Be a part of film festival history! Welcome to the internationally recognized "Longest Student-Run Film Festival in the World"!

What began as a way to show their own films, two Humboldt State University students--here in the beautiful redwoods on the coast of northern California--began the festival way back in 1967.

For 54 years, the student-body of Humboldt State University has been inviting independent filmmakers (working in traditional and experimental modes) to enter their film shorts for the event.

The students enrolled in the university's unique film festival course are trained and certified to pre-screen and judge the wide variety of domestic and international entries from sent in from May through the end of February. The finalists in each category are screened in April at the historic Minor Theatre in Arcata, California for guest industry judges (such as Frank Capra, Walter Murch, Marcia Lucas, Alexander Payne, Patricia Cardoso, and Udi Aloni) as well as community film enthusiasts. Winners are announced and awarded at the Best of Fest by the judges at the fun and exciting final night.

HIFF is proud to promote the art of film, not only as a means of entertainment, but also as a vehicle for self-expression and a stimulus for dialogue about social, political and cultural issues. The Humboldt State University community as a whole invites and embraces the voices and stories of diversity and inclusion. It's a venue where the hidden faces and stilled voices can be seen and heard.

The Best of the Fest $300
Best Narrative $200
Best Documentary $200
Best Animation $200
Best Experimental $200

Best Experimental Technique $250
Best Film with an Immigration Theme $250
Best Film Celebrating Local or Environmental Sustainability $250

Laurel Awards for:
All finalists, Audience Choice in Best of Fest, Narrative, Documentary, Animation, and Experimental

-Entries must be 30 MINUTES OR LESS
-Films must have been completed after January 2016
-Films entered once may not be re-submitted in subsequent years
-Finalists must submit their film in DCP format NO LATER THAN Mar 31, 2021 to compete in April 2021 fest.
-All films must include English subtitles in order to be inclusive to all viewers
-Must include entry fee and a brief synopsis
-No Refunds
-Press Kits are not required right away but are helpful and make things a lot easier later. If able, please include a digital press kit when you submit including a synopsis, running time, country of origin, director name, and still image from your film.

Humboldt Int'l Film Fest 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 undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless Humboldt 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.

Overall Rating
  • Michael Genz

    We are truly honored to have been selected for best environmental themed animated short film, award.

    June 2020
  • Katharine Mahalic

    What an awesome festival! The attendance is killer! The festival actually has sold out screenings for every show. The audience is enthusiastic and excited to see independent work - and shorts at that - making you feel like a superstar. Arcata is in the middle of the Redwoods and you couldn’t ask for a prettier town. And the festival offers a cash prize as well. Well done Humboldt Film Festival. Thank you for everything!

    May 2019
    Final pictogram green
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for your kind words! We agree, Arcata makes a beautiful backdrop for the festival! We hope you will attend this years festival as well, April 24th-28th 2020 at the Minor Theater!

  • david baeumler

    I've loved the Humboldt International Film Festival since I was first introduced to it in 1992. It's a great student-run fest in one of the most beautiful places on earth, Arcata, California. The fest team makes sure the theater is packed and has a great system of showing themed nights and two "best of the fest" programs. It's a great way to get your film in front of more folks. The festival co-director was also nice enough to share some anecdotes with me this year about audience members who commented on my film. Nice personal touch!

    April 2019
    Final pictogram green
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your comments, David! I'm glad you enjoyed your experience with us!

  • Theodore Adams

    Wonderful location that’s not to be missed. Very hospitable staff. Great audience interaction.

    April 2018
    Final pictogram green
    Response from festival:

    Thanks, Ted! We are honored to have you attend!

  • Brandon Katcher

    Fantastic festival. Very well designed and executed, and communication with the organizers was excellent. We had a great turnout for our screening and Q&A, and everyone involved was passionate about film. We are very honored to have had our film as a part of the Humboldt Int'l Film Fest!

    October 2017
    Final pictogram green
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Brandon! We're so glad you were able to come and have a great experience!