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You need to know the rules before you submit your film.

Submissions for mobile film short and feature length films are NOW CLOSED

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MFF2017 added a new competition to our festival. We have decided to continue the competition again for our film festival going forward and will select a total of 3 mobile "feature" length films. Of the selected three we will choose one winner to give a special trophy award for the Best Mobile Feature film at the international mobile film festival in San Diego. All films must be shot with a mobile phone as the camera. Same rules as our traditional festivals apply (see below). The only difference is the length of the films. Our inaugural competition in 2017 was limited to no less than 20 minutes and no more than 60 minutes in length. Currently, the time limit for mobile feature length films is 40-90 minutes. 


We are looking for cinematic films with production quality. Movies must be exceptional, most documentaries, experimental and visual art films may not make it, but if it's exceptional in cinematic value, it's worth trying. We advise you to focus on a good story and good acting. There are examples of mobile films which possess great quality. The challenge is to share a great story in a great way.

We are pioneers in the mobile phone film festival industry which only accept films shot exclusively with phones. The time has come to challenge you to be a pioneer mobile feature filmmaker to compete during the International Mobil Film Festival™. All ages qualify!

Happy filming! The rules and details are below. You need to know them! 






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The International Mobile Film Festival in San Diego is a member of GMFA.

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Selected AWARDED films in IMFF 2019 may be automatically nominated to the Global Mobile Film Awards™ at no cost to filmmakers.

Other filmmakers who shot a film with a mobile phone and have received an award by a non-member film festival can submit their awarded films to GMFA for a nomination for a fee. Read more on the GMFA website. All nominees from member film festivals and individuals must agree to make their nominated film available online publicly as part of GMFA's program for a selected period of time.

Films awarded by GMFA member film festivals are free and will be submitted by the member film festival at their discretion. Not all winning films will be selected for a nomination. Details will be provided on their websites.


 MFF Rules






English embedded captions/subtitles for all foreign, non-English spoken films required.

PARTICIPANTS – You must be human beings. That is all we ask for. We don't limit artists/entrants/participants because of their age, income level, disabilities, race or ethnicity, sex or anything! If you are a human being you qualify as a filmmaker if you enter a qualfiying film. We encourage anyone who believes they may not qualify even though they are human to give it a shot. Submitting is easy! Just Do it!

EQUIPMENT – In case we weren’t clear: FILMS MUST BE SHOT BY MOBILE PHONE VIDEO CAMERAS ONLY. All other production equipment, lights, cranes, dollies, etc. are allowed. Since mobile filmmaking has become an industry, you can find customized equipment online and stores if you need it. No apps or filmmaking accessories are required to qualify.

ONE (1) ENTRY per person and/or entity. One prize per film regardless of the number of people credited. If you are an organization, please contact us!

LENGTHShort Film Competition - 00:60 seconds (1 minute) to 05:00 minutes including credits. Feature Mobile Film Competition - 40 minutes to 90 minutes total including intro and end credits.

FORMAT – We prefer (.mp4) (.mov) files. (FULL QUALITY (1080HD) video in widescreen format – adjust settings if you need to) Questions? Contact us!

APPS – Automatic editing apps are not allowed. The only apps you may use are video editing software such as iMovie, Final Cut Pro or Splice, etc. on your phone or computer. These types of apps do not create your movie for you. Using apps may degrade the end quality of your footage. We advise you to consider this when selecting apps and filters during your production as opposed to post-production. Cropping video may also degrade the quality of your footage in post production, but that is not always the case.

COPYRIGHTS - We cannot accept any THIRD-PARTY music, images & photos or graphics in your video. We apologize, however, we are keeping your cost to produce your video down and increasing your creativity! If you can verify your right to use them through our strict legal process you may contact us. This also limits your risks. Licensing for music is tricky depending on how the music is used in your film. One license may not work for all the ways you use music in your film, such as driving your video, background, transitions, etc.

• ***DRONES - NEW! Beginning with IMFF 2019, a decision has been made to allow a small percentage of films submitted to our film festival to include no more than 10% footage/video captured with a drone camera. In order to qualify, the entire film must be shot with only mobile phones except it can, if necessary, include not one second more than 10% of the film include video or footage recorded with a drone. This is the only exception to a mobile film allowed. You must do your own math, however, an example for a *Short film of five minutes is: 10% of (5 minutes) = 30 seconds.

*Short film competition must be between 1 & 5 minutes and not one second shorter or longer including intro and end credits and video black at beginning or end.

You must enter the name brand and the model of the drone you used and certify the information with your signature in a separate registration form which all filmmakers must submit and sign even if they did not use drones in their film. You must include the time code where drone footage begins and drone footage ends and you must also include several time codes if 10% of your drone footage is spread throughout your film in different areas.

Music got you down? Don't fret. Here is some info to research using music in your films to ensure the proper licensing. This is not the only resource but a good start., New 2018 Copyright Law and ASCAP

*If you have questions or need help contact us. We will allow a couple shots from another mobile device or traditional cameras only by individual basis after a conversation which determines you need it to tell your story and cannot recreate it on your phone in time for the festival.

Answer and respond to email requests in order to qualify even after films are selected. We also require permission to download films from FilmFreeway and will not stream them from Vimeo or YouTube during the film festival.



Submissions for Short Mobile Film competition CLOSED November 19, 2018

 The Mobile Shorts competition must be between 1-5 minutes total length including intro and end credits. See RULES above for more details.

We have created a scholarship program for the mobile short film competition only in order to keep providing this opportunity to ALL human beings around the world regardless of income. Contact us to apply for our scholarship program with your request. No automated scholarship requests will be accepted or responded to. CURRENTLY NOT ACCEPTING FILMS, SUBMISSIONS ARE CLOSED.



Submissions for the Feature Mobile Film competition CLOSED October 19, 2018

We will select 3 mobile films to compete for an exclusive mobile feature film award.

Films must be cinematic in nature. Good quality and full 1080HD. Films must be shot with smartphones only, High Definition and look good on a big screen. Any media not owned by the filmmaker must be fully licensed for distribution. Feature films must be no shorter than 40 minutes and no longer than 90 minutes, including intro and end credits. *May need to mail a USB drive with your film.

Qualifying for submission does not guarantee selection to competition. Only 3 films will be selected and only one film will be awarded Best Mobile Feature Film Award by International Mobile Film Festival in San Diego.

The rules are otherwise the same as for the short film competition. Do not send experimental, music videos as they will most likely not qualify. We will not allow you to submit a film which does not qualify as submission fees are non-refundable. Qualification does not ensure selection. No reason will be given as to why your qualifying film was not selected as is customary in all competitions. Best of luck!


*Please make an effort to be in attendance to receive free engraved trophy with your name if you win. Festival will not cover shipping of trophies.


 Trophies smaller edited MFF2015 


Suggested Categories

If you need some guidance, some ideas or some inspiration, you can use the following categories to enter your film. We encourage creativity for you to succeed with your project and we do not require you to enter particular categories in order to be a part of MFF and compete. We believe some of the categories are ideal for mobile phone filmmaking.

There are rules to adhere to. Don't forget to read the forms you fill out and submit too. We sincerely wish you the best of luck!

Main Category
This is where all films go if you have not picked a category. Please note that this includes children. We will not assign categories to our films for filmmakers. If you don't pick a category, your film will go into our general category. The judges will not judge your film based on the categories below. Your film will be judged among all films in the category that show creativity and other general film criteria such as the look of a Hollywood film for any genre.

Ultimate Mobile Category
This category is especially for you if you are also editing your film on your cell phone. Although we don't recommend any particular apps, you may use editing apps on your phone or computer, that do not make the edit decisions for you. This category is about doing it all only on the phone including audio. Make sure apps export in full resolution and in wide format for a large screen or theater.

NEW CATEGORY FOR MFF2019: Cosplay Film 
NEW! Cosplay Film category is for films featuring cosplayers of all ages. We are looking for superheroes, steampunk, comicbook and cartoon coplayer films for this category. If you are a cosplayer round up your friends and your team! Shoot your film with your smartphone and read the rules, because the rules apply to all categories. Make it fun. You can make your film in any genre, music, documentary, dark or comedy, drama, it's your call. And speaking of call, this is your CALL TO ACTION! You got the costumes, you got the camera on your phone and you got stories so we are looking forward to your films to screen them in #MFF2019SanDiego...and yes, you can dress in your cosplay outfits for the red carpet!

Community Stories
Our community stories category is perfect for youth, kids and documentarians as well as just about anyone. Are you a teacher who can create a documentary with your class about a community event or news story? Are you a family going through a tough situation? Or are you simply a business owner who is working on improving the community where your customers live? Maybe you are a fan of a local band and want to feature them in a documentary or a child with a friend who needs help from the community. This is not just a category. Community Stories is also open year-round as a program to encourage members of a community or culture to share their stories with the world through their mobile phone.

*There are many examples of topics you can choose to enter the Community Stories category or take advantage of the program without submitting a film for competition. Tell your own story instead of waiting for the media to tell it for you.

Cinematic Film
A film that has cinematic qualities in both story-telling and aesthetic qualities. We hope to inspire you to create films that look like the films you see at the movie theaters with all the elements of a cinematic film including audio, effects and more. Films must all be filmed using a mobile phone and should be full High Definition (HD) quality. The same rules that apply to the other categories apply to this category.

Journalism & Current Events
We hope to encourage journalists to use their cell phones to tell their stories. Sharing stories instantly and without a huge intrusion in the lives of others has its benefits when the content and the action is taking place and it is dire to capture the action that does not wait for camera setups. The less intrusive mobile phone and the quickness of its setup, for either quick recording on the fly or planned productions, is beneficial and truly an innovation to the industry of journalism. If you are a freelance journalist or documentarian of current news, this is for you. If you are a blogger or if you are experimenting you qualify. Must abide to journalism ethics and policies. This is the ideal opportunity for MOJOs to be a part of our International Mobile Film Festival in San Diego!

Geographic & Wildlife
We feel that the mobility and size of a mobile phone should produce some eccentric and access nature in it's natural state. If your film is about animals and species or natural wildlife environment around the world or in your backyard, this category is sure to be a creative challenge for mobile filmmaking. All rules apply. 

Business & Entrepreneurship
High quality creative business films shot with smartphones in horizontal format. All rules apply. These include promotional videos and event videos, branding and more. If your video is selected your video producer can attend the film festival representing your company and promote, network and use the red carpet film festival experience in your company's promotional and marketing campaigns.


Entering #MFF2020SanDiego with a mobile film is easy!

*Stay tuned for some exciting changes in the rules which will be announced during IMFF 2019 April 27-28 during the Q&A Panel.


Next Open Call for Films for IMFF 2020:

Features Competition: 6/19/19 thru 10/19/19

Shorts Competition: 6/19/19 thru 11/19/19 at 11:59PM (PST)


Read a bit about a lot that happened during #MFF2018SanDiego


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