The La Costa Film Festival offers the ultimate experience in a true destination festival. Hosted by the world renowned Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, a long time favorite Hollywood getaway located in the idyllic coastal village of Carlsbad by the Sea. 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 gourmet farm to table cuisine, award winning craft beers, and 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. Another great choice is simply strolling through the Village of Carlsbad, and enjoying its quaint seaside ambiance. Our mantra is much like Carlsbad by the Sea, “casual yet intimate, relaxed yet unforgettable.”
The Festival setting prepares attendees for total immersion in the passion of film
making. Filmmakers and stars such as Andy Garcia, Ed Harris, and Ron Shelton have openly shared their insights about their craft and bringing their vision to life. A variety of FREE panels filled with the most sought after film industry experts and numerous parties increase your opportunities to connect and further deepen your appreciation of their craft.
The Festival also provides an ideal platform to showcase the best of our area, which begins with the Opening Night 'Sip & Savor Gala - featuring fabulous cuisine from the best area restaurants, award winning local craft beers, exquisite boutique wines, and all complemented by fantastic live musical entertainment. Continue your pleasure with the Friday Night Gala, or the La Costa Honors Saturday Night Awards Gala.
Film-lovers will enjoy a broad and impressive slate of films each year, ranging from documentaries, features and shorts. We feature a special sports film competition with a celebrity panel of judges selecting the best narrative, documentary and short film for recognition. Student filmmakers from our area high schools participate in their own short film competition with a $1,000 cash prize split with their school’s film department.
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 Center Court under the stars at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, and the site of world class professional tennis for an unforgettable outdoor treat. Next we offer the ultimate in pampering at Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas, and finally the spacious and relaxed Ruby Schulman Theater at the Dove Library.
The film festival is operated through La Costa Dreams, Inc., a Carlsbad 501(c)3 public benefit organization.

'The Reel Pitch' - a priceless experience!
The La Costa Film Festival (LCFF) in partnership with Mandalay Sports Media (MSM), introduced the exciting new addition into the lineup of its flagship weekend event: The Reel Pitch in 2015, a session that will put ten promising storytellers in a room with seasoned producers and executives hungry for new material.

The ten finalists will be selected by an independent panel of judges from an initial pool of applicants. Those finalists subsequently are invited to be a part of LCFF's newest festival offering, The Reel Pitch. For The Reel Pitch, LCFF and MSM will be recruiting a top-flight selection of judges drawn from the ranks of the industry's most experienced studio and network executives and producers.

The best pitch, as determined by The Reel Pitch judges, will win its storyteller the opportunity to refine her/his pitch under the guidance of one of the judges, and ultimately, the opportunity to deliver that pitch to one of MSM's studio partners and make a sale.

“We are thrilled to make The Reel Pitch a key part of our 2018 festival offerings,” said Michael and Ruby Callihan of LCFF. “It's one thing to screen new work from exciting young filmmakers, but there's an entirely different pride we take in literally helping to germinate creative ideas on a foundational level like this. By the time The Reel Pitch wraps, every finalist and every audience member is going to walk out of the room with fresh ideas of how to pitch, what to pitch, and to whom.”

Registration for The Reel Pitch opened today. To enter, filmmakers are invited to deliver an initial 5-minute pitch via FilmFreeway ( The submission period closes on August 15, 2018 followed by the first round of judging. Finalists will be alerted no later than August 31, 2018, allowing for plenty of time to make arrangements to deliver their pitch live at The Reel Pitch on October 6, 2018. All finalists receive complimentary registration for the La Costa Film Festival, held this year at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad.

“As the LCFF continues to grow,” said Mandalay Sports Media co-chair Mike Tollin, “we wanted to use our reach to cultivate the next generation of filmmakers, giving new and distinct voices a platform that they ordinarily may not have. While the contest will go a long way to support the winning pitch, it's going to have a profound impact for all involved, providing them with the unique opportunity to receive immediate feedback on their idea and take the next steps to have their concepts heard and sold".

How to Submit:

Tell your story in a maximum 5 minute film pitch uploaded via, along with a Log Line (project synopsis) of a maximum of 75 words.*
-Must be no longer than 5 minutes
-Must be submitted before August 15, 2018 Deadline

*Participant eligibility is expressly conditioned upon the submission of an executed
Release Agreement (submission instructions are attached as Exhibit A).

Selection Process:

A panel of independent judges will select 10 finalists from the pool of 5 minute pitches submitted through, There is a required $25 submission fee. The ten finalists are then notified of their selection and their attendance requested for the Festival. They will each present their ideas before a live audience to a panel of judges (curated by Mandalay Sports Media*) consisting of seasoned producers and film industry executives hungry for new material. Each finalist will have 5 minutes to make their case, followed by up to 3 minutes of Q&A by the judges.
*(Mandalay Sport Media does not participate in the initial selection process)

All finalists are responsible for their own travel and overnight accommodation expenses.


Submissions Open: May 1, 2018
Submission Deadline: August 15, 2018
Finalists Notified: August 31, 2018
Attendance Must Be Confirmed By: September 7, 2018
Finalists Announced: September 14, 2018
REEL PITCH Live Presentations: October 6, 2018
Winner Selected by Panel: October 6, 2018

Prize Breakdown:

Finalists: All 10 finalists will receive La Costa Film Festival passes to all Panels, Screenings, Receptions, and Galas during the four days of the Festival.

Winner: Will receive mentoring from one or more of the judges to help refine their pitch, and assist them in finding a potential studio partner to develop their idea.*

*No specific studio/network is guaranteed to hear the winner’s pitch.

Overall Rating
  • Nancy Hashim

    This was a great opportunity to pitch.

    January 2017
  • Chloe Bellande

    I rarely give a 5 stars to a festival, but this one deserves a 6 out of 5! The communication system and the hospitality are impeccable. Very well-organized group of volunteers, and I could tell by their smiles and positive attitudes that they act like a "family".
    I was part of the REEL Pitch competition, and I presented a 5 min pitch. They won't eat you like breakfast while you're on stage, giving your all. They give you constructive criticism, they show you appreciation for your effort and they give you valuable tips on how to make your pitch better, if you were ever to pitch it to exec producers and get your story optioned.

    Furthermore, the networking opportunities are amazing. I was at the awards gala when they announced the REEL Pitch winner. That evening, I met VP of sales and distribution from Netflix, Breaking Glass Pictures and other (undisclosed companies) that were very approachable and took time to talk "business" with me.

    Unlike other "upscale events", this isn't the kind of festival where people parade on the red carpet and take selfies to use as a social currency... the red carpet isn't really the focus here. They do have one, but it's in a corner of the room and you are welcomed to take your glamourous pictures if you want. But the focus really is about the networking and the passion that all filmmakers and writers share as a whole, and the idea that "dreams and goals DO COME TRUE".

    October 2016