The La Costa Film Festival offers the ultimate experience in a true destination festival. Hosted by the world renowned Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, a long time favorite Hollywood getaway located in the idyllic coastal village of Carlsbad by the Sea, whose motto is, “casual yet intimate, relaxed yet unforgettable." This coveted jewel in North San Diego County is known for gorgeous beaches, ideal year round climate, and unlimited sports options. You'll also enjoy fabulous local restaurants with gourmet farm to table cuisine, internationally recognized award winning craft beers, and local boutique wineries. It is home to such sports industry giants as Callaway, TaylorMade, and Cobra, as well as family focused attractions such as LEGOLAND, ‘The Flower Fields,’ and the Museum of Making Music. Don't forget the nearby world renowned San Diego Zoo, Wild Animal Park, Balboa Park, and Disneyland is only an hour away.

The Festival setting is the perfect environment for total immersion into the passion of filmmaking. Interact with filmmakers and stars such as Andy Garcia, Ed Harris, Ron Shelton, John C. McGinley, Chris Noth and many more who have openly shared their insights about their craft and bringing their vision to life. A variety of FREE panels filled with the most sought after film industry experts increase your opportunities to connect and further deepen your appreciation of their craft.

The Festival invites aspiring artists to participate in the ‘REEL PITCH’ competition, which has become an exciting platform for launching new careers in the film industry. This event which has been described as a " ‘Shark Tank’ for filmmakers," offers a live presentation of raw film ideas by 10 contestants to a panel of Hollywood Studio executives. They will select at least one winner to facilitate their ideas into a completed project with distribution opportunities. It’s educational, tense, thrilling, and not to be missed!

Filmmakers also have full access to the best of our area beginning with the Opening Night 'Sip & Savor Gala - featuring fabulous cuisine from the finest local restaurants, the best of award winning local craft beers, exquisite boutique wines, and all complemented by fantastic live musical entertainment. Many additional special events will be available to extend your pleasure including the La Costa Stars Saturday Night Awards Gala, and the Filmmakers Sunday Brunch.

The Festival offers a choice selection of films each year, ranging from documentaries, features and shorts. We feature a special Sports Film competition with the winners chosen by a celebrity panel of judges selecting the best narrative, documentary and short film for recognition. Student filmmakers from our San Diego County area high schools participate in their own short film competition with $500 in cash and additional prizes up to $2,000 in value. We offer a similar short film competition for college students with the same cash and prize value opportunity.

All three venues for screening are in close proximity which adds even more to the Festival's intimacy. Each one offers a unique and dynamic experience. We begin with the 1000 seat Center Court at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, which has been the site of world class professional tennis tournaments. It provides an unforgettable outdoor treat under the stars. The ultimate in pampering is provided by Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas, and adjacent to that theater is the spacious, relaxed and state of the art Ruby Schulman Theater at the Dove Library.

The film festival is operated through La Costa Dreams, a Carlsbad 501(c)3 public benefit organization.

Awards & Prizes

'The Reel Pitch'
This is an opportunity for a filmmaker to bring a raw idea or a film in an unfinished stage of development to a panel of studio executives procured by Mandalay Sports Media. Ten filmmakers will be preselected to present a five minute pitch, followed by three minutes of Q&A from the panel. After deliberation they will choose one contestant to help fine tune their idea and support their efforts to negotiate a deal of a lifetime. The winner will be announced at the Saturday Night La Costa Stars Awards Gala.

All genre films are eligible for the 'Audience Choice Awards' and 'Honorable Mentions' selections in each category:

Narrative Feature
Documentary Feature
Short Film

Sports Film Competition is a jury selection 'BEST FILM', for the following categories:

Sports Narrative Feature or Documentary
Sports Short Film

College Student filmmakers may submit a short film at a special discounted rate, with one winner eligible to win $500 in cash and additional prizes exceeding $2000 in value. Films must be produced, directed, written and shot by students. Filmmakers may submit a live action or animated short film under 20 minutes including credits in any genre. For consideration, student filmmakers must submit a valid student ID with their submission via FilmFreeway.

All San Diego County High School Student filmmakers may submit a short film at a special discounted rate. Films must be produced, directed, written and shot by students. Filmmakers may submit a live action or animated short film under 10 minutes including credits in any genre. The San Diego County High School Short Film Competition also offers up to $2000 in cash and prizes to the winner. For consideration, student filmmakers must submit a valid student ID with their submission via FilmFreeway.

Rules & Terms

By submitting this film, you acknowledge that you are in fact the authorized representative with all the necessary rights to all of the intellectual property contained therein, and warrant that you possess the right to commit the film for screening. Furthermore, permission is granted for public exhibition of the film during the 2017 La Costa Film Festival, by your acceptance of the conditions on the entry form. The La Costa Film Festival is also granted the right to utilize for promotional purposes an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition. It is also expected that the authorized film representative will use their best efforts to support the screening by encouraging attendance from the film’s producer, director, actors, writers, etc. The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless the La Costa Film Festival 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.

All submitted films must comply with the Submissions Guidelines including deadlines, exhibition format, entry material, etc.

All films must be San Diego Premieres and NO theatrical, Video On Demand, Television, Cable, Satellite, DVD, VHS, or Internet Streaming prior to September 21, 2017.

Entries must have been completed after October 2015.

Our deadlines are POSTMARK DEADLINES. Please make sure to have your film postmarked by the deadlines listed above.

The Festival is not responsible for returning DVD screeners.

Entrant assumes all shipping costs of materials to LCFF.

Foreign Language Films must have English Subtitles.

LCFF does not provide feedback for films that are not selected for the 2017 program.

Entrants are responsible for obtaining any necessary licenses, royalties, release forms, clearances, permits necessary to present their work. La Costa Film Festival is not responsible for any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, or royalty infringement related to the work.

Every precaution will be taken to safeguard all materials sent to the Festival but LCFF is not responsible for damage to submitted materials incurred by shipping to or from the Festival.

The Programming Staff will select and invite films at their discretion. If selected you will be notified via email by June 30, 2017.

Rough Cuts will be considered if the final cut meets extended deadline.

Selected Films may be screened multiple times during the course of the festival at our discretion.

The Festival does not pay screening fees. We will use our resources to present your film in the most effective showcase.

Acceptable exhibition formats vary by venue and may include (but are not necessarily limited to) DCP, Blu Ray disc, and/or .MOV on a hard drive. The festival requests DVD and/or Blu Ray disc back up copies to accompany all exhibition formats. Discs must be labeled with Title, Director, Running Time, Aspect Ratio and Contact Number. Filmmakers must provide pre-paid self-addressed package for all returning exhibition formats.

Selected Shorts must be received in Digital Format via hard drives. Filmmakers must provide pre-paid self-addressed package for all returning hard drives.

SelectedFilms must provide Press Kit including high res film stills (digital TIFF or JPEG files preferred with minimum 300 dpi), Clips or Trailer to be used for promotion and press. Director's photo, biography, filmography and any additional collateral material including postcards, posters, etc., must be received no later than July 17, 2017.

Film synopsis in English 75 words for Features and 50 words for Short.

The La Costa Film Festival reserves the right to make any necessary changes in regulations or Festival scheduling.

3 Reviews

Overall Rating
  • false
    Annie O'Neil

    I absolutely love this festival! Ruby Callahan has created a first class film festival in a beautiful setting. I highly recommend submitting to La Costa and doing yourself a favor and going if you are accepted! I was treated like royalty both times I was there, and hope my future projects will be accepted so I can return!

    November 2016
  • false
    Nathan Cohen

    Simply the best! Wonderful team, wonderful experience, excellent hospitality.

    October 2016
  • false
    Brent Deal

    I've had the honor of playing 3 of my movies at La Costa. The audiences have consistently been smart and engaged. The questions they ask in the Q&A have always fired me up. It's a huge compliment when people ask such concise and passionate questions about a movie. It shows they respect and love movies so much that they are truly entertained and invested. I consider it a great compliment to me, and I believe any filmmaker would appreciate as well. The experience, a filmmakers perspective is very rewarding at La Costa.

    October 2016