The American Indian Film Festival® is the world’s longest-running exposition showcasing independent film exposition dedicated to USA Native American and First Nations people of Canada's cinematic achievement. For the last 45 years, AIFI has served and celebrated generations of Native American filmmakers, performing artists and audiences, with the best of the most current Native American Cinema while drawing into the circle of Hollywood celebrities, industry professionals, student filmmakers, seasoned festival-goers and newcomers traveling to San Francisco from near and far.

Celebrating its 45th annual, the San Francisco based festival has become a trusted guide to contemporary Native American life. A reliable, celebratory and empowering event, the Festival’s array of programs – films, workshops, receptions, awards show – work to replace stereotypes with authentic representations of Native traditions, history and present-day life.

AIFF45 showcases feature films, shorts, documentaries, animation, music videos and public service works of Native American/American Indians by filmmakers all around the world. Highlighted by Indian Country Today's as "Seven Events Worth Experiencing" and Voted as one of the “Best Native American Experience” by USA Today, the American Indian Film Festival is an event not to miss.

*UPDATE: Due to Covid-19, the 45th Annual American Indian Film Festival, will be presented virtually November 6 -14, 2020.



Submission Eligibility:
AIFI accepts films that are made of and about USA American Indian and First Nation Peoples of Canada. Film Submissions for the 45th Annual American Indian Film Festival® must be produced in 2019 - 2020. Please do not send original film prints, master tapes, or other originals. Entrants confirm and warrants required legal authority to submit the entry into the Festival and to use all music, images, and content in the entry. By entering your work, you agree to this and the responsibilities involved. The American Indian Film Institute, and the American Indian Film Festival® assumes no responsibility for violation of copyright law.

You may submit more than one entry, but each entry must be accompanied by its own completed submission form and entry fee.

Submission Formats:
AIFI accepts secure Dropbox/Vimeo/Youtube video's link. We do not accept tapes (DVD's, etc).

There are several levels of entry fees (Student, Early Bird, Regular, and Extended) depending on when your film is submitted. Deadline info included in FilmFreeway submission. Each film entry must be accompanied with an USD entry fee. AIFI does not pay rental fees. Instead, we invest our resources in producing the best possible showcase for your work and promoting as widely as possible.
Please note that submission fees will not be refunded.
Student Fee: If submitting as a student fee amount, please include proof of student status.

Press Kit
Film Entrants are required to submit Press Materials for each submission.
Materials include 3-5 high resolution stills of film for marketing purposes (jpg or tiff), Synopsis (short - 50 words) and long - 100 - 150 words), Tag Line ( 1 - 2 sentences).
To maximize exposure for your film, please provide a URL for your trailer, film posters and Director’s photo, per availability.

Selection & Notification
Submissions are reviewed by the American Indian Film Institute Selection Committee under the following criteria.
- Quality of narrative and production values.
- Independent nature of the production.
Chosen films will be notified via email. Please make sure your information is correct and up-to-date.

Festival Presentation Format:
AIFF45 has the capability to screen mpeg , .mov and mp4
Recommended codecs: Apple ProRes. H264 (high bitrate if possible: minimum 2MBit/s
-1920 x 1080, 48 kHz 24-bit audio
All formats must be in NTSC.
• Our facility does NOT support 16mm, Digibeta or HD Cam. No exceptions.

All film contents should be submitted to FilmFreeway, however if you need to mail to our office, please send to:

American Indian Film Institute
1446 Market St. San Francisco, CA 94102
AIFF45 Festival Submissions

Festival Screening & Scheduling:
AIFI reserves the right to make any changes to the advertised schedule at any time for any reason and will not accept liability for any costs incurred as a result of change.
No film may be withdrawn from the festival program after its selection.

Travel/Accommodations for Filmmakers:
All filmmakers are encouraged to attend the festival. We wish we could cover everyone’s flight and hotel, but we just don’t have the resources to provide accommodations for everyone. AIFI representatives will communicate information to filmmakers.

Passes/Tickets for Filmmakers:
Complimentary Festival Passes are available to attending filmmakers. Quantities are dependent on film length, category and based on availability. AIFI representatives will communicate this information to filmmakers upon acceptance of film/s.

Overall Rating
  • Myrton Running Wolf

    Always honored to be selected to this amazing festival with this gifted artists.

    November 2020
  • Nancy Ghertner

    Our documentary was welcomed by this film festival and given a nomination which allowed it additional press and viewings. I think the festival's programing of the film under a unique category which offered several films for the price of the ticket was an excellent idea. Also the festivals social media was very frequent and democratic in its publishing/posting of all films. This allowed our team to feel quite a part of the top line films. In the future if the festival world stays virtual, adding film maker interviews and film maker lounge environments could help in the aspect of networking. And would allow audiences to meet the film makers and experience their "journey" in the making of the films. I would highly recommend this festival to any Indigenous film maker or Indigenous themed film. It was a pleasure to work with the staff.

    November 2020
  • Camille Mỹ Giang

    Exceptional Festival. Staff was incredibly human and friendly.

    November 2020
  • My first time attending as a filmmaker. There were some event cancellations due to fires, but it was still a great time. I enjoyed watching the variety of films and will submit again.

    July 2020
  • Doreen Manuel

    Exceptional festival, well organized with incredible networking opportunity.

    January 2020