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MFF2017 Rules

You need to know the rules before you submit your film. Submissions for mobile film shorts and features competions are currently closed. You can stay informed by accessing our social media pages at the bottom of this website.



MFF2017 is adding new competition to our festival. Beginning with next year's film festival, we will select a total of 5 mobile "feature" length films and choose one winner to give a special trophy award for the first winner of what will be an annual addition to our international mobile film festival in San Diego. All the 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. All five films to compete will be limited to no less than 20 minutes and no more than 60 minutes in length.

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

We are one of the few film festivals exclusively for anyone of any age, anywhere in the world who uses a mobile phone ONLY to shoot their films. All shorts are between 1 and 5 minutes in length. Our first year 1 and 3 minutes. After five years, we feel the time has come to challenge you to be the first feature filmmaker to win during International Mobil Film Festival™ in San Diego with a mobile feature film or feature mobile film.

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


Calling All Ages

 Submissions are currently closed. Stay informed through our social media profiles.


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

GMFA logo Final

Winning films in MFF2017 will 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. Contact us for details.

Films awarded this year by GMFA member film festivals are free and will be submitted by the member film festival. Details will be provided in their websites.





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. Entries are FREE so it's a cinch! Just Do it!

EQUIPMENT – In case we weren’t clear: 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.

ONE (1) ENTRY per person and/or entity. If you are an organization, please contact us! or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

LENGTHShort Film Competition - 00:60 seconds (1 minute) to 05:00 minutes including credits. Feature Mobile Film Competition - 20 minutes to 60 minutes total including credits.

FORMAT – We prefer (.mov) files, but we will work with what your cell phone video provides by default (Please record FULL QUALITY 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 typses of apps do not create your movie for you.

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.

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.

*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.


Submissions are CLOSED as of December 19, 2016



Submissions are CLOSED as of November 19, 2016

We will select 5 mobile films to compete for an exclusive mobile feature film award.

Films must be cinematic in nature. Good quality. Films must be shot with smartphones, 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 20 minutes and no longer than 60 minutes including intro and end credits.

Cost for submission for Mobile Feature films is $20 - Look for it on our Festival Listing on under the Categories!

You must email us to receive a password to submit your film. If your film qualifies, you will receive the password to submit your payment and film on through the Feature Film Category. No refunds. Qualifying for submission does not guarantee selection to competition. Only 5 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. But 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!


 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.

Mobile Filmmaking Video Essay Category

Make a short mobile filmmaking video essay using apps and whatever you would like as long as it's shot with a phone. The theme is presenting the benefits, the creativity and the innovation of mobile filmmaking. You can use videos shot with your phone using apps like Instagram® and others, as long as your final video can be downloaded in good quality to screen on a big screen. You can edit on your phone or laptop, desktop or notepad. The purpose is to make it fun and interesting but also to make it educational, because we all know an essay takes some research! Keep your sources handy just in case you are selected for an interview! 

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 of 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.

Wilderness & Geographic
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 eccentric places and destinations around the world or in your backyard, this category is sure to be a creative challenge worth showcasing. All rules apply. 


Entering MFF2017 with a mobile film is easy!

Submissions are now closed for short and feature films: Opened 6/19/16 at 12:0AM and Closed 12/19/16 at 11:59PM (PST) for Shorts and 11/19/16 at 11:59PM (PST) for Features.


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