Award-Winning GI Film Festival Enters Twelth Season

GIFF Expands Entertainment Categories and Relationships with Television Networks, Hollywood Studios and other distribution Partners

The GI Film Festival -- which is dedicated to entertaining the troops and preserving their stories through film, television, gaming, and special events -- has developed several new exciting programs to benefit festival filmmakers since it began in 2007.

The core of the GI Film Festival's festival's line-up focuses on entertainment media that connect soldier to society by showing the life of military veterans in the arena of war and back on the home-front. GIFF has also always placed a special priority on films of all types in which members of the Armed Forces have played a key role on the production team.

Moreover, the festival has also expanded to include a high-impact event each fall in San Diego.

With respect to festival events hosted around the world, the programs are truly first-rate, featuring classic and premier film screenings, musical performances, panel discussions, receptions.

Says filmmaker Gary Mortensen, Shepherds of Helmand:

"What you have done transcends the world of film festivals by creating a true community where passionate filmmakers, our veterans and those who support them can gather for a few magical days to educate, heal and preserve the legacies of our veterans. You have poured your hearts and souls into this event and it shows. Every city in America should experience what you have built."

Past GI Film Festival smashed previous records for media coverage, earning 150 million media/consumer impressions, including live national daily television coverage from "Fox and Friends, all major DC network affiliates and front page coverage from The Washington Post, among many other press hits.

In terms of distribution, GIFF films have been nominated for Academy awards while earning distribution in theaters, on-demand, in retail stores and online.

All GIFF "official selections" without distribution are eligible for screening at other GIFF events. All film entries are also eligible for consideration in a number of "first look" arrangements the festival's partners have with major television networks, movie studio executives, theater chains, online portals and DVD distribution companies.

The GI Film Festival is open to filmmakers of every experience level from first-timers to veteran directors and producers. Prizes will be awarded for winners in numerous categories, including Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short, Best Student Film and Best International Film. The GI Film Festival will also welcome short film submissions from any filmmaker who serves, or has served, in the U.S. Military regardless of whether or not the film submission is military-themed or not.

For more information, please visit

All GIFF "official selections" without distribution are eligible for GIFF San Diego and other location screenings. Winning films are also eligible for consideration in a number of "first look" arrangements the festival's partners have with major television networks, movie studio executives, theater chains, online portals and DVD distribution companies.



Film entries will be judged by a Selection Committee.

Prizes in each competition will be awarded by a jury of industry professionals. Films that are in distribution are eligible for screening, but are out of competition and ineligible to receive prizes.


Competition is open to U.S. and International entries. No repeat entries. Send entries in sturdy, reusable containers or bubble wrap envelopes. There is no limit to the number of films you can submit to the festival. Each film must be submitted with a separate entry.


Only online entries will be accepted.


We are not responsible for corrupted on un-viewable files or any technical difficulties that make viewing your film impossible. Do not send original prints or tapes. Notification of acceptance into the festival will be made on or by July 15, 2018. Please keep the festival notified of any address/phone changes.


Submission of an entry gives the festival permission to have accepted work photographed, locally telecast, and reproduced, either in part or whole, for publicity purposes, unless otherwise requested in writing by the filmmaker.

To help the festival promote your film and drive attendance, please submit the following with your festival entry:

* Entry fee (credit card, or money order in U.S. funds made payable to the GI Film Festival).

* Digital still production photos/jpeg images of film for program guide. These are required upon acceptance.

* Digital format trailer for film for posting on official festival website. Requested, but not required.

* Digital photo of Filmmaker.

* Filmmaker bio.

* Any promotional materials available for your film, including, but not limited to, endorsement quotes/reviews, press clippings, etc.

* Self-addressed, stamped postcard for notification of receipt of entry.

* Copy of student ID (if applying as a student) or military ID (if applying as active duty military)

Overall Rating
  • Michael Baker

    My short film Popcorn & Chocolate screened in 2018 to a nearly full house at a beautiful theater in the middle of the famous Balboa Park. I cannot gush enough as to the organization and communication by the organizers of the GI Film Festival. It's run in conjunction with the local PBS station, if that is any indication, and given the focus of the festival - everything GI related - you can be sure everything is first rate.

    I highly recommending submitting to this festival if your subject is military related, OR if a member of the cast or crew is a veteran or active military (that counts too.)

    What a fabulous experience.

    October 2018
  • It was not only an honor to screen at GI Film Festival San Diego, but a complete pleasure. This festival is well run across the board. Communication, quality, and fantastic venues. A strong line-up of films that were powerful, funny, and thought provoking. It's commitment to our nations soldiers is inspiring and heartfelt.

    October 2018
  • Kyle Olson

    A really, really fantastic festival. The staff in this festival was very communicative from Day 1 - everybody was very nice and really just wanted to ensure my film played for the biggest audience possible. The festival had lots of press, photographers, coverage from KPBS, etc... The awards ceremony was lovely. San Diego is the perfect backdrop for this GI themed festival. I wouldn't hesitate to submit to this festival again. Thanks, GI Film Festival!

    September 2018
  • James Theres

    The GI Film Festival is one of the premier film festivals in the country. Superb communication and coordination. Great staff and volunteers. Attended every day and saw some amazing films. Who will ever forget the 100 year-old WWII veteran playing his harmonica as the Afghanistan veteran sang God Bless America at the congressional reception? Bravo GI Film Festival! Hope to be back soon.

    June 2017
  • Tom Getty

    Fantastic people! Chris is the best.

    June 2016