Welcome to Close:Up San Francisco Short Film Festival, an event dedicated to empowering short-form independent filmmaking.

WHY Close:Up? 🔍
local framing of global indie cinema - ambitious programming - enriching screening experiences

As part of the Close:Up network of film festivals, CU SF Short Film Festival aims to provide not only a memorable cinematic experience for audiences but also an enriching festival event for independent filmmakers. Our main goal is to increase your audience reach and engagement, as well as to further support your development after the festival circuit. We're looking for the most exciting and innovative storytelling in different genres, films that challenge and inspire audiences. Our festival is more than just a screening space - it is an opportunity to meet like-minded people and to bridge the gap between audiences and film creators.

Our focus on short-form filmmaking stems from an appreciation of the peculiar position short-form storytelling occupies within the cinematic universe. These films are generally harder to access and have difficulties reaching larger audiences, but their position outside of mainstream cinema and their abbreviated length allow the filmmakers more experimentation and artistic freedom. Delivering concise and meaningful storytelling in a small package requires creativity and determination. These are also our guiding principles, so we look forward to celebrating the most innovative and envelope-pushing short-length filmmaking.

WHY San Franciso? 🔍
♫ If you're going to San Francisco, Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair … You're gonna meet some gentle people there ♪♪
We are so excited to be bringing our family of cozy, enriching film events to the mecca of free-spirited creators! Home to radical music, memorable films, and staggering social movements, San Francisco is the ideal location for a new wave of ambitious, forward-thinking short-form indie films.

The historic Balboa Theatre is one of the oldest movie theaters in the Bay Area. Packed with plenty of history, as well as with an inviting, cozy atmosphere, Balboa Theatre is the perfect venue for our evening of refreshing and thought-provoking shorts from all around the world.

Our panel of international judges will select the best of the best and try to squeeze in as many high-quality shorts in one evening as they can. Featuring Q&A's with creators, filmmaker roundtables with local industry professionals, networking sessions, and a welcoming atmosphere. Submissions are now open for the first edition of what promises to be a memorable evening dedicated to ambitious, forward-thinking cinema!

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Close:Up Film Festivals are organized by HF Productions, an international production company run by a collective of independent filmmakers, producers and marketing professionals. Our mission is to create a collection of film festivals that support independent filmmakers in a very competitive and often unfair industry. We believe there is disenchantment with the anonymity and exclusivity of the festival circuit. We aim to provide a support system for emerging talents and independent filmmakers, based entirely on their skill set and passion.

The festival programmers will carefully select the films to be nominated for the following awards, and will then create a selection of nominated films to be screened in front of a live audience at the Balboa Theatre. The winners will be announced at the event, on our website and on social media.
There are three stages to the process:
△ ​Nominations – Films nominated for each category will be contacted on the notification date, and listed on our website and social media pages. Nominated filmmakers are invited to join the event, although only the films in the Official Selection (below) will be screened.

△ Official Selection – Films selected for screening will be notified if they have been considered to be part of Close:Up San Francisco Short Film Festival’s Official Selection on the notification date. Screening materials will be requested and more information about the event will be provided.

△ Winners – Award winners will be selected from the Nominations & Official Selection and announced at our festival, after the screenings, and online the following day.

Awards will include Certificates, Treats, and exclusive online Distribution deals, and will be given in the following categories:

Best Short
Best Comedy
Best Drama
Best Thriller
Best Experimental
Best Animation
Best Documentary
Best Student Documentary
Best Music Video
Best Writing (produced or unproduced screenplays)
Best Director
Best Student Director
Best Producer
Best Cinematographer
Best Editor
Best Composer
Best Bay Area Production (discounted entry for films made by filmmakers based in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, or Sonoma)

△ In addition to the above-listed categories, we also offer the option of a Film Critique (as an add-on). Criticism may not always be agreeable but it is always necessary. Filmmakers require constructive feedback at every stage of their development, whether they're just starting out or they've been making films for decades. We offer you the opportunity to get your film project critiqued by one of the qualified film critics we collaborate with on our festivals. Regardless of whether your film is selected for screening, through this add-on, you receive an in-depth review (1-3 pages). The critique can be more or less general, or focus on particular elements - you choose.

✴ All films must be submitted in English or with English subtitles.

✴ Films must have been produced in or after 2016.

✴ Filmmakers are responsible for sorting out the copyright on their own materials.

✴ By submitting to us, you give us the right to screen your film in front of a live audience at Balboa Theatre, San Francisco, US.

✴ Nominations: All films nominated for every category.
Official Selection: Films selected for screening will be notified via email. If you received a Nomination email, but no Official Selection email, it means your film will not be screened, but is still a contender for an award in its category.
Award Winners: Chosen from both the Nominations and the Official Selection.

✴ We may promote your film on social media, based on the press kits you provide us with.

✴ We retain the right to change the date and venue of the festival under special circumstances. All filmmakers will be informed about any changes through our online platforms.

✴ We place no restrictions on your work in terms of premiere status or whether your work has been made available online.

✴ Any technical issues with the submitted films are 100% the responsibility of the filmmakers. If, at the time of judging, your video file doesn’t work or doesn’t have English subtitles (if in a language other than English), it will be automatically rejected, without a refund. Please contact the festival team ASAP if there are any issues with the submission process, and a solution will be found.

✴ We cannot offer refunds.

✴ By submitting to us, you agree to our terms and conditions and to receiving marketing newsletters and discounts about film festivals in the form of emails. We will never sell your information to third parties.