Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema presents free screenings of diverse, local filmmakers' works in neighborhood parks, playgrounds, and other community-friendly spaces to increase the exposure and recognition of local artists and to heighten appreciation by neighborhood and citywide residents while bringing community together.

The Submissions & Selection Committee seeks short films or videos in which local residents have participated in any aspect of production, promotion or distribution. The Committee strongly encourages San Francisco filmmakers of all backgrounds and lived experiences to submit their work representing the breadth and diversity of San Francisco and Bernal Heights, specifically. Submissions of all genres including narrative, documentary, comedy, art, experimental, animation and music videos will be considered.

In its 18th season, BHOC features an end-of-summer 3-day festival of free screenings. With all consideration given to the Health Department's guidance on health and safety in this time of COVID-19, our hope is to stage two outdoor screenings — in-person or in-vehicle — and a virtual "Best of Bernal" awards presentation and film screening.

The Outdoor Season is followed in the Winter with the quarterly "Face-to-Face with the Filmmaker" screenings in January, April and June 2022 — dates TBA

NOTE: Should any of these events be cancelled due to safe distancing guidelines, we will schedule virtual presentations at a later date. Your submission gives Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema permission to make your film accessible on Vimeo for a limited time

The BHOC line-up features short films or videos — 20-25 minutes or shorter— in all genres, in which: 1) local Bay Area residents have participated in any aspect of production or distribution; and 2) the subject matter or theme resonates with current sentiments, issues and challenges facing the neighborhood and residents of Bernal Heights. Special consideration is given to films or videos on which a resident of Bernal Heights participated in any aspect of promotion, production or distribution.

Four non-monetary awards are presented to featured filmmakers:

Bernal-based filmmakers are eligible for the "Best of Bernal" award. All filmmakers are considered for the "Spirit of Bernal" award based on the film’s subject matter /theme and its resonance with sentiments, issues and challenges facing the neighborhood. Young and emerging filmmakers are eligible for the "Bernal Bright Star" award; and all are eligible for the "Audience Award."

The Awards presentation and award-winning films will be presented at the final event of the season, "Best of Bernal" screening, awards presentation and reception.

BHOC showcases the work of LOCAL FILMMAKERS, those living and/or working in the San Francisco Bay Area, with special consideration given to those who live in and around the Bernal Heights area. If you do not live, work or have a cast or crew member who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, please DO NOT submit your work as we are committed to showcasing and promoting local talent and stories. Before submitting your work, please review and agree to the following:

-- We seek short films (20-25 minutes, maximum) in all genres including narrative, animation, documentary, drama, experimental, children’s, music videos, and works in progress.

-- There are no restrictions regarding year of completion, submission to other festivals or previous presentations of the submitted films

-- Special interest and consideration is given to films that share and align with the diverse sentiments of the Bernal community

-- By submitting their film, submitter agrees that they own or control the copyright in and to, and am duly authorized to submit this film to Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema

-- Filmmakers give permission to BHOC to use press kits for marketing purposes, and a clip from film in highlight reel for box office and online trailer.

-- if your work is selected for screening, you must supply a high-resolution digital link, 1920 x 1080 pixels, .mov

-- If selected, filmmakers are invited to attend their screenings but are not required to be present

-- Please complete the application in full, or your submission will be disqualified.

Overall Rating
  • Had a great time at the 2020 BHOC. This time around we had drive thoughts, this was fantastic. Followed by a virtual celebration. Had a wonderful time.

    November 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thanks, Neil. It was a season of new experiences, that's for sure. Thanks for sharing GHOST SEARCHERS with us. Continued success with your future projects.

  • Jessica Heidt

    This is a wonderful local festival with an engaged and enthusiastic audience. Communication with the organizers was great and they followed up with thoughtful notes and gestures. Highly recommend!

    October 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Jessica. We were honored to share your work with our audience and hope to hear more from you in the future.
    Anne and Leslie, Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema