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 24th 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. This includes our annual luncheon and retreat on the Friday of our festival provided to our filmmakers and special guests.

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)
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 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, 2018.

-Submitted feature-length films should not be widely distributed before the 2022 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 they are authorized to submit this film for screening at the 2022 Magnolia Independent Film Festival. They grant 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. They warrant 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
  • I traveled quite far to attend this festival, and can happily say that it was worth it! Not only did the team take amazing care of us filmmakers while we were there, the festival also provided the opportunity to meet other film professionals in an intimate context, while also being able to enjoy an great selection of films and southern hospitality. I can only recommend it and hope to be back some day!

    March 2022
  • Hands down the best hospitality and friendliness I've experienced at a film festival. The events put on by Chris and his staff were all excellent and I got to meet some other talented filmmakers. Was also honored to have won best Student Film! Starkville is also such a great city, and the attendance to our screening was terrific with a great Q&A after. All around one of my favorite festival experiences, bravo Mag Film Fest!

    March 2022
  • Abie Sidell

    The Mag celebrates the essential purpose of film festivals — to bring independent cinema and filmmakers to communities that aren’t otherwise regularly exposed to art and artists like us. As a result, our whole team has never felt more fulfilled at a festival. Screening CRAM at the Mag and winning Beat Feature was of course a tremendous honor but even more important was Chris and Michael and the whole team down in Starkville giving us an opportunity for our work to really matter; all while offering the most gracious Southern hospitality.

    March 2022
  • Michael Greco

    It was an honour to have Green Grass selected to The Mag this year. And while the pandemic prevented me from travelling to the US to attend in-person, the festival team maintained excellent communication and their offer of hospitality with regard to hotels etc. was first-rate. Participating in, and interacting with, the Magnolia Independent Film Festival was an excellent experience - one I hope to repeat in the future.

    March 2021
  • Yinghui Fu

    Since I wasn't able to go, our film's cinematographer attended. He said the hospitality was unparalleled. It was an amazing experience meeting the other filmmakers and everyone involved in the festival. They screen a very eclectic mix of interesting independent films and I'm proud my film "Honour Thy Mother" could screen there. I hope I can attend next year!

    April 2020