Better Cities Film Festival (formerly the New Urbanism Film Festival) is a film festival with a purpose. We want to encourage audiences to think about how they can make their cities and towns a better place. We host a flagship festival that spans several days. We also host curated screenings in cities around the world. If your film inspires on topics of cities, architecture, urbanism, transportation, or any topic about making neighborhoods a better place, we encourage you to submit it!

We give awards for the best short film in each of these categories
-Active Transportation
-Economic Development
-Healthy Cities
-Street Art / Public Art
-Tactical Urbanism
-Urban Design

The Top Prizes are
-Best of Fest (Best Film (feature or short) explaining New Urbanism
-Emerging Ideas (Workshop, Installation, Presentation, or Event held during the festival)

Films that screen at the New Urbanism Film Festival are eligible to be screened in NUFF events around the world. New Urbanism Screenings have been incorporated into:
Milan Design Film Festival
Venice Architecture Biennale
Global Playground Stockholm
Los Angeles Design Festival
Shenzhen Urbanism Biennale
Hong Kong Visual Arts and Culture Education

University of Connecticut
Azusa Pacific University
University of Texas
Los Angeles Dept of Transportation

Jane’s Walk Toronto
Christian Community Development Association
Olympians for People Oriented Places
Local Chapters of Congress for the New Urbanism: Austin, California, Toronto
Local Chapters of AIA and APA
Inner City Christian Fellowship
Community Encompass

After the screenings, audiences are invited to dialogue with leading urban thinkers about the issues raised during the movie and discuss current local projects.

The festival also offers lots of special events, workshops, tours and classes that help audiences take lessons from the film and apply them to their hometown. We strongly encourage filmmakers to attend the festival.

This festival attracts filmmakers, artists, street artists, architects, urban planners, political leaders, bicycle advocates, faith-based community leaders, and fans of the urban environment. Here's a list of some of our past guest speakers.

Melissa Balmer, California Bike Coalition
Tafarai Bayne, chief strategist for CicLAvia
Howard Blackson, president California Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism
Andy Boenau, host Urbanism Speakeasy,
Josef Bray-Ali, owner, Flying Pigeon LA
Ann Bridges, painter
Madeline Brozen, UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies
Chris Bruntlett, director, Vancouver Cycle Chic
Melissa Bruntlett, director, Modacity
Tamika Butler, executive director, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition
Diego Cardoso, L.A. Planning Commission, Director of Planning at LA METRO
Jenna Chandler, editor of CurbedLA
Caroline Cicero, professor of urban planning at USC
Rick Cole, Los Angeles Deputy Mayor for Budget & Innovation,
Dao Doan, award winning urban designer
Tim Deegan, former Chair of the Mid City West Community Council
Craig Detweiler, PhD professor of communication at Pepperdine University
Chris Elisara, executive director, Center for Environmental Leadership
Scott Epstein, chair Mid City West Community Council
William Fain, architect and urban planner, partner Johnson Fain,
Adrian Fine, LA Conservancy
Dawn Finley, co-founder, Feminist Library On Wheels
Nat Gale, LA Great Streets Program Director, Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti
Debra Gerod, Partner, Gruen Associates,
Sanjay Gupta, bicycle advocate
Dean Haglund, actor, the X-files,
Tim Halbur, director of communications at Congress for the New Urbanism
Karney Hatch, director, Plant This Movie
Adriane Hoff, transportation blogger, Hoff the Beaten Path
Jose Huizar, councilmember, Los Angeles City Council, CD14
Eric Jacobsen, author, Sidewalks in the Kingdom
Scott Hamilton Kennedy, director The Garden
Kim Kermath, author & LA River tour guide,
Helen Leung, LA Mas
Joe Linton, editor of StreetsblogLA
Daniel Lovering, director Through the Place
Colin Marhsal, host of Notebook on Cities and Culture
Gerhard Mayer, architect & author, Arquitectonica
Michael McDonald, architect Studio MMD
Kellie Morris, author, We All Ride Bikes
Bob Nesson, director, Power to the Pedals
Taylor Nichols, Mid City West Communit Council Transportation committee co-chair
Marquis Olison, community organizer
Moncho1929, street artist
Neal Payton, West Coast director of Torti Gallas Partners,
Max Podemski, planning director Pacoima Beautiful
Stefanos Polyzoides, architect & urban planner MoulePolyzoides
Peter Quintanilla, Prince’s Foundation for Building Community
Thomas Rigler, producer of the KCET series CITYWALK
Karamagi Rujumba, Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation
Rebecca Autumn Sansom, director, Trainsforming America
Meghan Sahli-Wells, Mayor of Culver City, co-founder of the Culver City Bike Coalition
Scott Schultz, creator, BUSted True tales from people who ride the bus in LA
Kyle Sears, New Parish Collective
Maria Sipin, co-host of Women Talk Bikes
Riley Sobel, an 8th grader with a passon for seed bombs
Ryan Swanson, founder The Urban Conga
Barry Taylor, Art Center Professor of Advertising & Marketing
Jeffrey Tumlin, urban designer, Nelson Nygard
J. Keith Van Straaten, host, Beat the Geeks,
Nona Varnado, executive director, Bicycle Culture Institute
Valerie Watson, director of LADOT Vision Zero
Mike Wells, producer, American Makeover: Fresno
Will Wright, AIA-LA honorary, Government affairs liaison
Dan Zack, planner, City of Fresno

Prizes include:
Cash awards in varying amounts.
Award Certificate
Gifts from our sponsors and media partners
Free submissions for life
All Access Pass to NUFF2021

2020 Rules & Terms

1. Film Entries must be submitted online via
2. Each entry will only be considered for screenings hosted after the corresponding deadline on Film Freeway.
3. Films must be submitted to the proper length category and with the proper fee to be considered for the festival. Fees paid to an inappropriate category will not be returned.
4. All entries must be in English, subtitled, or dubbed into English.
6. All films selected for screening at the festival grant New Urbanism Film Festival the right to use stills and excerpts of up to two minutes for promotional purposes, online, at NUFF exhibitions, or at any exhibition promoting NUFF.
7. Festival is not responsible for any lost, stolen or damaged entries.
8. Exceptions to the festival regulations must be authorized by the Festival Director.
9. Multiple entries are permissible, but each entry must be made separately via FilmFreeway.
10. Submissions will not be returned.
11. All fees are nonrefundable.
12. We reserve the right to refuse to consider any submission.
13. Film entries may be screened more than once at the festival or at any future festival event.
14. NUFF retains rights to screen all entries at any future NUFF event.
15. Film Submissions waive the right to collect any screening fees from NUFF.

I/We wish to have our film/animation/TV pilot/documentary/web series/music video/ entry(ies) hereby known as “ENTRY” included in the New Urbanism Film Festival hereby known as “NUFF”. If more than one (1) party signs this agreement as submitter, then reference to “I”, “me”, “my” throughout this agreement shall apply to each party; jointly and separately.
I hereby grant NUFF, its festival director and producers the right to show for promotional purposes on television, on the NUFF website, twitter, and FaceBook page, on sponsors’ websites, print and digital promotional material, press releases, etc., any media including the ENTRY and/or stills submitted by me with this application. No more than two minutes or up to the length of the trailer submitted by the filmmakers may be used. I understand that no materials included with this application will be returned.
I grant NUFF, its festival director and producers the full and free right and permission to use my ENTRY for broadcast, duplication, and advertising in association with NUFF, for the purpose of viewing on television, in theatres, on the internet, on the NUFF website, on sponsors’ websites, podcasting and/or for archival purposes and for any other valid, lawful purpose in any and all media now known or hereafter developed or devised, worldwide and in perpetuity. I waive any right to inspect or approve the finished videotape, sound track, photograph, advertising copy, audio piece or printed matter that may be used or to the eventual use that it may be applied.
I hereby release, discharge and agree to hold harmless NUFF, its officers, agencies employees and sponsors, from and against any liability as a result of any use, distortion, blurring or alteration that may occur or be introduced in any use or broadcast of the material.
I waive any and all rights to compensation for any broadcast, duplication, and advertising of any ENTRY presented at the festival. All ownership of all ENTRY remains with the personnel who contributed to the ENTRY. I own all material submitted with application and that will be viewed at NUFF. I understand that NUFF, its producers and sponsors are relying on this release and accordingly, I hereby irrevocably waive any and all rights to seek or obtain any injunction or other equitable relief against NUFF, its officers, agencies, employees and sponsors.
I warrant that the use of the rights granted here and of any material supplied by me/us will not violate the rights of any third party. I agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless NUFF, its officers, agencies, employees and sponsors from any claims by third parties alleging that our content or material infringes on any third party’s rights. This Release and Hold Harmless Agreement shall bind my assigns and any representative.
This contract is the entire agreement between the parties hereto, and replaces and supersedes any prior agreement or understanding, verbal or written, with respect to the subject matter hereof. No amendment, addendum, modification or waiver of this contract or any portion hereof shall be valid unless contained in a writing signed by both parties hereto.
In exchange for release, I receive the opportunity to have my ENTRY shown at NUFF and any future NUFF events, and accept that there is no promise of additional payment, in any form for likeness, image, biography, recording, equipment, or for any other contribution by us on this production.
I hereby certify that I am over eighteen years of age and competent to contract in my own name. If I am signing on behalf of an organization, I certify that I have authority to do so and that my signature binds the organization and its performers to all elements of this contract.
I have read the foregoing release and authorization and agreement, before affixing my signature below, and warrant that I fully understand the contents thereof.
I am authorized to sign and give consent for everyone (including but not limited to performers, writers, directors, technical crew, distributors) who contributed to all ENTRY(IES) and all materials submitted with this application to the New Urbanism Film Festival 2019.

Save yourself a headache and read these answers to our Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. Do you accept films completed prior to 2019?
A. We accept all films regardless of date filmed, completed, distributed, etc. Our mission is to curate the best films about urban design.
Q. I produced a series of videos on this issue, can I submit more than one in my series?
A. Yes! If you produced a web series or episodic piece about urban planning, please send it in. You can submit individual episodes as short film entries, or you can submit the entire series as a feature. If you submit as a feature, we’ll watch the whole series and consider it as a feature and also consider individual episodes as short films in the relevant categories.
Q. Can you waive my entry fee? I am a starving filmmaker / work for a good cause and I can’t afford the entry fee.
A. While we are fellow filmmakers and can completely relate, unfortunately we cannot waive any fees. It’s just not fair to all the other starving filmmakers. We do suggest submitting early to take advantage of the reduced fees.
Q. How will I know if you received my DVD?
A. We strongly discourage sending physical copies for consideration. If you you have to submit through the mail, please contact us first. We’ll want to make sure your format is compatible with our players. This has been a problem in the past, so please message us and we will help you get your video to us.
Q. Can I submit more than one film?
A. Sure, you can submit a thousand films – as long as they all accompany their own entry form and fee.
Q. Am I eligible if I live outside the U.S.?
A. Absolutely! Submit it online using Please note that the film must be in English or have English subtitles.
Q. Can I submit a rough cut?
A. Yes, but the final version must be uploaded before the final deadline. We try to make accomodations for updated versions, but make no guarantees.
Q. Can I submit my film if I am under 18?
A. You can, if you have a parent or guardian submit it for you.
Q. Will the DVDs be returned?
A. Nope.
Q. Do I HAVE to send TWO DVDs? Isn’t that wasteful?
A. It is strongly suggested, but no, you don’t HAVE to. We have a large percentage of DVDs that don’t play upon arrival so if you are going to only send one, please check it all the way through in a DVD player (not a computer) before sending. Package your DVD carefully and make sure it cannot move around or pop out of its case.
If you are concerned about being wasteful, just submit it online!
Q. Can I enter if my film has screened at other festivals or on the Internet?
A. Yes. And please let us know if you’ve won any awards!
Q. My film was made a while ago, can I still submit it?
A. Yes. We have no time limit on when it was made. As long as it is still relevant.
Q. Is the deadline ‘received by’ or ‘postmarked by’?
A. Received by. And seriously, submit it online.
Q. I have a film that I think might fit in the theme, but I am not sure. Can you preview it and tell me if I am wasting my entry fee?
A. Send us a link and we’ll take a look. submissions at newurbanismfilmfestival dot com We’ll be happy to watch a trailer or the first few minutes of your film and let you know if it fits.
Q. I just missed your deadline – am I screwed?
A. Email us at info at newurbanismfilmfestival dot com. If we still have enough time to fairly review your project, then we may waive the deadline.
Q. How will I know if I am accepted in the festival?
A. We will notify you by email with a series of instructions arranging to get a screening copy of the film, film stills, a video trailer, press release, and how to tickets for you/your crew. The website will also send a notification but will not provide information or instructions regarding screenings.
Q. How will I know if I won the big contest?
A. We announce the winners on the final night of the festival. If you are not present, follow the hashtag #nuff2019 for all the updates on the festival, including award winners.
Q. Do you offer any discounts on submissions?
Yes, we offer discounts for students, volunteers, previous years’ winners, CNU members, and members of sponsoring organizations. Email us for details.

Overall Rating
  • The Urbanism Film Festival was a great experience to meet filmmakers and directors and understand what urban design is like in a city. I would go back again just to learn more!

    November 2017
  • Priced Out Documentary Film

    A great little festival. We found that this festival was right in our audience niche. We immediately got invited to screen our film in Pittsburgh within a few days of showing at NUFF. Hosts were very welcoming and accommodating. Best part: the screening was in West Hollywood, so we literally got to have a Hollywood premiere for our film. Such fun.

    November 2017
  • Ni Fiann

    This was a brilliant festival focused on the theme of cities and community a wonderfully niche and highly relevant festival. Great people communicating great ideas for change through film making. A gem.

    October 2017
  • The Longest Straw

    We held our Los Angeles Premiere at the New Urbanism Film Festival. Josh, Joel and team were amazing and made us feel welcome. We had the opportunity to talk face to face with a lot of the filmmakers that were also showing films. Because this is our first feature film, it was a great opportunity to build a community of like-minded filmmakers from all around the world. I definitely recommend this film festival for new filmmakers with a New Urbanism slant!

    October 2017
  • Kristin Tieche

    Great experience viewing films and connecting with audience through panel discussions and Q&A.

    August 2017
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Kristin! We appreciate your willingness to come down to the fest and share your talents and insights!