Malibu Film Festival's focus is on supporting emerging directors. As a nonprofit arts organization, the Malibu Film Foundation has held the Malibu Film Festival for close to twenty five years to support emerging directors and introduce their work to audiences, creating a community around independent storytelling.

Malibu Film Festival is produced and staffed by members of the Director's Guild of America (DGA).

The 23rd Malibu Film Festival will take place in-person in 2023 and is now open for film submissions exclusively on FilmFreeway.

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);

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
Audience Award for Best Short Film

Please check Malibu Film Festival's website for General Rules, Terms and Conditions of entry, to which all entrants must agree.

Overall Rating
  • Gonghee Lee

    I am very happy and grateful for the selection and screening of my film.
    I will make more amazing movies.

    September 2022
  • Human Telegraphs

    We absolutely love Malibu Film Festival and we were so excited that our series, Human Telegraphs was selected to screen there! While we were disappointed when the festival had to move to virtual due to Covid, we thought the festival did a great job of hosting a virtual event! The communication was great too! Highly recommend!

    July 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Human Telegraphs for the kind words and participation. We loved the performances from Fern Lim, Rachel Kay Barclay, and Kayla Conroy. A great comedy series!. Thank you for another 5 star review!

  • Hique Montanari

    My feature film YONLU was selected for the 2022 edition of the Malibu Film Festival and we were very honored to be together with so many other great films in this great event of world cinema. Cheers!

    May 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Hique for bringing your Brazilian influences to the cinema screen! YONLU won over the audience worldwide. So happy to have your involvement in this year's festival! Thank you for another 5 star review!

  • Minima Films

    A fantastic festival with a great selection of films. Thanks to Malibu Film Festival for their dedication toward indie projects and the language of cinema.

    May 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Minima Films for your sharing "Migrant Birds Fly". You have honored the three legendary female poets, Anna Akhmatova, Forough Farokhzad, and Li Qinzhao. Keep making films that inspire the world. Thank you for another 5 star review!

  • Marc Martinez

    Well run festival and eclectic festival.

    April 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Marc for documenting history! Dream Big (A Golden Time In The Golden State) instills the movement and the times. A great first feature documentary. Thank you for another 5 star review!