Festival Experience


Be A Part of the Scene.

See it First. Party Like A Star. Celebrate the Best.

THE SAN DIEGO INTL FILM FESTIVAL is our region’s premier film event and one of the leading stops on the independent festival circuit. SDiFF offers a totally unique film experience; including world premieres, never before seen studio releases, the best in independent filmmaking and a full schedule of glamorous parties and intimate events with filmmakers.  Thousands of film lovers joined us Downtown at the Balboa Theater for opening night, Regal Cinema and the ArcLight La Jolla for screenings and at our festival headquarters the beautiful Pendry San Diego.

2017 Opening Night Film MARSHALL San Diego Premiere
Our opening night films often go onto win major awards!
Previous films include: Silver Linings Playbook, Wild, 12 Years A Slave, Septembers of Shiraz, and many others!

VARIETY Night of the Stars Tribute-San Diego’s Biggest Night in Film! 
The VARIETY Night of the Stars Tribute brings Hollywood to San Diego for a glamorous evening of celebrations and awards. The Gregory Peck Award of Excellence in Cinema, 2017 was presented to Sir Patrick Stewart at the Pendry San Diego, Heather Graham, Kumail Nanjiani, Blake Jenner and Taran Killam were also honored. 

Friday Night Party
Mixing fun for a cause, the Friday Night Party in downtown San Diego is a perfect end to a full day of screenings. We kick off the night with a bang! There will be live music and art, entertainment, food trucks, complimentary beverages and games in the beer garden.

Studio Premieres
We premiere some of the biggest films coming out of Hollywood and the independent film circuit. Come to the festival for a chance to see films like: Lion, Hell or High Water, Silver Linings Playbook, 12 Years a Slave and many others weeks or even months before they hit the big screen.

Unique Film Tracks
SDiFF features a slate of film tracks that reflect both the unique culture of San Diego and that fulfill our mission to “Make a Difference” with film. Tracks include American Indian, Environmental, Military, and new this year Equestrian.

Meet the Filmmakers – 205+ Filmmakers Attended in 2017!
Stick around after the film and listen to the filmmakers discuss the inspiration and creative process to get their film to the big screen. In addition filmmaker panels and our filmmaker awards show are exciting

Culinary Cinema
Enjoy a cinematic adventure into the world of food and then partake of delicious bites from local sustainable Chef’s and restaurants.

Independent and Studio Premieres

With 2000+ submissions from independent filmmakers in 60 countries, you know the 100+ films that are selected for the San Diego Intl Film Festival are, literally, the best features, documentaries and shorts in the world.  In addition to seeing films before they are released, Q&A sessions with filmmakers after the screenings brings you into the creative process in a most personal way.

Past premieres en route to awards include:

  • 2017 – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Call Me By Your Name, Killing Gunther, The Upside, Breathe, and The Ballad of Lefty Brown 
  • 2016 – Lion, Denial, Julieta, Hell or Hight Water, Hidden Figures, Captain Fantastic and Trespass Against Us
  • 2015 – Room and He Named Me Malala
  • 2014 – The Imitation Game, Whiplash, Wild, Mr. Turner, St. Vincent and The Good Lie
  • 2013 – 12 Years a Slave, The German and August: Osage County 
  • 2012 – Silver Linings Playbook, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Quartet

Behind the Scenes Access to the Entertainment Industry

Throughout the San Diego Intl Film Festival, you will have the opportunity to hear from filmmakers, actors, directors and deal makers. You’ll learn the backstory on why a film was produced or the behind the scenes antics of the cast or the struggles of getting distribution deals.

  • VARIETY’s Night of the Stars Tribute
  • Exclusive Q&A and Panel Sessions
  • Mix and Mingle with Industry Experts
  • Connect with Filmmakers from Around the World

A Truly VIP Experience

Your VIP Fest Pass has got you covered for all of the films, panels and parties for the 2017 San Diego Intl Film Festival.  But wait … there’s more!

  • Valet parking
  • VIP lounges with complimentary drinks, cocktails & snacks
  • VIP Priority Line Access for all films and events means no waiting in long lines
  • VIP Advanced Reservations for films & events

They Don’t Call Us America’s Finest City for Nothing

Imagine the Hollywood glitz and glam with the cool vibe of San Diego.  No matter how busy the Festival keeps you, take a look around and enjoy all that beautiful San Diego has to offer. With two Festival Villages, you can enjoy legendary La Jolla’s scenic coastal community one day and the excitement of  downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter the next.

Join Us for the 2018 
San Diego Intl Film Festival

100+ Films. Parties. Celebrities. Awards.

Festival Passes & Tickets