The mission of the Key West Film Festival is to showcase films that capture Key West’s essence: Creativity, Diversity, Sustainability, and Beauty.

Key West enjoys a rich tradition of inspiring locals and visitors alike to approach everything they do with a free and unbridled spirit and a sense of fun. We celebrate creativity and community as the highest and most concrete expressions of the human spirit, and strive to show truly excellent, diverse, socially-conscious, challenging, artful and creative works from across the world while celebrating our pride of place in South Florida, the Keys, and the Caribbean islands.

In our laid-back, tropical setting of Old Town Key West with its historic theaters within walking distance of each other, the bars of Duval Street and the magic of Mallory Square on the Florida Bay, celebrity guests have included: Burt Reynolds, Marisa Tomei, Billy Corben, Alan Cumming, Mariel Hemingway, Sebastian Junger, Judy Blume, John Waters, Celia Weston, Mark Bridges, Anson Mount, Joely Richardson, Val Lauren, Paul Haggis, Lois Smith, Terry George, Steven Bauer, Angus MacLachlan, Zachary Booth, Bob Wisdom, Anne O'Shea, and many more!

We showcase the best works from Florida filmmakers and beyond, while also fostering young talent through student scholarship awards and by hosting networking parties and workshops with seasoned names in the film industry. Topics include Commercial and Music Video Directing, Screenwriting with an Oscar Nominated Writer, Directing the Actor, Virtual Reality demos, top Film Critics Picks panels, Indie Doc & TV Filmmaking, Crowd-Funding with the director at Indiegogo, & Film Distribution with Magnolia Pictures.

Come be part of the unforgettable Key West experience!

SHORT FILMS:
Best Florida Short (or Pilot) - Narrative or Doc ($1500 Grand jury Prize Award & Audience Award)
Best World Narrative Short (Audience Award)
Best World Documentary Short (Audience Award)

STUDENT FILMS:
Best Florida Student Narrative short (or pilot) ($1500 Jury Prize Award)
Best Florida Student Doc Short ($1500 Jury Prize Award)
Best World Student Narrative Short (or pilot) ($1500 Jury Prize Award)
Best World Student Documentary Short ($1500 Jury Prize Award)
**select student travel/ lodging grants provided as well

FEATURE FILMS:
Florida Feature film - narrative or doc (Audience Award)
Narrative English language Feature Film (Audience Award)
Narrative Foreign-language Feature Film (Audience Award)
Feature-length Documentary (any language) (Audience Award)

SPECIAL AWARDS:
Best LGBTQ feature film
Film Critics' Choice Award
Golden Key Award for Excellence in the Cinematic Arts

-Short films must be under 20 minutes in duration.

-Feature films must be 50-125 minutes in duration.

-Florida films must be written/directed/produced by filmmaker/s who currently reside in Florida or were shot at least 50% (locations or labor) in the state.

-Exhibition format for all films must be Blu-Ray, QuickTime or H.264.

-World premiere must have occurred no earlier than January 1, 2017.

See specific categories for further details

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • This year's festival was my second time at Key West Film Festival and I must say that it is one of the best festival experiences I've ever had! It is exceptionally well-organized, the staff and volunteers are friendly and the programming blooms with diversity and quality. It's also an amazing summit for filmmakers, actors, producers and press to socialize and network. All against the wonderful backdrop that is the unique paradise of Key West. This festival stands apart for all these qualities and more! But as with the movies, I don't want to spoil it all! My highest recommendation!

    November 2017
  • Brian Heil

    What a fun time at the Key West Film Festival. Highly recommended.

    November 2017
  • The perfect film festival to compliment the perfect destination. It all almost feels surreal. Walking along a breezy strip full of culture and conchs and a celebration for filmmakers and film lovers alike. The staff is there throughout and they care. I was welcomed with open arms and a smile. It was nice to know that the programmers actually watched my film and had specific things to say about it. I've been to too many film festivals where it's clear the programmers haven't done their homework, and the fact that Key West does really sets them apart. The films were eclectic and fun and unique and exhilirating. I couldn't have asked for more. It was truly humbling to be part of the selections. The parties were as fun as they were networking-savvy. Don't miss this fest!

    November 2017
  • Barbara Hammer

    A small but elegant film festival in historic theaters and a modernist new building: 3 venues. Top film selections with mix of the avant-garde, challenging and more traditional genres. Staff exceptionally welcoming, pleasant and helpful. Gift bags yummy. Plus, it's Key West warm and balmy in the winter. Go if you can!

    November 2016