Coming April 2023 the historic and groundbreaking Merced Queer Film Festival turns 2! The creation of co-directors Robert Pagan and Jennifer McQueen (executive directors of Workshop 44 and the Merced Pride Center, respectively.

Upwards of 70 short and feature-length films created by or reflective of the LGBTQ+ community will be presented at multiple locations throughout downtown Merced. Year 2 is bigger than ever with the first ever Queer Battle of the Musicians! Featuring musicians from the queer community playing in multiple venues competing for our attendees love to become the best Queer Musicians in the nation.

Categories for award consideration include Best Queer Feature Film (45 mins,) Best Queer Long-Short Film (10-40 minutes,) Best Central Valley Queer Film, Best International Queer Feature (45 minutes+) Best International Queer Long Short, Best Queer Animated Feature and Short, Best Queer Family Film, Best Queer Microshort, Best Queer Documentary, Best Queer Music Video and Best Queer TV Series/Pilot, amongst others.

By bringing the art of modern cinema to Merced in such a dynamic way, event planners intend to impact local culture by increasing visibility and awareness of the queer community while providing a rich foundation for future queer artists and filmmakers to thrive.


All submissions will be viewed in their entirety. Submissions will be judged and scored based on criteria including: quality of screenplay, acting, production quality, originality, technical proficiency, cinematography, sound design, editing and set design. We support indie filmmaking and will award additional points to shorts produced on a micro budget and/or minimal crew.

Awards in all major categories and many special awards including technical and performance awards.

All awards will be nominated in categories based on the Festival director and nomination committee choose.

Multiple music award categories will be announced in January of 2023. To have your band, group, or solo act considered contact our submission email directly.

Submissions must be Queer oriented or Queer created or Must have Queer Representation on their production or creative staff.

No Production year and place barrier.

International films in non-English language are very welcome but must contain English subtitles.

Being an "Official Selection" does not guarantee a screening at the In-person festival. The festival directors will select films based on ranking; only Finalist and Semi Finalist will be screened.

Official Selections not screened are eligible for honorary or specific awards decided by the Judges,

Official Selections in the shorts category may receive a online screening for competition to be screened at the in-person festival

Festival accepts films of any length and genre produced.

Pornography will not be accepted.

Works-in-progress will not be accepted.

Applicant admits that he/she is authorized to submit the film, being the rights-holder or authorized representative of the film.

All persons submitting Material (“Entrants”) must be 18 years or older.
The submitter owns all the copyrights including music rights.

Festival does not have premiere status requirements. We will happily accept films that have been screened elsewhere and online.

Merced Queer Film Festival does not pay screening fees.

You may send more than one film but a separate application must be made for each film.

Festival only accepts submissions via

Overall Rating
  • Great festival for indie animation, thanks!!

    November 2022
  • Christopher Frentzel

    It was a privilege to have been a part of MQFF's inaugural film festival, and it was an honor for Somebody to Love to win Best Drama and for our lead to win Best Female Performer! The festival was jam-packed with so much long and short form content, from music videos to short films and docs to full feature length films! Even though I was physically participating in the event, I wish I could've seen everything! I do wish for future festivals, nominated films and projects are grouped together for easier viewing. The four day festival was a lot of fun, and it was inspiring to see the value it brought to the local Merced community. A lot of heart and soul went into this festival and I am so glad me and my film were able to be a part of it :)

    July 2022
  • This festival was absolutely amazing! I wasn't able to attend in person, but they reached out to the filmmakers to do live interviews to talk about our work a couple weeks before the events. The communication was wonderful and their live IG made you feel like you were right there in person. I am truly honored to have been accepted into this festival.

    June 2022
  • Julie Chalhoub

    Love this Festival and Staff!!

    June 2022
  • Lam Can-zhao

    An awesome festival that my team and I were privileged to be a part of!

    June 2022