The Maui Film Festival strongly believes in the power of Original Cinema and in its ability to move culture, shift paradigms and meaningfully help to create a future worthy of today and seven generations to come.

We exist to ignite passions, visions and missions in our ‘Ohana (extended family) and yours to reveal the essence of life on Earth.

Whether sharing fictional stories or documenting reality, Original Cinema is the window through which we best see ourselves and and explore humankind's triumphs and challenges. And doing it all while opening our hearts and minds to the ongoing tug-of-war with our planet's astonishing natural beauty and its threatened ecosystems and cultures.

The Maui Film Festival strives to be a 'jewel box’ film festival that digs deep to find cinematic diamonds and share them with the world.

Since its inaugural year in 2000, the Maui Film Festival has produced an under-the-stars and lit-by-the-moon film festival and culinary arts celebration. Starting with its 10th annual event in 2010, the Maui Film Festival evolved into a one-of-a-kind solar powered open air festival presenting a panorama of global cinema with a shared commitment to the presentation of compassionate vision and transformative storytelling.

IndieWIRE knows a good thing when it sees it. That’s why they described the Maui Film Festival as a "jewel-box festival-able to handle anything without becoming unwieldy or impersonal. Flawlessly planned. Watch for even greater things to come. The national press is taking notice, with the Hollywood Reporter, Variety, The Los Angeles Times, CNN, E!, Entertainment Tonight and Vanity Fair all reporting on its goings-on.”

Every year since its inaugural year of 2000, the Maui Film Festival has presented five days and nights of under-the-stars Film Premieres, Special Screenings, Festival Tributes, Filmmakers Panels, and world-class Special Events and Culinary Arts Celebrations.

Maui Film Festival is a hybrid film festival, featuring a magnificent In Person festival at the Under the Stars Lit by the Moon and Powered by the Sun Open Air Venue the Stardust Cinema and/or a colorful array of Virtual Cinema feature film premieres highlighting politically, culturally and socially relevant films from diverse storytellers from around the world at the Speed of Light Virtual Cinema. All accepted films will be displayed either in person at the Stardust Cinema, OR online as part of our Speed-of-Light Virtual Cinema. Audience Awards are applicable all accepted films whether shown in person or online.

We come to work every morning to celebrate filmmakers, from the U.S and around the planet and their projects, by curating and supporting emerging and established voices with innovative explorations of life well-lived via screenings, tributes and panels.

Eligible projects include feature films (run time 40 minutes +) and short films (run time less than 40 minutes); including Narrative, Documentary, Animated and Experimental films.

As importantly, from the perspective of filmmakers considering submitting their work for consideration, the Festival has also been hailed as "Hawaii's Answer to Sundance" in the Los Angeles Times by respected entertainment writer John Horn.

In addition, among others, the list of outlets that have covered the Maui Film Festival has included: Associated Press, International Herald Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Vanity Fair, LA Weekly, People, Rolling Stone, Screen International, USA Today, Vanity Fair, VH1 Music, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, E! Online, Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Huffington Post, indieWIRE, Bravo, CNN, Entertainment Tonight, Jimmy Kimmel Live, E! (US + Intl), Late Night CNN International, Modern Luxury Hawaii, Angeleno, San Francisco Magazine and Los Angeles Magazine.

The festival has had the honor of screening films, with budgets between $50,000 and $100,000,000, that have been provided by major studios and their mini-major divisions, independent distributors and both longtime and first-time filmmakers.

We also take great pride in our hard earned reputation in the industry as reflected in the kind words from two highly regarded pillars of the industry — Variety and The Hollywood Reporter who honored us with these kudos….

The Hollywood Reporter wrote "The Maui Film Festival is the embodiment of relaxed elegance providing ample opportunity to enjoy stargazing of both the Hollywood and heavenly varieties shoulder-to-shoulder with its A-List honorees.”

The mavens at independent film's touchstone 'publication' indieWIRE noted that "The Maui Film Festival Serves Up Feasts, Stars and Enlightenment. It's where the seaside rules and studio execs retreat and where there's enough A-list presence on and off screen to make it an island celebration deserving of its industry recognition.”

Last but not least, Variety, the often cited 'Bible of the Entertainment Industry’, reported that the “The Maui Film Festival is growing as an international destination for cineastes and industry insiders and is becoming the circuit's favorite sun-baked sibling while celebrating cinema from the intersection of smart and heart. With open-air screenings, the festival once again ditches traditional Hollywood devices like black ties and red carpets for flip-flops, all for the sake of a more intimate experience. The fest's lineup, which includes Hollywood fare (alongside) a selection of smaller cinematic endeavors from around-the-world that focus on human triumph.”

We hope you'll choose to honor us with your submission and we look forward to viewing your submission and thoughtfully considering it for inclusion in exemplary 2023 MFF film program.

Whether expanding the mind through mindfulness, psychedelic journeys, the joy and rush of extreme sports, the search for multi-cultural empathy, shared pleasures or immersing oneself in lives, actual or fictional, protecting and celebrating the planet, it's people and their kaleidoscopically unique art forms — to explore, reveal and enlighten their audience’s world view through Original Cinema is one hell of a ride. Jump on board!

"The Maui Film Festival exceeded my expectations. It’s one of the best places anywhere to launch a movie.” — Trevor Groth, Longtime Programming Director, Sundance Film Festival

Barry Rivers serves as the founder/director of the Maui Film Festival alongside, and with the much appreciated above and beyond support of the 700+ talented, dedicated and creative staff, artisans, activists and festival volunteers who collectively all share our commitment to manifesting positive and sustainable cultural change with an ever-expanding wave of Original Cinema in 2023 and beyond!


UNLESS A FILM CHOOSES NOT TO PARTICIPATE, ACCEPTED FILMS ARE ELIGIBLE TO WIN AUDIENCE AWARDS. Selected projects from all categories will be presented to the public at the 23nd Annual Maui Film Festival.




All film submissions must be shipped prepaid and packed in proper containers postmarked no later than their respective deadlines.
Since submission of a project constitutes acceptance of these Entry Rules & Regulations (by you and your agents), please review this document carefully.

Definitions of Categories and Terms:
* Print Source - The company or representative that will be providing the film print to the festival (This is not the film lab).

* International Sales Agent - The company or representative that is in charge of selling the film rights worldwide.

* All Films, that may in time be accepted into the 2023 Maui Film Festival, should provide either BluRay discs or H264 (or equal quality) films— whether they are provided on Thumb Drives, with sufficient capacity for clutch-free projection, OR External Hard Drives. These must be accompanied by a commercial invoice containing the film's title, run time, format (color or B&W), value of shipment and sender's name and address). DCPs and BluRay Discs should also be marked "For Festival Screening Only. No Commercial Value.”

* To be considered for inclusion in the 2023 Maui Film Festival film program, films may only be submitted online using FilmFreeway where they can upload their film to be streamed or, if preferred to a password-protected URL on Vimeo.

* Completion Date - Films must have been completed no earlier than January 1st, 2022.

* Accompanying Materials - Incomplete entries will not be considered. Regardless of what method filmmakers choose for the festival to view their entry, all submitted films must fill out the FilmFreeway submission form. The required information must minimally include a film synopsis and a complete principal cast and production credits. Festival screenings history and premiere designation, if any.

* Entry Confirmation Form with film description, running time and Contact Information

* Synopsis - a short typed description of the film's content.

* Presentation - Selected films must be made available for Festival presentation in BluRay or H264.

* Language - Foreign language films must be made available with the original language soundtrack and English Subtitles.

* Prior Screenings - Without prior exception in writing from the Maui Film Festival, submissions will not be accepted that have already screened or are scheduled to be screened publicly at a Hawai'i-based film festival.
Films screening or scheduled to screen on any other internet, cable broadcast, online streaming, digital download On Demand or any other method not specifically noted in this paragraph, before and one day following its availability at the 2023 Maui Film Festival will not be accepted.

* Additional Screenings - The Maui Film Festival reserves the right to host one additional complimentary screening of any 2023 Maui Film Festival Audience Award and/or other Special Award winning films as long as such screening takes place prior to December 31, 2024.

* Format - All films must be submitted online as noted above in the “Presentation’ paragraph. All entries, and accompanying materials, will not be returned and will become the property of the Maui Film Festival.

* Entry Fee Waiver - The submission fee is waived for films that have 50% or more of the film footage shot in the State of Hawaii. No other waivers or exceptions will be granted.

* BluRay and H264 Labeling - Preview of H254 projects and BluRays must be labeled with the film title, running time, FilmFreeway tracking # and contact information (including name, address, email and phone number).

* Shipping - If a film is invited to participate, the film must be shipped prepaid, insured and packed in proper containers. The Maui Film Festival will be responsible for return shipping charges but will not pay international shipping on U.S. films.

* The Maui Film Festival does not assume any liability for damage to films due to improper containers or otherwise. All films in our possession will be insured against damage or loss while participating in the festival.

* Materials - Materials of films selected for screening can be used to promote the Maui Film Festival and the programs of the Maui Film Festival in all mediums including film, television, radio, print and the internet.

* Contact Information - By providing Maui Film Festival with your contact information, you agree to receive communication from us including submission confirmations and our email newsletters providing festival updates. Contact information will NOT be sold or shared with third parties.


You hereby grant the Maui Film Festival ("Festival") all rights necessary to exhibit and promote the above-referenced film at the 2023 Maui Film Festival if the film is selected. You represent that such exhibition will not violate or infringe upon any rights whatsoever (including copyright, trademark, musical or contract right) of any person or entity.

You further represent that you are authorized to submit the above-referenced film and, if selected, will deliver the screening print to the Festival office no later than TBD. Additionally, you indemnify the Festival from any and all claims, demands, losses, costs, damages, and attorney's fees arising out of or in connection with third parties in regard to the screening of said film.

Overall Rating
  • Tazara Movie

    Thank you so much for honoring us with your selection. We had a phenomenal experience, so inspired by the professionalism and warmth we have been awarded. Keep up the great work. Mahalo

    August 2022
  • Our short film Play Me Like That was thankful to be an official selection in 2022 Maui Film Festival — especial thanks to Naomi Adams, Barry Rivers, Sergio Andres Lobo-Navia, dog ChewQi & the entire team that creates a spiritually uplifting, elevated sensibility for filmmakers and humankind.

    We were online so can’t speak to if there were networking events, but it did allow audience to see worldwide during the festival, so that was a lovely plus!

    We appreciated the communication with Naomi and recommend this enriching, long-standing festival!!

    August 2022
  • Brenda Nascimento

    What a pleasure it was to have my first ever made Film in your festival! Thank you!

    August 2022
  • It was nice to see my film - 'a boy who cannot see beauty' with other beautiful movies.

    August 2022
  • Elizabeth Burke

    The quality of projects were such a high standard. Lots of great story telling and visual inspiration. It was an honour to be included in this festival and I can’t wait to be a part of it in the future once again.
    A big Thank you to the organizers!
    Elizabeth Burke
    Producer “Inside the Pointe”

    August 2022