The 2023 festival will be in person again, with confirmed dates of Nov 10+11+12, 2023!

The Yucca Valley Film Festival has been recognized as CULTURAL CONTRIBUTOR of the year 2023 by:
🇺🇸 the US SENATE
🇺🇸 the COUNTY of San Bernardino
🇺🇸 and the Basin Wide Foundation

$2.500 PRIZE MONEY in 2023, including:
Best Short Film: ---> $250
Best Feature: ---> $300
Yucca Valley Award: ---> $200 (for local artists only)
Best Animated Short Film: ---> $200
Best Script: ---> $150
Best Documentary: ---> $150
Best Music Video: ---> $150
Best Dance Film: ---> $150
Best Music Composer: ---> $150
Best Student FIlm: ---> $150
Best Experimental /Visual Art: ---> $100
Audience Award: ---> $100
Best Photography: ---> $100
Best Drone Video: ---> $50

(Winners must supply W9 form, only US bank accounts are eligible to prize money).


Our typical program includes:

Kick off event - Yucca room
- Event presentation
- Red Carpet
- Mayor’s opening speech
- Opening short film(s)
- Feature film Yucca Valley premiere

Screenings & talks
- documentaries in competition
- followed by talk with artists and audience
- Audience vote

- Script roundtable with script writers talking about their work

​Screening & talk
- Animated films in competition

Screening & talk
- Student films in competition
- followed by talk with artists and audience
- Audience vote

Screening & talk
- Short films in competition
- followed by talk with artists and audience
- Audience vote

Morning: Mixer & Industry talk, reserved to filmmakers with a badge

Screening & talk
- Visual Arts in films (experimental and visually creative audiovisual work)
- Music Videos
- followed by talk with artists and audience
- Audience vote

Closing event with
- Red Carpet
- Result of the week-end drawing lots
- Result all official winners (every category)
- Result of the audience votes (every category)
- Screening of the winning movies with artists’ introduction & followed by talk with filmmakers
- Closing speech by the Mayor

Program is subject to change, check our website for final and updated program at all times.


Each filmmaker’s presentation will include a short introduction, film screening and opportunity for brief Q&A with the audience.


Yucca Valley is the economic hub for the Morongo Basin is the natural gateway to Joshua Tree National Park (2.8M visitors in 2022).

The Town already lives to the rhythm of artists and creative minds, coming to Yucca Valley in search of the perfect spot to create and find a receptive audience.

The festival started in 2019, generating a buzz with local audiences (3 packed screening nights with red carpet), attracting attendance by international talented filmmakers, and benefiting from a large press coverage.

The Film Festival was listed as the main cultural event for the Town in the Hi-Desert Star, and got covered by NBC, Z 107.7, Spot on California, Desert Road Trippin', Greater Palm Springs... (See PRESS albums on Facebook and FilmFreeway).

The Yucca Valley Film Festival became a recurring, family friendly annual rendez-vous for all the Hi-Desert Community, film lovers and art lovers. 2020 was a digital edition reaching more than 30,000 viewers and interactions through screenings, QnAs, roundtables, a Masterclass with William BALDWIN...
2021 will once again be a celebration of movies and visual arts in the heart of the Mojave Desert, wether in person or hybrid.

Yucca Valley also carries a vast movie heritage in itself, and also with the historic movie sets of Pioneertown. In 2016, TIM BURTON shot scenes of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” on Old Woman Springs Road.
More than 50 titles are listed on Imdb with scenes shot here.

We selected 72 movies / artists in 2022, with an attendance of 106 artists alone during the weekend.
Our opening night, Documentary block and closing nights (awards) were sold out and we had to add seats last minute.
Our red carpet is open every night, with a professional photographer on opening and closing night, and an open red carpet on Saturday.

We're a small fest but our community LOVES movies!


Your film, music video, art video, art film, documentary... Shot scenes in Yucca Valley? Features a local landmark? Features a local talent? Or you ARE a local talent based in Yucca Valley, the Morongo basin, along Highway 62 or the larger San Bernardino County?

Please contact us by email for a special discount. We'll consider your work for a the Yucca Valley Award, with prize money and special event.

Every category winner listed below will receive a cash award (all screening films are eligible to their category AND the Audience Award).

$2.500 PRIZE MONEY in 2023, including:
Best Short Film: ---> $250
Best Feature: ---> $300
Yucca Valley Award: ---> $200 (for local artists only)
Best Animated Short Film: ---> $200
Best Script: ---> $150
Best Documentary: ---> $150
Best Music Video: ---> $150
Best Dance Film: ---> $150
Best Music Composer: ---> $150
Best Student FIlm: ---> $150
Best Experimental /Visual Art: ---> $100
Audience Award: ---> $100
Best Photography: ---> $100
Best Drone Video: ---> $50

(Winners must supply W9 form, only US bank accounts are eligible to prize money).

Keep Mojave Free Award and Festival pick may also apply and benefit from a prize money.

In addition to the prize money, every winner will receive:
---> an Award Certificate
Each selected submitter will receive:
--> official laurels

and based on secured sponsorship, the festival may announce more prizes and gifts.

ONLY FILMMAKERS PARTICIPATING IN PERSON WILL BE GRANTED THEIR PRIZE MONEY and any other prizes. Participating meaning taking part in presentation, after-movie talks and QnAs, in person.

IMPORTANT: the YVFF is an in-person event.
All selected filmmakers agree to participate in person and be in attendance at least for their film screening and QnA.

The film should have been completed after January 1, 2020.

Submitters grant the Yucca Valley Film Festival all necessary rights, free of charge, to screen the film, use and promote all the submitted materials, for public performance, with or without entrance fee. Applicant further declares their work has taken care of all necessary permission use of any copyrighted material (e.g. music) used in their film.
Further mandatory paperwork shall be completed to unlock screening and promotion.

Laurels are sent by email on a digital form.
certificates are printed and framed and distributed in person only.

Any submission stands for a full acceptance of the Festival rules.
A withdrawal does not void the fact a submission has been made.
Festival decisions are final.

We accept all genres and nationalities and language for all international categories.
You are allowed to have multiple entries and submit to multiple categories, with the same or different films. Each category requires its own fee.
Entries are non refundable.
We do not provide free submissions.
We do not review movie submissions sent directly to us by email, unless we requested it. We only accept online digital submissions via selected platforms.
Each entry and submission category must have its own submission fee. 

If you submitted to the wrong category, contact us (there may be a fee).
Your submission grants the Festival and the Town of Yucca Valley the right to use and utilize any image, excerpt, titles, words you submitted to us, for promotion purposes.
The festival organizers may refuse any illegal, non-artistic, fake, false, incomplete entries.
The festival and the Town of Yucca Valley shall pick the submissions of their choice to create the festival program.
The festival and the Town of Yucca Valley reserve the right to cancel, change any part of the program or revert selected submissions without notice.
Each student film submitted has to provide proof of studies. If you do not provide, your entry may not make it to selection and be set to incomplete or end up disqualified.
Animated short films (even student made) must submit to animated category.
Animated features (even student made) must submit to feature category.
A documentary (even student made) must submit to the documentary category.
Works in progress are not accepted unless local work made in the Hi-Desert area and San Bernardino County.

You FilmFreeway profile shall include :
- your country, city, state. Address is not mandatory, city and state are. Missing information will result in a submissions marked as incomplete.
- a poster of your project (whether it is a film, a script, or any piece of work)
- minimum 5 lines about your project (synopsis)
- a biography of the director or the artist is mandatory for us. Missing information will result in a submissions marked as incomplete.
- at least 2 pictures or screenshots from the film with no watermarking. Missing information will result in a submissions marked as incomplete.
- a trailer. If you have a trailer, we will use it. Your trailer must be on YouTube OR any other platform so we can embed it to our website and to our press releases.

For further questions, please contact us.

The names, title, country and all elements you fill your FilmFreeway project page with will be used if you get selected to the festival. Complete and update your profile fully and carefully please.
ALL communications are sent to the email address you provide. The festival is not responsible for any lost or unseen communication whatsoever.

Your FilmFreeway profile must provide a direct access to your work (video, film, photo) at all times. If your film or video disappears from your profile, your submission may be set to incomplete or even disqualified, if the incident happens after the official selection.

We strongly recommend you list your Facebook and/or Instagram page for your project or film so we can fully promote you.

Screenings will require a HD digital file, sent by WeTransfer Google Drive... NO DROPBOX unless direct download without login/signup.
Specifications : .mp4, H264. Films below 5 minutes : less than 500MO. Films 5 to 10 minutes : less than 1G. Films 10 to 30 minutes : less than 2G. Feature films : less than 5G.
NO .mov will be used.
We accept 2K maximum.
It is your responsibility to provide with the proper screening file. If you do not provide, you will be disqualified.

If your film raises some concerns about potential or actual copyright issues, illegal copy or plagiarism, submissions may be NOT SELECTED or DISQUALIFIED without notice.
The Festival has a no tolerance policy for fraud, with regards to any form of influence toward a biased tentative outcome.
If your film contains music that you do not have the rights to, we will not be able to screen it. Submitters are entirely responsible for the content of their submission, including the clearance for all music rights.
In cases of plagiarism, non respect of the rules, or in the cases of any aggression, deception, defamation against the Festival and its team, the Town of Yucca Valley and its staff, festival attendees, guests or participants, the Festival reserve itself the right to unselect or disqualify any submission, even after a selection or a win. Disqualification may result in stripping the movies from its accolades, and may be published in officials channels and online.

Audience Vote take place after the screenings or block screening. Only audience members are allowed to vote for competing films.
Any identified fraud will have consequences, from cancelling the fraudulent vote to disqualifying the film.
Be it known that some participants were disqualified from the audience vote in 2020 due to fraud. The votes we receive are verified. Any suspicion leads to a closer examination and the festival reserve itself the right to disqualify from the votes or from the festival any movie or filmmaker that would benefit from an established biased system or any form of fraud destined to influence the results of the audience vote.

Prizes money are only wired to a US bank account after a W9 form is complete. NO OTHER OPTION WILL BE CONSIDERED AT THE TIME.

If you are selected or win, you are expected to attend the festival and the Award Ceremony. If you cannot attend the ceremony, you must find someone to represent you and claim your award and prize money, on stage.
Only attending or represented filmmakers will be awarded, with no exceptions.
We do not ship trophies. We do not ship certificates.

Is at the charge of the participating filmmaker.

We may announce the first nominees before the notification date. This does not mean the selection is complete, this means we may make a first wave of selection to facilitate attendance.
When you receive the first platform update as a selected submission, that means you are selected, and you get an Official Selection Laurel. The selection does not grant a screening in every case, please check our website.
We cannot give each submitter a personal answer regarding their selection.
The selected talents receive an email with a link to the laurel center and all information about the festival.
If you're not selected, your movie status will be updated on FilmFreeway, and the platform will send an automatic notification at due date.

Accepted scripts are un-produced and produced, 2019 or later. If your film is produced, you have to send us the script, not the film.

We do not pay screening fees. FilmFreeway is a third party platform submitters chose to use to submit for consideration to festivals.
We might set up screenings for free, or with a box 0ffice, at the discretion of the festival, and there will be no share of gross with participating filmmakers.
By submitting to the festival, you expressly authorize the festival and its affiliates, partners and sponsors to use every piece of content and information presented in your FilmFreeway project page, in connection to the festival, the event, and for promotion of the festival, now and in the future. That includes all videos, pictures, texts (biography, logline and other) hosted on your FilmFreeway project page submitted to us.

Overall Rating
  • Nicholas Luciano

    The Yucca Valley Film Festival was a great experience and I had an absolute blast screening my short "Lunch Tattoo." The fest showcased talent within the indie filmmaking community and the festival organizers Matt and Auregan, along with all of the staff and volunteers, did a fantastic job creating a welcoming environment for filmmakers and the Yucca Valley / Morongo Valley and Joshua Tree community. It was a weekend filled with inspiration, networking, and, of course, the joy of celebrating our shared love for storytelling through film. I had the honor of winning an audience award and I can't wait to return with another film at a future fest in Yucca.

    December 2023
  • Josh Rose

    I've now gone to YVFF twice and I have to say, I just really love it. There's something magical about the whole experience and they offer a whole ton for filmmakers to enjoy and learn while there. And they also celebrate categories that are off the beaten path: experimental, dance, drone, music video, shorts and many others. This, for me, coincides with what I love about the communities of Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree; a place for artists and free-thinkers to live in and around the influence and inspiration of the desert and nature. I would highly recommend to any filmmaker or film lover.

    November 2023
  • Hanna Kim

    A terrific festival and experience! Fabulous kids' films, a full house, and lovely filmmakers to chat with. Thank you for a special time at the event!

    November 2023
  • Amy Duchene

    My first ever film festival - and what a nice way to start! This event was well run, communication was top notch, and a great chance to also get to explore the 29 Palms area. All in all a lovely time!

    November 2023
  • Nice opportunity to show my films! I'm a drone filmmakers and is just amazing that my film was screened and awarded in this festival!

    November 2023