The Malibu International Film Festival, brimming with screenings of independent films that organizers deem ìcutting edge,î returns this year with events and screenings in Santa Monica and Malibu Thursday through Monday, April 12th to 16th.

Film screenings take place at the 400-seat Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica. Tickets are $10 per screening.

The Malibu Film Festival is a competition festival with the intent of having the films it screens picked up for distribution. Many of the films entered are making either their Los Angeles or their world premiere at Malibu Film Festival.

The festival is an opportunity for filmmakers, producers, distributors, agents and managers to network, organizers say. Producer David Katz organizes the festival through the nonprofit Malibu Film Foundation.

An opening night film screening is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 12th. Tickets to that screening are $20. Also on opening night, a kickoff party with DJ Jason Bentley of KCRW is planned, starting at 9:30 p.m. at Writers Boot Camp at the fine art hub Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. Tickets are $20 for the opening night party.

Wrapping up the festival will be an awards dinner party and reception at 6 p.m. Monday, April 16th, at Geoffreyís Malibu, 27400 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. Tickets to the awards ceremony are $100.

Each year, the closing night awards reception features a celebrity honoree. Past honorees have included Pierce Brosnan, James Cameron and Brett Ratner.

A filmmakers networking breakfast for festival alumni and present filmmakers and cast competing in the 2007 festival is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, April 14th, at the Aero Theatre.

Screened at the festival will be feature films, including The Killing Floor, a thriller directed by Gideon Raff; Forfeit, a thriller directed by Andrew Shea; Speed Dating, a romantic comedy directed by Tony Herbert; Played, a thriller directed by Sean Stanek; and Mo, directed by Brian Lederman.

About 35 short films will be screened, including Tommy the Kid, a comedy by Stuart Clegg; Last Dance, a war drama by Lloyd DeSouza; and Hollow,î a horror drama by Paul Bickel.

Animated short films are a featured category at the festival, with submissions including Temerario, a western thriller directed by Carl Zitelmann; Sensational City, an art film directed by Tarik Cherkaoui; Mo and Les, a comedy directed by Lindsay VanderGalien; The Toll, a film noir directed by J Zachary Pike; First Flight, a family drama directed by Cameron Hood and Kyle Jefferson; and Mirage, a science fiction fantasy directed by Youngwoong Jang.

Documentary films will also be competing in the festival including Fueling Change, an environmental film directed by Philip Rosenberg-Watt; Help is Coming, an urban docu-drama directed by Ben Mor; The Lost Wave, a surf adventure film by Sam Boyer, Sam George and Paul Taublieb; How Cuba Survived Peak Oil, an environmental/human rights film directed by Faith Morgan; Women With Altitude, a sports film directed by Sarah Vaill; Shark Alley, an action-adventure film by Greg Huglin; and The Making Of A Martyr, a documentary by Alistair Leyland and Brooke Goldstein.

Information, (310) 452-6688.