The Magnolia Independent Film Festival, the 1st film festival in the state of Mississippi, is a filmmaker-friendly festival encouraging both amateur and professional filmmakers.

The Magnolia Independent Film Festival, or "The Mag", was founded by Ron Tibbett in 1997 in West Point, Mississippi and later moved to Starkville, MS. It was the first film festival to take place in Mississippi paving the way for the independent film community and other festivals within the state. It is a festival that is focused on creating a memorable experience for both filmmakers and audiences.

Now in its 23rd year, The Mag continues to bring inspiring independent cinema from around the world to small-town Mississippi. In keeping with The Mag's rich tradition of southern hospitality, attending filmmakers are treated as family and given a very personal experience to network with fellow filmmakers and screen their films to an eager and engaged audience.

Hotel Accommodations! The late Ron Tibbett's priority was not only to bring captivating films to Mississippi but to take care of the filmmakers while they're here. In keeping with that tradition, hotel accommodations are covered for short and feature filmmakers who attend from out of town. Additionally, select meals are covered during your stay as part of parties and other events held in honor of the attending filmmakers. We provide a memorable VIP experience to our attending filmmakers so that you make the most out of your experience at The Mag.

Technical Presentation! As a film festival, we love to create an experience that is enjoyable and memorable for our filmmakers and audiences. That means the technical presentation of your film is a priority. With experienced filmmakers managing the tech side of the festival, we know how important it is that your film looks and sounds great. We take this seriously and make it a top priority.

Promotion and Marketing! We not only like to take care of our filmmakers, but we like to promote them and their films. Each year, we provide PR opportunities for filmmakers whether they are able to attend or not. These include regional radio, tv, and print outlets, online reviews and interviews, podcast interviews, and red carpet photos and interviews.

Winners receive a beautiful stained glass magnolia award in the following categories:

Best Feature
Best Short (Narrative)
Best Short (Documentary)
Best Cinematography
Best Home Grown (Mississippi-made film)
Best Animation
Best Student Film
Kids' Choice Award (Family-Friendly Block)
Best Music Video
Audience Choice
Elena Zastawnik Award for Best Written Film
Ron Tibbett Award for Excellence in Film

Short and feature-length films are judged during the festival with the live audience, and awards are presented at an award's ceremony hosted after the Saturday night feature film.

Please read the following before submitting. Failure to abide by our rules and regulations may result in disqualification.

-Submissions are only accepted via FilmFreeway during our open submission period. DVDs, emailed screeners, etc will not be accepted.

-Films must have been completed after January 1, 2017.

-Submitted feature-length films should not be widely distributed before the 2020 date of our festival. This includes SVOD, TVOD, theatrical, TV or free Internet streaming. Non-US distribution and previous festival or local screenings are acceptable.

-Short films currently streaming on YouTube or other free or pay platforms are eligible for entry, however, we prefer that they are not. Feature films available online are not eligible for exhibition.

-Shorts must be under 30 minutes. Features must be under 110 minutes.

-Music Videos are screened during pre-rolls leading up to each screening and during screening intermissions. Selected music videos are judged in advance and awarded during the awards ceremony on closing night. Music Videos available online prior to the festival are eligible to screen. Accepted music video filmmakers receive do receive VIP access to the festival but do not receive hotel accommodations.

-To submit via the discounted Mississippi and Minority short film categories, the filmmaker should specify in the submission cover letter why their film qualifies. If you submit in this category and your film does not fit the criteria, your film may be disqualified.

-All films in a language other than English must be subtitled in English for festival presentation.

-All submission fees are non-refundable, even if we do not select your film.

-Films previously submitted and rejected are not eligible.

-Submission fees do not guarantee acceptance and no refund will be provided if your film is not selected.

-In submitting a completed film, the filmmaker represents that s/he is authorized to submit this film for screening at the 2020 Magnolia Independent Film Festival. S/he grants The Magnolia Independent Film Festival the nonexclusive right to use submitted materials in connection with any and all publicity and promotional materials regarding the festival. S/he warrants that the submitted film does not infringe upon the intellectual property rights of any person or entity and agree to hold harmless and fully indemnify and defend The Magnolia Independent Film Festival and its representatives against any and all claims made for such infringement or any other violations of law.

Overall Rating
  • Sydney O'Haire

    This is one of my favorite film festivals in the country! They provide every filmmaker with hotel accommodations, even going so far to pick you up from the airport. They care about filmmakers and our craft, and it really shows.

    June 2019
  • John Marcucci

    Very warm, hospitable, and caring community at the Magnolia Film Festival. They make filmmakers feel at home, and also make strong programming choices. I very much enjoyed my experience attending the festival, getting to know fellow filmmakers and the Starkville community at the various well-catered events! Thank you Michael and the whole Mag team!

    May 2019
  • Ashleigh Nichols

    The Magnolia Independent Film Festival is top notch. It is in the heart of the south, and they care about you and your film. I recommend this festival to anyone looking for a high quality festival. There are so many festivals it can be hard to know which ones are worth the submission and travel to. This is one of the best festivals I have been a part of. I hope I have a film I can submit next year.

    May 2019
  • Edwin Flay

    This was an amazing festival, simply the nicest I have ever been to. Everyone was passionate about their craft and their work, and warm about everyone else's too - there was no egotism in the room. The hospitality was unparalleled, the standard of competition was very high, the atmosphere warm and welcoming. I could not have hoped for a better experience.

    April 2019
  • Olicer Munoz

    The Magnolia Independent Film Festival is an amazing festival for anyone looking to have a real film festival experience. The organizers are real filmmakers and film lovers who are involved in the Mississippi filmmaking scene. In other words, THEY CARE ABOUT YOUR FILM AND THEY RESPECT HOW HARD YOU WORKED TO GET YOUR FILM ON THE BIG SCREEN!

    I really believe that this festival has what it takes to be the #1 Midwest film festival. They're organized, hospitable, caring, and love having you there. This is a must festival.

    March 2019