50 Film Festivals worth the Entry Fee, 2014–2019 — MovieMaker Magazine

“…Rising stars would be remiss not to add it to their annual itinerary." — 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 Zaldivar, 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


– 200+ films including world, US, and Washington premieres. Our programming presented films that featured innovative storytelling, creative non-fiction, and wonderful works of animation.

– It was the 4th year of our wildly successful filmmaker housing program where we hand-select wonderful residents to host filmmakers.

– The fourth edition of our Music Video program (Track 04), screened at the historic Blue Mouse Theater.

– The Veldt VR Studio. Our fifth year presenting 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.

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 $500
Best Pierce County short or feature $500

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 $1000
Audience Choice, Short $750

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 $750
Audience Choice, Pacific Northwest Short $500

Late Night Audience Choice Award $250

Additional awards:

Best Director, Documentary Feature $175
Best Director, Narrative Feature $175
Best Director, Documentary Short $150
Best Director, Narrative Short $150

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

Four awards for Best Cinematography (documentary feature and short films, and narrative feature and short films).

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


1. Submission Deadline Structure
Submissions Open: December 1, 2019
Early Deadline: February 15, 2020
Regular Deadline: April 15, 2020
Late Deadline: May 15, 2020
Extended Deadline: July 1, 2020

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, 2019.

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 Pierce County, WA.

5. Selection of Films
- The Tacoma Film Festival will complete the selection process by September 15, 2020 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 9/20/2020 to be played at the Tacoma Film Festival, October 8-15, 2020.

- 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. 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.
- 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
  • Nikki Mitha

    Such a wonderful festival. The programming was truly thoughtful and well done. This was a festival where I felt that my piece was really seen and engaged with. The staff was well organized, good at communication, and very friendly. Thank you TFF!

    December 2019
  • Evan Kidd

    The festival staff were hospitable and kept me informed on every aspect of our music video's screening, and how it went as I was unable to attend the festival this year. Especially appreciated that as ours was in a block full of music videos and they still took the time out to let us know how the screening went right afterwards via a kind message!

    December 2019
  • Kira Hanson

    One of the most well-run film festival I’ve been to! Definitely the widest variety of films I’ve seen at a film festival. Thanks for including our film!

    October 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thanks for the kind words!

  • Matthew Wade

    I had a great time and met lots of cool folks. Hope to be back some day soon!

    October 2019
    Response from festival:

    We appreciate it, thanks for the five stars!

  • Bill Brown

    Such thoughtful, adventurous, & wonderfully engaging programming! Thank you, TFF!

    October 2019
    Response from festival:

    So happy you enjoyed, thank you!