7th Annual

Catalina Film Festival

September 27, 2017 to October 01, 2017


Documentary Films (Worldwide)


Deadlines & Entry Fees

All fees will be charged in U.S. Dollar
...but you can display them in these other currencies:

Online Services Offered
Entry Form
Fee Payment
Press Kit
Submission Copy
Earlybird Deadline
November 15, 2016
Regular Discounted
Standard Fee 25.00 *
Extended Earlybird Deadline
December 13, 2016
Regular Discounted
Standard Fee 30.00 *
Regular Deadline
January 16, 2017
Regular Discounted
Standard Fee 35.00 30.00
Extended Regualr Deadline
February 28, 2017
Regular Discounted
Standard Fee 40.00 35.00
Last Chance - Extended Regular Deadline
April 15, 2017
Regular Discounted
Standard Fee 45.00 40.00
Late Deadline
April 30, 2017
Regular Discounted
Standard Fee 50.00 45.00
Extended Late Deadline
May 31, 2017
Regular Discounted
Standard Fee 55.00 50.00
WAB Extended Deadline
June 12, 2017
Regular Discounted
Standard Fee 60.00 55.00

Discounted fees apply to projects with pre-purchased Discount Packs, on entry fees greater than 30.00.

Category Details

Approximately July 27, 2017

A runtime of any length is permitted

Projects completed after September 1, 2015

Projects may originate from anywhere in the world

No premiere requirement

Project must not have distribution

Submission & Exhibition Format Requirements

  Secure Online Screener

Subtitled Dubbed Dialog List

Media Files
  .MOV (Quicktime)
Film Gauge

Subtitled Dubbed Dialog List

Press Kit Requirements

A press kit is requested but not required, including:
> Production Still Photos - Digital
> Photo of the Director - Digital
> Biography/Filmography - Director
> Biography/Filmography - Producer
> Biography/Filmography - Writer

Prizes & Awards

This category is a competition.

Best Documentary
Crystal Trophy with various Sponsored Festival prizes (prizes and values vary from year to year and aren't usually secured until closer to the event). The dollar value reflects past festival prizes we've given for this category in the form of industry packages, services, and gifts. This category is not promised to receive prizes other than our crystal trophy, as anything additional depends on our sponsors' generosity.
Value of Goods/Services: 3,000 U.S. Dollar

Special Jury Award
Framed Certificate with various Sponsored Festival prizes (prizes and values vary from year to year and aren't usually secured until closer to the event). The dollar value reflects past festival prizes we've given for this category. This category is not promised to receive prizes other than our framed certificate, as anything additional depends on our sponsors' generosity.

Audience Choice Award
Sponsors have given camera/equipment packages, script writing software and more... Sponsored Festival prizes (prizes and values vary from year to year and aren't usually secured until closer to the event). This category is not promised to receive prizes as it depends on our sponsors' generosity.

Category Rules

Revised October, 2016

All films must have a completion date NO GREATER than 2 years before the first day of this film festival. Once already exhibited and/or tracked online, re-edits and/or changes of title do not count as a new completion date for your project. Scripts do not have a completion date restriction unless the project was produced into a film NO GREATER than 2 years before the first day of this festival.

LENGTH: These running times must be inclusive of all titles and credits:

Short Films: 1-25 minutes
Feature Films: 50-180 minutes

Short Films Length Explained:
The Catalina Film Institute believes "short" films should be... SHORT (25 minutes and under). We believe this is a reasonable industry standard for any film festival's programming needs when programming 120 minute programming blocks (90 minute film program, filmmakers' Q and A, venue load-in/ loud-out). Longer short films will be considered, and have been accepted in the past, but we believe they push the envelope of what is considered an industry standard short;, and also take up a greater portion of the film block; keeping our judges from highlighting 2-5 (5-10 minute) other great films that could have otherwise fit in that block. To put it more simply, a 30 minute short is 1/3 the length of a feature film, therefore it will dominate that entire shorts' block.

FEATURE FILMS: Must be, AT LEAST, a Los Angeles Premiere to be considered for our festival. Please do not submit if you believe you will exhibit before or during the same period of our festival dates. Anywhere within Los Angeles County would be considered a Los Angeles Premiere.

STUDENT FILMMAKERS (Any aged person with proof of attending a film school, institute, academy, or program that their project is a result of). Please indicate the ages of the film's writer, director, and producer in your submission. Student filmmakers have the right to submit their film into any of the non-student film categories. If so, you will have to pay the full price for that category and agree to compete against professional filmmakers within that respective category.

FILMMAKERS UNDER 18 YEARS OLD: You must have a parent or legal guardian submit the film on your behalf to qualify.

DEADLINES: Deadlines are firm, so please send us your project within 14 days of submission and payment. Please contact us if this is a problem and/or you need extra time. If submitting to our very Last Deadline for entries, you must send your project within 7 days of payment (without any possible extensions) or it will run the risk of not being reviewed or considered by our screening judges.


ONLINE SUBMISSIONS IN HIGH DEFINITION ONLY. This also allows your film to be reviewed by our screeners/reviewers as quickly as possible.

Please submit your project digitally through FilmFreeway.com or some other acceptable secure online screening format with your submission.

This film festival is used to help our non-profit mission sustain to help foster the growth of filmmakers all year long. CFI WILL NOT PAY to ship any print, exhibition copy, or print materials back to you (as that would be a very large expense for our organization). If you do wish to have materials sent back, you must provide us with a pre-paid envelope and/or pre-paid shipping label if you need any materials sent back to you or to another festival following ours. No exhibition copy is allowed to be picked up at the film festival unless our Tech Department signs off on it, as we are fully responsible for the safety and security of your material until the last day of the event.

SUBTITLES: All non-English language films must be subtitled or dubbed in English. Please make sure they are embedded into your film, not separate or optional subtitle files on a menu; they sometimes do not carry over to the digital film you've submitted.

ENTRY FEES: Non-refundable. We DO NOT give refunds on submission fees, so please do not ask. Once your film is submitted we have 3 screening judges look over and grade each project. CFI believes all festivals should be transparent and submitters are entitled to see their scores and grades, just ask if you'd like CFI to send them, it is part of your entry fee and we want you to know that you didn't just simply get a "yes" or a "no", we DID watch/read and grade your project.

PLEASE DO NOT SEND PRESS MATERIALS, PRINTED BIOS, AND OTHER PROMOTIONAL ITEMS with your submissions. Not only will your film be viewed on its own merit by my multiple judges that won't see your printed materials, but it fills up the office with a lot of paper and product that we end up having to recycle or throw away.

AFTER SUBMISSION ACCEPTANCE: In order for your title to be included in the Festival, you must agree to provide the following materials to CFF within 14 days of acceptance:
1. For film, at least one to three production and/or screen shots of a scene within the project with key art/ poster (if available). Image must be in JPG or PNG format and AT LEAST 300 dpi resolution.
2. A trailer of the film emailed to us in .MOV or .MP4 format to promote your project to the world, media, and throughout the festival on our projection screens, website and social media channels (advantageous for short films as well).
3. Exhibition format of your project will depend on the venue we program your film into, delivered no later than 14 days after acceptance (various digital formats can be used in all venues, but DCP and 35mm can only be used in one venue currently; the Avalon Theatre).
4. Copies of press releases and additional press materials after acceptance ONLY, please do not send with submissions before you're accepted. It fills up the office with a lot of paper and product we end up having to recycle or throw away.
5. If you are available to attend the festival with crew and/or talent, please let us know in your cover letter. Once accepted into the festival, we will also send you an online form asking you who will be attending and how you are getting to the island.

CFF prefers HD digital formats for exhibiting High-Definition Films, or DCP ONLY if you're placed in our venue that can support DCP. Because our festival is on an island, a finalized and QC'd Blu-Ray backup copy is also required in case digital media fails for any reason.


Participants agree that their film, clips from it and/or all other material related to their project may be used and/or published in the event program, on CFF's website, social media, and/or our media partners as well as for any other promotional purposes which CFF deems appropriate for the festival. CFF can use up to 10% or 3 minutes of your project for promotional use (whichever is less).

CFF holds no responsibility for lost or damaged media files. While the utmost care is taken with regard to your exhibition media, it is solely up to the filmmaker to take full responsibility (i.e. insurance). The cost of delivery and pick-up of all materials is the responsibility of the filmmaker. CFF WILL NOT PAY FOR MEDIA TO BE RETURNED, as that would be very costly for our non-profit organization with over 100 films accepted and exhibited annually.

If selected, all commercial/private property including all trademark/copyrighted materials shown or recorded on the project is the responsibility of the filmmaker. CFF will NOT take responsibility for any infringement of copy written materials and reserves the right to reject your project if found it doesn't have clearance.

No film projects with theatrical distribution and/or release dates, before or during the festival's programmed dates, will be eligible for submission, acceptance and/or exhibition at the event. This rule applies to most categories, whether for free or paid public viewing (including Amazon, Netflix, Youtube, Vimeo, etc...) or a paid public audience (theatrical, DVD/Blu-Ray, VOD, etc..). Our ONLY TWO categories that are allowed to be previously released and/or viewed online are our High School Student competition and Conservation Film categories. Projects with distribution deals and release dates AFTER the festival dates are still eligible for submission and/or exhibition. Although we diligently track your film and do our own research, it is your responsibility to inform CFF if the project's release date(s) have changed and are in conflict with this rule, as it will either be eliminated from our program and/or taken out of competition at our discretion.