External Film Festivals

Regional and national film festivals are a great low-cost way to get your film seen by thousands of people including agents, managers and producers looking to discover the next big writer or director.  Festival organizers also invest quite a bit of time and money into marketing their festival which means your film can get local, regional and national attention at no cost to you.  For example, over 50,000 people attend the Sundance Film Festival each year, so the low entry fee that to enter a festival is more than worth the exposure your film can receive.  If you were trying to distribute or market your film on your own, you would have a very difficult time getting 50,000 or more people to watch your film within a short time period.

Review the festival list below and feel free to contact the Career Development office for more information or for advice on getting your film accepted into one of these festivals.





NewFilmmakers Los Angeles

 NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA) is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization designed to showcase innovative works by emerging filmmakers from around the world, providing the Los Angeles community of entertainment professionals and film goers with a constant surge of monthly screening events


Hollywood Reporter Key Art Awards

Editing Awards from $1,000 to $7,500 for re-imagining a studio movie trailer and one sheet. CCH students Ben BolesGreg Burke, Mary Clavering and German Izquierdo are all past award winners and finalists.


LA Shorts Fest

Qualifying festival, accredited by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.


Moondance International Film Festival

Honors those artists who, through their creative work, actively increase awareness, provide multiple viewpoints, address complex social issues, and strengthen ties between international audiences.



Over 80 producers, managers and agents read all the screenplays entered. The Grand Prize is $10,000.  


Student Academy Awards

Hosted by the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences with awards and cash prizes for student filmmakers in five categories.


Austin Film Festival

The Austin Film Festival furthers the art and craft of filmmaking by inspiring and championing the work of screenwriters, filmmakers and all artists who use the language of film to tell a story.


Chicago International Film Festival

This Festival brims with energy - from the innovative and inspiring work of first-time filmmakers and established masters to the enthusiastic responses of over 55,000 audience members.


First Glance L.A.

Named one of the “Best Film Festival Investments” by Movie Maker Magazine and “One of the Festivals for the Rest of Us” by Time Magazine, FirstGlance has become a leader in mid-sized film festivals.


ArcLight Film Festival

ArcLight Doc Fest is a four-day event of screenings, filmmaking panels, discussions and awards that attracts filmmakers and audiences from around the country.  ArcLight Doc Fest attracts award winners and official selections from well known festivals such as Sundance, True/False Documentary Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival.


Slamdance Film Festival

The Slamdance Film Festival is dedicated to new filmmakers. They accept films in every genre, on any topic from every country around the world. Their mission is to bring attention to the most talented emerging filmmakers, showcasing their work in the media frenzy of festival week in Park City, Utah.


Sundance Film Festival

Widely considered the premier platform for American and international independent film, the festival has introduced audiences to some of the most original stories of the last three decades including Reservoir DogsHedwig and the Angry InchAmerican SplendorAn Inconvenient Truth, Little Miss Sunshine, and The Cove. 


Screamfest Horror Film Festival

In the Spring 2009 issue, MovieMaker Magazine named Screamfest one of the 25 festivals worldwide worth the submission fee.


Cinequest San Jose Film Festival

The Cinequest Film Festival is a soul-stirring and personable discovery festival of international films and digital media forums for movie lovers, maverick film artists, and film students.


DGA Student Film Awards

Each year the Directors Guild of America announces the winners of its annual Student Film Awards for African-American, Asian-American, Latino, and women filmmakers. The awards, which bring the winners prizes of $2,500 from the DGA, are designed to honor, encourage, and bring attention to outstanding minority and women film students in film schools and other select universities.


San Fransisco Independent Film Fest

18th Annual San Francisco Independent Film Festival.           


Santa Barbara Inl’l Film Festival

Given its knack for predicting Academy Award® winners, a proximal distance to Los Angeles and timing close to the big event, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival has established itself as the preeminent pre-Oscar® film festival.


Ann Arbor Film Festival

The AAFF will provide at least $18,000 in cash awards to more than 20 filmmakers, serves as a qualifying festival for Academy Award® nominations in the short film category, and provides touring opportunities for select filmmakers.


Chicago Int’l Movies & Music Festival

CIMMfest consists of three days of movie screenings, concerts, panel discussions, and workshops bringing together professionals and devotees from across the globe to entertain and educate.


Durango Independent Film Festival

The Durango Independent Film Festival is committed to developing film literacy and to being a welcoming, intimate, and unique film organization that screens global, innovative, and diverse films that connect independent filmmakers, their artistic process, and their vision to the community.


Tribeca Film Festival

Their stated mission is “to enable the international film community and the general public to experience the power of flim by redefining the film festival experience.”


New York Int’l Indie Film & Video Fest.

The NYIIFVF hosts 4 festivals a year, taking place in New York and Los Angeles and has become one of the largest indie festivals in the world.           

More Festival Resources

Animation Festival List

FilmLand Festival & Market Calendar

Documentary Film Festival Listings