Filmmaker FAQs

We recognize that submitting to festivals can be a daunting process for filmmakers, so we hope that our FAQ section will provide answers to some common submission questions.

  • Q: What are dates of the 2016 Newport Beach Film Festival?

    A: The 17th annual Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF) will take place from April 21st to April 28th, 2016.

  • Q: What are your submission dates and prices?

    Autumn Deadline

    Feature Submission Fee: $40

    Short Submission Fee: $35

    September 25, 2015

    Early Bird Deadline

    Feature Submission Fee: $45
    Short Submission Fee: $40

    October 30, 2015

    Thanksgiving Special

    Fee: $60
    Short Submission Fee: $50

    November 27, 2015

    Regular Deadline

    Feature Submission Fee: $65

    Short Submission Fee: $55

    December 18, 2015

    Final Deadline

    Feature Submission Fee: $75

    Short Submission Fee: $65

    January 25, 2016

    Extended WAB Deadline

    Feature Submission Fee: $100

    Short Submission Fee: $80

    February 5, 2016

    UK Only Extension

    Feature Submission Fee: $100

    Short Submission Fee: $80

    February 19, 2016
  • Q: What is the best way to submit my film?

    A: Please submit your film through one of these online submission services:

    Withoutabox (WAB) at
    FilmFreeway (FF) at

    These services offer discounts and give filmmakers an opportunity to enter multiple festivals at the same time.

  • Q: I’m having issues submitting my film through Withoutabox or FilmFreeway, what should I do?

    A: Please contact the site’s webmaster on Withoutabox’s or’s website for issues with their website.

  • Q: I’m having issues uploading my film through your FTP site, what should I do?

    A: Please contact our Submissions Department at

  • Q: What happens after my film has been submitted?

    A: Your film will be reviewed in its entirety by at least 5 people; two screenings by members of our Programming Staff and three by members of our Review Committee. Notifications of acceptance will be sent mid-March, 2016.

  • Q: Do you accept international films?

    A: Yes, we screen both domestic and international films and encourage international filmmakers to submit to our Festival. If the film is not entirely in English, there must be English subtitles. Films must be submitted for review in NTSC format.

  • Q: What are your submission categories and how do I choose the right one for my film?

    A: The Festival categorizes a short film as anything less than 40 minutes and a feature as anything 40 minutes or more.

    · Narrative – a live-action feature or short film.

    · Documentary – a live-action documentary feature or short film.

    · Action Sports Feature – a narrative or documentary Action Sports feature or short film that explores surfing, snowboarding, skiing, skateboarding, motocross and other extreme sports.

    · Art, Architecture + Design – a feature or short documentary film that explores the work of classic or contemporary artists, architects, and designers.

    · Environmental – a documentary feature that explores environmental questions, issues, and concerns.

    · Music – a narrative or documentary feature film based on music. This category also includes music videos.

    · Youth – a film (10 minutes or under) created by a filmmaker currently enrolled in grades K-12 as of April 2015. Filmmakers may submit as an individual or in a group.

    While filmmakers are highly encouraged to submit their film under a specialized category (if applicable), the NBFF Programming team reserves the right to make the final decision on program placement.

  • Q: What is the difference between a short and feature?

    A: The Festival categorizes a short film as anything less than 40 minutes and a feature as anything 40 minutes or more.

  • Q: If my film has been released commercially on DVD in the United States, is it still eligible to screen at the NBFF?

    A: No.

  • Q: Can I submit my film if it is available or has already played on YouTube, Google Video, etc.?

    A: No, with the exception of trailers, promotional clips, or submissions to our Music Video category. We highly recommend not posting your entire film online. Please read the Submission Guidelines carefully for this information.

  • Q: Can I submit more than one film to the Festival?

    A: Yes, but please be aware that each film must be submitted with a separate entry form and entry fee.

  • Q: How do I know if the Festival has received my submission?

    A: Once the Festival receives your submission, our Submissions Department will send you a confirmation email. Read this email carefully, as it will indicate if your submission is complete. If your submission was incomplete for any reason, the email will list missing submission items. To avoid our emails landing in your spam folders, we recommend that you add these email addresses to your approved senders:

  • Q: Can I get my submitted materials back after they are finished being reviewed?

    A: Data devices (data disk, hard drive, flash drive, etc.) containing digital file submissions can be returned if prepaid postage and self-addressed envelope is sent with the submission. All non-returned submission materials will be destroyed or discarded by the Festival.

  • Q: Do you accept Music Videos?

    A: Yes. Please take a look at our Submission Guidelines for criteria specific to our Music Video category and submit in this category.

  • Q: Can I submit a rough cut?

    A: No, the Festival does not accept rough cuts.

  • Q: Does my film have to be a world premiere to get accepted?

    A: No, the Festival has no restrictions on premiere status. However, films that have been televised, available for purchase on DVD or presented online are not eligible for consideration, with the exception of Music Videos. Please consult our Submission Guidelines for a full explanation of film eligibility.

  • Q: What kind of special programs do you have at the Festival?

    A: Special programs include: International Spotlight Series, Action Sports Film Series, Environmental Film Series, Art, Architecture + Design Film Series, Music Film Series, Animation Showcase, Family Film Series, Collegiate Showcase, Youth Film Showcase, and the Seminar Series. The Programming Team will decide what films will be presented in these programs.

  • Q: If my film is accepted, what exhibition formats do you accept?

    A: DCP Only

  • Q: What is the best way to send my submission copy?

    A: If you choose to send in a physical submission copy rather than uploading your film to our servers or sending a downloadable link (via, to  , you can send your film’s DVD or data device in either a padded envelope or box via USPS mail or a carrier such as Fed Ex, UPS, etc. We recommend filmmakers utilize the online tracking services offered by these companies. Local filmmakers may hand-deliver submission materials to our office, located at: 2000 Quail St, Newport Beach, CA 92660

  • Q: If I send a physical submission instead of uploading to the NBFF server, what information should I include with my submission copy?

    A: If you are submitting a DVD, please legibly write the below information directly onto the DVD with a permanent marker. DO NOT use paper labels or stickers, as they can prevent the DVD from playing.

    If you are sending a Data Device (flash drive, etc.) include a text document on the drive with the below information, as well as a tag attached to the device with the below information (card, mailing label, etc.):

    (1) film title

    (2) running time

    (3) contact information

    (4) WAB number.

    We take extreme care with all submissions, and will take every precaution to ensure your submission is received and filed with the information it arrived with. These measures are in place against your physical submission somehow becoming separated from its submission materials.

  • Q: What happens if my submitted copy won’t play?

    A: In the instance that your submitted DVD, Data Device, etc. will not play, we will contact you to request another copy. Keep in mind that, due to considerations of time and priority, your replacement may not arrive in time to be screened. Please make sure that your DVD or digital file plays properly all the way through before submitting.

  • Q: Can my fee be waived when submitting?

    A: The Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and is unfortunately unable to offer fee waivers. However, the earlier you submit the more you can save on submission fees.

  • Q: Should I include a press kit?

    A: DO NOT include a press kit. We will request a press kit once the film has been accepted to the NBFF.

  • Q: How recently must my film have been made to be eligible for the 2016 Festival?

    A: For the 2016 Festival, we will only accept films completed by January 1, 2014 or later.

  • Q: Can I resubmit my film if it was not accepted into the Festival previously?

    A: You may only resubmit a film if it is a new version and has been changed from the previous submission.

  • Q: As a filmmaker, what can I expect at the Newport Beach Film Festival?

    A: The NBFF offers a unique opportunity for socializing and networking with fellow filmmakers as well as some of the biggest names in front of and behind the camera in a world-class resort setting. Each accepted Feature Filmmaker will receive two filmmaker passes and each Short Filmmaker will receive one filmmaker pass to the festival along with invitations to signature parties and events.


  • Q: When will results for the Festival be announced?

    A: Notifications will be sent out in mid-March, 2016. Please realize that this is an approximate date.



  • Q: Who should I contact for information about my film in the Festival?

    A: Once your film has been accepted you will be connected with one of our programmers who will serve as your main contact for the Festival. Your programmer will answer any questions and assist you with preparing for your film screening, promotion, travel, accommodations, etc.



  • Q: If my film is not selected, may I receive feedback from someone at the Festival?

    A: Unfortunately due to the number of submissions and time constraints we are unable to give individual feedback.




  • Q: Should I attend NBFF if my film has been accepted?

    A: NBFF prides itself on being a filmmaker’s festival and is highly encouraged that each selected film has at least one member of the film’s production staff/cast/crew present.




  • Q: Does the Festival give out awards to accepted films?

    A: All accepted films are eligible for Audience, Jury and Festival Honors. There is no awards ceremony during the Festival, and all awards are announced post-Closing-Night. Music Videos and films in the Collegiate Showcase are not eligible.



  • Q: Where do the films at the Festival screen?

    A: Films screen at Island Cinema in Fashion Island, Triangle Square Cinemas, Regal Big Newport 6, Regency South Coast Village and at the Lido Live Theater in Newport Beach. Opening Night takes place at the Big Newport in Fashion Island, one of the largest screens on the West Coast.

    CLICK HERE for a full map of venues.

  • Q: Where is Newport Beach?

    A: Newport Beach is located in Orange County, along the Southern California coast, 55 miles south of Hollywood. The closest airport is John Wayne Airport.



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