The internationally renowned Mill Valley Film Festival offers a high-profile, prestigious, non-competitive environment perfect for celebrating the best in independent and world cinema. MVFF (the oldest fall film festival in California) remains committed to film and filmmakers and to offering the highest resources and production elements possible, whatever challenges the world throws our way. In 2020, that meant offering the best and most secure online platform for our screenings, and creating a professional, DCP-compliant Drive-In for 10 days. We are approaching 2021 with the same commitment to quality and openness to opportunity as we plan for our celebration of new cinema at MVFF44.

With a reputation for launching new films and creating awards season buzz, MVFF has a knack for spotting emerging talent as well as drawing legendary artists. Known as the filmmaker's festival, MVFF annually welcomes more than 300 filmmakers and guests from around the world, whether online or in person, and has hosted such luminaries as Nicole Kidman, Barry Jenkins, Laura Dern, Ang Lee, Viola Davis, Todd Haynes, Mira Nair, Danny Trejo, Pawel Pawlikowski, Brie Larson, Delroy Lindo, Regina King, Sean Penn, Karyn Kusama, Steve McQueen and Greta Gerwig.

MVFF accepts short and feature length work in the following categories: narrative, documentary, experimental, animation, family films and youth produced. Festival selections include fiction and non-fiction films both domestic and international, features and shorts, with an emphasis on premieres that are launching into the US market.
Initiatives at MVFF are Mind the Gap, which champions gender equity and intersectionality; Active Cinema, a selection of impact-driven documentaries; and Viva el Cine!, a celebration of cinema and cultures from Spain and Latin America.

The nonprofit California Film Institute celebrates and promotes film by presenting the annual Mill Valley Film Festival and DocLands Documentary Film Festival, exhibiting film year-round at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center and building the next generation of filmmakers and audiences through CFI Education. For more information please visit or call 415.383.5256.

In conjunction with its gender equity initiative Mind the Gap, MVFF became a signatory to the international 5050x2020 Pledge, initiated at Cannes, in 2018.

MVFF's savvy filmgoers select Audience Favorite Awards for Narrative Feature (US and World), Documentary Feature and Children's/Family Feature.

Please make sure your entry form is complete (see bottom section of Festival Rules marked "IMPORTANT!" for details). A separate form and entry fee is required for each submission. For submissions in the Youth Produced category (works by filmmakers 18 years old and younger) please submit to the Youth Produced category.

Only online submissions accepted.

Programming emphasizes premieres and new works in categories including features, shorts, documentaries, animation, experimental and children/family.

• Feature-length entries (50 minutes and over) receiving theatrical release, TV broadcast, screening at other California Festivals and venues or are available for purchase on DVD or online (e.g. iTunes, video on demand, etc.) prior to MVFF's dates will not be considered. Feature-length entries receiving a theatrical or festival screening in the San Francisco Bay Area prior to or within one month following MVFF dates will not be considered for the Festival. Exceptions will be made under special circumstances. Please contact our office if you agree to any other screenings directly before or after MVFF, other than those listed on your application.
• MVFF does not pay rental fees. Instead, our resources are invested in the production and promotion of the best possible showcase for your work. For theatrical runs, films may subsequently be considered for our year-round venue, the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center.
• Films are often screened through the duration of the festival
• Industrial, promotional or instructional films are not eligible.
• Films must have been completed within 15 months of festival dates (after July 1, 2020). Previously submitted works are not eligible for re-submission.
• Features, especially World Premieres, may be accepted for late submission. To request a deadline extension, please call our office (415-526-5839) or email
• Filmmakers are responsible for providing a good quality print for their screening. See EXHIBITION FORMATS for requirements.
• Filmmakers will be notified via email of entry status by approximately September 17, 2021.
• Once a film is submitted it may not be withdrawn.
• If selected to screen in the festival, you may be asked to provide an electronic press kit.

Filmmakers are responsible for providing an exhibition-quality file. For certain titles, if in-theater or drive-in screenings are possible, a DCP will be required.

Exhibition prints must be sent to the Festival prepaid. The Festival will cover return shipping via FedEx, DHL, UPS or US Mail, unless other arrangements are requested.

In case or loss or damage during the Festival, the responsibility of the Festival is limited to the costs of repair or replacement of the print only.

Media are insured for up to $100 per entry when shipping out. While all entries are packaged with extreme care, the Festival is not responsible for loss or damage to prints in transit.

The following must be included for each entry:
- Entry Form (Accepted online through FilmFreeway, 1 per entry)
- Online screener
- Entry Fee (Accepted online through FilmFreeway)

Optional materials:
- Brief Synopsis
- Filmmaker Bio and/or Filmography
- Press Kit
- Stills


It is necessary to have the following information filled out in your FilmFreeway filmmaker account in order to ensure that we can process your submission quickly and efficiently. Not having this information already available in your account may cause a delay in the processing of your submission.

Please be sure the following information is readily available in your FilmFreeway filmmaker account!

English title (with English article if necessary)

Under Submission Contact section (Click on "PREFERENCES" on the left-hand side of the screen):
First name
Address 1
Phone1/ Type
email 1

Under Production Info section:
Submission Date
Origin Country
Run time
Completion year

Throughout the listing (i.e. Niches, Formats, etc.):
Film Type
Preview Format
Production Format
Exhibition Format
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
Applicant Acceptance (Release)

Overall Rating
  • Ashley Brim

    We had an amazing time sharing our short THE GOLDFISH at Mill Valley Film Festival. Our film was thoughtfully programmed in a beautiful block of shorts. We also got to see HUGE Oscar bait-y films and some incredible indies.

    Short filmmakers were generously invited to all of the parties and panels and I really enjoyed meeting the film fan community in Mill Valley as well as the other filmmakers.

    Thank you Sterling, Lívia, Faridah, Zoe and everyone who provided such a warm welcome at the fest! Your staff and volunteers are THE BEST.

    Side note: I really appreciated how the fest went out of their way to keep everyone safe (covid testing, outdoor parties and panels) as well.

    October 2021
  • Eric J. Adams

    A world class festival with small town charm and a legendary reputation. We screened our film "Rickshaw Girl," in 2021 with the assistance of amazing staff, great promotion, magical venues and great parties. Truly a festival gem, and we hope to return. As a filmmaker or film aficionado put MVFF at the top of your list.

    October 2021
  • This is a special festival and we had a lovely time taking part in the 2020 edition. The MVFF team always programs great films and treats their filmmakers really well. We were proud to be involved.

    October 2020
  • Jared Goudsmit

    Communicative, supportive, and down-to-earth. I've gotten only positive vibes from the folks at Mill Valley.

    October 2020
  • Prarthana Mohan

    We premiered at Mill Valley and they took great care of us. It's a very well organized festival with an incredible range of films. Our screenings were well attended and the audience was incredibly engaging. Definitely recommend attending if you can and submitting your work!

    February 2020