The La Costa Film Festival offers an unparalleled experience as a true destination festival. Hosted by the world renowned Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, which combines the glamour of Hollywood with an idyllic coastal village setting. Located in Carlsbad by the Sea, whose motto is, “casual yet intimate, relaxed yet unforgettable," this coveted jewel in North San Diego County is known for gorgeous beaches, ideal year round climate, and unlimited sports options. You'll also enjoy fabulous gourmet restaurants with local farm to table cuisine, international award winning craft beers, and the best in boutique wineries. It is home to such sports industry giants as Callaway, TaylorMade, and Cobra, as well as family focused attractions such as LEGOLAND, ‘The Flower Fields,’ and the Museum of Making Music. Don't forget the nearby world renowned San Diego Zoo, Wild Animal Park, Balboa Park, and Disneyland is only an hour away. With so many options at your fingertips, it's easy to see why this is one of the fastest growing festivals in America.

The Festival has attracted filmmakers and stars such as Andy Garcia, Ed Harris, Ron Shelton, John C. McGinley, Chris Noth and many more who are happy to share their insights about their craft and bring their vision to life. It's an incredibly intimate setting that allows you to feel fully immersed in the magic of filmmaking. A variety of FREE panels are also offered presented by the most sought after film industry experts. We look for every opportunity to increase your knowledge of the craft, and enhance your network of connections.

The Festival invites new aspiring artists to participate in the ‘REEL PITCH’ competition, which has become an exciting platform for launching careers in the film industry. This event which has been described as a "Shark Tank" for filmmakers, offers a live presentation by 10 pre-qualified contestants to a panel of Hollywood Studio executives. They each will have 5 minutes to make their case for their unique idea, and win the support of the judges to help make it come true. At least one winner will be selected, and recognized at the Awards ceremony on Saturday night. It’s educational, tense, thrilling, and not to be missed!

Filmmakers will enjoy full access to the Festival including the Opening Night 'Sip & Savor Gala - featuring fabulous cuisine from the finest local restaurants, the best of award winning local craft beers, exquisite boutique wines, and all complemented by fantastic live musical entertainment. Many additional special events will be available to extend your pleasure including the La Costa Stars Saturday Night Awards Gala, and the Filmmakers Sunday Brunch. Filmmakers have called the Festival, "one for your bucket list," and "a new gold standard." We invite you to experience it for yourselves.

The Festival offers a wide selection of films each year, ranging from documentaries, features and shorts. We feature a special Sports Film competition with the winners chosen by a celebrity panel of judges selecting the best narrative, documentary and short film for recognition. Student filmmakers from our San Diego County area high schools participate in their own short film competition with cash and prizes up to $1000 in value. College students have their own short film competition with up to $2000 in cash and prize value opportunities.

All three venues for screening are in close proximity which adds even more to the Festival's intimacy. Each one offers a unique and dynamic experience. We begin with the 1000 seat Center Court at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, which has been the site of world class professional tennis tournaments. It provides an unforgettable outdoor treat under the stars. The ultimate in pampering is provided by Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas, and adjacent to that theater is the spacious, relaxed and state of the art Ruby Schulman Theater at the Dove Library.

The film festival is operated through La Costa Dreams, a Carlsbad 501(c)3 public benefit organization.

'The Reel Pitch'
This is an opportunity for a filmmaker to bring a raw idea or a film in an unfinished stage of development to a panel of studio executives procured by Mandalay Sports Media. Ten filmmakers will be preselected to present a five minute pitch, followed by three minutes of Q&A from the panel. After deliberation they will choose one contestant to help fine tune their idea and support their efforts to negotiate a deal of a lifetime. The winner will be announced at the Saturday Night La Costa Stars Awards Gala.

All genre films are eligible for the 'Audience Choice Awards' and 'Honorable Mentions' selections in each category:

Narrative Feature
Documentary Feature
Short Film

Sports Film Competition is a jury selection 'BEST FILM', for the following categories:

Sports Narrative Feature or Documentary
Sports Short Film

College Student filmmakers may submit a short film at a special discounted rate, with one winner eligible to win cash and prizes up to $2000 in value. Films must be produced, directed, written and shot by students. Filmmakers may submit a live action or animated short film under 20 minutes including credits in any genre. For consideration, student filmmakers must submit a valid student ID with their submission via FilmFreeway.

All San Diego County High School Student filmmakers may submit a short film at a special discounted rate. Films must be produced, directed, written and shot by students. Filmmakers may submit a live action or animated short film under 10 minutes including credits in any genre. The San Diego County High School Short Film Competition also offers up to $1000 in cash and prizes to the winner. For consideration, student filmmakers must submit a valid student ID with their submission via FilmFreeway.

By submitting this film, you are acknowledging that you are in fact the authorized representative with all the necessary rights to the intellectual property contained therein, and warrant that you possess the right to commit this film for screening. Furthermore, by your acceptance of the conditions on the entry form, permission is therefore granted for public exhibition of the film during the 2018 La Costa Film Festival. The La Costa Film Festival is also granted the right to utilize excerpts from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition for promotional purposes. It is also fully expected that the authorized film representative will use their best efforts to encourage the attendance of the film’s producer, director, actors, writers, etc., to support the screening. We would also appreciate all outreach channels that you have available to help promote the screening. The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless the La Costa 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.

All submitted films must comply with the Submissions Guidelines including deadlines, exhibition format, entry material, etc.

All films must be San Diego Premieres and NO theatrical, Video On Demand, Television, Cable, Satellite, DVD, VHS, or Internet Streaming prior to Oct 8, 2018.

All Entrants must provide digital screeners.

Entries must have been completed after October, 2016.

Entrant assumes all shipping costs of materials to LCFF.

Foreign Language Films must have English Subtitles.

LCFF does not provide feedback for films that are not selected for the 2018 program.

Entrants are responsible for obtaining any necessary licenses, royalties, release forms, clearances, permits necessary to present their work. La Costa Film Festival is not responsible for any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, or royalty infringement related to the work.

Every precaution will be taken to safeguard all materials sent to the Festival but LCFF is not responsible for damage to submitted materials incurred by shipping to or from the Festival.

The Programming Staff will select and invite films at their discretion. If selected you will be notified via email by July 31, 2018.

Rough Cuts will be considered if the final cut meets extended deadline.

Selected Films may be screened multiple times during the course of the Festival at our discretion.

The Festival does not pay screening fees. We will fully utilize our resources to present your film in the most effective showcase.

Acceptable exhibition formats vary by venue and may include (but are not necessarily limited to) DCP, Blu Ray disc, and/or .MOV on a hard drive. The festival requests Blu Ray disc backup copies to accompany all exhibition formats. Discs must be labeled with Title, Director, Running Time, Aspect Ratio and Contact Number. Filmmakers must provide pre-paid self-addressed package for all returning exhibition formats.

Selected Shorts must be received in Digital Format via hard drives. Filmmakers must provide pre-paid self-addressed package for all returning hard drives.

Selected Films must provide Press Kit including high res film stills (digital TIFF or JPEG files preferred with minimum 300 dpi), Clips or Trailer to be used for promotion and press. Director's photo, biography, filmography, and any additional collateral material including postcards, posters, etc., must be received no later than August 15, 2018.

Film synopsis in English 50-75 words for Features and 25-50 words for Shorts.

The La Costa Film Festival reserves the right to make any necessary changes in regulations or Festival scheduling.

Overall Rating
  • Annie O'Neil

    I absolutely love this festival! Ruby Callahan has created a first class film festival in a beautiful setting. I highly recommend submitting to La Costa and doing yourself a favor and going if you are accepted! I was treated like royalty both times I was there, and hope my future projects will be accepted so I can return!

    November 2016
  • NCo Creations

    Simply the best! Wonderful team, wonderful experience, excellent hospitality.

    October 2016
  • Brent Deal

    I've had the honor of playing 3 of my movies at La Costa. The audiences have consistently been smart and engaged. The questions they ask in the Q&A have always fired me up. It's a huge compliment when people ask such concise and passionate questions about a movie. It shows they respect and love movies so much that they are truly entertained and invested. I consider it a great compliment to me, and I believe any filmmaker would appreciate as well. The experience, a filmmakers perspective is very rewarding at La Costa.

    October 2016