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 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. In 2020, NCFF was voted the #3 film festival in the USA by 10Best USA Today.

This year’s festival kicks off June 23-25, 2023 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), 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 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 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
  • Neil West

    An outstanding festival and such a huge honour to have our film ASYLUM play at the festival. Thankyou to the entire team for making us feel so cared for!

    October 2022
  • Andrea Pierpont

    What a wonderful festival! This festival hits 5 stars in all categories - especially communication and hospitality! The audiences were really engaged which makes for a special screening experience. Thank you especially to Jesse for all she does to make you feel welcome and keep everything organized. A must attend festival!

    September 2022
  • Juan Lossada

    Our experience at NCFilmFest has been great to say the least. From the beginning we were treated with great friendliness and cordiality, all our questions were answered and communication was excellent. Our production company had two short films in the programme, one of them was represented by its director, who enjoyed the festival very much, while the other short film PUNCH OF LIFE was awarded Best Documentary Short Film. Great Festival, simply an experience to repeat!

    September 2022
  • The Nevada City Film Festival is without a doubt my all-time favorite festival for so many reasons! The festival is well organized and welcoming. Everything about this festival exceeds expectations. The hospitality is extraordinary, the networking opportunities are excellent, the venues are beautiful, Nevada City is situated in a beautiful part of the world - I could go on forever! Thank you Nevada City Film Festival for all you do to help filmmakers and audiences have a genuinely awesome experience.

    September 2022
  • Bill Kinder

    Remarkably well-organized festival in a beautiful setting. Great venues. Great connections made with international filmmakers. Top notch programming, just an honor to be included.

    September 2022