***All films must be shot with mobile phones to qualify for all competitions in our film festival.***

Note: All films selected will be streamed online as well as during the live film festival event. We do not accept direct email submissions.

IMFF 2021 is an International Mobile Film Festival based in San Diego. Our film festival is exclusive to films shot with mobile phones. No other device qualifies. Only mobile phones. 10% of total footage may be aerial footage shot with drones (Max. 10% of total film).
Hashtag: #MFF2021SanDiego

Our 10th annual International Mobil Film Festival™ in San Diego takes place the last weekend of April 2021.

International Mobile Film Festival is an IMDb qualifying film festival. We launched in 2009 as a film festival for only films shot with only mobile phones with a live venue screening of all accepted films. We created a respectable traditional film festival for only mobile films.

You need to know the rules before you submit your film.

No limit on submissions! We lifted the limit of one film per filmmaker to no limit. *Paid submissions only. Note that only ONE film from each filmmaker or entity will be selected.

Due to persistent requests, we are now accepting more than one submission. We have experienced many requests to permit more than one film submission per filmmaker. More entries increases your odds and provides a better chance to one entry being selected. But remember that there is no guarantee your film, no matter how many you submit, will be selected or qualify. The selection process is not a random selection of entries, like picking names out of a jar.


MFF2017 added a new competition to our festival, which we announced in 2016: The Feature Film Competition continues moving forward. IMFF will select a total of 2 or 3 mobile "feature" length films each year. One winner will be awarded with a trophy for the Best Mobile Feature film award at the international mobile film festival in San Diego. All films must be shot with a mobile phone as the camera. Same rules as our traditional festivals apply (see below).

The main difference is filmmakers must be present at the film festival in San Diego during our live event screening. NEW ANNOUNCEMENT: Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19, we are not requiring presence in San Diego during the live film festival April 2021. We will require a well produced video from the filmmaker about the making of the film if it is accepted. Details will be provided upon selection of the film.

NEW 2021: Total length of feature films must be no less than 40 minutes and no more than 120 minutes (2 hours).

*SEE CATEGORY on FilmFreeway submission: Feature Mobile Films Competition

*SEE CATEGORY on FilmFreeway submission: Short Film Competition

Visit our website: www.internationalmobilefilmfestival.com/rules for details.
RULES ON WEBSITE are clear and easier to read than rules here. Read all the rules before submitting. No Refunds.


*A Scholarship is available for our SHORT FILM COMPETITION only! Email us for instructions how to apply, to waive submission fee for short film competition only.

Every film, once selected to the festival, MUST fill out separate legal form authorizing your film to be a part of the festival and filmmaker statement (you must request via email) or it will not be screened or be an official part of the festival.


No Refunds.
*The format of the text on our website is easier to read and clear.

Only films we are able to download full 1080HD before selection deadline will be selected. Horizontal widescreen only. No vertical or square formats.

Filmmakers who attend our event in San Diego will receive special recognition and unique attention during our festival running live event. Filmmakers will be part of Q&A Panel, walk red carpet, interviewed, and much more.

All the information is clearly defined on our website.

*By submitting media to this contest, you acknowledge that you have read and understand the terms and conditions of this contest.
**Affiliates, employees, interns, contractors, & subsidiaries are ineligible to participate.

We have beautiful trophies for the winners who ATTEND and a red carpet award ceremony every year in San Diego on the final day of the film festival. Laurels and promotions including announcements and press release with winners listed.
"The red carpet is in your pocket!"

2021 Festival Rules:

FEATURE FILM COMPETITION: We are looking for cinematic films with production quality with a story driven narrative. Movies must be exceptional.

Regarding documentaries with cinematic value, it may be worth trying but highly unlikely to be accepted. Contacts us first! Generally, we are not accepting documentaries, only narrative story movies.

We advise you to focus on a good story and good acting.

SHORT AND FEATURE FILM COMPETITIONS: Vulgar, offensive, porn, nudity or extreme violence are not allowed. Respect other artists by not using media of any kind without proper licenses, permissions and clearance.

We are pioneers in the mobile phone film festival industry, which only accept films shot exclusively with smartphones. The time has come to challenge you to be a pioneer mobile feature filmmaker to compete during the International Mobil Film Festival™. All ages qualify!

THE RULES - The following rules may change before we open June 19, 2020 for IMFF 2021


It is very important that you read the rules because once you submit your film there are no refunds. Also, there is a process after submission. You must read your emails. If we consider selecting your film, we will send you a link to a registration form you will need to sign online. We only send the link to filmmakers who are being considered for selection.

If you don't receive our emails, then you may miss deadlines and timely emails. These disqualify your film from the process. Film submissions are entries for competition. Please do all you can to stay in the competition. Do not get disqualified for ignoring communication from us because it makes us sad to have to disqualify anyone.

Most films selected will screen in San Diego at the live festival event. We must consider our audience and program schedule in our selection decisions. If your film does not get selected it does not mean your film is not good. We open the door to every film and consider every film with respect to the filmmaker and our audience.

The only mobile device eligible is a smartphone aka mobile phone. No other mobile device is eligible...we decided when we launched in 2009 to give everyone an equal arena to compete using the same device. Any brand or make qualifies.

We respect storytellers who share their stories using smartphone cameras as films. Our mission is to open the door to everyone of any age, economic status, race or anything. Not everyone can afford the gear, the apps, the best phones...but your story is king. If you make a good film, captivate the viewer, share a good story, etc., you have a good chance of your film getting selected.

Vulgar, offensive, porn, nudity or extreme violence are not allowed. Respect other artists by not using media of any kind without proper licenses, permissions and clearance.

Stay tuned to emails from us once you submit your films. You must respond to emails and inquiries from us.


We now accept more than one film (full paid submissions only) | ALL FILMS MUST BE AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD IN HIGH QUALITY HD (see rules)

REQUIRED FOR ALL COMPETITIONS: English embedded captions/subtitles for all foreign, non-English spoken, or hard to understand or hard to hear dialogue and narration/voiceovers in all films is required.

• PARTICIPANTS – You must be human beings. That is all we ask for. We don't limit artists/entrants/participants because of their age, income level, disabilities, race or ethnicity, sex or anything! If you are a human being you qualify as a filmmaker if you enter a qualifying film. We encourage anyone who believes they may not qualify even though they are human to give it a shot. Submitting is easy! We only accept submissions through FilmFreeway and we must download the films, once selected, from FilmFreeway.

• EQUIPMENT – In case we weren’t clear: FILMS MUST BE SHOT BY MOBILE PHONE CAMERAS ONLY. All other production equipment, lights, cranes, dollies, etc. are allowed. Since mobile filmmaking has become an industry, you can find customized equipment online and stores if you need it. No apps or filmmaking accessories are required to qualify.

• ONE (1) ENTRY per person and/or entity will be selected regardless of the number of entries submitted. One prize per film regardless of the number of people credited. If you are an organization, please contact us. We can promote your entity or an individual within your organization per your specific request.

• LENGTH – Short Film Competition - 00:60 seconds (1 minute) to 05:00 minutes including credits.

Feature Mobile Film Competition - 40 minutes to 120 minutes (2 hours) total including intro and end credits.

• FORMAT – We prefer (.mp4) (.mov) files. FULL QUALITY HD video in widescreen format (Horizontal). No square or vertical formatted films. Questions? Contact us!

• APPS – Automatic editing apps which make editing decisions for you are not allowed. The only apps you may use are video editing software such as iMovie, Final Cut Pro, etc. on your phone or computer/laptop/notebook. Using apps may degrade the end quality of your footage or include undesirable app branding watermarks. We advise you to consider this when selecting apps, we won't accept watermarks on films submitted. Also consider not using filters during your production as opposed to post-production, as they also tend to degrade the quality of your video. Cropping video may also degrade the quality of your footage in post production, but that is not always the case.

• COPYRIGHTS - We cannot accept any THIRD-PARTY music, images & photos or graphics in your video. We apologize, however, we are keeping your cost to produce your video down and increasing your creativity! If you can verify your right to use them through our strict legal licensing process, contact us. This also limits your risks. Licensing for music is tricky and can be confusing depending on how the music is used in your film. One license may not work for all the ways you use music in your film, such as background, transitions, etc. Music is not the only proprietary license you may need, such as visual items in your films. It is best to be informed before you begin production.

• DRONES - In 2017, a decision was made to allow films submitted to our film festival to include not more than 10% Aerial footage/video captured with a drone camera. We announced it during the festival in 2018.

In order to qualify, the entire rest of your film must be shot with only mobile phone cameras. Not One Second More than 10% of the film may include aerial video or aerial footage recorded with a drone. This is the only exception to another camera or device allowed. You must do your own math! Example for a *Short film of five minutes: 10% of (5 minutes) = 30 seconds.

*Short film competition must be between 1 & 5 minutes and Not One Second Shorter or Longer including intro and end credits and/or video black at beginning or end.

Drones: You must enter the name, brand and the model of the drone and smartphone you used to film/capture your footage and certify the information with your signature in a separate registration form which all filmmakers must submit and sign *even if they did not use drones in their film.

You MUST include the time code where drone footage begins and drone footage ends and you must also include several time codes if 10% of your drone footage is spread throughout your film in different areas. It's a bit of a pain so unless you really feel your film needs aerial footage, it's simpler without it.

*By submitting media to this contest, you acknowledge that you have read and understand the terms and conditions of this contest.

**Affiliates, employees, interns, contractors, & subsidiaries are ineligible to participate.

Music got you down? Don't fret. Here is some info to research using music in your films to ensure the proper licensing. This is not the only resource but a good start. http://www.copyright.gov, New 2018 Copyright Law and ASCAP

*If you have questions or need help contact us. We will allow a couple shots from another mobile device or traditional cameras only by individual basis after a conversation which determines you need it to tell your story and cannot recreate it on your phone in time for the festival. This is usually historical footage that cannot be recreated, and again, limited to one or two shots not lasting more 3 or 4 seconds.

Please respond to email requests in order to qualify even after films are selected. We also require permission to download films from FilmFreeway and will not "stream" them from Vimeo or YouTube during the film festival.

*Please make an effort to be in attendance to receive free engraved trophy with your name if you win in feature or short film competitions. Festival will not cover shipping of trophies.

NOTICE: You will only be required to sign the separate registration form if your film is selected, in order to complete the selection process. You may also be required to submit licenses, proofs and other items such as talent release forms; upon request.



The Mobile Shorts competition must be between 1-5 minutes total length including intro and end credits. See RULES above for more details. Same rules apply.

Vulgar, offensive, porn, nudity or extreme violence are not allowed. Respect other artists by not using media of any kind without proper licenses, permissions and clearance.

Scholarship: We have created a scholarship program for the mobile short film competition ONLY in order to keep providing this opportunity to ALL human beings around the world regardless of income. Contact us to apply for our scholarship program. No automated scholarship requests will be accepted or responded to. Only one film submission/one entry, per filmmaker. ***Unlimited submissions are for fully paid submissions only. Feature film entries will not be considered for scholarships.***



We will select, not more than three (3) mobile films to compete for an exclusive mobile feature film award. Filmmaker must be present at the festival. The films will screen in San Diego.

NEW ANNOUNCEMENT: Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19, we are not requiring presence in San Diego during the live film festival April 2021. We will require a well produced video from the filmmaker about the making of the film if it is accepted. Details will be provided upon selection of the film.

Films must be cinematic in nature. Good quality and full 1080HD. Films must be shot with smartphones only, High Definition and look good on a big screen in widescreen format (Horizontal). No square or vertical formatted films. Any media not owned by the filmmaker must be fully licensed for distribution.

Feature films must be no shorter than 40 minutes and no longer than 120 minutes (2 hours.), including intro and end credits. *May need to mail us a USB drive with your film, per request, at your own cost.

Qualifying for submission does not guarantee selection to the competition. Not more than (3) films will be selected to compete in the Feature Film Competition. One film will be awarded Best Mobile Feature Film Award by International Mobile Film Festival in San Diego. IMFF is an official festival listed on IMDb.

Vulgar, offensive, porn, nudity or extreme violence are not allowed. Respect other artists by not using media of any kind without proper licenses, permissions and clearance.

The rules are otherwise the same as for the short film competition. Do not send experimental, music videos or documentaries as they will *most likely not qualify.

We don't want you to submit a film, which does not qualify, because submission fees are non-refundable. Qualification does not ensure selection. No reason will be given as to why your qualifying film was not selected as is customary in most competitions. However, if we feel feedback may benefit you as a filmmaker, we will share some feedback. We watch every film.



If you need some guidance, some ideas or some inspiration, you can use the following categories to enter your film. We encourage creativity for you to succeed with your project and we do not require you to enter particular categories in order to be a part of IMFF and compete. We believe some of the categories are ideal for mobile phone filmmaking. If your film does not fall in a category it's okay. Submit it.

All rules apply (See rules above): Remember that vulgar, offensive, porn, nudity or extreme violence is not allowed. Don't forget that all films must be shot horizontally and we won't accept non widescreen formatted films and videos.

There are rules to adhere to. Don't forget to read the forms you fill out and submit as well. We sincerely wish you the best of luck!


*Main Category
This is where all films go if you have not picked a category. Please note that this includes children. We will not assign categories to our films for filmmakers. If you don't pick a category, your film will go into our general category. The judges will not judge your film based on the categories below. Your film will be judged among all films in the category that show creativity and other general film criteria such as the look of a Hollywood film for any genre.

*Ultimate Mobile Category
This category is especially for you if you are also editing your film on your cell phone. Although we don't recommend any particular apps, you may use editing apps on your phone or computer, which do not make the edit decisions for you. This category is about doing it all only on the phone including audio. Make sure apps export in full resolution and in wide format for a large screen or theater.

*Youth Film Category
Ages 0 through 17 years, this category gives youth a platform to use their storytelling techniques and abilities. Capturing video with smartphones (all rules apply) is an incredible boost for confidence for the youngest members of society and the film community in general. Youth can use smartphone filmmaking to realize their potential and stand out as innovative filmmakers. Their participation at our film festival brings them alongside other filmmakers during Q & A Panels sharing their voice as filmmakers with experienced professionals. Youth films selected and in attendance will receive the same treatment as other filmmakers where they will share their experience with the world on the red carpet in San Diego.

*Screendance Film Category
With the collaboration of choreographer and soloist filmmaker Jamiel Laurence, we are introducing a unique category to our film festival. Screendance is for dancers using smartphones to choreograph performances for the camera. Using camera movement and style, this category hopes to inspire dancers who perform in front of the camera to team up with a camera person, or more than one, to shoot a story driven performance precisely for the screen.

"The universal language of dance has always held a special place when being performed in the realm of cinematic capture. Fred Astaire once said "Either the Camera will Dance, or I will" and this really captures the essence of the synergy between dance, choreography and filmmaking. With the rise in popularity and easy access to mobile filmmaking technologies, choreographers are naturally finding new and exciting ways to evolve dance alongside developing mobile form factor stabilisation and affordable lenses & filters. The International Mobile Film Festival is a welcoming group of like minded creatives, and the ideal place to have your Screendance work seen by new audiences and industry professionals alike." — Jamiel Laurence: Dancer. Choreographer. Filmmaker.

*Cosplay Film
Cosplay Film category is for films featuring cosplayers of all ages. We are looking for superheroes, steampunk, comic book and cartoon cosplayer films for this category. If you are a cosplayer round up your friends and your team! Shoot your film with your smartphone and read the rules, because the rules apply to all categories. Make it fun. You can make your film in any genre, music, documentary, dark or comedy, drama; it's your call. And speaking of call, this is your CALL TO ACTION! You got the costumes, you got the camera on your phone and you got stories so we are looking forward to your films to screen them during IMFF in San Diego...and yes, you can dress in your cosplay outfits for the red carpet!

*Community Stories
Our community stories category is perfect for youth, kids and documentarians as well as just about anyone. Are you a teacher who can create a documentary with your class about a community event or news story? Are you a family going through a tough situation? Or are you simply a business owner who is working on improving the community where your customers live? Maybe you are a fan of a local band and want to feature them in a documentary or a child with a friend who needs help from the community.

Use your smartphone camera to share a story from your own community. You must be a part of the community whose story you tell through film and video.

This is not just a category. Community Stories is also open year-round as a program to encourage members of a community or culture to share their stories with the world through their mobile phone.

In order to screen your Community Story during IMFF in San Diego, submit your film for the short competition following the rules. Each year, we try to select one film from the shorts competition to feature as a Community Story. Contact us and tell us why your film should be selected and featured.

There are many examples of topics you can choose to enter the Community Stories category or take advantage of the program without submitting a film for competition. Tell your own story instead of waiting for the media to tell it for you.

*Cinematic Film
A film that has cinematic qualities in both story-telling and aesthetic qualities. We hope to inspire you to create films that look like the films you see at the movie theaters with all the elements of a cinematic film including audio, effects and more. Films must all be filmed using a mobile phone and should be full High Definition (HD) quality. The same rules that apply to the other categories apply to this category. Rules apply.

*Journalism & Current Events
We hope to encourage journalists to use their cell phones to tell their stories. Sharing stories instantly and without a huge intrusion in the lives of others has its benefits when the content and the action is taking place and it is dire to capture the action that does not wait for camera setups. The less intrusive mobile phone and the quickness of its setup, for either quick recording on the fly or planned productions, is beneficial and truly an innovation to the industry of journalism. If you are a freelance journalist or documentarian of current news, this is for you. If you are a blogger or if you are experimenting you qualify. Must abide to journalism ethics and policies. This is the ideal opportunity for MOJOs to be a part of our International Mobile Film Festival in San Diego! Rules apply.

*Geographic & Wildlife
We feel that the mobility and size of a mobile phone should produce some eccentric and access nature in it's natural state. If your film is about animals and species or natural wildlife environment around the world or in your backyard, this category is sure to be a creative challenge for mobile filmmaking. All rules apply.

*Business & Entrepreneurship
High quality creative business films shot with smartphones in horizontal format. All rules apply. These include promotional videos and event videos, branding and more. If your video is selected your video producer can attend the film festival representing your company and promote, network and use the red carpet film festival experience in your company's promotional and marketing campaigns. Rules apply.

Contact us if you have questions. Please read everything carefully.

Overall Rating
  • I had a wonderful experience dealing with Susy and the IMFF. From start to finish the communication was excellent. I felt like my film was in good hands, and the support was amazing. This year's festival was forced to be online, but I have no doubt the hospitality and networking would have been top-notch had I been able to attend in person in San Diego. Highly recommend joining this family of mobile filmmakers.

    May 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thanks for taking the time to write your favorable review, Ian. Hope to see you next year in San Diego. Welcome to the family!

  • A great festival to be apart of! The team is great at communicating and providing opportunities for the filmmakers to share and discuss their film, especially shooting on mobile devices. The line up this year was fantastic, and though we were not able to attend a live event (because of the pandemic) we look forward to meeting everyone in person in future years. If you're a filmmaker who made your movie with a mobile device, this festival is a must!

    April 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your review, Ryan McDonald! Looking forward to next year!

  • Un gran festival con un trato inmejorable, una comunicación con los cineastas muy profesional. Para mi uno de los mejores festivales en los que he participado. Gran trabajo de Susy Botello en toda la organización. Enhorabuena!!!

    November 2019
    Response from festival:

    Gracias, Rafael!

  • I absolutely loved this festival! Susy Botello does an incredible job hosting and making the festival much more than a film showing. It was inspiring to meet the other filmmakers, presenters, and sponsors and to share in our love for making mobile films.

    May 2019
    Response from festival:

    You rock! Thank you, Alexandra.

  • John G

    I wasn't able to attend this year, but I was thrilled with the ease of communication and celebratory spirit that came through emails and on social media. I hate to have missed out because everything I experienced and heard sounds like this is a can't-miss event.

    May 2019