Begun in 2014, Mountain Shadow Film Society currently has over 520 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 are guaranteed and receive a $500 cash award. In addition, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place winners are determined by audience voting for corresponding Laurels. All other Finalists receive Laurels designating them as such.

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

IMPORTANT: If selected, all Finalists agree to attend and present their film in person at three identical performances ( September 20th at 7:30 PM, and Sept. 21 at 3:30 PM and 7:30 PM, 2019). Each filmmaker’s presentation will include a short introduction, film screening and opportunity for brief Q&A with the audience. Filmmakers can anticipate a viewing audience of 150-250 attendees at each performance. Travel expenses are the responsibility of each Finalist. Overnight accommodations will be provided, if needed. You should not submit your film if you would not be willing and able -- if selected as a Finalist -- to attend the Competition in person. Due to the above requirement, only US-based submissions will be considered.

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, 2018. Films completed earlier than Jan. 1st, 2018 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, 2019

Entry Deadline: July 15, 2019

Notification Date: Aug. 15, 2019

Event Dates: Sept 20, 7:30 PM & Sept. 21, 3:30 PM & 7:30 PM.

Overall Rating
  • Sharri Hefner

    Had a wonderful time at The Fourth Annual Mountain Shadow Short Film Competition. Think everyone should submit. Great film community - keeping independent cinema alive in Northern California.

    December 2018
  • Max Romey

    Not the biggest, but one of the best! The Mountain Shadow Film Festival is backed up by an amazing film community in Walnut Creek CA that really brings the experience to life. This mixed with the fact that filmmakers need to be in attendance makes for a great atmosphere and lots of connections. Film is all about telling a story and this is the best audience a filmmaker could hope for.

    October 2018
  • Terrific festival, beautifully organised, engaged and sympathetic audiences. This is a festival for people who truly love film. Had a wonderful time at the screenings, receptions and festival events, and met some interesting filmmakers and audience members. Definitely recommend.

    September 2018
  • Rust Belt New Americans

    It was a wonderful experience. We really enjoyed getting to meet the other filmmakers as well as the members of the Mountain Shadow Film Society. It's a very welcoming community in the Bay Area. Highly recommend submitting to this festival!

    September 2018
  • Samara Lerman

    What a wonderful experience! The members of the Mountain Shadow Film Society are passionate film lovers. Every film screens both nights of the festival, the house seats around 300 people and was sold out both nights.

    October 2017