The California Film Awards recognizes and celebrates important world cinema that represents the forefront of aesthetic, critical and entertainment standards in contemporary independent filmmaking and screenwriting, honoring new and cutting-edge American and foreign independent films in several competition categories. Partnering with notable film industry companies, film educators, directors, producers, and writers, the California Film Awards provides a forum for talented filmmakers to be recognized for their work, creativity, and achievements.

California Film Awards - Awards CeremonyThe California Film Awards recognizes excellence in filmmaking in several competition categories with the prestigious California Film Awards. The Official Jury will award deserving films, filmmakers, and writers in the following categories: Best Picture, Screenplay, Directing, Actor, Actress, Art Design, Cinematography, Editing, Animation, Short Films, Feature Narratives, Documentaries, Foreign Films, Music Videos, Experimental Films, First-Time Directors, California Films, and Student Films. In addition, Special Jury Prizes and cash awards will be awarded to several standout films and screenplays at the discretion of the Jury.

Screenplay Competition
The California Film Awards proudly supports the craft of screenwriting by discovering and recognizing important new talent through our annual Screenplay Competition. Top screenplays in the competition are awarded based on the quality and originality of the work. The California Film Awards seeks to discover and award new and original voices in screenwriting from around the globe.

Awards & Prizes

Each year, awards are bestowed upon the winning filmmakers and screenwriters in a variety of competition categories. Juried awards are given in several categories to celebrate achievements in filmmaking, screenwriting and acting including the Grand Jury Prize, presented to the best film in competition among all categories, and select Special Jury Prizes awarded for originality of vision and superior execution as determined by a jury of industry professionals.

Grand Jury Award
Special Jury Prize
Diamond Level Award
Gold Level Award
Silver Level Award
Best Narrative Feature
Best Documentary Feature
Best Narrative Short
Best Documentary Short
Best Foreign Feature
Best Foreign Short
Best Student Feature
Best Student Short
Best Animated Feature
Best Animated Short
Best Director
Best Screenplay
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best California Feature
Best California Short
Best Experimental Film
Best Music Video
Best Television Pilot
Best Comedy
Best Family Film
Best First-time Director
Best First-time Documentary
Best Dramatic Film
Best Television Commercial

Orson Welles Awards:
Animated Film
California Film
Documentary Film
Music Video
Narrative Film
Screenplay
Short Film
Student Film
Television Pilot

Screenplay Competition
Five scripts will be recognized at Top Winners - 1st through 5th place.
Ten scripts will be recognized as Official Finalists.
Ten scripts will be recognized at Honorable Mentions.
Diamond Level Award
Gold Level Award
Silver Level Award

Short Script Competition
Five scripts will be recognized at Top Winners - 1st through 5th place.
Ten scripts will be recognized as Official Finalists.
Ten scripts will be recognized at Honorable Mentions.
Diamond Level Award
Gold Level Award
Silver Level Award

Rules & Terms

Competition Rules and Conditions:
Entrants retain all of their rights, title and interest in their works and intellectual property.

All fiction, documentary, and short films of any form or genre can apply to the California Film Awards. Films should have been completed no earlier than three years prior to the submission date.

Works in progress are accepted.

The entry fee is nonrefundable.

More than one entry may be submitted.

Entrants agree to indemnify and hold us, including our employees, our officers, and our partners and affiliates harmless against all claims arising out of entry or participation in the California Film Awards.

Films produced in languages other than English should have legible English subtitles.

Entrants are responsible for obtaining any necessary licenses, royalties, release forms, clearances, permits necessary to present their work.

The selection committees’ and juries’ decisions are final.

Awarded films are not screened for the public. The California Film Awards will announce winners to the public via its official website, through social media, and other online promotional channels.

The California Film Awards may opt, dependent upon the number of entries for a given year, and at its sole discretion, to hold an annual awards ceremony as it has in years past. Attendence to any such ceremony is not mandatory for winning filmmakers and screenwriters.

The California Film Awards reserves the right to make any necessary changes in regulations or scheduling.

Submission of a film or screenplay to the California Film Awards implies express understanding and acceptance to all competition rules and conditions.

Screenplay Competition Rules and Conditions:
Entrants retain all of their rights, title and interest in their works, screenplays, and intellectual property.

Screenplays written by up to four people may be entered in the competition.

You may submit multiple entries.

Scripts should be no longer than 185 pages.

The entry fee is nonrefundable.

Submissions must be the original work of the applicant. Entries, however, may be adapted from the applicant’s own work. If the script is based on a true story, historical or contemporary, that should be noted on the title page of the script.

Entrants agree to indemnify and hold us, including our employees, our officers, and our partners and affiliates harmless against all claims arising out of entry or participation in the California Film Awards.

Script materials will not be returned.

The California Film Awards will not share your script with anyone except the judges of the competition.

The California Film Awards may opt, dependent upon the number of entries for a given year, and at its sole discretion, to hold an annual awards ceremony as it has in years past. Attendence to any such ceremony is not mandatory for winning filmmakers and screenwriters.

Submission of a film or screenplay to the California Film Awards implies express understanding and acceptance to all competition rules and conditions.

21 Reviews

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
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    Brian Palmer

    I am honored to have my work included in the California Film Awards. Thank you for recognizing my feature script, "Lazaro", as an Official Finalist, and my feature script, "Triskel" as a Silver Award winner. Outstanding communication. I had an excellent experience. Highly recommended. Thanks!

    September 2017
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    Steven Wayne Knight

    Gracious people to deal with - and they gave us our second award of the many that followed. Their COMMUNICATION was fantastic. They were second to see that "HORACE BELL" was a high-concept script.

    June 2017
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    Roderick Bentley

    2016 was a great season for my submissions and I am thankful for the Honorable Mention from the California Film Awards. This screenplay competition was very professional and prompt with the results. I will submit to the California Film Awards in the future. Congratulations to all the winners and those who submitted.

    January 2017
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    Lisa Bruhn

    This is an online festival without screenings. Good communication about the festival submission and awards process.

    January 2017
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    Marilyn Swick

    Love this festival!!! Thank you for the awards!

    January 2017