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.

ALUMNI AND PNW (WA, OR, ID, BC) FILMMAKERS AND PROJECTS SUBMIT FREE! Email telling us why your project fits these categories and we'll send the waiver code

Now entering its 18th 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 2021 Movie Maker selected us as one of 20 Great Festivals for First Time Filmmakers. 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


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.

Cash prizes will be awarded to Best Narrative Feature and Short Film, Best Documentary Feature and Short Film. Amounts TBD.

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



1. Include at least one landscape-oriented and one portrait-oriented (1080x1920 is the best ratio) still that you would like to see in a festival program or on a festival website. Do not include any text on these two images.

2. Be prepared to make a Digital Cinema Package - DCP. You can have it done professionally but there are good guides out there for making one with Premiere or Final Cut Pro, DCP-O-Matic, and the like.

3. Captions are very, very important to a lot of festivals. Should your film be selected, your DCP should hopefully include an .srt file. There are services out there that make good captions with dialogue elements for less than one would expect. Also, the most commonly used film software now have caption/subtitles functions.

All films should be completed after Jan 1, 2021 DCP (Digital Cinema Package) required. Closed Captioning files strongly encouraged.

1. Submission Deadline Structure
Submissions Open: December 16, 2022
Early Deadline: March 15, 2023
Regular Deadline: May 1, 2023
Late Deadline: June 1, 2023

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, 2021.

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 starting August 4, 2023 and by August 26, 2023 at the latest 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 9/23/2023 to be played at the Tacoma Film Festival.

- 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 encouraged to include a closed-caption file for exhibition. TFF commits to providing captioning or subtitles to every film, excluding when technical errors prevent playback.

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 before and after the festival 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
- 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
- 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:
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
  • Arthur Musah

    Excellent festival. Great hosts, communications, venue and audiences. Thank you Tacoma Film Festival for a memorable and productive festival experience!

    November 2023
  • Wow, I loved this fest so much. I showed my feature comedy documentary "Punderneath It All" at Tacoma this year and had such a blast. I had already screened in the PNW before this, so I was worried about my turnout, but we had a nearly-sold out screening as well as a great live comedy event following the screening. Events were strongly promoted on social media, the comms team sent frequent and clear emails, and the volunteers were the best. Highly highly recommend!

    November 2023
  • Yoo Lee

    Tacoma as a city is beautiful and so was the venue for the festival. All the volunteers and the organizers couldn't be more hospitable and the selections were stellar. Was very honored to be part of the festival and glad I made the trip in person. Thank you!

    October 2023
  • darcy miller

    This is a fantastic festival. Everyone was very communicative and helpful. and the crew that was able to attend raved about their experience. We are very honored to have been a part of the festival this year.

    October 2023
  • Couldn't have had a better first film festival experience. They were so helpful, kind, and patient with this newbie. It was also an honor to have my film shown alongside such amazing programming. Top notch in every way!

    October 2023