Are you ready for the Merced Queer Film Festival?! Unfortunately, due to the tragic floods and events that have impacted Merced and California over the past few months, we have had to reschedule our event. But don't worry, the 2nd year of the MQFF is still happening and it's going to be even better than before! 🌟

Thanks to the partnership of Central Valley Pride and Workshop 44, and the amazing work of Robert Jerome Pagan and Jennifer McQueen, we're bringing the magic of QUEER CINEMA to Merced once again! 🌈🎬

The festival will be held in September 2023, and we're kicking off with a week-long event including the opening night bash, award show, and screening of the top films for our 2023 festival. We are currently accepting submissions, so if you have a queer film that you'd like to showcase, please email πŸŽ₯πŸŽžοΈπŸ“§

But that's not all! The 2nd year event will also be a part of the Merced Pride Fest, which will be held as a street party to celebrate pride! πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰ And we're excited to announce the official Merced Queer Battle of the Musicians! 🎢🎀

Mark your calendars for September 2023 and get ready for an amazing week of queer films, music, events, and community! β€οΈπŸ§‘πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™πŸ’œ

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.

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/they is authorized to submit the film, being the rights-holder or authorized representative of the film.

All persons submitting Material (β€œEntrants”) 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
  • Moyna Soderstrand

    Merced is one of my favourite festivals to have had my film shown at. They were professional and passionate, and were very available. Though I could not attend, their program was diverse and exciting and I hope to attend with future projects later in my career.

    January 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for sharing your positive experience at the Merced Queer Film Festival! We're thrilled to hear that you enjoyed having your film showcased at our festival. Our team works hard to ensure that our festival is inclusive, diverse, and showcases a range of exciting works. We are passionate about supporting queer voices in film and are grateful to be able to provide a platform for filmmakers to showcase their work. We hope that you will consider submitting future projects to our festival, and we look forward to seeing more of your incredible work in the future!

  • 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
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your wonderful review of the Merced Queer Film Festival! We're thrilled to hear that you had a positive experience at our inaugural festival and that your film, Somebody to Love, won awards for Best Drama and Best Female Performer. Congratulations on your achievements!

    We appreciate your feedback on the festival's organization and will certainly take it into consideration for future events. We are committed to providing a diverse and inclusive program and showcasing a variety of works, including long and short form content, music videos, short films, documentaries, and feature-length films.

    We're so happy to hear that you enjoyed the festival, and that it was inspiring to see the value it brought to the Merced community. Our team puts a lot of heart and soul into the festival and it's wonderful to hear that it was reflected in your experience. We hope to see you and your future projects at our festival again in the future!

  • 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
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience at the Merced Queer Film Festival! We're thrilled to hear that you enjoyed the festival, even though you couldn't attend in person.

    Our team understands the importance of communication and connecting with our filmmakers, which is why we reached out to you to do live interviews to discuss your work before the event. We're glad that our live IG made you feel like you were right there with us in person.

    We're honored to have had your film showcased at our festival and we hope that it was a positive experience for you. We're committed to providing a platform for diverse and inclusive works, and it's wonderful to hear that we were able to accomplish this for you. Thank you again for being a part of our festival, and we hope to see more of your work in the future!

  • Julie Chalhoub

    Love this Festival and Staff!!

    June 2022