Arts, Education & Community Programming

Thanks to the strong and visionary support of lead sponsors, the JTIFF is able to offer a broad range of programming and benefits, such as our spotlight on indigenous filmmaking, Cinema de Americas; the discussion series, Dinner with and a Guest featuring recognized industry professionals, and JTIFF OASIS, an affordable writer’s workshop led by accomplished screenwriters and playwrights from around the world.

Encouraging the ability of film to serve as a conduit for dialogue in communities about important issues, the JTIFF, in association with the Black Lotus Institute, sponsors specialized film series, workshops and forums. For example, in recognition of Black History Month, in association with the Los Angeles based African-American Theatrical Ensemble (AATE), the organization will host the retrospective, Feast of Bast: Black Female Images on Stage and Film; the organization will also collaborate with conservationist and corporations to produce a desert sustainability conference in 2018.

indie film in the Hi-Desert

The 2016 Joshua Tree International Film Festival™ (JTIFF) will take place September 16-18, 2016 in Joshua Tree, California.

Nestled against the majestic peaks of one the nation’s most celebrated National Parks, the JTIFF attracts submissions and attention from leading independent filmmakers and cinema lovers from around the world. Featuring films that epitomize the spirit of challenging, thought provoking cinema, the 2016 Festival will include opportunities for filmmakers and film lovers to connect and share their experiences with film, the public reading of the winning script of the 2016 JTIFF Short Screenplay Contest, and presentation of the 2016 JTIFF/BLACK LOTUS Outstanding Achievement in Film Awards.

JTIFF seeks Film Screeners

Do you love movies? The 2016 Joshua Tree International Film Festival needs volunteer screeners to help evaluate this year's entries, which include short and feature-length documentaries and features in the genres of comedy, drama, science fiction, experimental and animation.

A screener orientation meetings will be held at the Joshua Tree Chamber of Commerce Offices, located at 6448 Hallee Road in Joshua Tree. JTIFF planners will explain the screening process and a film will be evaluated.

Fill outthis formif interested.

The Community

The JTIFF takes place in the internationally known village of Joshua Tree, and will include screenings and events at the Sportmans Lodge and the Beatnik Lounge. Past venues have included the Joshua Tree Chamber of Commerce, 29 Excursions, Art Queen and Ricochet.

The presence of Copper Mountain Community College, its connection to institutions of higher education throughout Southern California, and the community’s proximity to Los Angeles, Palm Springs, San Diego and Las Vegas, give the JTIFF a film-literate audience, and provide an ideal forum for filmmakers to show their work in a high-visibility environment.

Perhaps, one of the most unique elements of the Festival comes from its geographic location and cultural-heritage linkages. The Morongo Valley is rich with the stories of indigenous peoples and settlers from every corner. Set against the backdrop of Joshua Tree National Park, a haven and destination for over 1.8 million visitors annually, has positioned the JTIFF to establish artistic exchanges between filmmakers from our community to those around the world. This is clearly realized with the entry of 25 international films and foreign attendees. The JTIFF will continue to develop its international network of artists through various exhibit opportunities and collaborations throughout the year.

The growth in regional film and commercial production have given the area prominence as a filming location. The on-going development of the region has brought access to excellent dining, recreation and arts experiences. Within an hour's drive, you can experience first-class resorts, casinos, or protected lands.

The JTIFF represents an ideal opportunity to test-market new film product in an area with demographics that represent a microcosm of the film going public: a unique mix of cultural, ethnic and educational backgrounds exist in a relatively concentrated area.


Now in its second year, the JTIFF was founded by Eric Quander, and began in September 2014. Formalized as a monthly screening series at the Beatnik Lounge in Downtown Joshua Tree, excitement around the feasibility of an actual weekend film festival was suggested, and the idea quickly garnered the support and interest of both the local and entertainment industry communities. Since its inception, the JTIFF has screened more than 90 titles, many of which have been regional premieres.

JTIFF’s Mission

The JTIFF aims to be a platform for artistic exchange as well as a provider of opportunities for the global creative community, rarely available in the established entertainment industry. It is designed to foster contact among film directors, artists, producers, distributors, backers and audiences. Filmmakers will have an opportunity to share new film product, test-market films in development, and share the film-making process with industry peers, students, and the general public.

The Festival's goal is to recognize achievement and innovation in a variety of filmmaking and storytelling disciplines while providing an opportunity for filmmakers to develop a loyal fan base and secure wider distribution.

Festival Structure

The JTIFF is a sole proprietiership The structure for the 2016 Festival will include multiple screenings of films on Saturday, September 17th. Filmmakers will be available for discussion and commentary during the Opening Night Reception and between screenings.

Our community outreach efforts include the engagement of print, radio and social media campaigns and contests. We have addressed the Hi-Desert’s lack of screening facilities, by re-interpreting and re-conceptualizing existing spaces. With strong community support, and unlimited growth potential, we endeavor to establish a state of the art screening facility in Joshua Tree.

Eric Quander is the JTIFF Founder and Artistic Director

What sets the JTIFF apart

The JTIFF is an opportunity for filmmakers to exhibit their work before a culturally savvy, open-minded, loyal audience that nurtures the spirit of indie filmmaking. The JTIFF is one of only a handful of opportunities in the Hi-Desert to showcase films that compel, cultivate and challenge audiences. Accepting works of any type (dramatic, documentary, experimental, animation), on any subject matter, and in any genre, the JTIFF is poised to discover, nurture and develop a significant presence in the film world.

Joshua Tree International Film Festival

a Black Lotus Production

indie films in the Hi-Desert