The Shining Mountains Film Festival explores activism, spirituality, loss and victory within the NATIVE AMERICAN culture. American Indian filmmakers and guests will appear alongside documentaries, shorts and feature films that exhibit the struggles and beauty contained within the NATIVE AMERICAN culture today and in the past. This year we will focus more on Native talents and Native youth messages to the world.

Trophies will go to the winners of:
Jury selection for long feature
Best short
Audience short

The following is an explanation of the Rules and Guidelines governing the submission of a film to the 2022 SHINING MOUNTAINS FILM FESTIVAL (SMFF). Compliance with these Rules and Guidelines is necessary in order to participate in the Film Festival. Submission of a film implies unconditional acceptance of the Rules & Guidelines, therefore, please carefully read through the Rules prior to submitting your film. If you have any questions, please contact

1. SMFF will accept film submissions that are made (produced/directed) by American Indians / First Nation Peoples, or have an Indigenous artist involved (main actor, director, etc.). We also accept film submissions about North American Indigenous issues, history, culture, spirituality and talent.

2. SMFF accepts submissions for films in the following categories: (i) Documentary/Narrative Feature; ii) Documentary/Narrative Short (maximum 40 minutes); (iii) Animated (maximum 20 minutes).

3. Filmmakers: once you submit to the Shining Mountains Film Festival, you agree not to submit/screen your film in any other venue in Aspen/Carbondale during October 2022.

4. The Entrant(s) submitting the film must hold all legal rights for the submission, as well as all necessary clearances for public exhibition.

5. The Filmmaker(s) retain all submission and intellectual property rights.

6. Films may be submitted electronically through FilmFreeway or directly to ShiningMountainsFilm@gmail.comwith a secure Dropbox/Vimeo/YouTube link. Be sure to include the appropriate password if you are submitting directly. Submissions should be formatted for NTSC and labeled with Title and Running Time. If your film is chosen to screen at the Shining Mountains Film Festival, it will be your responsibility upon notification to provide your film in the highest resolution possible in a downloadable format with a downloadable Vimeo or YouTube link or by using Dropbox or a similar FTP service. Preferred film formats are ProRes .mov files (ProRes HQ is optimum) or high bit rate Mp4. We cannot accept DVDs, Blu Ray discs or tapes of any kind.

7. All films must be in English or with English subtitles. Non-English language films without subtitles will be considered under special circumstances.

8. Please test your media prior to submission to make sure they run properly and are not damaged.

9. SMFF is not responsible for any damage to materials that occurred while in transit. If your film arrives damaged, we will contact you to request another copy.

10. Filmmakers are allowed to submit more than one film for the Festival provided that each film is submitted separately and meet SMFF guidelines.

11. You can email to check on your film status. Filmmakers submitting through FilmFreeway can check their status through the website.

12. The Filmmaker is responsible for all shipping costs, domestic or international.

13. All personal contact information is to remain confidential and not to be shared with any third parties.

14. SMFF reserves the right to use images from films selected in the Festival for marketing purposes.

15. All decisions regarding award winners are considered final and incontestable.

- Films may be submitted electronically via FilmFreeway (preferred) or a password-protected Vimeo link emailed to If you wish to mail a hard copy of your film for consideration in the festival, please contact Each submission must be accompanied by the appropriate fee (see fee structure below).

- To submit your film via, you must first ‘Sign Up’ for an account on their website. Go to ‘Browse Festivals’ and you will find ‘Shining Mountains Film Festival’ through the search function. After submitting your film to SMFF through FFW, you will be prompted to pay the correct fee.

- If you are submitting your film via emailed Vimeo link, please send the appropriate submission fee via PayPal [] or Venmo [Aspen Indigenous Foundation - @AIF-aspen]

Please note: the deadlines are not the postmark dates, but the dates by which the submission must be in the SMFF office, registered with FilmFreeway or sent via Vimeo link. In order to be considered, each submission must be accompanied by the appropriate fee. Submission fees are U.S. Dollars per submission and are non-refundable.

Submission opens: May 15, 2022

Deadline: August 15, 2022 (preferably earlier)

Fee Structure:
Documentary/Narrative Feature films: $25
Documentary/Narrative Short and Animated films: $15

Overall Rating
  • An absolutely fantastic festival!! Deanne rolled out the red carpet for us!! She was superb!! This festival surely gave Apache Girl a fantastic venue!! Thank you all!!

    October 2022