The 18th annual Vail Film Festival will be held September 23-26, 2021.

All films submitted and screened at the 2021 event must have one woman involved as either director, producer, cinematographer, or screenwriter.

The 2021 festival will screen Feature Films, Shorts, Documentaries, and Student Films. The festival fosters filmmakers through Panel Discussions, a daily Hospitality Lounge, Nightly Parties, and networking opportunities with leading film industry professionals.

Past Vail Film Festival tribute recipients and attendees include Kate Bosworth, Allison Janney, Josh Lucas, Zach Braff, Tate Taylor, Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats, Zach & Miri, Cop Out), Michael Imperioli, Jane Seymour, Fred Schepisi, Krysten Ritter, Michelle Monaghan (Trucker, Mission Impossible III, Gone Baby Gone), Luke Wilson (Old School, Legally Blonde, The Royal Tenenbaums), Adrian Grenier (HBO's Entourage), Harold Ramis (Stripes, Caddy Shack, Ghostbusters, Groundhod Day, Analyze This), Tricia O'Kelley (The New Adventures of Old Christine), Kaitlin Olson (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Tim Daly (NBC's Private Practice), Olivia Wilde (Turistas, FOX's House, Fix, The Year One, Tron: Legacy), Jeremy Davies (Saving Private Ryan, ABC's Lost), Jesse Eisenberg (The Hunting Party, The Squid and the Whale), Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill, The Hitcher), Hayden Panettiere (Heroes), Kip Pardue ("Remember The Titans", "Driven") and Edward Pressman (Producer; Wall Street, American Psycho, Das Boot, The Cooler, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps).

Past premieres and highlights include "Sun Dogs" directed by Jennifer Morrison and starring Melissa Benoist, Xzibit, Allison Janney, and Ed O'Neill, "Mary Goes Round" starring Aya Cash, "Custody" starring Viola Davis, Hayden Panettiere, Tony Shalhoub, Ellen Burstyn, "Enemy" starring Jake Gyllenhaal, "Locke" starring Tom Hardy, "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" starring Jason Siegel, Kristen Bell, "The Guitar", directed by Amy Redford, "In Search of a Midnight Kiss", "Knocked Up", Judd Apatow's follow up to "The 40 Year-Old Virgin", "Snow Cake" starring Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman, the Cannes Award-winning "Red Road", "The Oh in Ohio" (starring Paul Rudd, Parker Posey, Mischa Barton and Danny DeVito), "American Dreamz" (starring Hugh Grant, Dennis Quaid, Mandy Moore), "The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang" (from the filmmakers of "Napoleon Dynamite"), Luke Wilson's "The Wendell Baker Story", Tiffani Thiesen's "Just Pray" and David Duchovny's "House of D".

The Vail Film Festival offers the following awards:
Best Narrative Flm
Best Documentary Feature
Best Short Film
Best Short Documentary
Best Student Film
Audience Award

Award details: Designated Vail Film Festival Press Release to national media announcing the Film Competition Winners, and listing the film as the best film winner in that category for the 2021 Vail Film Festival. Announcement at the Official Awards Ceremony covered by national media. Announcement in festival newsletter and listing on festival website and in Official festival program guide. 2 Filmmaker Passes to the 2022 Vail Film Festival. Award presented at Awards Ceremony .

All films submitted and screened at the 2021 event must have one woman involved as either director, producer, cinematographer, or screenwriter.

Filmmakers must have the rights to their films, and through submitting thereby grant the Vail Film Festival the right to screen their film. All films must be in English or subtitled in English.

Digital submissions only. We don't accept physical submissions. All films must be viewable as online screeners.

All entries will be pre-screened for eligibility by curators and selection committee, however, not all entries will be programmed. The festival will not pay an exhibition fee for any accepted entries initially submitted through our general Call for Entries. The VFF may screen any accepted entries up to three times during the festival dates at any of our exhibition venues.

Films must be submitted with English subtitles if the dialogue is in a language other than English. Films must have been completed after December 2018. Fee waivers will be granted on a case by case basis and almost exclusively to non-profit organizations and international cultural/educational organizations.

All films submitted and screened at the 2021 event must have one woman involved as either director, producer, cinematographer, or screenwriter.

Upon acceptance to the festival, the following is required:

Features: Press Kit containing 100 word synopsis in English, 5 hi-res film stills (300dpi, CMYK and/or RGB color), digital trailer with English subtitles (if film is in any language other than English), online or physical screener of film for press.

Shorts: Press Kit containing 50 word synopsis in English, 3 hi-res film stills (300dpi, CMYK and/or RGB color), digital trailer with English subtitles if available.

For more information please email:

Overall Rating
  • Carolina Rueda

    This was an amazing festival. They put so much energy into making a great virtual festival, which is not easy! Thank you inviting me to the female directors panel!

    October 2021
  • S.E. (Sarah) King

    We had a wonderful experience with everyone at Vail and we were honored to win the Audience Award! Though we would have loved to be there to see the beautiful city and meet those involved in person, they did an excellent job making the virtual festival feel personable and meaningful. We will absolutely submit our next project and would highly recommend Vail Film Festival to any independent filmmakers looking to amplify women's voices.

    October 2021
  • Carly Bryant

    Vail is a fantastic film festival and treated our indigenous partners with such warmth and respect. Thank you for giving My Blood Is Red its own Q&Aand for giving more visibility to the important story of the indigenous genocide.

    October 2021
  • Donna Serbe-Davis

    Such an amazing festival! Although I couldn't be there in person, the Vail team was attentive to all aspects of my experience. Really enjoyed speaking with my interviewer and had great communications with everyone. And what an excellent lineup of films! It was an honor to be part of such an exceptional festival. Definitely 5 stars!

    October 2021
  • Every indie filmmaker should have Vail Film Festival on their festival short list. Programmers are fully dedicated to making the festival the best possible experience for their filmmakers. From well researched and prepared Q&A's and introducing filmmakers to each other (even virtually), to encouraging making contacts with other festival participants and remaining in touch with the festival itself. What I found to be most impactful as a filmmaker was the communication. I often read reviews from other festivals about how the festival communication was with filmmakers especially when some are virtual or hybrids (which might be a format that continues in years to come). It's important and Vail as an entity and specifically our shorts programmer was so approachable and sincere. Plus she really loves films so please submit your film to Vail FF for her to see! If your film fits into what they are scheduling that year, you will be happy you did!

    October 2021