The LA Film Festival is a premiere platform for the exhibition of select new works from emerging and established independent storytellers with unique voices and innovative visions. Taking place June 14 - 22, 2017, the LA Film Festival showcases compelling new independent films, TV, emerging online content and filmmaker-driven studio titles.

The Festival fosters valuable alliances and working relationships between independent artists and the film industry. Signature programs include the Filmmaker Retreat, Coffee Talks, Master Classes, the Spirit of Independence Award, Fast Track, a film financing market and Diversity Speaks, a day-long forum for content creators of color.

The LA Film Festival is produced by Film Independent, a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts organization dedicated to promoting and supporting independent films and filmmakers that embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision. In addition to the LA Film Festival, Film Independent’s marquee events include the annual Film Independent Spirit Awards, the Film Independent at LACMA series, the Film Independent Forum and Directors Close-Up.

Selection to the LA Film Festival qualifies films for prestigious awards, including:
• Film Independent Spirit Awards (feature films)
• Cinema Eye Honors for Non Fiction Filmmaking (documentary feature films)
• Academy Awards® in the Narrative, Animated, and Documentary Short Film categories (short films)

Films selected for the Festival will screen once at ArcLight Cinemas in Culver City. The Festival's "one-night only" screenings are un-missable experiences. Films in the Festival will be programmed within one of various competitions, winners selected by a jury:

US Fiction Competition (world premiere requirement)
Independent and original feature-length, fiction films redefining the breadth of American culture across race, gender, sexuality, class, geography, and national identity.

Documentary Competition (world premiere requirement)
Compelling, character-driven non-fiction, feature-length films from the U.S. around the world.

World Fiction Competition (US premiere requirement)
Unique fiction, feature-length films from around the world, especially curated for L.A. audiences.

Nightfall Competition (US premiere requirement)
From the bizarre to the horrifying, these are feature-length films to watch only after dark.

Short Fiction Film Competition (No Premiere Status Requirement)

Short Documentary Film Competition (No Premiere Status requirement)

Audience awards are a central component to the festival, including:
Audience Award for Best Fiction Film
The Audience Award for Best Fiction Film is based on ballots submitted by Festival audiences. All world premiere films are eligible for the audience award.

Audience Award for Best Documentary Film
The Audience Award for Best Documentary Film is based on ballots submitted by Festival audiences. All world premiere films are eligible for the audience award.

Audience Award for Best Short Film

Audience Award for Best Episodic Story

• Please review the premiere requirements. Refunds will not be made for filmmakers who submit films that are ineligible.
• All feature and short films must have been completed after June 1, 2016.
• Feature films must be an LA premiere. World premiere status is required to be considered for the U.S. Fiction and U.S. Documentary competitions. Films that are at least U.S. premieres are eligible for the World Fiction, World Documentary, and Nightfall competitions.
• Any feature films that have had public or festival screenings in Southern California, including Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties, and films that have had commercial theatrical, television, or internet play in the US are ineligible.
• There is no premiere requirement for short films and episodic content.
• Feature films in a language other than English must be subtitled in English for Festival consideration and presentation.
• Please observe the running time frames for your submission:
o Feature-length Fiction and Documentary Films (more than 51 minutes)
o Short films (less than 26 minutes)
o Mid-length short films (between 26 and 50 minutes)
o High school shorts (less than 20 minutes)
o Web Series (less than 12 minutes)
• Films that have been submitted for consideration in previous years are eligible for re-submission given that significant work has been made on the film.
• For submission purposes, films may be works-in-progress, with temporary soundtracks or digital outputs.
• Filmmakers must deliver final format (as indicated in the “screening requirements” section below) for Festival screenings. No exceptions will be permitted.
• High school shorts must be works shot, directed, and produced by high school or secondary (pre-college) students. Adult supervision must be limited to an advisory capacity.

• Completed submission form, submitted electronically via FilmFreeway.
• We prefer all screeners to be submitted digitally online. However, if absolutely necessary, we also accept TWO DVDs (Region 0 or 1 and NTSC only) with the FilmFreeway Submission ID number on the envelope and on the disk.
• Entry fee payment
• Do not submit a press kit. We will request press kits only once a film has been accepted.

If your film or music video is selected for exhibition, please be advised that the Festival will require:
• For feature-length and short films: DCP (must be DCI compliant)
• For high school shorts and web series: Quicktime Files (Native Resolution, using Pro-Res 422 Codec) on DVD Data Disc or Hard Drive
• Digital press kits with photo stills (color and black/white)
• Headshots of director(s) and writer(s)
• 1 sentence publicity synopsis of the film; 150-word synopsis of the film
• Trailers, clip reels, posters, postcards, and EPKs, if available, to maximize exposure for your film

To be eligible for the discounted Film Independent Member submission rate, and also for the exclusive deadline, you must include your Film Independent Member number on the DVD or a copy of your current Film Independent Membership card with your submission.

**If you submit at the Film Independent Membership rate and do not include your Film Independent Member number, your film submission will not be considered.** Please visit to become a Member.

For more information on Film Independent Member benefits, submission deadline and discount/waiver, please visit

I, the undersigned, acknowledge and agree as follows:
• I have read, understood, and complied with all eligibility requirements.
• All the statements in this document are true.
• In consideration for the opportunity to be selected into the LA Film Festival, I release and discharge Film Independent, Inc., the LA Film Festival, its employees, agents, contractors, volunteers, licensees, successors and assigns (collectively “FIND”) from any and all claims, demands or causes of actions related to misappropriation or infringement of copyright or violation of any other right arising out of or relating to my submission hereunder.
• I agree to indemnify and hold harmless FIND from any claims that arise as a result
of this submission or screening of my film (should it be selected) as well as from
damage to or loss of any submitted materials en route to the festival.
• I have all rights necessary and am duly authorized to submit this film to the Festival.
• This film is not subject to any claims or litigation and is not threatened by any claims
or litigation.
• I understand, as the authorized representative, any prizes, unless otherwise
specified, will be awarded to the director(s) of the winning films.

Overall Rating
  • Arshad Khan

    Very wonderful people run this festival. The hospitality was outstanding and the filmmakers retreat in Palm Springs was out of this world. The film selection was also incredible and I got to meet some absolutely wonderful people at this festival.

    December 2017

    We premiered a feature documentary at LAFF and had an incredible experience! The staff is amazing and the networking provided to filmmakers was unparalleled. Thank you LAFF - we highly recommend this festival!

    August 2017
  • Brandon Buczek

    Fantastic festival that puts the filmmaker first. They truly care about your film and making sure you get the best experience possible. They have a lot of events to network with fellow filmmakers and fun activities throughout the festival to go with an awesome line up of films that are both true "small" indies to some of the bigger more well known independent films. Been attending as an audience member for years and first time as a filmmaker and I could not recommend it enough.

    July 2017
  • Fred Macdonald

    One of the absolute best! So pleased to have been part of it - highly recommend!

    July 2017
  • Sara Lamm

    Had a fantastic experience with the world premiere of my feature doc...such an excellent festival. The celebration and caretaking of filmmakers begins with the very special filmmaker retreat--it's community-building and restorative at the same time. The programmers are dedicated, devoted, and thoughtful...and the organization tightly run. I'm so proud to have been a part of it!

    June 2017