Film Fest Petaluma is an annual showcase of the best new short films from around the world with filmmakers in conversation. Located in the heart of wine country at the historic Mystic Theatre, just 30 miles north of Golden Gate Bridge, the festival has developed a reputation as a filmmaker-friendly event centered on community engagement and film education. Petaluma also has one of the most well preserved historic city centers in all of California, facilitating a pedestrian-friendly experience for guests. Travel grants are available for filmmakers who are invited to participate.

The festival showcases a wide variety of animation, live action, documentary, and experimental works under 30 minutes. All international films must be subtitled or dubbed in English. Priority consideration is given to submissions where a primary member of the cast or crew will attend the screening.

Overall Rating
  • Julianne Martin

    This festival was a singular delight. The location was gorgeous, the programming was diverse and inspiring, and the organization was top-notch. Mike and his team put a lot of effort into every aspect of the experience and it really showed. I chose to attend this festival over two others the same weekend because of the organizers' enthusiasm that was palpable just through emails, and I'm so glad I did. I left feeling inspired by the people I met, the films I saw and the fervent desire to make another film. What a special, wonderful festival!

    May 2023
  • Jeremy Glazer

    Everything about this fest was down right awesome! First, the quality of films that were programmed were diverse and made by incredibly talented filmmakers from all over the world. The way each program was curated made it feel like an experience rather than just a slate of films lined up. They all play at the historic Mystic Theater that really showcased each film beautifully and to full houses! They had a great opening party along with AV Fest to welcome us all and wonderful closing party too. Both were so great to meet, mingle and network with the other filmmakers.

    Mike and his team took care of us from start to finish. Great communication and they made sure we had everything we need. The atmosphere of Petaluma is one of the best places for a film festival too; from the beautiful, quaint town, wine tastings and great food everywhere. We were staying at the Hotel Petaluma which is so charming, historic, newly renovated and close to everything.

    Five stars all around and highly recommend this festival to any film makers out there. Thank you Mike and Film Festival Petaluma for screening ON THE RIDE to your audiences!

    May 2023
  • Christopher Graham

    Great experience! Wonderful team. Very responsive, and despite the challenges presented by Covid, the folks at Petaluma FF curated a special event.

    June 2021
  • Russell Sharman

    Absolutely LOVED my experience with Petaluma. It's been a long strange year, and the folks at Petaluma put together a fantastic program and made filmmakers feel like they were still a part of something special. Can't wait for the chance to attend in person someday. If it's half as supportive and encouraging as the online event this past year, it will be at the top of my list for years to come.

    May 2021
  • I rarely review festivals here because I think ‘Five Stars’ gets thrown around too freely, but this event deserves exactly that. I’ve attended for 7 years and played 5. The event takes great care of you and the programming is the BEST I’ve seen. Networking opportunities have been some of the best I’ve had and because the festival includes international filmmakers I’ve made a lot of special friends. Film fest Petaluma is my favorite day of the year.

    May 2021