SUBMISSIONS ARE OPEN FOR MALIBU 2020
Thank you for your interest in submitting to the Malibu International Film Festival.
Before you submit, be sure to read the in-depth information in our Film Submission FAQ listed below. Please note, for 2019 all films must be submitted by a secure URL link. If you have any further questions after reading the Film Submission FAQ, please email
Submitting to the 19th Malibu International Film Festival (2020)
1) When are the submission deadlines and what are the fees?
The following deadlines are the dates by which we must receive your film. They are NOT postmark deadlines. We must receive your digital upload or physical disc by the deadline date for which your film has been registered! All submissions are handled identically, regardless of which deadline you choose. Late deadline submissions are processed and screened in exactly the same manner as early and official deadline submissions are-- the only difference is the submission fee. We encourage you to submit your film as early as possible to take advantage of lower submission fees.
EARLY - FEB 28
REGULAR - MAY 31
LATE - JULY 31
FINAL - OCT, 31
DEC 1, 2018
JANUARY 10-11, 2020
Again, your film MUST arrive at our office no later than the deadline date for which you have registered. For example, if you pay $35 to register your Short Film for the Official Submission deadline and we receive it after July 1, you will be prompted to make an additional payment of $15 in order to bring your account up to date. We will not view your film until this payment is received. Please allow up to 48 hours for processing of digital video uploads. If you are sending us a physical disc, we suggest that you mail it to us well in advance of the deadline for which you have registered.
2. What are the submission categories and how do I choose the righ tone for my film?
Each year, we select several films to screen a the festival from various categories. Not all categories will be selected and/or screened.
U.S. Narrative Feature Films:
Any narrative work of fiction of U.S. origin with a running time of 50 minutes or more, including films that are shot in a "mockumentary" style. In order to qualify as a U.S. Narrative Feature Film, the submitted project must be either scripted or improvisational fiction, and at least half of the project's financing must originate from within the United States. Only films that are World Premieres are eligible for our U.S. Dramatic Competition program, but U.S. Narrative Feature Films that have previously screened at up to two other festivals anywhere in the world are still eligible for our out-of-competition programs. U.S. Narrative Feature Films that have been or will be exhibited publicly at one or more non-festival screenings, broadcast or streamed on television or the Internet, or released via any home video or other public distribution platform (Blu-ray, DVD, video on demand, etc.) before 2019 Festival are not eligible for any of the Institute’s Festival programs.
U.S. Documentary Feature Films:
Any non-fiction film of U.S. origin with a running time of 50 minutes or more, not including entirely scripted or improvised fictionalizations of actual events. If your documentary contains some dramatization of actual events, you may submit in this category, but we will ultimately decide which program is best suited for your project, if accepted. In order to qualify as a U.S. Documentary Feature Film, at least half of the submitted project's financing must originate from within the United States. Only films that are World Premieres are eligible for our U.S. Documentary Competition program, but U.S. Documentary Feature Films that have previously screened at up to two other festivals anywhere in the world are still eligible for our out-of-competition programs. U.S. Documentary Feature Films that have been or will be exhibited publicly at one or more non-festival screenings, broadcast or streamed on television or the Internet, or released via any home video or other public distribution platform (Blu-ray, DVD, video on demand, etc.) before 2019 Festival are not eligible for any of the Institute’s Festival programs.
International Narrative Feature Films:
Any narrative work of fiction of international origin with a running time of 50 minutes or more, including films that are shot in a "mockumentary" style. In order to qualify as an International Narrative Feature Film, the submitted project must be either scripted or improvisational fiction, and more than half of the project's financing must originate from outside of the United States. International Narrative Feature Films that have previously screened at any festival outside of the film’s country or countries of origin are not eligible to submit to the Institute for Festival consideration. International Narrative Feature Films that have been or will be exhibited publicly at one or more non-festival screenings, broadcast or streamed on television or the Internet, or released via any home video or other public distribution platform (Blu-ray, DVD, video on demand, etc.) before 2016 Festival are not eligible for any of the Institute’s Festival programs.
U.S. Short Films:
Any narrative fiction or documentary film of U.S. origin with a running time of less than 50 minutes, including credits. In order to qualify as a U.S. Short Film, at least half of the submitted project's financing must originate from within the United States. Short Films have no premiere requirements or prior screening restrictions to retain eligibility. U.S. Short Films may have been screened at any number of public theatrical exhibitions in the world, broadcast or streamed on television or the Internet, or released via any home video or other public distribution platform.
International Short Films:
Any narrative fiction or documentary film of international origin with a running time of less than 50 minutes, including credits. In order to qualify as an International Short Film, at least half of the submitted project's financing must originate from outside of the United States. Short Films have no premiere requirements or prior screening restrictions to retain eligibility. International Short Films may have been screened at any number of public theatrical exhibitions in the world, broadcast or streamed on television or the Internet, or released via any home video or other public distribution platform.
How old can my film be and still qualify for submission?
Any film submitted for 2019 Festival consideration must have been completed in 2018. If your film was completed prior to 2018, it is no longer eligible for submission. If your film's production took place prior to 2018 but your final cut was not completed until 2018 your film is still eligible.
My film was not accepted last year. Can I re-submit?
Yes, but only if it has changed significantly. We are not interested in seeing the same cut again-- it should be a complete reworking of the previous version that was submitted to us. If you are in doubt, it probably hasn’t changed enough.
What submission formats do you accept?
All films must be submitted using the FilmFreeway or Withoutabox Secure Online Screener System, via a Vimeo link entered directly on the submission application, or mailed to us on a single physical disc (DVD). We cannot accept links via e-mail, and we are unable to accept digital download or streaming links other than Vimeo at this time. If you choose to provide a Vimeo link on your submission application, please ensure that you select “Anywhere” under the “Where can this video be embedded” section of your video’s privacy settings.
Physical discs may be submitted to us in (1) format: DVD. Please refrain from submitting multiple films on a single disc. If you do so, we will only view the first film on the disc. You do not need to include menus, trailers, production stills, or any other video clips on your disc. Our preference is to receive a DVD that starts playing your film as soon as it is inserted. We would prefer that discs be sent in a simple paper sleeve in order to cut down on waste. It is of the utmost importance that you ensure that your film plays all the way through regardless of which submission format you select! Digital uploads should be viewed in their entirety before submitting the application, and please make sure that your DVD plays in a standard DVD player before it is mailed to us! Your disc must be authored as DVD; do not simply burn a video file to a disc as data.
For DVDs, it is highly preferred that you send us an NTSC, region 1 or region free (region 0) DVD when submitting to us, but we will accept other formats as well (such as PAL/region
2). If you are sending a DVD that has a region code other than 0 or 1, and/or a format other than NTSC, please mark this CLEARLY on the face of the disc and on the DVD sleeve or case. Please write or print the following information directly on the face of your disc, preferably in a manner similar to the example provided below:
If my film includes non-English dialogue,do you require English subtitles?
All films that contain significant non-English dialogue MUST include on-screen English subtitles at the time of submission. A translated list of dialogue on paper will not suffice. Please do not send us an un-subtitled foreign-language film with the intention of providing a subtitled version at a later date. If your film is mostly in English and you wish to intentionally leave out subtitles for any non-English dialogue included in the film as an artistic choice, you do not need to provide subtitles for those particular sections. If submitting a physical disc, we would prefer that all subtitles are hardcoded to your video file as opposed to including discreet subtitles that need to be turned on in order to be viewed.
How does the FilmFreeway and Withoutabox secure online screener systems work?
If you choose to submit an online screener, please be aware that the process of completing your upload can take up to 24 hours, so don’t wait until your selected deadline window is about to pass to begin! Although our online application is handled through Withoutabox, digital uploads are handled through your IMDb account. You must link your IMDb account to your Withoutabox account in order to use the secure online screener system. You will be prompted to log into or create an IMDb account when you initially create your Withoutabox account. If you already have a Withoutabox account and have not yet linked an IMDb account to it, you will be prompted to do so once you select “secure online screener” as your submission format.
Withoutabox/IMDb have recently introduced a much higher-quality online screener system. You may now upload high definition video files with a file size of up to 10GB. Please view your secure online screener in its entirety to ensure that it meets your standards of quality before you submit it to us.
The following settings are recommended to optimize video quality on the IMDb site for your Withoutabox upload:
o Frame rate: 24, 25 or 30 FPS
o File Formats: MP4, WMV, AVI or Quicktime (Apple ProRes formats are not accepted)
o Codecs: Most major codecs are accepted, but H.264 video with AAC audio is recommended for best streaming results o HD Resolution: 1280x720 (720p, 16:9 aspect ratio) or 1920x1080 (1080p, 16x9 aspect ratio)
o SD Resolution: 640x360 (16x9 aspect ratio) or 640x480 (4x3 aspect ratio)
On the video upload page, please be sure to select “Yes” under the “Make Video Private” option unless you want your video to be made public on IMDb. “Yes” is selected by default. Uploading your film via the Withoutabox/IMDb secure online screener system does not give us access to do anything other than view it. We cannot download, copy, or share films that have been uploaded via Withoutabox/IMDb for our consideration, and you are not giving Withoutabox or its parent companies permission to access your video for any purpose other than submitting it for festival consideration.
Where do I send my submission?
If you choose to submit a physical disc to us instead of a Secure Online Screener or Vimeo Link, it should be mailed to us at the address below. Please be sure to write your FilmFreeway or Withoutabox tracking number on the front of your envelope! This will help ensure that your submission is processed as quickly as possible.
Malibu Film Festival
Submissions Tracking #: (write your tracking number here!)
8587 Fenwick Street #4339
Los Angeles, CA 91040
Please do not send us a physical disc if you have already provided a Vimeo link or uploaded your film via the FilmFreeway or Withoutabox Secure Online Screener systems. If you are not satisfied with any aspect of your digital upload and would prefer to send a disc instead, please contact so that we can modify your previously selected submission format.
Am I required to obtain rights clearance for music or other copyrighted materia lincluded in my film?
From a legal standpoint, you must clear all copyrighted materials included in your film before you can publicly screen it. However, Malibu does not check to ensure that you have obtained clearance for these materials at any point during the application process, nor will we be held responsible for any inclusion of uncleared materials in your film. It is the sole responsibility of the entity submitting the project to secure permission from the copyright holders of the material in question, whether it is music, stock footage, or any other elements that could violate an existing copyright. Films that are accepted into the Festival must sign a waiver stating that materials used in the film do not violate any existing copyright. Quite often, rights holders offer reduced rates for independent films, so you should contact them directly to avoid any potential rights infringements.
What should I include with my submission?
After you have completed an online application, all we need from you is a single copy of your film. In an effort to cut down on waste, we ask that you do not send printed press or promotional materials to us-- we will not keep anything in your package except for your disc. Quite often, films sent to us in standard size retail DVD or Blu-ray cases will become dislodged during shipping, resulting in scratched, unplayable discs, so we recommend mailing your film in a paper sleeve or slim jewel/clamshell case. Please refrain from taping your disc to any surface, as tape residue may also render your disc unplayable. Our preferred method of packaging is a medium (approximately 6” x 9”), bubble padded envelope. It is not necessary to wrap your disc in bubble wrap and mail it to us in an oversized box. Doing so will only make it more difficult for us to process your film once it is received.
Please do not use a paper label on your disc! There are many different variables with stickers and paper labels that could render your disc unplayable-- a permanent marker (such as a Sharpie) will work just fine. Discs with text or graphics printed directly on the surface are also acceptable.
What happens if you are unable to get my film to play?
We will make every effort to view your disc or online screener, but in the event that we are unable to watch your film, we will attempt to contact you to request another copy using the primary contact information that you provided on your application. However, there is no guarantee that we will get your replacement disc in time, and we must give preference to those who sent in a working copy to begin with. For this reason, we ask that you make absolutely sure that your disc or online screener plays all the way through BEFORE you send it to us! If your disc arrives broken, we will also make every attempt to contact you for a replacement.
Will you notify me if you do not receive my film?
Due to the volume of submissions we receive we are unable to contact each applicant individually if we do not receive his or her film. It is your responsibility to ensure that your package arrives at our office before the deadline you have selected. Once your film has been marked as received in our system, you will be able to log into your Withoutabox account and see that it has been marked as such. Please allow up to six weeks for us to process your submission once it has been mailed. If your film has still not been marked as received within this period of time, contact us at for further instructions.
Can I submit a newer cut of my film after I’ve already submitted an earlier version?
Yes, you may send in replacement cuts after you have already submitted a prior version of the film.
Can you return my DVD to me once you’re done with it?
Unfortunately, we are unable to return any physical materials that are sent to us. However, we do take the security of this process very seriously-- at no point will your disc leave our hands, and once our submissions process is over, all physical discs are recycled at a secure facility.
When will I find out whether or not my film was selected?
We will contact you via e-mail during the first week of November. Please make sure that the e-mail address you provided on your application will be operational at that time. If your e-mail address changes after you’ve filled out the application, please log into your account and update it. We will not be held responsible for any failed delivery of notification! If you haven’t heard from us by Sept. 1st, please contact us at for an official notification.
If my film is selected for the Festival,what exhibition formats do you accept?
We accept DCP, and 35mm film prints for exhibition at the Festival. Feature films delivered on DCP must include two copies on CRU drives and a Blu-ray backup. All DCPs must be DCI compliant with drives formatted with EXT 2 or 3 file systems (single partition, master boot record). All encrypted DCPs must supply DKDM keys that remain open for the duration of the festival. Blu-ray backup copies must be provided for both shorts and features on DCP. For 35mm film prints, we screen 24fps in aspect ratios of 1.37, 1.66, 1.85, or 2.39. We accept sound formats of mono, Dolby SR and Dolby SRD (Dolby Digital). Please note that these specifications are subject to change at any time. If your film is accepted into the Festival, we will provide you with the most up-to-date exhibition specs and deadlines for delivery of your master at that time.
Who actually watchs all of the submissions?
Distinushed members of the DGA, WGA, and IATSE unions are part of the jury. We depend on a jury of award winning filmmakers to uphold our mission as a Festival that only screens new, compelling and innovative, quality films.
Where does my submission fee go?
Malibu Film Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides many different programs and initiatives for filmmakers. Fees from Festival submissions help fund our Foundation programs and also enable us to keep the submissions process thorough and democratic. We strive to process every submission promptly and view each and every film with an attentive and unbiased eye.