The Tacoma Film Festival celebrates current independent film from around the globe. Our primary focus is to present the best in contemporary independent filmmaking and to connect filmmakers and their work with appreciative, receptive audiences.

Now entering it’s 17th year, the Tacoma Film Festival has grown from a small regional festival into a welcoming, interactive haven for regional and international filmmakers, industry professionals, students, fans, critics, and creative entrepreneurs.

Named by MovieMaker Magazine in 2020 as one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World”, from 2011-2018 TFF was also included on their annual list of “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee”. In recent years, the Tacoma Film Festival has built a reputation as a low-key setting where indie film fanatics can meet up-and-coming creators and witness the future of film. Years before Naima Ramos-Chapman became a writer and producer for HBO's critically acclaimed series, Betty, she won her first award in Tacoma. Past participants also include the likes of Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld (High Maintenance); Terence Nance (Random Acts of Flyness); John Wilson (How to with John Wilson); and Julia Garner (Ozark).

Here is what others are saying about TFF:

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

“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 Zaldivar, filmmaker

"It's encouraging to see festivals that strive to find a balance between the avant-garde and more traditionally focused narrative and documentary films, and Tacoma really manages to bring these worlds together in ways that allow the viewer to see they aren’t that different at all.” - Sky Hopinka, for MovieMaker Magazine’s “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World”

“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/cinematographer

"As independent cinema decentralizes from traditional locales like NYC and L.A., spaces like TFF become ever more important to foster the diverse networks and discourse needed to advance independent film.” — Nicholas Pilarski, filmmaker

Highlights from 2021:

- In October 2021, TFF returned to screenings in the cinema, where over 150 independent films were presented over eight days to audiences across the US and within Washington State. Our programming presented films that featured innovative storytelling, creative non-fiction, and wonderful works of animation.

- Over 50 films from the festival were made available to audiences online concurrent with our cinematic screenings.

- TFF continues to be a vital space for emerging filmmakers. 17 of the 22 features screened in 2021 were either the director’s first or second feature-length film.

- We expanded our “Late Night” programming with three programs of short films, two features, and a new award dedicated to this category.

- Programs featuring films from the Pacific Northwest greatly increased with seven feature-length films and six short film programs.

Forthcoming for 2022:

- TFF will increase the number of feature-length narrative and documentary films throughout the 8 day festival.

– The return of our filmmaker housing program where we hand-select wonderful community members to host filmmakers.

– The Veldt VR Studio returns for its sixth year where a diverse selection of virtual reality works will be exhibited in a beloved community space, and without time limits.

– Panels and workshops geared towards independent filmmakers.

– Fun parties and after parties!

History:

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.

Over $6300 in cash awards will be distributed to 30 films of all categories including four audience awards.

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

For a complete list of awards, please see tacomafilmfestival.com

GENERAL RULES — PLEASE READ THIS SECTION IN FULL BEFORE SUBMITTING

All films completed after Jan 1, 2020. DCP (Digital Cinema Package) required. Closed Captioning files strongly encouraged. Upon submission, we will send you info for DIY resources for making your own DCP and caption files.

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

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 August 10, 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. TFF is committed to accessibility and all filmmakers are strongly encourage to include a closed-caption file for exhibition.

8. 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.

9. 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.

ADDITIONAL SUBMISSION RULES
- 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.

WAIVERS -
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!

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

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
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Derek Schneider

    As a filmmaker living in Tacoma, this has always been a festival I've had my eye on submitting to. I'm glad that I was lucky enough to be selected and to attend this awesome festival!

    March 2022
  • Dan Schwert

    TFF FTW! Our screening at The Grand Cinema was one of the best experiences of my life. A class act operation all the way. I was treated very kindly and professionally and the event and the festival as a whole were handled phenomenally. If I could give more than 5 stars I would. The Tacoma Film Festival is one of few remaining saviors of true Northwest independent filmmaking. Bravo!

    January 2022
  • 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