Malibu Film Festival 2022 combines an in-person festival in Malibu, CA and building upon the success of our 2021 online edition via, an accessible virtual experience for everyone to enjoy. Films officially selected for the 2022 Malibu Film Festival may be presented in Malibu, CA, online, or both — depending on emerging circumstances. While US guidelines pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to loosen, Malibu is still committed to the safety of our filmmakers and audiences as our top priority. We will continue to monitor and adapt as circumstances evolve to provide a safe, supportive, and engaging film festival experience for all attendees.

Since 1999, Malibu Film Festival has been recognized as a premiere festival for discovering visionary first-time 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);


The Malibu Film Festival accepts films in every genre, on any topic, from every country around the world. We showcase low-budget Narrative and Documentary Features by first-time directors, Breakout Features from non-first time directors, short films across genres, and episodes. We do not disqualify any films based on premiere status or date of completion.

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.


Jury Award for Narrative Feature
Jury Award for Documentary Feature
Jury Award for Narrative Short
Jury Award for Documentary Short
Jury Award for Animation Short
Jury Award for Experimental Short
Jury Award for Breakthroughs
Audience Award for Narrative Feature
Audience Award for Documentary Feature
Audience Award for Best Episode
Outstanding Acting Award
Filmmaker's Award (all participating filmmakers vote to determine which film/filmmaker best represents the Malibu Film Festival)

By entering 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.
• Only independently produced episodes completed in 2020 or later are accepted to the Episodes category.
• There's no additional eligibility criteria for short film categories. All shorts are eligible!
• Films made by or about people with disabilities of any genre/format/runtime are additionally eligible for the Malibu Ability Program. Filmmakers should select Ability as an additional category to submit to if interested and 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.


• Each film will be watched by at least two different programmers. If you are using Vimeo stats, you can track the watches most of the time. However, we've had many cases in which watches weren't recorded correctly, including for some of the accepted films. Please note that they are not always reliable.
• If a film gets two or more recommendations after the first round of watches, it will be watched by more programmers and discussed at deliberations sessions.
• 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 generally 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 cover shipping expenses for screening copies and other materials.
• We don't provide screening fees.

Overall Rating
  • zwtral -

    The Malibu International Film Festival is absolutely one of the best. Amazing creative content. The staff is courteous and professional. 100% recommend - get involved in any way. Also, be sure to check out their MalibuFlix.

    July 2021
  • Though these very tough times, we are happy to uphold some enthusiasm and hope for making a better world through our filmmaking. I am honored to be part of the Festivals fantastic selection of films which all hold a high standard. All through great communication and a lot of support and help with all the technical issues which finally created a perfect virtual venue. Thank you David and Malibu F F.

    July 2021
  • cristiana di palma

    They are so kind and precise, very attentive communicating all the informations you may need. Amazing Festival and thank you for the Best Short Winning ! It’s been a pleasure :)

    July 2021
  • Douglas Clayton

    Very fine festival with a creative method to offer films. Excellent support from the team.

    June 2021
  • Stephen Mills

    Malibu FF shines as a boutique beacon signaling to all the independent boats out there that here is safe harbor. It's a true honor to be selected. David Katz and Nicola Carbonetta love films and their selections reflect their willingness to bring to their audience a wide variety of out-of-the-box fare. They look ahead for the life of your film and I feel stoked to the skies I landed by chance at this cinematic oasis. Stephen Keep Mills, writer/director Love is not Love

    April 2021