join us for the 2023 year
—Submissions are now closed—
The San Diego International Film Festival is using film to create conversations in our increasingly complex world. Since 2011, the Festival has presented independent films that cover important topics such as prejudice, environmental issues, and military life. The Festival also features inspiring and fun films. Your voice and submissions are important as we navigate these unprecedented times together.
We are indeed living in unprecedented times. In an increasingly complex and divided world desperately in need of healing, the San Diego International Film Festival is dedicated to using film to create conversations.
Since 2011, this Festival has advocated that cinema is a catalyst for positive change because it provides perspectives that often touch our hearts leading us to help find solutions. The curated independent films presented by this Festival have covered topics such as homelessness, prejudice, pollution of the world’s rivers, animal and environmental extinction, sustainability, sex-trafficking, military life, and so much more. The Festival also presents ‘feel good’ films that inspire and reinforce the best in all of us … as well as fun films that simply provide a much-needed laugh.
Your voice is more important than ever. And your submissions are more important than ever as we navigate these challenging times together.
We thank you for your passion, your perspectives and your creativity.
– San Diego International Film Festival Team
January 2, 2023 – Submissions Open
February 24, 2023 – Earlybird Deadline
April 7, 2023- Regular Deadline
June 9, 2023 – Late Deadline
July 21, 2023 – Extended Deadline
September 1, 2023 – Notification Date
Note: Entry fees are in U.S. Dollars, are per film and are non-refundable. The Festival reserves the right to disqualify a submission, without refund of any kind, if eligibility requirements are not met including if eligibility status changes post-submission.
Students & Local SD Residents: Please submit in the designated “Student” or “Local San Diego” Category for a $5 discount.
How To Enter
Apply Online! No Physical Submissions Accepted
To be eligible for consideration:
Entrants must fully comply with these Entry Rules & Regulations, including all deadlines, film length, entry material and other requirements.
Non-English language works must have English subtitles at the time submitted. Dialogue lists will not be accepted.
The film MUST maintain at minimum a “San Diego Region” premiere status prior to the Festival (“Premiere”; see criteria in charts, below).
The San Diego International Film Festival is a competitive event and unless notified otherwise, all films officially selected are eligible for competition. For a list of competitive categories, please see our awards page. All films are nominated and voted upon by an impartial jury of filmmakers, industry professionals, festival programmers and film aficionados.
If selected, the SDiFF will require an Electronic Press Kit (EPK) to include high-resolution production stills, key art, bio and filmography of the director, production notes and full cast and crew credits.
Every precaution is taken when handling your film once submitted to us but we cannot accept responsibility for loss or damaged files that are submitted to us.
Submissions must have been completed after January 1, 2022
Yes we accept more than one entry per filmmaker. Each entered film must be submitted on its own in the online platform of your choosing.
If your work was submitted and considered for previous editions of the San Diego Film Festival, you may re-enter it and if all eligibility requirements are met (see above).
Festival programmers select and invite all the films to be presented at the upcoming years Festival. Invited filmmakers will be notified by email or phone via the information provided on the submitted entry form. Make sure to update us with new contact information or any other festival invitations prior to the Festival, Email: email@example.com. If your film is invited, your premiere status will be confirmed with you and locked. Should you accept any other festival invitation that breaches this premiere status commitment, the Festival has the right to rescind the invitation.
If Your Work Is Selected
If your work is selected, you must fulfill the following requirements by the date(s) designated by the Festival:
You must execute a release agreement wherein you (i) accept responsibility for obtaining any and all clearances necessary to exhibit your film at the upcoming Festival; (ii) warrant that you have the rights necessary to exhibit your film at the upcoming Festival; and (iii) indemnify and hold harmless San Diego Film Festival, its parent company, its affiliates, and subsidiaries and any of their respective directors, officers, employees, and representatives against any claim arising out of exhibition of your film at the upcoming Festival.
You must deliver to the address(es) designated by the Festival (i) one exhibition copy of the invited work; (ii) a second exhibition copy, if your film is in competition (to accommodate juror screenings); and (iii) additional exhibition copies, if requested by the Festival (to allow for multiple screenings at more than one venue). We recommend you ship via courier in order to permit the tracking of your entry once it leaves your hands.
The Festival will arrange (and pay cost of) return shipping your print(s)/video(s) to one location after the conclusion of the Festival.
You must provide a properly completed and signed official “Acceptance Agreement Form” and “Filmmaker Program Information Form” including all press and publication assets as specified in the “Materials Checklist”.
Works invited to participate in the upcoming Festival will be shown in the section determined most appropriate by Festival programmers, at their sole discretion. Sections included the following: Features, Docs or Shorts.
– 2 Filmmaker Virtual Badges which acts as a VIP Pass to attend the Festival
– Virtual Filmmaker Meet ‘n’ Greet networking with industry professionals as well as our CEO & Artistic Director Tonya Mantooth
– Access to panels or virtual events
– Potential for one-on-one meetings with prominent entertainment industry professionals