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 Cal Poly Humboldt students--here in the beautiful redwoods on the coast of northern California--began the festival way back in 1967.

For 57 years, the student-body of Cal Poly Humboldt 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 Cal Poly Humboldt 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
Best Narrative
Best Documentary
Best Animation
Pablo Koontz Best Experimental

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 2020
-Films entered once may not be re-submitted in subsequent years
-Finalists must submit their film in DCP format NO LATER THAN April 3, 2023 to compete in April 2023 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
  • Hi there,
    Thanks so much for awarding "HAVEN" the Best Immigrant Story Award! That means so, so much!

    Thank you!!!

    The standard of fimls was very high and the communication was great- awesome festival & thanks again!

    Mo O'Connell

    May 2023
  • Alireza Beigi

    Thank you and the jury for choosing and finalizing my film. It was a great experience.

    May 2022
  • It was amazing film festival and thank you for selected my film

    April 2022
  • Javid Farahani

    It was an honor for me and thank you for your professional teamβš˜πŸ“½πŸŽžβš˜

    April 2022
  • Marin Sander-Holzman

    Great fest. Very responsive and all around good vibes.

    July 2021
    Final pictogram green
    Response from festival:

    Thanks for the kind words, Marin! We always aim to get back to our awesome filmmakers in a timely manner. Hope to see more of your films in the future!