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 historic town of Nevada City, California.

Nevada City is known for its sophisticated and 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. In 2019, NCFF was named for the second time by Moviemaker Magazine as one of the top 50 film festivals in the world worth the submission fee for filmmakers. In 2020, NCFF was voted the #3 film festival in the USA by 10Best USA Today.

This year’s festival kicks off August 26-28, 2022 in historic downtown Nevada City. This year's festival features indoor and outdoor 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. The festival will also be offered online as well.

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), animator and performance artist Miwa Matryek, and animator Galen Pehrson, among others.

In previous years NCFF has hosted filmmakers such as Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine, Ruby Sparks), Mike Mills, Wesley Allsbrook, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (Cartoon Networks Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!), Bill Nye (the Science Guy), and comedians including Maria Bamford, Tig Notaro, Nick Kroll, Natasha Leggero, Nick Thune 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, 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, music videos, virtual and augmented reality.

$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 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 that has screened one of your feature or short films at NCFF before, then we will waive your submission fee.
2. 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.
3. If you are an Applicant who lives in Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Sacramento, Sierra, Butte or Yuba Counties.

​NCFF splits all online screening revenue with filmmakers 50/50. NCFF also covers 2-nights of lodging and offers a stipend for all visiting filmmakers.

Overall Rating
  • I'm very thankful that my short film script "A Lesson on Dying" won this year's contest! Not only are the prizes great but this festival seems to actually care about creating a community. I wasn't able to attend this year but they sent me my certificate and merch which I feel added a nice touch!

    November 2021
  • Brian Steele

    We took part in the 2021 virtual festival, and had a wonderful experience. It's evident that everyone at Nevada City loves the films and the filmmakers. Everyone who watched our film said it was a seamless streaming experience. Very well run! Submitting to this fest is a MUST. Thanks for everything Nevada City team!

    September 2021
  • Everyone on the team was so helpful and kind! So many amazing films and filmmakers! I feel so lucky to have been able to take part in such a gorgeous festival!

    September 2021
  • The Recess was an official selection at the 21st edition of the Nevada City Film Festival.

    September 2021
  • Thank you for screening our Film FENSTERLOS (WINDOWLESS) by Samuel Flückiger. Honored to be part of your festival's program. Sad we could not attend in person. You managed the online edition well, but we hope to return to Nevada City with a new film soon and to celebrate it together with you where film should be celebrated: in the cinema. Thank you for running such a great festival.

    September 2021