Film Submission FAQs

Below are some frequently asked questions that we receive at Mountainfilm.

How will Mountainfilm 2021 be affected by COVID-19 and this whole weird year?
COVID-19 has affected film festivals and public events around the world and organizations are responding in different ways. Mountainfilm is still many months away and it is difficult to know all the factors that will impact producing the festival. Right now we are planning to have both an online festival and, depending on the state of the virus, a small, locally-focused in-person festival for Mountainfilm 2021. The in-person festival will take place over Memorial Day weekend as it has for the last 42 years, screening extraordinary documentary films in small outdoor venues. Once we have wrapped up the annual festival in Telluride, we’re taking it online for seven days starting on May 31. We want to be sure the festival is safe, productive and holds value for all involved, so as the festival gets closer we will constantly be assessing things and updating the public and filmmakers as we know more.

Are you going to produce an online festival too? 
Yes! Once we have wrapped up an unforgettable 43rd annual festival in Telluride, we’re taking it online for seven days starting on May 31. Should we not be able to hold an in-person festival, the virtual festival will still go on with extended dates. Again, more detailed information will be forthcoming. 

What qualities do accepted films share?
Mountainfilm screens exclusively documentary films. We are open to all styles, forms and content so long as they are essentially non-fiction works. Genres include personal, political, social, historical, environmental, experimental, biography, animation and more. We accept films that are compelling, engaging and inspire our audiences to create a better world. While an excellent story is a great foundation for a good documentary, it has to be well told to make an impact. In addition to a captivating story, we are looking for high-quality cinematography, editing, graphics and sound. 

Is my film a good fit for your festival?
Mountainfilm focuses on documentary film, art and ideas in the broad categories of adventure, activism, social justice, environment and culture, including an eclectic mix of films that celebrate indomitable spirit. Just because your film doesn’t include a mountain doesn’t mean it won’t work in our programming.

What length of film is Mountainfilm looking for?
We’re looking for everything from two-minute shorts to feature-length films. 

I’m unsure of my film’s distribution plans or if it can screen online. Can I still submit? 
Yes! Ideally, we would prefer that accepted films can screen at both the in-person and online festivals.

What happens to my film after it is submitted?
Films are processed through FilmFreeway and sent to our review team. Each film is viewed by at least two reviewers. If the project is greenlit, it makes its way to the programming team who makes the final call on final selections for the festival program.

How will I know If my film is selected for Mountainfilm?
We will notify the contact person on the entry form via e-mail by May 1 at the latest regarding the status of your submission.

Will my film be protected on the virtual platform? 
Mountainfilm offers industry-leading DRM protection. We deploy the most advanced security solutions available, both to protect films and media as well as to secure customer data. Trusted by leading distributors and studios including A24, Sony Pictures Classics, Starz, Showtime, National Geographic, and many more.

Does Mountainfilm require premieres?
With few exceptions, Mountainfilm requires that films have not been screened or broadcast in Colorado prior to the festival. However, the festival does take other previous screenings, broadcasts, and online availability into consideration when making its official selections. 

If my film is accepted to screen is it eligible to win an award?
Yes! Mountainfilm has the following award categories: Best Feature Documentary, Best Short Film, Vimeo Staff Pick Award, Charlie Fowler Best Adventure Film, Women in Film, Moving Mountains, and Student Choice. 

Can I submit more than one film?
Yes. Please submit each film as a unique entry and create a separate application for each.

Can I submit a rough cut?
Rough cuts are accepted for entry at the final entry deadline only, February 1. If you submit a rough cut, we cannot guarantee that the programmers will be able to review an updated cut at a later date. If you are submitting a rough cut, make sure it is indicated as such very clearly. Please be sure to indicate your final intended running time, what exactly is incomplete: temporary sound, no credits or titles, missing scenes, etc. 

Can I submit an updated version of my film?
We are unable to consider new cuts of films once they are entered. Please choose the right time to enter based on your progress and do not enter new cuts or make requests for the programming team to consider an updated cut.

I submitted my documentary last year, and it was not accepted. Can I submit again?
Yes, you are welcome to re-submit, but we do not encourage re-submission unless the film has undergone significant re-working since it was entered previously.

How recently must my film have been completed to be eligible?
Films from any production date are eligible to enter. 

How many films are accepted?
Generally, around 120 (approximately 75% shorts and 25% feature-length) films are accepted into the festival which means we have roughly a 15% acceptance rate. That’s three times better than your chance of getting into an Ivy League College!

Why do you charge entry fees?
Mountainfilm is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and strongly believes in filmmaker support. Submission fees help fund our yearly Commitment Grants and Emerging Filmmaker Fellowship. Your submission fee is assisting fellow filmmakers with production and post-production support!