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. Despite the ever-changing festival landscape this year, MVFF (the oldest fall film festival in California) remains committed to celebrating its 43rd year with a similarly diverse programming slate in 2020.

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 welcomes more than 300 filmmakers and guests from around the world and has hosted such luminaries as Nicole Kidman, Barry Jenkins, Laura Dern, Ang Lee, Todd Haynes, Mira Nair, Danny Trejo, Pawel Pawlikowski, Brie Larson, Costa-Gavras, Amy Adams, Sean Penn, Karyn Kusama, Steve McQueen and Greta Gerwig.

MVFF accepts short and feature length work in the following categories: narrative, documentary, experimental, animation, children's films and youth produced. Festival sections include Official Premieres, World Cinema, US Cinema, Valley of the Docs, Children’s FilmFest, MVFF Music and the 5@5 shorts programs.

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 more than once during the festival
• Industrial, promotional or instructional films are not eligible.
• Films must have been completed within 15 months of festival dates (after July 1, 2019). 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 9, 2020.
• 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.

Standard formats for exhibition are 35mm and DCP. Filmmakers are responsible for transfers. Please contact the Programming Department at to inquire about alternate formats.

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
  • 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
  • Paloma Lingwei Chen

    I'm honored that my film was part of the 42nd MVFF. I enjoyed the film selection, also it was nice meeting my programer. It means a lot to have my short screened twice followed by a Q&A. Also, the filmmaker pass made it very convenient. Finally, Larkspur and San Rafael are such cute little towns!!

    October 2019
  • Sarah Feinbloom

    Thank you especially to Education director Joanne Parsont! This was an amazing film festival!!!

    October 2019
  • i'm so honored that my film was part of the Mill Valley Festival.thank you so much

    October 2019
  • mill valley festival is one of the best festivals and I am very happy that my film was at the festival.
    The festival's agents were very kind and respectful.
    And everything in this festival was great

    October 2019