42nd Annual

Mill Valley Film Festival

October 03, 2019 to October 13, 2019

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Film Market
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1001 Lootens Place
Suite 220
San Rafael CA 94901
Phone: 415.526.5839
Fax: 415.383.8606

OPEN CALL FOR ENTRIES • Select a Category of Entry to continue.

Narrative Features are considered for the following sections:

World Cinema
Representing dozens of countries every year, the World Cinema section tells stories which are both culturally intimate and thematically universal.

US Cinema
A showcase for new American films, US Cinema celebrates the work of both well-known masters and emerging makers, with a common talent for independent, insightful storytelling.

Shorts and Mid-Length Narratives are considered either for our popular "5@5" daily shorts series, as part of a thematic compilation or as a short before a feature.

MVFF’s popular daily forum for short films, 5@5 is a testament to the fine art of the short film.
The Valley of the Docs section presents the latest in documentary filmmaking, with an emphasis on subjects that cover a broad spectrum while also highlighting local filmmaking talent.

Films in the Family section offer young people an exciting glimpse into diverse cultures and adventures. Films (features and shorts) are intended for audiences under 14 years of age.
MVFF accepts hand-drawn, stop-motion and computer generated animation in both short form and feature lengths.
MVFF accepts films that display an innovative use of concept, aesthetic, media and/or technology.
Youth Produced
The Youth Reel in the Mill Valley Film Festival is a peer juried program that includes approximately 90 minutes of new films by filmmakers 18 years-old and younger. The jury is comprised of five 13 to 18 year-old participants who have finished the CFI Education's Young Critic's Jury three-day intensive in July. We ask that submissions be no more than 15-minutes where possible since we would like to include as much work as possible. Films are solicited from all over the World. Included filmmakers will be asked to attend a Q&A session after the public festival screening which will be on the second Saturday of the festival.

There is no fee for Youth Produced submissions, but applicants may not submit more than five (5) films.


The internationally renowned Mill Valley Film Festival offers a high-profile, non-competitive environment perfect for celebrating the best in independent and world cinema.

The nonprofit California Film Institute celebrates and promotes film by presenting the annual Mill Valley Film Festival, exhibiting film year-round at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center and building the next generation of filmmakers and audiences through CFI Education. For more information please visit www.cafilm.org or call 415.383.5256.



Designated as one of the "20 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee" by Moviemaker magazine, the Mill Valley Film Festival offers a high profile, prestigious, non-competitive environment perfect for celebrating the best independent and world cinema.

With a reputation for launching new films and creating awards season buzz, MVFF has a knack for spotting emerging talent as well as drawing legendary artists. Known as the filmmaker's festival, MVFF welcomes more than 200 filmmakers and guests from around the world and has hosted such luminaries as Nicole Kidman, Barry Jenkins, Holly Hunter, Ang Lee, Todd Haynes, Mira Nair, Pawel Pawlikowski, Brie Larson, Costa-Gavras, Amy Adams, Karyn Kusama, Steve McQueen and Greta Gerwig.

MVFF accepts short and feature length work in the following categories: narrative, documentary, experimental, animation, children's films and youth produced. Festival sections include Official Premieres, World Cinema, US Cinema, Valley of the Docs, filmHOOD (children and family programming), MVFF Music and the 5@5 shorts programs.

MVFF's savvy filmgoers select Audience Favorite Awards for Narrative Feature (US and World), Documentary Feature and Children/Family Feature.

In conjunction with its gender equity initiative Mind the Gap, MVFF became a signatory to the international 5050x2020 Pledge, initiated at Cannes, in 2018.


Kelly Clement (Programmer); Mark Fishkin (Founder/Executive Director); Mill Valley Film Festival (Admin); Shelley Spicer (Marketing Director); Sterling Hedgpeth (Programming Manager); Zoe Elton (Director of Programming)


Please make sure your entry form is complete (see bottom section of Festival Rules marked "IMPORTANT!" for details). A separate form and entry fee is required for each submission. For submissions in the Youth Produced category (works by filmmakers 18 years old and younger) please submit to the Youth Produced category.

MVFF only accepts online screener submissions.

Programming emphasizes premieres and new works in categories including features, shorts, documentaries, animation, experimental and children/family.

• Feature-length entries (50 minutes and over) receiving theatrical release, TV broadcast, screening at other California Festivals and venues or are available for purchase on DVD or online (e.g. iTunes, video on demand, etc.) prior to MVFF's dates will not be considered. Feature-length entries receiving a theatrical or festival screening in the San Francisco Bay Area prior to or within one month following MVFF dates will not be considered for the Festival. Exceptions will be made under special circumstances. Please contact our office if you agree to any other screenings directly before or after MVFF, other than those listed on your application.
• MVFF does not pay rental fees. Instead, our resources are invested in the production and promotion of the best possible showcase for your work. For theatrical runs, films may subsequently be considered for our year-round venue, the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center.
• Films are often screened more than once during the festival
• Industrial, promotional or instructional films are not eligible.
• Films must have been completed within 15 months of festival dates (after July 1, 2018). Previously submitted works are not eligible for re-submission.
• Features, especially World Premieres, may be accepted for late submission. To request a deadline extension, please call our office (415-526-5839) or email mvff@cafilm.org.
• Filmmakers are responsible for providing a good quality print for their screening. See EXHIBITION FORMATS for requirements.
• Filmmakers will be notified via email of entry status by approximately September 9, 2019.
• Once a film is submitted it may not be withdrawn.
• If selected to screen in the festival, you may be asked to provide an electronic press kit.

Standard formats for exhibition include 35mm and DCP. Filmmakers are responsible for transfers. Please contact the Programming Department at mvff@cafilm.org to inquire about alternate formats.

Exhibition prints must be sent to the Festival prepaid. The Festival will cover return shipping via FedEx, DHL, UPS or US Mail, unless other arrangements are agreed upon.

In case or loss or damage during the Festival, the responsibility of the Festival is limited to the costs of repair or replacement of the print only.

Media are insured for up to $100 per entry when shipping out. While all entries are packaged with extreme care, the Festival is not responsible for loss or damage to prints in transit.

The following must be included for each entry:
- Entry Form (1 per entry)
- Preview Screener (online submission)
- Entry Fee (must be via submission platform)

Optional materials:
- Brief Synopsis
- Filmmaker Bio and/or Filmography
- Press Kit
- Stills

It is necessary to have the following information filled out in your Withoutabox filmmaker account in order to ensure that we can process your submission quickly and efficiently. Not having this information already available in your account may cause a delay in the processing of your submission.

Please be sure the following information is readily available in your Withoutabox filmmaker account!

English title (with English article if necessary)

Under Submission Contact section (Click on "PREFERENCES" on the left-hand side of the screen):
First name
Address 1
Zip (Ditto)
Phone1/ Type
email 1

Under Production Info section:
Submission Date
Origin Country
Run time
Completion year

Throughout the listing (i.e. Niches, Formats, etc.):
Film Type
Preview Format
Production Format
Exhibition Format
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
Applicant Acceptance (Release)


By your signature you represent and warrant that you have read, understood and agreed to be bound by the regulations of the festival as described herein, and that to the best of your knowledge all statements are true.

You represent and warrant that you have sufficient right, title and interest to convey the rights granted to the Festival herein, and you have not previously conveyed any rights or entered into any licenses that conflict with the rights conveyed herein.

You represent and warrant that to the best of your knowledge, information and belief, your film does not infringe any copyrights or other proprietary rights of third parties, that the film is not the subject of any notice of infringement(s), and that the film is not the subject of any license or arrangement between you and any third party that would have an effect on your rights to exercise rights of copyright as set forth in this submission.