Nevada City Film Festival now accepting submissions |

Nevada City Film Festival now accepting submissions

After festival judges have determined the winners, Nevada City Film Festival traditionally screens the Best of the Fest on the day of the fest. This year's film festival will run August 23-30.
Photo by Kial James

Submissions are now open for the 19th annual Nevada City Film Festival.

Named the “Sundance of the Sierra” and recognized by Moviemaker Magazine as one of the Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee, Nevada City Film Festival celebrates the world’s most exciting storytellers in independent, international film. These filmmakers are united in their uncompromising mission to express a unique, personal vision through their films.

This year’s festival will take place Aug. 23-30 in historical downtown Nevada City. The week-long festival features indoor and outdoor film screenings, panels and workshops for filmmakers and festival attendees, filmmaker Q&A’s and coffee talks, after-parties, virtual reality experiences, nature hikes and outdoor excursions, and other special events.

“Storytelling is essential to the human experience and media, especially film, is how we entertain, learn from and communicate with one another,” said Jesse Locks, festival director. “(The festival) serves as a platform to showcase and support these diverse voices and stories that would otherwise not make it to mainstream audiences.”

Professional, student and amateur filmmakers are invited to submit short and feature length films in a variety of genres including, but not limited to, documentaries, animation, narrative, comedy, multi-media, experimental, music videos, virtual and augmented reality. 

“Each year we receive around 500 submissions,” said Locks. “We watch another 100-plus films that are considered the buzzed-about festival favorites and narrow these all down to 30 programs of both feature and short films.

“Over the years, films that have been showcased have gone on to win Oscars, Independent Spirit Awards, and be recognized at other festivals.”

Nevada City Film Festival is known for recognizing and supporting new talent including independent filmmakers such as Jonathan Krisel (Portlandia, Baskets), Jason Sussberg (Bill Nye: Science Guy), Patrick Brice (Corporate Animals, The Overnight), Greg Finton (Dazed & Confused, The World According to Dick Cheney), Augustine Frizzell (Never Goin’ Back), David Zellner (Damsel, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter), Christina Choe (Nancy), animator and performance artist Miwa Matryek, and animator Galen Pehrson, among others.

In previous years the festival has hosted filmmakers such as Mike Mills, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (Cartoon Networks “Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”), and comedians including Maria Bamford (“Lady Dynamite”), Tig Notaro (“Inside Amy Schumer,” Comedy Central), Nick Kroll (FX’s “The League,” and Comedy Central’s “Nick Kroll Show”), Natasha Leggero (“Chelsea Lately”), and Marc Maron (WTF Podcast).

“It’s important for us to make every year at (the festival) fresh and exciting,” explains Locks. “That means not only screening these award-winning films, but bringing the filmmakers to Nevada City to meet and interact with audiences. The filmmakers make the festival, truly festive.”

Nevada City Film Festival takes pride in its renowned hospitality and works hard to ensure that filmmakers have a one-of-a-kind experience when visiting. The Festival creates an easy and intimate forum of exchange and interaction between filmmakers and a supportive and enthusiastic audience. Through happy hours and special industry events, the festival works to connect the local network of professional filmmakers with visiting filmmakers to support and continue to build Nevada County’s filmmaking community.

Nevada City Film Festival offers $9,000 in cash prizes. These include Best of the Fest – $1500, Best Screenplay – $1000, Best Doc Feature – $1000, Best Narrative Feature – $1000, Best Short Narrative – $500, Best Short Doc – $500, Best Short Animation – $500, Best Director – $500, Best Performance – $500, Best Cinematography – $500, Best Editing – $500, Best Musical Score – $500, and Audience Award – $500.

Past festival judges have included award-winning producers and directors, plus writers from The Huffington Post, New York Times, McSweeneys, San Francisco Chronicle, SF Weekly, Rolling Stone Magazine, Arthur Magazine, and Pop-Up Magazine.

Submission fees are waived for local filmmakers (Nevada, Yuba, Placer, Sierra and Sacramento Counties). Please contact festival directors at for more information and a waiver code.

Save and submit early: Early Bird Deadline – March 8, 2019, Regular Deadline – April 8, 2019, Late Deadline – May 1, 2019. All filmmakers will be notified by June 1, 2019.

To submit your film, go to or call (530) 362-8601.

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