Malibu’s sweeping coastal landscape and close proximity to Hollywood have made The ‘Bu a definitive backdrop in the movie industry, with classic films such as Grease and Pirates of the Caribbean playing out on pristine stretches of coastline near Malibu Beach Inn.

It’s no wonder then that some of the most compelling new filmmakers in the United States and beyond flock to Malibu each fall for the Malibu International Film Festival—this year set for Saturday, November 5.


Held by the Malibu Film Foundation, the festival showcases independent films from the next generation of great filmmakers with a focus on innovative short films. Many actors and film personalities such as James Cameron and Malcom McDowell have been honored at the festival since its inception in 1999, and this year’s selection will highlight emerging talent like Patrick Schwarzenegger.

Forgiveness Movie Poster - Malibu International Film Festival

The film selection spans across an eclectic range of subjects and genres, from AA (Charles Irving Beale), set during an AA meeting that goes awry when members of the group turn out not to be who they say they are, to Forgiveness (Satie Gossett), which explores a young African American man’s response to an essay question posed by the President of the United States. When asked how he would fix America, the young man suggests that the President apologize for the country’s role in slavery.

Another anticipated film, Prettyface (Jessica Janos), follows a rebellious fifteen-year old girl named Jenna in the summer of 1969. Abandoned by her deadbeat mother, she steals a horse named Prettyface from her friend Marlena’s family and—along with Marlena who has followed her—stumbles across a family living in an abandoned movie ranch. The situation becomes dangerous, and Jenna is forced to make a great and heroic personal sacrifice to save her friend from the family: the Mansons.

Prettyface Movie Stills - Malibu International Film Festival

Prettyface; Photo credit: Austin Ellis

The screenings will take place at the Malibu Civic Theater, with most films preceded by Q & A sessions with the filmmakers in which the audience is encouraged to participate. After the screenings, a jury of award-winning short filmmakers will be honoring the best documentary, short film, student film, and more at the Awards Party.

Tickets to the festival are free, however attendees must RSVP online, and donations will be accepted at the door. The films will screen on Saturday, November 5 between 11 am and 9 pm, and a full screening schedule is available here.

Featured images: Prettyface; Photo credit: Austin Ellis