Begun in 2014, Mountain Shadow Film Society currently has hundreds of active members. Our goal is to bring the best in foreign and independent filmmaking to Walnut Creek (EastBay/San Francisco). We screen films otherwise unavailable in local commercial theaters. This includes award-winning short films along with feature films, periodic live presentations by the filmmakers themselves, and opportunities to engage other film enthusiasts.

Our Annual Short Film Competition has become an exciting addition to our program, presented each September to Society members, their guests and the general public. The final program includes 8-12 Finalists, with a total running time of approximately 90-100 minutes in the program.

ALL selected Finalists will receive the same $150 cash award! Audience balloting will determine Laurels for 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place, with remaining Finalists receiving Finalist Laurels.

Finalist agree to present their film in person at 3 screenings at our Walnut Creek theater venue (Friday evening, Sept 16th, and Saturday afternoon and evening, Sept. 17th)

While pandemic restrictions required a virtual event last September, it is our strong expectation we will be able to return to a weekend of live events September 16-17. If the in-person event has to be canceled, finalists will NOT be required to present their films in person. As a result, all finalists will instead allow their film to be screened online with a secure link.

1) License release: Entrant to grant Mountain Shadow public performance rights to their film, to be included on the secure video link, free of charge. (The secure video link will be disabled after the shows.) Applicant further declares their work has taken care of all necessary permission use of any copyrighted material (e.g. music) used in their film. There are also other events for the Finalists to enjoy, including a Reception prior to the screenings, a Saturday brunch and Saturday night After Party.

2) If live shows are cancelled, and replaced by virtual screenings, Finalists will provide a brief two minute video introduction of themselves and their film, to be included in the compiled online show

3) If live shows are cancelled, and replaced by virtual screenings, Finalists agree to participate in a 30 minutes Q&A discussion with the audience members, via is a ZOOM link following each of the two online screenings

Submission Fee: For the seventh year in a row, and — in keeping with our mission to support independent filmmaking -- there is NO SUBMISSION FEE. However:

Submissions: Short Films (running time: 1 Minute – 25 Minutes)

Categories: Animated, Live-action/ Narrative, or Documentary

How recent? The film should not have been completed any earlier than January 1, 2020. Films completed earlier than Jan. 1st, 2020 will not be considered.

Prior release restrictions: The film should not have been broadly screened in any commercial venue or public media (local PBS, for example): Prior festival screenings OK.

License release: Applicant grants Mountain Shadow public performance rights for its two shows, free of charge. Applicant further declares their work has taken care of all necessary permission use of any copyrighted material (e.g. music) used in their film.

Finalists will be selected by a Jury comprised of Mountain Shadow Film Society members and professional filmmakers (non-contestants).

All submissions selected as a Finalist will be notified by Aug. 15, 2022.

Entry Deadline: June 30, 2022

Event Dates: Sept. 16, 7:30 PM & Sept. 17, 3:30 PM & 7:30 PM.

Overall Rating
  • So Youn Jeon

    A huge honor to be a part of this film festival. The director and society members were so hospitable and accommodating. Communication was clear from beginning to end. The program was unique consisting of live action films, documentaries, and animation. There was a Q&A session to interact with the audience and panel boards to stand in front of at the end of the showing to mingle. I was able to befriend all the other amazing filmmakers and it was nice to hear from them directly on what inspired them to make their films. It was truly an unforgettable experience, and I hope to return if given the chance.

    October 2022
  • Many thanks to John and other organizers for the invitation to the festival! This was spectacular! The directors were given maximum attention, a well-chosen program of films, full halls of spectators. And unforgettable acquaintances! I will be glad to become a member again!)))

    October 2022
  • Ryan Muina

    Great venue and amazing people. Had such a great experience traveling out to this festival. Everyone was so kind and really appreciated all types of film. 10/10 hospitality as well. I definitely recommend applying to this festival, and will be doing so myself again in the future.

    October 2022
  • Christina Giordano

    Amazing festival! Very well organized and loved the Q&A right after the screening. Despite it being online it was a great festival!

    December 2021
  • Ray Nomoto Robison

    A unique year to be a part of the Mountain Shadow Short Film Competition and I truly was hoping to be able to attend in person but the virtual version was extremely well organized and was a excellent overall experience. I plan to submit my work to this event again so that I can have the opportunity to actually make the trip to Walnut Creek. Love the requirement of filmmaker attendance and wish all festivals had this policy.

    December 2021