Since 2001, the Nevada City Film Festival (NCFF) has brought top independent film, music and comedy, along with attracting thousands of attendees, international filmmakers, and industry guests to the beautiful historic town of Nevada City, California.

Nevada City is known for its supportive arts and cultural scene, and makes screening a film here a positive, encouraging and exciting experience.

NCFF is often referred to as the “Sundance of the Sierra” for its emphasis on fiercely independent cinema that showcases innovative, progressive and exciting new voices in film. Our festival focuses on shorts and short filmmakers, with features peppered throughout. We love supporting first time or mid career filmmakers.

In 2023, NCFF was named "One of the 25 Coolest Film Festivals" by Moviemaker Magazine, and voted the #9 film festival in the USA by 10Best USA Today. In 2022, NCFF was named for the third time by Moviemaker Magazine as one of the top 50 film festivals in the world worth the submission fee for filmmakers.

This year’s festival kicks off June 21-23, 2024 in historic downtown Nevada City. This year's festival features film screenings, panels and workshops for filmmakers and festival attendees, filmmaker Q&A’s and coffee talks, after-parties, nature hikes and outdoor excursions, and other special events.

NCFF is known for recognizing and supporting new talent including independent filmmakers such as Jonathan Krisel (Portlandia, Baskets), Jason Sussberg (Bill Nye: Science Guy), Patrick Brice (Corporate Animals, The Overnight), Greg Finton (Dazed & Confused, The World According to Dick Cheney), Augustine Frizzell (Never Goin’ Back), David Zellner (Damsel, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter), Christina Choe (Nancy), Blackhorse Lowe (Reservation Dogs, Fukry), and animator and performance artist Miwa Matryek, among others.

In previous years NCFF has hosted filmmakers such as Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine, Ruby Sparks), Mike Mills, Terry Zwigoff, Wesley Allsbrook, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (Cartoon Networks Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!), Bill Nye (the Science Guy), and comedians including Beth Stelling, John Early, Kate Berlant, Maria Bamford, Tig Notaro, Nick Kroll, Natasha Leggero, Eric Andre, Kyle Kinane, and Marc Maron.

Past NCFF judges have included award-winning producers and directors, plus writers from The Huffington Post, New York Times, McSweeneys, San Francisco Chronicle, Rolling Stone Magazine, NPR, Film School Rejects, and Pop-Up Magazine.

Professional, student, and amateur filmmakers are invited to submit short and feature length films in a variety of genres including, but not limited to, documentaries, animation, narrative, comedy, multi-media, experimental, and music videos.

$1500 Best of the Fest, Judges Award
$1000 Best Short Film Screenplay
$1000 Best Doc Feature
$1000 Best Narrative Feature
$500 Best Short Narrative
$500 Best Short Doc
$500 Best Short Animation
$500 Best Director
$500 Best Performance
$500 Best Cinematography
$500 Best Editing
$500 Best Production Design
$500 Best Musical Score
$500 Audience Award

1. Films MUST be no older than two years from date of Festival.
2. Feature films are 60 minutes in length or longer. Short films are under 30 minutes in length.
3. You may submit multiple entries but must fill out a separate entry form and pay an entry fee for each.

Nevada City Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Fees collected through the Call for Entries process goes directly to our filmmaker awards, so please do not request a waiver, unless you meet one of the following requirements:

1. If you are an Applicant who identifies as LGBTQ, BIPOC, Arab-American, Latinx, AAPI or another disinvested identity group, then NCFF will provide a discount code for your submission fee upon request.
2. If you are an Applicant who lives in Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Sacramento, Sierra, Butte, Sutter, or Yuba Counties.

​NCFF splits all online screening revenue with filmmakers 50/50. NCFF also pays all films screened in the festival - $100 for short films, $200 for feature length films. NCFF also covers 2-nights of lodging and offers a travel stipend for all visiting filmmakers.

Overall Rating
  • Thea Lux

    When they say a festival is "filmmaker-friendly," Nevada City fits the bill. Housing is supplied for attending filmmakers, plus you are *financially compensated* for your film if chosen. I greatly appreciated the filmmaker brunch and happy hour that allowed me to connect with others, and Nevada City is such a quaint, gorgeous mountain town it was easy to find after hour locations to hang with people. The screenings are walkable or just a short drive to the Onyx Theater, a beautiful small art house theater. Audience varied depending on the time of screening, but I thought the curation was great! I was too busy to attend a panel, but look forward to the next one!

    July 2023
  • Kelly Pike

    What an excellent experience! NCFF programed excellent films- we were honored to be included. The city itself was a joy to visit, I had no idea about this hidden gem in the mountains. The festival provided hotel accommodations and a stipend that made it possible to attend in person, so the networking with other filmmakers was well worth it. Overall, very well done and I would submit again for sure. Thank you, NCFF!

    July 2023
  • It was an absolute honor to be included in this incredible group of films. The filmmakers were treated so well and it was a great place to network. I will submit to this festival year after year.

    July 2023
  • Duncan Ragg

    A wonderful festival, with a deep desire to connect to the filmmakers and help tell their stories.

    July 2023
  • Sharon Liese

    Such an amazing festival. It really is the Sundance of the Sierra's!

    July 2023