The Mesa Film Festival is an innovative showcase for filmmakers from around the globe. This past year, we had the honor of screening 132 films from around the world and created unique opportunities for filmmakers to network and have a great time. This festival was created to highlight creativity from diverse voices.

The city of Mesa is excited to show you why it is quickly becoming one of fastest growing artistic gems in the state of Arizona.

Welcome to the Mesa Film Festival!

Best Short
Best Feature
Best Cinematography
Best Director
Best Documentary
Best Student Film
Best Faith-Based
Best Drama
Best Comedy
Best Horror/Sci Fi
Best Action/Thriller
Best Avant Garde
Best Music Video
Best Original Song
Best Score
Best International
Best Native American


The following rules govern all film submissions to the Mesa Film Festival (“MIFF” or the “Festival”).

Please Note: Only films that are submitted will be considered for competition.

General Eligibility

- Submissions must be accompanied by the applicable submission fee PER ENTRY and a completed online entry form. All films must be in English or have English subtitles at the time submitted.
- Films must be submitted online via FilmFreeway.
- In the event of a password change or link change after submitting, you must email the Festival at immediately with that change so we may update your record. If the Festival is not notified of the change and the link is found to be inactive or the password to be incorrect, the submission may be deemed ineligible.
- MFF screens films as digital files during the Festival and does NOT screen films on Blu-Ray, HD-CAM, or DCP. If you are unable or unwilling to provide us your film as a digital file for exhibition, DO NOT SUBMIT your film.
- Films must have been completed after January 1, 2017. Films must be available for screening during the Mesa Film Festival, June 18-21, 2020.
- Films that have submitted to MFF this year are eligible to be resubmitted next year provided they are eligible according to all of MFF’ rules.
- Selection for screening will be determined no later than two months prior to the festival. Films that have screened on US network or cable television or distributed to theaters prior to the festival dates are also ineligible for competition.
- Short Films that have played in Mesa in a theatrical setting to a public audience prior to June 18, 2020, are not eligible to compete at Mesa Film Festival. This includes Shorts Night or other festivals. The ONLY exception is that a short may play as part of a class screening for an accredited university’s film program. We prefer that shorts be Arizona premieres.
- Short films that are publicly available online prior to the Festival may be considered for exhibition during the Festival but will be ineligible for Jury Awards. We prefer shorts not be publicly available online.
- Private invite-only screenings (for instance for cast and crew or donors) do not affect a film’s eligibility.
- MIFF reserves the right in its sole discretion to reject or disqualify any ineligible entries, without a refund.
- Films that are selected to screen at the Festival may not necessarily be selected to be “in competition” for awards purposes. Notifications regarding potential selection for competition status possibly may occur subsequent to notifications of acceptance for exhibition.

Originality and Permissions; INDEMNITY

- Films must be the original work of the applicants. If a film is based upon another person’s life or upon a book or other underlying work, applicant(s) must secure any necessary rights to make such adaptations. However, it is not necessary to submit the adaptation rights agreements to the Festival. Neither the Festival nor its jurists investigate or attests to the authenticity of an applicant’s statement of authorship or rights secured. By entering the competition, you represent that you have secured all necessary rights.
- Applicants are solely responsible for obtaining all necessary rights and permissions for third-party materials included in their films, including but not limited to music, trademarks, logos, copyrights, and other intellectual property rights. MFF expressly disclaims all liability or responsibility for any violations of the foregoing.

Additional Information

- We strongly encourage filmmakers to submit their film only after it is fully finished and will judge each submission as a completed work, whether it is or not. Once a film is entered, we will not update the submission with a more recent cut. That said, because MFF’s focus is on story, minor technical changes will not affect the final decision of any film. Should the film be accepted to play during the Festival, the filmmaker will have the opportunity to supply the Festival with their most recent version.
- Filmmakers who are unsure whether to enter their film into the Narrative Feature Category or one of the genre categories, should select the genre category so the film will be watched with that in mind. Mesa Film Festival reserves the right to switch the entry category or otherwise assign a category to fit programming needs and interests, and films will not be penalized for the original submission selection.
- Once an entry payment has been received we cannot provide a refund. If a payment is disputed by an entrant for any reason, the entrant may be subject to any transaction fees or similar amounts incurred by MIFF in connection with the dispute.
- You MUST include your physical address either in your entry or in your cover letter. Please do not submit a film without giving us your address, which we need for our records.
- Payments made with a check are subject to our Bounced Check Policy: If we receive a returned check from our bank for a payment you made, you will be invoiced for the original amount of the check plus a $45 bounced check fee. The payment of the invoiced amount will be due within 30 days of invoice date. We will not re-submit the original check, nor will we accept another check for repayment. Repayment must be made by money order or cashier’s check.
- Please include a cover letter with your film submission.

Selected Films and Winners

- MIFF has no obligation (other than as stated in these rules or on our website) to disclose any of the following information: i) identities of screeners or judges; ii) notes, feedback, or information relating to the submitted project; and/or iii) details regarding the submission review or selection process.
- MIFF explicitly disclaims any liability or responsibility for any comments, notes, or opinions expressed about a submission, whether by MIFF or by its volunteers.
- Winners will be announced on June 21, 2020. The judges’ decision is final.

DVDs and press materials will not be returned under any circumstances. Include a self-addressed, stamped postcard for each submission if you wish acknowledgment of the receipt of your entry.



I/We have read all of the rules, understand, and have complied with these rules.

I/We warrant the submission of my/our original work and that there are no disputes regarding the ownership of the submission.

I/We also warrant the submitted material does not defame or invade the rights of any person living or dead.

To the best of my/our knowledge, all the statements herein are true and correct.

I/We understand that failure to adhere to the competition rules and regulations will result in disqualification and forfeiture of entry fee.

I/We acknowledge that once an entry payment has been processed, MIFF will not provide a refund.

No revisions of materials will be accepted once entry has been submitted.


Overall Rating
  • Radheya Jegatheva

    Great festival and thrilled to have won best student film at the festival! there was great promotion happening across the fest.

    November 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you.

  • Colin Heinle

    I personally found Mesa's first ever Int'l Film Festival to be a fun and informative event re: all things film. The connections I made, including Spags and Indian (festival directors), were invaluable. They curated a fest dedicated to showcasing interesting films from around the globe and fostered opportunities for filmmakers to gain new networks outside of their typical, day-to-day lives. They also hosted seminars by industry professionals on marketing, distribution, and the analytical data behind streaming services -- information vital for any indie filmmaker to stay up-to-date on. Highly recommended, thanks for having me!

    October 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you

  • Victoria Malinjod

    We were honored to be a part of Mesa International Film Festival 2019. I wasn't able to attend this year as I was shooting in Europe (as an actress this time) but I am so grateful and glad my first short film as a director "Don't Burst My Bubble" was screened in there. I really hope to have a chance to meet this amazing team sometime soon and I really recommend this great festival! Thanks again for everything!

    Victoria Malinjod

    October 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you.

  • Javid Farahani

    I’m honored to be announced that my short film “Under the Blade” got accepted in such a good festival.

    Thank you very much
    Javid Farahani

    October 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you

  • We were/are honoured our film "Bucky" was an official selection for the 2019 festival.
    Sadly we were unable to attend, and hope those who saw the dark comedy short enjoyed it.
    While we didn't win this time (and I hope some sort of How Things Went wrap-up report might be conveyed either via email-blast or a page on their website, or on one of their social media accounts), I was impressed how the films were listed/promoted on their page.

    October 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you.