“One of the best regional festivals out there” (25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World, 2020) — MovieMaker Magazine

"The ultimate indie film festival." — Seattle's CityArts Magazine

"One of the premier festivals in the Northwest." — PostDefiance.com

The Tacoma Film Festival is a celebration of independent film mirroring the diverse and eclectic sensibilities of Western Washington’s second largest city. Including selections from the Pacific Northwest and all over the world, TFF prides itself on showcasing the connectedness of local, national, and international film. It’s a great festival to connect with audiences, filmmakers, critics, and professionals because of the friendly, and collegial atmosphere throughout. The whole community gets behind the festival and makes it a really one-of-a-kind experience.

“It was one of the most diverse and current selection of films, shorts and new media that I have ever experienced in a film festival. I met people there that I will continue to be connected to for a long time.” — Juan Carlos Zaldívar, filmmaker

“The programming at TFF had such a progressive vision of cinema. The festival had a definite voice and created a warm atmosphere for filmmakers…” — Masami Kawai, filmmaker

“Very friendly, great emphasis on the films and filmmakers and creating an intimate community for film-going. Beautiful festival.” — Derek Knowles, filmmaker


– In November 2020, over 125 independent films were presented online to audiences across the US and within Washington State.

– in 2019, over 200+ films including many world, US, and Washington premieres were presented in the Grand Cinema and other venues. Our programming presented films that featured innovative storytelling, creative non-fiction, and wonderful works of animation.

– In 2019 we had the fourth year of our wildly successful filmmaker housing program where we hand-select wonderful community members to host filmmakers.

– The Veldt VR Studio. Our fifth year in 2019 presented a diverse selection of virtual reality works, exhibited in a beloved community space, and without time limits.

– Panels and workshops geared towards independent filmmakers.

– Fun parties and after parties!

Established in 2006, the Tacoma Film Festival was created and developed by the passionate individuals behind Tacoma's only non-profit art-house movie theater, The Grand Cinema. The Grand (TFF's primary venue) is one of the Puget Sound region's strongest outlets for both international and local independent filmmakers, and works hand-in-hand with the festival to connect our city to the art of film.

(award total $8150)

Best Narrative Feature $1000
Best Documentary Feature $1000
Best Narrative Short $750
Best Documentary Short $750
Best Animation $250
Best Music Video $250
Best Virtual Reality film $250

Best Pacific Northwest feature $500
Best Pacific Northwest short $250

Audience Choice Awards
Filmmakers not from the Pacific Northwest are eligible for these awards. Winners will be chosen based on audience votes.
Audience Choice, Feature $500
Audience Choice, Short $250

PNW Audience Choice Awards
Pacific Northwest filmmakers are eligible for the PNW Choice Awards. Winners will be chosen based on audience votes.
Audience Choice, Pacific Northwest Feature $500
Audience Choice, Pacific Northwest Short $250

Additional Awards
Best Director, Documentary Feature $150
Best Director, Narrative Feature $150
Best Director, Documentary Short $125
Best Director, Narrative Short $125

Best Performance, Narrative Feature $150
Best Screenplay, Narrative Feature $150
Best Performance, Narrative Short $125
Best Screenplay, Narrative Short $125

Best Cinematography, Documentary Feature $150
Best Cinematography, Narrative Feature $150
Best Cinematography, Documentary Short $125
Best Cinematography, Narrative Short $125

All awards except Audience Choice decided by a jury composed of filmmakers, film programmers, critics, and/or industry professionals.


1. Submission Deadline Structure
Submissions Open: December 15, 2021
Early Deadline: March 15, 2022
Regular Deadline: May 1, 2021
Late Deadline: June 1, 2021

2. Submission Format
Films must be submitted via secure online screener (Vimeo or YouTube) or via FilmFreeway online screening portal only.

3. Submission Eligibility
All submissions must have been completed after January 1, 2020.

4. Premiere Status
- No premiere status is required, but US Premiere status is preferred.
- Pacific Northwest films (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia) must have not had prior film festival screenings in Tacoma, WA.

5. Selection of Films
- The Tacoma Film Festival will complete the selection process by September 1, 2022 and will contact all submitting parties by email with programming status at that time. Accepted films will receive a Filmmaker Welcome Packet via email that will include important information about DCP exhibition, “Host a Filmmaker” lodging program, press and publicity, guest accreditation, festival filmmaker liaison contact information and how to make the most of participation in the festival.

- The accepted film must be received by the Tacoma Film Festival by 9/23/2022 to be played at the Tacoma Film Festival, October 6-13, 2022.

- The submitter is responsible for shipping or uploading the exhibition copy to the Tacoma Film Festival. TFF will pay domestic ground shipping only to return exhibition copies if applicable (no overnight or express). Non-ground or international shipping must be paid by the filmmaker.

6. DCP is Required for features and shorts*
WE REQUIRE DCP (Digital Cinema Package). Shorts must supply DCP and 1080p downloadable file backup, and features must supply either 1080p downloadable file or Blu-ray backup. If you are not prepared to meet the DCP requirement, please do not submit your film.
*(Music videos/VR submissions are not required to supply DCP).

7. COVID 19
We intend for the 17th TFF to take place in the cinema during the festival dates of October 6-13 if the situation safely allows for this. However, screenings may take place outdoors, or at a drive-in, or with other alternative arrangements. The festival may also take place online, if necessary. Filmmakers can choose to opt out of any online screenings.

8. Screening and Scheduling
The festival aspires to provide the best quality projection possible but will not be held liable for any failure in the technical quality of the projection, nor will fees be refunded in any such case. The Tacoma Film Festival assumes that the submitting party or filmmaker(s) or entrant(s) or print source company has insured for damage and loss of the festival print or hard-drive.

Screenings are scheduled during the festival at the discretion of the Tacoma Film Festival. The Tacoma Film Festival also retains the right to run limited Press & Industry screenings the week leading up to the festival.
Festival Promotion
Should your film be programmed, very brief portions of your submitted material may be copied and utilized for the purpose of promoting your film. Upon submission, filmmakers grant the Tacoma Film Festival the right to use clips and press materials from the film for promotional purposes unless the filmmaker requests otherwise in writing.

- Please make a note in your submission if you have any connections to the Pacific Northwest region.
- Entry fees are waived for films made in Washington and/or for Directors currently residing in Washington State. Please email us at info@tacomafilmfestival.com.
- Returning TFF alumni filmmakers’ entry fees are waived. To request a waiver, please include the film title and year it played in Tacoma and email us at info@tacomafilmfestival.com.
- Works in progress will automatically be disqualified.
- Industrials, promotional, or news report films will not be considered if submitted.
- Entry fees will not be refunded.

We provide waivers and/or discounts to the following:

TFF Alumni - if you’ve screened at TFF in the past, we will waive the submission fee.

Pacific Northwest Filmmakers - if your film was made in the State of Washington, you may be eligible for a waiver.

Student Discount - we provide a $10 discount for students or student works (films made during matriculation) on presentation of current student ID or proof of enrollment during production of your film.

We do not provide waivers for any other types of submissions.
No phone inquiries, please.
Please email us with questions: info@tacomafilmfestival
Thank you!


If a film obtains distribution after submission, TFF will have the right to screen the film at the festival without screening fee. TFF will place any such film in its respective category for competition.

By entering the Tacoma Film Festival, entrants release and hold the promoter and host and other contest entities harmless from and against any and all losses, damages, rights, claims and action of any kind arising in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from the festival. The Festival will handle the films with care but cannot be held liable for any damage or loss during the shipping, preview or screening. The Festival is not responsible for any claim involving copyright, trademark or royalty infringements related to the work. Applicants are responsible for their own insurance and are not covered by the festival's insurance.

On submission, the filmmaker grants The Festival the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes.

The individual or corporation submitting the film warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations.

The submitting filmmaker shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless The Festival from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, expert witness 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.

Overall Rating
  • Really cool festival, and always a good experience to screen locally.

    November 2021
  • michael lavine

    I had such a great time screening my short The Dark Odyssey at the Tacoma Film Festival this year. Wade was a wonderful host, everyone was super friendly and the quality of all the films was top notch. Can't wait to go back next year!

    November 2021
  • Great selection of films and a lovely atmosphere! Best Q&A I've been apart of too.

    October 2021
  • We loved being part of TFF! The Grand Cinema is a wonderful venue, and the entire festival team was organized and fun to hang out with. They also did a fabulous job with line-up for our feature documentary and the relevant, local shorts that opened for it. Thanks for the great time and screening!

    October 2021
  • Marina Santana

    Amazing line-up and curation. I loved the communication and the logistics. Loved all the filmmakers at the festival and the team at Tacoma Film Festival was awesome. I loved it.

    October 2021