Submission FAQ


  • The submissions deadline is a “postmarked by” deadline. If your film is postmarked past the deadline you will be prompted to make the additional payment to bring your account up to date.
  • Rough cuts and works-in-progress are accepted. Be sure to note on the submission cover letter what elements are still being worked on.
  • All films completed after January 1, 2017 are eligible for submission.
    You may submit more than one film, each must be submitted individually on WithoutABox,  Film Freeway or the physical form.
  • If you cannot upload your film via WithoutABox, please fill out the NON-WAB form. Email: to inquire or you can find it on the Submit Now Page.
  • Submission materials will not be returned due to the large number of entries.
  • Filmmakers of any age may submit their film.
  • Filmmakers will be notified of acceptance by September 1, 2018
  • Student filmmakers must note the film was a student film production in the synopsis/cover letter field of your Withoutabox submission and send a photo copy of your current student ID. If you do not provide a CURRENT copy of your student ID you will be prompted to make an additional payment in order to bring your account up to date.

Additional FAQ's

Can I re-submit my film from last year?

Only if the previous version was a rough cut and the film has changed since then and was completed in the previous year.

Is it a postmarked deadline or received by deadline?

The submissions deadline is a postmarked by deadline.

How would I go about requesting a fee waiver?

Unfortunately, due to the numerous requests, we are unable to make any adjustments to the fee structure.

Should I include anything with the submission?

Please be sure to label the DVD with the title, contact information, Withoutbox or Film Freeway tracking number and run time.

Do you accept rough cuts/work-in-progress?

Yes, we do consider rough cuts and works-in-progress. Please note in the submission cover letter what elements are still being worked on.

Can I get confirmation that you received my submission?

Yes, soon after we receive your submission and payment on Withoutabox, your film status on will be changed to green.  If it was a physical entry please email:

When and how will filmmakers be notified of their acceptance?

Our final decisions will be announced on approximately September 1st. All filmmakers will be contacted via email.

Can I still submit if my film has distribution or has aired on television?

Yes, however our only requirement is that films must be San Diego premieres.

Does my film need to be a World Premiere?

Your film must only be a San Diego premiere to be considered. However, higher premiere status will be taken into consideration when making final decisions.

Can I submit more then one film?

Yes, but each film must be submitted and paid for separately through the submission platform.

Do you accept multiple submissions on one DVD?

No, please send only ONE submission per DVD please.

What materials (i.e.: tapes, press kits, etc) should be sent?

It is not required to send any additional materials, however if you wish, we do accept electronic press kits.

What additional information do I need to provide for submission as a student filmmaker?

A copy of your student ID and a note that the film was a student film production in the synopsis/cover letter field of your WIthoutabox submission.

Do I need to have all my music rights cleared?

It is suggested that you retain at least film festival rights for your music.

If my film is not chosen, may I speak with a programmer for notes or feedback?

Unfortunately due to time constraints and the large number of submissions, we are unable to give individual feedback.



Mailing Address:
San Diego Film Festival
Programming Department
2683 Via De La Valle, Suite G210
Del Mar, CA 92101

Call: 619-818-2221