2020 Call for Entries

2019 Knight MARIMBAS Award Winner BIRDS OF PASSAGE

Miami Film Festival is now open for submissions. The following category rules will apply universally to all competition and non-competition categories, unless specifically noted:

  1. World premiere must have occurred no earlier than January 1, 2019
  2. There is a minimum Florida premiere requirement for films (60 min or more, 50 min or more for documentaries) to compete in all Feature Film Award categories. However, all things being equal, the Festival will give programming preference to films that offer a World, International, North American or US premiere status.
  3. There is no specific premiere requirement for short or medium length films of less than 60 minutes submitted to Made in MIA Award or Zeno Mountain Award categories, or films of 30 minutes or less submitted to the Short Film Award category. Films of these lengths that are actively streaming online are eligible to submit and compete in these categories, so long as they are in compliance with rule #1.  However, all things being equal, the Festival will give programming preference to World, International, North American and US Premieres or to works that will not yet be available online during the Festival dates.
  4. There is no specific premiere requirement for films in non-competition categories.
  5. Exhibition format must be delivered on DCP.


$40,000 Knight MARIMBAS Award* is Miami Film Festival’s top award, presenting $40,000 cash to the jury-selected feature film (60 min or longer) that best exemplifies richness and resonance for cinema’s future. The cash prize will go to the lead producer (production company), but is eligible to be split with a US distributor, if there is a US company that has made a commitment to release the winning film in US theaters prior to a VOD release

$40,000 Knight Made in MIA Award is a cash competition for the jury-selected best feature film ($30,000) and the jury-selected best short film under 30 minutes ($10,000) of any genre that features a qualitatively/quantitatively substantial portion of its content (story, setting and actual filming location) in South Florida, from West Palm to the Keys, and that most universally demonstrates a common ground of pride, emotion, and faith for the South Florida community.

$10,000 Jordan Ressler First Feature Award presents $10,000 cash to the filmmaker (director, or writer/director) of the jury-selected best film made by a filmmaker making his or her feature narrative (60 min or longer) film debut. The Award is courtesy of the South Florida family of the late Jordan Ressler, an aspiring screenwriter whose life was tragically cut short before he could realize his dream.

$5,000 Zeno Mountain Award presents $5,000 cash, courtesy of Fringe Partners, to the filmmaker of a jury-selected film of any genre and any length that best celebrates the diversity of abilities and disabilities and helps to break down barriers to our understanding of people living with disabilities. The award is named after Zeno Mountain Farm in Lincoln, VT, and inspired by the actors and filmmakers in the 2016 documentary film Becoming Bulletproof.

Ibero-American Feature Film Award is a prize given to a jury-selected best U.S. Hispanic or Ibero-American feature film (60 min or longer) in the Official Selection, awarded to the lead producer (production company).

Documentary Achievement Award is a prize given to one documentary film as voted upon by the Festival audience, awarded to the film’s lead producer (production company). All feature-length documentary (50 min or longer) playing in the Festival’s Official Selection are eligible for this Award.

Short Film Awards are two separate prizes given to jury-selected short films (30 min or less) of any genre. One prize is for the best Ibero-american short film and the other prize is for the best short film not in the Spanish language.

Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Family Foundation CinemaSlam Competition is open to all eligible film students across the State of Florida, and this year there will be $42,500 awarded in cash prizes. For details visit miamifilmfestival.com/cinemaslam-2020.

Feature Film Audience Award and Short Film Audience Award are two separate awards presented to the filmmakers of the Festival audience’s choice of best non-documentary feature (60 min or more) and best non-documentary short (30 min or less) of the entire Official Selection.

Rene Rodriguez Critics Award is presented to the filmmaker of one film of any genre and any length voted on by all accredited film critics covering the annual Festival, for the film they consider the best of that year’s selection.

Miami Film Festival Trailer Award presented by Oolite Arts – the winning editor will receive an invitation and honorarium as a guest of the 2021 Miami Film Festival as an Oolite Arts Skills Master Class Lecturer.

Miami Film Festival Poster Award presented by Oolite Arts – the winning designer will receive an invitation and honorarium as a guest of the 2021 Miami Film Festival as an Oolite Arts Skills Master Class Lecturer.

*A marimba is a variation of a xylophone that produces a deeper, richer and more resonant tone that a traditional xylophone. The marimba originated in Guatemala and Central America approximately 400 years ago and remains popular to this day in a wide variety of musical disciplines. The name of Miami Film Festival’s top award is inspired by the 2011 winner of the Festival’s top award, Julio Hernandez Cordon’s Marimbas from Hell, which embodies the spirit of forward-looking cinema.


Cinema 360° feature narratives (60 min or more) from both masters and up-and-coming filmmakers from every country in the world, including an international selection of dramas, comedies, suspense thrillers, neo westerns, and innovative docudramas.

REEL Music Scene features narrative or documentary films of any length with music-themed content.


  • May 15, 2019 | Opening Date
  • June 29, 2019 | Earlybird Deadline
  • July 31, 2019 | Regular Deadline
  • August 31, 2019 | Late Deadline
  • October 15, 2019 | Extended Deadline
  • January 15, 2020 | Final Notification Date
  • March 6 – 15, 2020 | Festival Date