The 25th annual Malibu Film Festival ™ is set to take place from May 24-31, 2025, hosted again at the prestigious DGA Theater Complex, additional locations may be announced. Continuing the success of previous online editions, the festival will also offer a virtual experience accessible to everyone through XOLO.TV, the film festival streaming platform.


Established in 1997, Malibu Film Festival ™ is a premier showcase for U.S. and international independent films. Malibu Film Festival is produced and staffed by members of the Director's Guild of America (DGA); Television Academy (Emmys); Producer's Guild of America (PGA) and IATSE.

Since 1999, Malibu Film Festival has been recognized as a premiere festival for discovering emerging directors. Honorees and Filmmakers who first presented their work at the festival are now amongst the biggest names in the industry include Academy Award® winning director James Cameron (Avatar, Titanic, Terminator); Academy Award® winning director Bryan Fogel (Jewtopia, Icarus, The Dissident);


Malibu Film Festival programs high quality new films from emerging filmmakers. Malibu Film Festival provides audience members, filmmakers, festival programmers and industry professionals an opportunity to network and discover the next generation of creative talent.

The festival program is selected entirely from a blind submissions pool. No films are given special treatment based on who made them or who they know. Malibu Film Festival programers are comprised of award winning filmmakers, festival alumni, and working union members including DGA, SAG/AFTRA, IATSE and WGA.


The DGA Theater Complex is recognized throughout the entertainment industry as one of the preeminent screening, private reception, and film premiere facilities in the United States. This private screening facility is designed to provide the ideal environment for industry professionals to screen their films. Each Theater is equipped with film, digital sound and digital video projection systems, carefully designed sight lines and comfortable seating.


* Grand Jury Award for Narrative Feature
* Grand Jury Award for Documentary Feature
* Grand Jury Award for Episodic
* Grand Jury Award for Narrative Short
* Grand Jury Award for Documentary Short
* Grand Jury Award for Animation Short
* Grand Jury Award for Experimental Short
*Grand Jury Award AI Short
*Grand Jury Award Podcast


* Audience Award for Documentary Feature
* Audience Award for Episodic
* Audience Award for Narrative Short
* Audience Award for Documentary Short
* Audience Award for Animation Short
* Audience Award for Experimental Short
* Audience Award for AI short
* Audience Award for Podcast

By entering the Malibu Film Festival, you agree to follow its rules and guidelines.


• We consider films in any language, from anywhere in the world. If your film is not in English, make sure it has English subtitles where necessary.
• We consider work in progress. Please include a title card describing what is unfinished at the beginning of the submission screener.
• We consider films regardless of their premiere status. Even if your film has already premiered at another festival, whether it screened at a physical venue or online, it’s still eligible for consideration.
• We consider films regardless of their completion date. You can submit any film no matter when it was made.
• Features previously or currently being released in the US by a third party distributor are not eligible for consideration.
• Features previously self-distributed by the filmmakers online are not eligible for consideration in Feature categories.
• Only directors' debut features with a budget under 1 million USD are accepted to the Narrative and Documentary First Feature competition. If your work is not your first feature film, submit it to our Breakouts competition.
• There's no additional eligibility criteria for short film categories. All shorts are eligible!


• All screeners must be uploaded by the appropriate deadline.
• Deadlines close at 11:59 PM PST.
• We will contact entrants if there's anything wrong with the submission. If this occurs, you will need to fix the submission issue by the requested deadline, otherwise we can't guarantee that your film will be watched in time.
• We don't provide refunds for festival entries.
• Entrants can update their screener by uploading a new video file provided your original link url does not change. The link must stay the same after you have submitted your entry. If it is replaced programmers will lose access to your screener and it may not be watched in time for consideration.
• We strongly recommend that ALL submitted films regardless of category include English subtitles (whether the film is in English or another language) so that they may be accessible to all of our Programmers. Films in a language other than English MUST have English subtitles.


• Deliberating programmers determine a festival selection through discussion and voting.
• Each participating programmer has an equal vote and no festival competition selections are made outside of this process.
• Our programmers are not required to read submission cover letters and other supporting materials, but we encourage you to submit them in case they want to learn more about you and your work.
• We don't share programming feedback with entrants.
• The Malibu programmers' decisions are final.


• Accepted filmmakers will be notified via email, phone or text. Filmmakers must confirm their participation by the given deadline, otherwise they might lose their spot in the line-up.
• Accepted filmmakers must be the authors of their submitted work and be ready to sign an agreement stating that they own all rights to their film and its components ahead of screening at Malibu
• If accepted, entrants are responsible for delivering their festival exhibition copy, trailer, screener link, press stills and press-kit on time.
• All accepted films must have Closed Captioning in English ready in time for their festival screening. We highly recommend you work on this while you wait for your festival acceptance since it will make your film more accessible to audiences wherever it may be shown.
• If accepted, filmmakers are expected to attend the festival.
• We don't cover filmmakers' travel expenses.
• We don't provide screening fees.

*****And filmmakers Please note! Submission to the Malibu Film Festival comes with a one year free subscription to the the film festival streaming platform (!

Overall Rating
  • DK Greenley

    Grateful to MIFF programmers for the official selection nod and pleased to have captured an online streaming premiere via the platform for my dark sci-fi short-form project entitled BLUR: A HuMech Story. An independent filmmaker's dream come true!

    June 2024
  • Tim Granberg

    Having been to several other LA Based festivals in the last few months, this is by my favorite of the bunch. Not only was the theater the best (my movie “Nubbinwood” never looked/sounded better), but the quality and variety of all the selected films made for an entirely enjoyable day at the theater. I definitely look forward to attending this festival again, hopefully as a filmmaker (cross my fingers), but also as someone who just likes to spend the day watching good movies. I highly recommend this festival.

    June 2024
  • Excellent experience at the festival!

    We had so much fun there, even more so when our film KITE won Best International Short!

    The venue is also unique since it's screened at the Director's Guild of America.


    The organizers are also very friendly, I can only recommend that festival!

    June 2024
  • Brendan Murphy

    We had a wonderful time at the 2024 Malibu Film Festival held at the Director’s Guild of America. MFF is such a well put together festival and all of our attendees had nothing but praise for the event. Our film “Fluxx” ended up taking home the award for “Best Narrative” which was a huge honor. The film looked and sounded incredible at the DGA and by far the best presentation we have seen of it yet. Myself and the entire team highly recommend Malibu to all independent filmmakers. They really care about Indy cinema and it shows. Looking forward to screening with them again in the future! Thank you MFF!!

    June 2024
  • Justin Marmorstein

    Had a great time at the festival. Great people that put this all together. Theater and films were amazing. All the films were top notch and it was a honor to be selected with the rest of the videos shown. The Gala had a beautiful food spread and great sponsors. Will be submitting again next year!

    June 2024