"Excellent time at the festival. Ryan Sharp was excellent. The love and care they have for cinema and for Veterans was quite impressive and touching. Definitely a worthwhile experience." - Jeremiah Jahi, Military Veteran Filmmaker

"It is a new and refreshing way to help filmmakers. Thank you very much for accepting my film and thank you even more for the feedback. It was excellent feedback and it is nice to have fresh eyes on this project." - Kevin Almodovar, Director of "Until Death"

"We are humbled by your kind words of The Coming Convergence." - Carrie Miller of Ingenuity Films

"Many thanks and what an honor it is to be included in the fellowship. Thank you for your critique and very useful comments on our production." - Jason Meath, CEO of Meath Television Media LLC

"Again. Thank you. Your evaluation really helped me understand my film more and is also helpful for my future projects." - Roman Sotelo, Producer of "Grief"

"Excellent fellowship with great communication." - Michael Gavino, Writer, Director, and Producer of "For Greater Good."

IFI Membership is an entry into an exclusive fellowship of film artisans, enthusiasts, and practitioners.

Independent Film Festival, aka IFI, was created to provide a quality venue for filmmakers to present quality works that illustrate mastery of the craft. The mission of IFI is to provide filmmakers with a platform to connect, learn, and reach people with quality stories via the video and film craft. Our films not only entertain but encourage conversation. We are proud to be an official fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project. We encourage donations to this and other worthy Veterans groups. We honor American Veterans with by providing a discount to veteran filmmakers. We showcase veterans films, stories about service, and donations to Veterans organizations.

We do everything we can to help filmmakers improve their craft and promote the filmmakers in our festival. There are multiple ways we do this and fulfill our mission:

1) Unlike most festivals and as a thank you to filmmakers who submit their films to us, we provide an evaluation of every film as a courtesy. Our judges panel is made up of professionals who work in various parts of the business. Their evaluations give each filmmaker professional tips, tools, and advice they can use to improve their film and craft.

2) We have educational articles, tips, and videos we share with filmmakers and provide a lot of audience feedback/interaction.

3) Multiple ways and opportunities to connect and build relationships with other filmmakers, movie fans, and friends in the community through round table discussions, online events, and conversations.

Instructional films, documentaries, short shorts, shorts, features, and all types of films are accepted. However, films must not contain nudity, sexual content, glorified violence or foul language.


Films are of various genres and have powerful stories to tell. They have been narrowed down from hundreds of films throughout the world by our staff of professional filmmakers. They are chosen because they are technically sound, thought-provoking, and powerfully entertaining. Memberships are available. Members help review and award our filmmakers. They can vote on their favorite films in each category, and have the opportunity to provide valuable feedback to our filmmakers.


We greatly appreciate all members, donors, and sponsors.

If you would like to inquire about becoming a sponsor, or for more information, please contact IFI Director, Ryan Sharp, at 727-798-1101.

IFI also offers a variety of membership packages for filmmakers and movie fans alike.

See the membership packages and read more at: independentfilminstitute.com

All filmmakers receive an official evaluation completed by our staff of professionals in the film industry. This is a courtesy and tool we provide to help filmmakers improve their film and craft. Those films that illustrate a high degree of mastery of the craft and have a unique, powerful, and thought-provoking story to tell are selected by the staff to be invited into our Filmmakers Fellowship which gives you membership access to the Filmmaker's Roundtable on our website where you can read articles from Moviemaker magazine, tips, and essays from filmmakers.

You are also invited to exclusive events and meetings with the fellowship. Selectees are also provided with "Official Selectee" laurels to use on their movie promotional items. Other promotional material, products, and discounts may be available.

While we do not want to limit creativity, we believe it is perfectly reasonable to produce films that inspire and do not have nudity, sexual content, profanity, or glorified violence. We seek films that showcase a good understanding of the craft, have a well formulated script, and have a message.

Instructional films, documentaries, short shorts, shorts, features, and all types of films are accepted. Films cannot exceed a maximum runtime of 60 minutes. The shorter and tighter your film is, the better chance it will have of being selected. Good films cut the fat and deliver a tight punch all the way through.

General Rules:

Due to our cost associated with the film evaluation service we provide and due also to the fact that our prices are already reasonable, especially for students, seniors and veterans, we do not give waivers for any reason. Please do not send waiver requests.

STUDENTS: A digital image of your Driver’s license or student IDs are required and you must be 18 or under to submit as a student. You will find the student rates and submission options under each film category. Make sure you upload your student ID or Driver's License with your photo on it along with your other required images, such as movie poster, stills, etc. when you submit the film as a student or we cannot accept your film as a student and will not provide a refund. If you do not have either of the required items or wish not to upload a digital image of them, then you must submit your film at the regular non-student rate.

Film schools who wish to submit student films can get the student rate for each film and might receive further discounts and incentives if they become a paid sponsor of the event. Film school or camp directors are encouraged to contact us about sponsorship opportunities.

We believe that you are never too young or old to pursue your dreams, therefore, special rates are given to seniors over 70 and youth under 18.

SENIORS: If you are over 70 and wish to have your film recognized as a senior film, then you can submit any film under the Seniors category.

VETERANS: All veterans who served in the US Military can submit their film under the Veterans category. A digital image of your Military ID must be uploaded along with your other required images, such as movie poster, stills, etc.

Films must not contain nudity or sexual content.

Films should not include excessive profanity or violence unless being used in a war picture or to portray reality. Films that seem to needlessly use profanity or glorify violence will not be accepted.

IFI exists for the filmmaker. We do everything we can to promote those films and filmmakers who get selected. Those filmmakers are encouraged to network with our fellowship of selectees in order to help promote their film and learn about other projects.

As mentioned under Event Description, all submitted films will be evaluated by our team of professionals. You will be emailed a detailed evaluation that you can use to improve your film.

Films can be submitted by clicking the "Submit Now" button at the top of this page.

We strongly recommend not making your film available to everyone on vimeo, youtube, or other free sites unless and until you receive our evaluation and notice from IFI that your film was not selected. 1) We will provide tips and ideas that you might choose to use to improve your film. 2) If your film is chosen by IFI, we will publish your film to our website. Therefore, we would prefer that film chosen by IFI as "Official Selectees" not be made available for free to the public, although that is still your choice.

You must submit directly from our website, which will take you to the FilmFreeway submission page. THERE ARE NO WAIVERS, DISCOUNTS, OR COUPONS PROVIDED. ALL EMAILS REQUESTING WAIVERS, DISCOUNTS, OR COUPONS AND/OR SHARING LINKS TO THEIR FILM WILL BE IGNORED. SUCH EMAILS ARE CONSIDERED UNLAWFUL SPAM AND MAY BE REPORTED TO AUTHORITIES. All submitters must pay the required fees and will be notified at our discretion and on our time table of our decision. All paid/qualified films under 60 minutes will receive a detailed evaluation attached to an email with tips and tools to improve the film if you so choose to do so. Our official decision is commonly on the last page of the attached film evaluation.

If we choose your film for inclusion in our festival, we will request a download and a usb flash drive may be required for your film if a .mp4 download is not available! We highly prefer to have a digital png or jpeg of your movie poster along with your film since the first thing viewers will see online is your movie poster. If you do not have one, then please send an impactful still from your film. A brief plot summary of the film is required. Additional information about the film, the writer, producer, or director are also recommended when you submit your film. The more you provide, the more tools we have to promote your film. Please do not physically send these materials in the mail. Just submit the required and recommended items along with your film online.

As mentioned, upon acceptance of your film, if your film is not made available for downlowad, a download request and/or USB flash drive of your film in .mp4 format will be required.

By submitting your film, you agree to allow Independent Film Institute, aka IFI, and the website (independentfilminstitute.com) to use digital images, written summaries of your film, bios, and other information and materials, including your film trailer and full film, that you submit. You agree to hold harmless the same from copyright violations, liabilities, and any other issues that may arise from using your film, images, and information you provide during submission. IFI agrees to use the film, trailer, images, and/or any other material you provide to promote your film and will never publicly speak, post, or share anything negative about you; the submitter; your film, and/or anyone or anything using your name, crew members, film name, etc. Similarly, you agree that you nor any crew member of your film nor member of your company nor anyone associated with them will speak, post, or share anything negative about Independent Film Institute, IFI, the website associated with them, nor any members or associates of Independent Film Institute, IFI, and/or their website, nor any members or associates of the same.


As mentioned, IFI does provide, as a courtesy to you and your crew, an evaluation of your film that may provide some professional tips and feedback about your film. We try to be as honest as we can. Therefore, on occasion some comments on the evaluations can seem a bit harsh, especially if you are not used to professional criticism. Good filmmakers must not only learn to accept criticism, but learn to love it because its the only way to improve.

Nothing our staff does is meant to discourage you, but to motivate you and to provide some tools to improve your craft. Very often, we receive thank you emails and kind words about our evaluations and detailed feedback. Those are perfectly welcome. However, due to the large volume of films we receive and because of our mission, many films will not be selected. If your film is not selected, you will still get an evaluation that may provide you with some areas that need improvement. Again, this is a service that we provide as a courtesy to you. It takes time and money and our staff does their absolute best to be honest and objective. So please respect our decision and be appreciative of our work because it is a hard task that few provide. Negative replies or comments about IFI or our staff are unprofessional, and we do not reply to or reward rude behavior. We thank you for choosing IFI and giving us the opportunity to review your work and to help you on your journey. It is a privilege we greatly appreciate and take seriously.

We want you to be part of our fellowship. If you have a film, submit it.

Overall Rating
  • Jeremiah Jahi

    Excellent time at the festival. Ryan Sharp was excellent. The love and care they have for cinema and for Veterans was quite impressive and touching. Definitely a worthwhile experience.

    May 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you. It was an honor to have you.

  • Michael Gavino

    Excellent festival with great communication.

    March 2019
    Response from festival:


  • Excellent first year festival! There was a wide range of foreign and domestic films which were shown in various categories. Ryan Sharp and his staff were very knowledgeable about film making and were helpful in sharing their views and those of the audience about the strengths and weaknesses of our film. We were honored to have won two awards at the festival against such a wide range of films.

    April 2018