The Maui Film Festival believes in the power of Original Cinema.
It is the rocket fuel that ignites our passion, our vision and our mission.


Unlike many other 2020 Film Festivals that chose to produce a virtual film festival online instead of their originally planned events, the Maui Film Festival intends to present its 21st Annual festival under the stars, lit by the moon and powered by the sun on Maui. Towards that end, we are reopening a 2nd Wave of Film Submissions with all Entry Fees donated to the Maui Food Bank, a 501(c)(3) org.

Short Films: Donation: $25. (Films must be under 40 min. long)
Feature Films: Donation: $50. (Films must 40 - 120 min. long)

PLEASE NOTE: All filmmakers who have previously submitted films to be considered for inclusion in the 2020 Maui Film Festival are, of course, also still being considered for the 2020 Festival.

As importantly, choosing each year’s Original Cinema ‘jewels’ helps the festival reveal its character, soothe our collective soul and share our finds with the world. Because the Maui Film Festival strongly believes that when filmmakers explore what it means to be human — alongside Humankind's relationship to all Life — Original Cinema can move culture, shift paradigms and meaningfully help to create a future worthy of today and generations yet unborn.


U.S. & World Cinema Features and Short Films:

A platform for independent film making, creative expression, Maui Film Festival (the “Festival”) supports emerging and established voices, discovers award-winning filmmakers, curates innovative new ideas through panels, premieres, exhibitions, and live performance.

Eligible projects include feature films (run time less than 40 minutes) and short films (run time less than 40 minutes); including Narrative, Documentary, Animated and Experimental films. Visit MauiFilmFestival.com to review a collection of films presented (2000-2019).



The inaugural Maui Film Festival ‘LIVES. ON. LINE.’ awards category celebrates projects that discover, highlight, and celebrates New Online Work from storytellers who choose to create and share their work specifically for the online space. Entries in this category are eligible to both an Audience Award in the Shorts category and the ‘LIVES. ON. LINE.’ category.

(1) The project must be standalone audio-visual short form and/or episodic content created specifically for the online space.

(2) All submitted episodes must be 20 minutes or less in length.

(3) Entry Fee is based on its length and Date Entered. Details further below.
Eligible projects include web series; shorts specifically created for the online space; and other episodic content meant for online viewing.

The inaugural Maui Film Festival B-BRAVE awards category is a juried award for storytelling supported by a brand recognizing the intersection of advertising and entertainment. The Maui B-BRAVE Award is open to all work funded with support of a brand in collaboration with artists or filmmakers. The finalists will be recognized by the Maui Film Festival, and screened at the Festival. Entries in this category are eligible to both an Audience Award in the Shorts category and the ‘B-BRAVE’ category.

(1) The project must have been made with the support of a brand in collaboration with artists or filmmakers.

(2) Projects must have a storytelling element; projects that are strictly intended as commercial spots will not be considered.

(3) Entry Fee is based on its length and Date Entered. Details below.

The inaugural Maui Film Festival 'B-FREE’ awards category offers an opportunity for filmmakers creating works that — by expanding the mind through mindfulness and psychedelic journeys, the joy and rush of extreme sports, the search for multi-cultural empathy, shared pleasures or immersion in the lives, actual or fictional, protecting and celebrating the planet, its people and their kaleidoscopically unique art forms — to explore, reveal and enlighten their audience’s world view. Entries in this category are eligible for both an Audience Award in the category of their running time and the
‘B-FREE’ category.

(1) All submitted projects can be any length from 1 to under 125 minutes.

(2) Entry Fee is based on its length and Date Entered. Details below.

The inaugural Maui Film Festival ‘B-FRESH’ awards category has been created to celebrate the joy of music and the new, emerging and ascendant musical artists and the filmmakers who bring their songs visually to life. Always expansive and resonating — in a seemingly endless world of music videos, longer form narrative and documentary films— these always ambitious projects on the life and work of a specific solo artist, band, orchestra or out-of-nowhere paradigm shaking musical maven — can change the world, and us, forever. Entries in this category are eligible for both an Audience Award in the category of their running time and the ‘B-FRESH’ category.

(1) All submitted projects can be any length from 1 to under 180 minutes.

(2) Entry Fee is based on its length and Date Entered. Details below.

PLEASE NOTE: Submitted projects must not have had ANY public screening, broadcast, distribution or exhibition before January 1, 2019.

*Not applicable to ‘B-BRAVE’ category submissions only.


"The Maui Film Festival exceeded my expectations. It’s Celestial Cinema is mind-blowing! And one of the best places anywhere in the world to launch a movie."
— Trevor Groth, Longtime Director of Programming, Sundance Film Festival

Since 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.

You can get a great feel for the event by visiting MauiFilmFestival.com — where you can also view last year’s film program and complete menus for last year’s three ’Tastes’. A complete list of all the Maui Film Festival’s Honorees from our first year in 2000 thru our 20th annual festival in 2019 will also be found there alongside our clearly stated commitment to Original Cinema.

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, indieWIRE has also chimed in, describing 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, LA Times, CNN, E!, Entertainment Tonight and Vanity Fair all reporting on its goings-on."

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, Premiere, Rolling Stone, Screen International, USA Today, Vanity Fair, VH1 Music, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, AOL, E! Online, Entertainment Weekly, FilmFestivals.com, The Hollywood Reporter, Huffington Post, IMDb, indieWIRE, Bravo, CNN, Entertainment Tonight, Starz Cinema, CNN Headline New, Jimmy Kimmel Live, E! (US + Intl), Moving Pictures, Late Night with David Letterman, Movie Television, Reelz Channel, USWeekly.com, CNN International, Modern Luxury Hawaii, Angeleno, San Francisco Magazine and Los Angeles Magazine.

Each year's event also features an eclectic 'jewel box' program of approximately 40 narrative, documentary and international features and short film 'gems' that are enjoyed by a diverse audience of 15,000 to 17,500 annually. 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….

COURTESY OF THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: "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." And 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.”

COURTESY OF THE VARIETY: Last but nor 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.

We look forward to viewing your submission and thoughtfully considering it for inclusion in this year's exemplary film program.


Barry Rivers, Founder/Director of the Maui Film Festivals

And All 700+ of the Talented, Dedicated, uber-Competent and Creative STAFF, Artisans, Activists and Volunteers Who All Share a Commitment to Manifesting Positive and Sustainable Cultural Change through Original Cinema in 2020 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 21st Annual Maui Film Festival.



Rules & Terms Submission Deadline - 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.

* International Shipping Information, All Accepted, that may in time be accepted into the 2020 Maui Film Festival, and who are providing either BluRay discs or U.S. compatible DCP format — whether they are provided on ideally Thumb Drives, with sufficient capacity for clutch-free projection, OR External Hard Drives sent from outside the United States — 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 2020 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, 2019.

* 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 DCP or BluRay. All accepted DCP projects must ideally also, if available, provide a BluRay disc for back-up. Why? Because on rare occasion — thankfully three times only out of 300+ screenings — when a DCP, ideally on a sufficiently sized thumb drive, has arrived with technical glitches, BluRay back-up has been a 100% fail-safe fall back position.

* 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 film festival or any other situation (internet, cable, broadcast, etc.) or be promoted publicly in Hawaii, prior to June 22, 2020 as available for download and/or streaming On-Demand anywhere in the U.S. (including Hawaii) prior to July 12, 2020.

* Prior Submission - Films previously submitted to Maui Film Festival will not be considered.

* Additional Screenings - The Maui Film Festival reserves the right to host one additional complimentary screening of any 2020 Maui Film Festival at Wailea Audience Award and/or other Special Award winning films as long as such screening takes place prior to December 31, 2020.

* 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.

* DCP and BluRay Labeling - Preview DCPs 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 prints 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 at Wailea 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 2020 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 October 2, 2020.

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.


Barry Rivers, Festival Director.and the Maui Film Festival ‘Ohana

Overall Rating
  • Harry Lowell

    Truly one of the most unique film festivals anywhere. Shoulder-to-shoulder with celebrities, filmmakers and lovers of cinema under the gorgeous Maui skies-- in the primarily open-air venue. The relaxed, casual environment is conducive to easy networking and true filmmaking camaraderie. Bring your flip-flops, Hawaiian shirts and get ready for some fantastic cinema, filmmaker discussions, panels and opportunities to connect.

    June 2019