. A live encore presentation of select films will be presented in Fall 2021 at a to be determined location in Ellensburg if allowed under Washington State Covid-19 safety guidelines.
3. Submission of your film grants permission to the EFF to publicly screen your film at EFF 2021 Festival Events to include: Streaming Event in May/June 2021, and live Fall Encore Event.
4. All films must be in English or have English subtitles at the time submitted.
5. Films must have been completed after January 1, 2019.
6. Films that have been submitted to EFF in previous years are eligible to be resubmitted, provided they are eligible according to current rules.
7. Films with US distribution prior to being selected for EFF screening or produced, financed or initiated by a major film studio or television network are ineligible for competition. But may be considered for a special screening. Films screened on network or cable television or distributed to theaters prior to the festival dates are also ineligible for competition.
8. Short films that are publicly available online prior to the Festival may be considered for exhibition during the Festival. We prefer that shorts not be publicly available online. Online, private screenings through a festival’s online program do not count as publicly available online.
9. We reserves the right to reject or disqualify any ineligible entries without refund.
10. Categories:
a. Best Narrative Short - live action or animated fictionalized story less than 41-minutes in length.
b. Best Narrative Feature - live action or animated fictionalized story greater than 40-minutes in length.
c. Best Documentary Short - non-fiction, less than 41-minutes in length.
d. Best Documentary Feature - non-fiction, greater than 40-minutes in length.
e. Best Pacific Northwest (PNW) Film Short - narrative short or documentary short film shot on location in the PNW (Washington, Oregon or Idaho) with a cast and crew comprised of no less than 50% people native who live in the PNW.
f. Best Pacific Northwest (PNW) Film Feature - feature length greater than 40-minutes in length, narrative or documentary film shot on location in the PNW (Washington, Oregon or Idaho) with a cast and crew comprised of no less than 50% people who live in the PNW.
g. Compelling Voices - is a category for filmmakers to submit films without a fee to be eligible for screening during the festival. There is no cash or non-cash prizes for this category. Films submitted in this category are not eligible for judging in other categories.

Overall Rating
  • Pierre GAFFIÉ

    A very nice and interesting festival, even in those troubled times. It was great to have our short "Apocalypse notes (music is in danger) selected, even if we couldn't attend. (we are in France). Good luck and thanks to the team... Pierre Gaffié

    July 2021
  • Ellensburg Film Festival has been one of the best film festival experience for us as independent filmmakers. I would love to be a part of such professional and well organised festival. I highly recommend to submit your projects.

    July 2021
  • Michael Støen

    Nice festival with great communication. Wish we could have attended in person.

    July 2021
  • Jarrett Bryant

    Online event. Well organized. Keith was very communicative and informative. Thank you for selecting "Maxie" as the Best PNW Feature Film. All the best.

    July 2021
  • Honoured to have been selected! A great festival, was lots of fun!

    July 2021