Set in one of the defining urban centers of the world, DTLA Film Festival (Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles) has as its mission to exhibit a wide array of independent film and filmmakers from throughout the U.S. and abroad with a primary focus on those that explore the history, architecture, cultural diversity and contemporary social and political issues of the modern urban landscape.

We also seek to draw worldwide attention to Downtown LA as the nexus of the creative capital of the world where film, music, video games and digital entertainment media converge.

DTLA Film Festival was established in 2008 and proclaimed by L.A. Weekly to be among the Top 5 Film Festivals in Los Angeles. The festival celebrates the renaissance of Downtown LA (DTLA) in all its facets - its historic movie palaces, its legendary cultural institutions, its thriving business and residential communities, and its unique ethnic-cultural diversity.

DTLA is in the midst of a historic building boom not seen since the 1920s. Dozens of restaurants, lounges, galleries and hotels continue to open in this great city. Established digital and other corporate brands, creative agencies and high-tech start-ups are setting up shop. DTLA is the most exciting place to be in Los Angeles - its new creative nexus - and DTLA Film Fest is the largest film event in DTLA. DTLAFF was just awarded best Annual Event by Downtown News.

Since 2008 the festival has screened more than a thousand narrative and documentary features and shorts. We embrace diversity in front of and behind the camera. We lean toward films that push the creative envelope and through the years we've honored an array of artists who have contributed to independent cinema: Mira Sorvino, Rosanna Arquette, Malcom McDowell, John Hawkes, Laura Dern, Mark Ruffalo, Charles Burnett, Penelope Spheeris, Allison Anders and Robert Altman.

Our audience is comprised of entertainment industry professionals: producers, agents, filmmakers, film financiers and other film, music, TV, video game, Internet, marketing, social media influencers, fashion industry creatives and cinephiles. Films at our festival enjoy the advantage of being seen by an array of the aforementioned industries that can make a difference in your film and your career. We are also known for our parties, and panels where everyone can network and have the full festival experience.

The 13th Annual DTLA Film Festival was held September 14-18, 2022. Our primary screening venue is Regal L.A. Live Stadium 14, in Downtown Los Angeles, featuring state-of-the-art a/v equipment and facilities. The multiplex is part of the larger L.A. Live Entertainment Complex featuring 25 restaurants and lounges as well as the Grammy Museum, the Staples Center and other entertainment venues. DTLA is the hub of Los Angeles, and L.A. Live is the hub of DTLA.

This year's festival will be bringing back it’s screenwriting competition accepting features, shorts and TV Pilots. The majority of the festival's 100+ screenings this year will continue to be reserved for movies of all genres and themes. DTLA Film Fest remains committed to its tradition of fearless innovation and diversity in programming.

Prizes are awarded in all the major categories (best picture, director, cinematographer, screenwriter, actors), divided by genre: narrative feature, documentary feature and shorts. Best screenplay will also receive an award.

UPDATE on our new festival dates: 15th annual DTLA Film Festival (Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles) November 1-5, 2023.
(Please note dates may be subject to change)


Since submission of a film constitutes acceptance of these Entry Rules & Regulations (by you and your agents), please review this document carefully.

DTLA Film Festival accepts no responsibility for loss or damage of entries during shipment to or from the festival.

1. Entrant must follow all submission/entry dates in this listing. No exceptions will be made for late entries.

2. Complete submission form electronically and submit it via FilmFreeway.

3. All entries must be in English or contain English subtitles (unless special arrangements have been made with festival).

4. If requested you will provide evidence of intellectual property ownership.

5. The film submitted is not subject to litigation nor is threatened by any litigation.

6. You are duly authorized to submit this film to the festival and its competition.

7. For publications purposes, if your film is selected for screening, entrants must be prepared to supply at least three electronic images (publicity stills) either in jpeg or PDF format, 300 dpi, under 2K. Selected filmmakers have the option of submitting a standard size movie poster which will be displayed prior to their screening.

8. If selected to screen at DTLAFF 2022, Presenting Filmmakers of feature length films including documentaries will be required to submit a DCP screening copy and a back-up Blu-Ray. Entrants will be solely responsible for delivering their exhibition video materials
to DTLAFF at least 3 weeks before the start date of the festival (Sept.7, 2022) — no exceptions! Screening copies will be available for retrieval by the filmmakers or his/her designated representative (once arrangements have been made with the festival) at the conclusion of the festival and at the festivals schedule. Alternatively, screening copies may be shipped back to filmmakers at the cost of the entrant. The festival is not responsible for shipping costs, or damage to the deliverables. If arrangements are not made by the filmmaker within one week of completion of the festival the festival reserves the right to destroy said deliverables.

9. No film may be withdrawn from the festival program after its selection, and no film may be screened outside the festival venue includes digital screenings, during the Festival and before its official presentation without the approval of DTLAFF.


9. ONCE SELECTED to the festival the selected features and documentaries must meet the below DCP requirements. ..NO EXCEPTIONS..
If selected features and documentaries cannot meet the below requirements your film will not be screened and removed from the festival as an official selection.
All costs for DCP's are sole responsibility of entrant. The festival does not pay for or provide DCP's.

Selected features and documentaries must meet the following DCP specifications:

We are only capable of playing two types of aspect ratios in our cinema (Flat and Scope):
2K Flat (1.85:1) Resolution: 1998x1080
2k Scope (2.39:1) Resolution: 2048x858
4k Flat (1.85:1) Resolution: 3996x2160
4K Scope (2.39:1) Resolution: 4096x1716
The L60/alchemy can do max:
3D @ 2K resolution - 120 fps total - i.e. 60 per eye.
3D @ 4K resolution - 60 fps total - i.e. 30 per eye.
Please note the hard drive that will hold the DCP must be formatted for Linux EXT2, or Linux EXT3 to work properly with the servers.
Your content must be PC compatible as our projectors will not read MAC files.
The content needs to be an unencrypted wrapped DCP file (It can be encrypted as long as we have keys/KDMs).


Quicktime .mov format
ProRes 422 HQ codec
Uncompressed Stereo or 5.1 surround Linear PCM audio embedded in the QT file
1 second of black & silence at the beginning and end of the QT files

10. For publication purposes, if your film/video is selected for screening, entrants must be prepared to supply at least three electronic images (publicity stills) either in jpeg or PDF format, 300 dpi, under 2K. Selected filmmakers have the option of submitting a standard size movie poster, which will be displayed prior to their screening.

11. Final selection of films included in DTLA Film Festival will be at the sole discretion of the festival’s organizers.


Please read this agreement carefully before you submit your screenplay. By submitting your screenplay, you expressly acknowledge and agree that you shall be bound by the terms of this agreement.

1. Original Content: All entries submitted to the DTLAFF Screenplay Competition must be original works by the applicant. If the script is an adaptation or based on source material to which the entrant doesn't own the rights, permission to adapt the original work must be submitted as the first page in the screenplay PDF.

2. Submissions: Submissions must be made online. No mailed or emailed entries are accepted. DTLAFF does not allow changes to the categories after submission. All submissions are final, and DTLAFF does not issue refunds or adjustments of entry fees.

3. Formatting: Screenplays must be formatted according to industry standards. Pages must be numbered and typed in 12 point Courier font. All entries must be submitted in English.

4. Judging: Scripts will be judged based on final scores that cover multiple criteria including, but not limited to, structure, premise, entertainment value, and commercial viability. All finalists and winners are subjectively determined by our judges. All decisions are final.

5. Co-Authors: If a screenplay has more than one author, it is up to the authors to decide how many authors to list on the application and who will be the primary contact email. Awards are given per entry, not per author. Therefore, groups of authors associated with one entry are responsible for the division of the award. DTLAFF does not assume responsibility for arrangements with regard to award divisions.

6. Copyright: All entrants are encouraged, but not required to register their screenplays with the Writers’ Guild of America, East or West: www.wgaeast.org/script_registration, or www.wga.org/registration/index.html.

7. There is no limit to the number of screenplays an entrant can enter. However, the same screenplay cannot be submitted multiple times under different names. If so, you will be disqualified.

8. Entrant must not be an immediate family member or friend of any of the judges or their respective companies.

9. Entrants must follow all submission/entry dates in this listing. No exceptions will be made for late entries.

10. Completed submission form, needs to be submitted electronically via FilmFreeway.

11. All entries must be in English (unless special arrangements have been made with festival.)

Direct all question about the screenplay content to leann@dtlaff.com


Please review all submission categories carefully before submitting your project. All entrants are required to pay the submission fee of their film’s appropriate category.
If you believe that you have submitted your film to the wrong category, contact FilmFreeway directly at support@filmfreeway.com or (702) 509-6992 during business hours.

The entrant will be responsible for any changes in submission fees. We cannot offer partial refunds or any refunds for categories with a smaller fee. If the new category has a higher fee, the entrant is responsible for paying the difference.

Submission of the same entry to multiple categories is not encouraged. Please read category descriptions carefully to determine where your submission belongs. If the entrant wishes to submit to multiple categories, a separate submission fee must be paid for each category. DTLAFF reserves the right to determine eligibility of a submission in each respective


We do not require a World Premiere in any category, but premiere status is taken into consideration when making final selections. However, we DO REQUIRE a Los Angeles theatrical premiere in most cases.

Films should not have been publicly screened in the greater Los Angeles area prior to the 2022 DTLA Film Festival, and we strongly prefer to program works that have not yet screened in the state of California. Exceptions to this rule may be made on rare occasions and are solely at the discretion of the programming team. Similarly, films that have acquired US distribution of any kind prior to selection at DTLAFF are not eligible for competition.

Feature films that have been (or will be) publicly released online, on VOD, or DVD prior to the 2022 DTLAFF are not eligible to screen. Short films, TV pilots and web series that are available online are programmed on a case by case basis, but we typically prioritize films that have not yet been released to the public.

Student films will be taken into consideration on a case-by-case basis.

NOTE: This clause only applies to films that are PUBLICLY available to screen. Films that have screened online as part of a virtual festival presentation may still be eligible for screening at DTLAFF.

It is the entrant’s responsibility to notify DTLAFF of any updates in premiere status as they occur, especially if the film is selected for another festival in the state of California.

The festival reserves the right to interpret premiere status of submissions on a case-by-case basis. Any exceptions are solely left to the festival organizers. For any questions please email info@dtlaff.com


By entering your film for consideration to the 2022 DTLA Film Festival, you authorize that your work is cleared for festival exhibition and accept full legal responsibility for the intellectual property therein. The entrant and all filmmakers associated with the project shall indemnify and hold harmless DTLA Film Festival, event organizers and any representative or affiliates from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.


Participation in the DTLA Film Festival implies understanding and acceptance that:

1. DTLAFF is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes.

2. The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations.

Please note: DTLA Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) charitable, IRS tax-exempt nonprofit arts organization, and therefore we DO NOT PAY SCREENING FEES and cannot offer fee waivers.

DTLAFF does NOT PAY SHIPPING COSTS/FEES OF ANY KIND. We appreciate your understating.

All entry fees are non-refundable.

Exceptions to the festival regulations must be authorized by the festival’s director.

Any questions about this listing please email us at info@dtlaff.com. We are here to help.


The festival organizers reserve the right to keep open the possibility of live events being canceled, affected, altered or otherwise affected due to safety guidelines and recommendations made by government health officials. DTLAFF reserves the right to cancel any live events or any in person presentations if necessary. Should this be the case an online festival will take the place of any and all live events. Due to the ongoing pandemic and its changing landscape, the festival reserves the right to make these decisions in accordance with health and safety precautions. NO refunds will be issued for any submissions if the festival has to change to an online event.

Our number one priority being the health and well-being of both Festival filmgoers and the residents of the entire community. DTLAFF will continue to monitor and communicate to our filmmaking community all developments on the pandemic, and will adhere to the guidelines and recommendations made by government health officials. Attendees to the Festival for any in-person events understand that they must follow the health and safety instructions directed by the government and must disclose if they have been experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, or have tested positive for COVID-19, for the safety of all DTLAFF guests, staff, and patrons. DTLAFF may revise its COVID-19 guidelines and policies at any time in accordance with the recommendations of public health officials and other experts in this field. DTLAFF reserves the right to deny admission to any person who fails to adhere to the policies in place at the time of the Festival. An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. Guests voluntarily assume all risks related to the exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold DTLAFF liable for any illness that may result.

Overall Rating
  • Hassan Said

    great experience, great venue, great staff.

    November 2023
  • Jowanda Durham

    This was an amazing festival! The films were top notch and the networking events were awesome! DTLA is very inclusive and exciting.

    November 2023
  • Brian Regal

    Overall, an excellent festival. Well attended and great venues in downtown LA. A nearly full movie theater for a block of comedy shorts! Was a fantastic experience and looking forward to submitting in the future. 10/10

    November 2023

    DTLA one of the best Festivals showcasing films. We are always honored to be selected and working with the team has been a pleasure...very caring of filmmakers...they know our journey is long and hard.

    November 2023
  • Eon Song

    My screenplay was selected for the festival. Thank you! The organizer was very communicative regarding updates and tickets. I went to see a premiere of a feature film. The theatre was nice looking (Regal theater) in a prominent area of town. Photobooth was professional looking with lights. The checkin process was smooth as well. 10/10 would recommend this festival again.

    November 2023