The GI Film Festival San Diego (GIFFSD) aims to reveal the struggles, triumphs, and experiences of military service members and veterans through compelling and authentic storytelling.

Documentaries, narratives, shorts, and feature length films are presented, highlighting stories of heroism, resilience, and honor.

The next juried festival will take place at a new time of year, next Spring, from May 18-23, 2021 at select venues in central San Diego, CA. The festival will continue to include the Local Film Showcase, which features San Diego’s filmmakers, events, people, or places.

GIFFSD will also host an online mini-festival this Fall on October 1 & 2, 2020 around the time our annual San Diego festival has historically taken place. This mini-fest will include past festival selections.

Submissions of military experience themed films are open to filmmakers of every level from first-timers to old pros. Submissions are also accepted from filmmakers who serve, or have served in the Military, regardless of whether or not the film submission is military-themed.

Highlights of the festival include post-screening discussions with filmmakers, actors and documentary subjects; an opening night reception; a Local Film Showcase reception; and an awards celebration honoring the filmmakers, actors, and film subjects.

TENTATIVE AWARD CATEGORIES
Best Narrative Short
Best Documentary Short
Best Narrative Feature
Best Documentary Feature
Best Film Made by or Starring Veterans or Military
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best First-Time Filmmaker
Best Student Film- Documentary Short
Best Student Film- Narrative Short
Best International Film
Founders Choice

Local Film Showcase Awards
Best Narrative Short- Local Film Showcase
Best Documentary Short- Local Film Showcase
Best Narrative Feature- Local Film Showcase
Best Documentary Feature- Local Film Showcase
Best Student Film- Local Film Showcase
Best Film Made by or Starring Veterans or Military- Local Film Showcase
Local Choice (Note: Only films where at least 60% of the cast, crew and locations have been sourced from San Diego County or Imperial County are eligible.)

PLEASE NOTE: Each category must have a minimum of 3 official selections to remain as an award category and if jurors deem all films in a category undeserving of awards, they can elect to not choose an award for that category.

Official winners will be recognized during the festival’s Awards Celebration. Their films will also be considered for local broadcast on KPBS. Certain requirements will need to be met prior and separate agreements will be signed with the KPBS programming team.

GI FILM FESTIVAL SAN DIEGO REQUIREMENTS
To be selected for the 2021 GI Film Festival San Diego, films must have been completed after January 1, 2018 and meet at least one of the following criteria:
1. A storyline or narrative arc that is about the military experience- past or current day- USA or international- during service or back home after service.

2. A film of any genre, military-themed or not, featuring above the line talent who is currently serving or has served in the U.S. military. Above the line talent includes: director, writer, producer, and/or principal actor/actress.

LOCAL FILM SHOWCASE REQUIREMENTS
To be selected for the 2021 GI Film Festival San Diego’s Local Film Showcase, films must have been completed after January 1, 2018, entered under the Local Film Showcase San Diego category, and meet at least one of the following criteria:
1. A storyline or narrative arc that is about the military experience within San Diego County or Imperial County.
2. A military themed film that is made by individual(s) who reside in San Diego County or Imperial County.
3. A military themed film that features more than 60% of cast and crew from San Diego County or Imperial County.
4. A military themed film that was shot or edited within San Diego County or Imperial County.
5. A film of any genre featuring local above the line talent who is currently serving or has served in the U.S. military. Local filmmaker should reside in San Diego County or Imperial County. Above the line talent includes: director, writer, producer, and/or principal actor/actress.

To be considered for the Local Choice Award, the film must have at least 60% of the cast, crew and locations sourced from San Diego County or Imperial County.

NOTE: It is not necessary to enter your film in more than one category. Student category films that are also local should only be entered under STUDENT. LOCAL FILM SHOWCASE submissions will also be considered under other award categories.

SUBMISSION CATEGORIES
Professional/Independent:
Narrative Short (under 60 minutes)
Documentary Short (under 60 minutes)
Narrative Feature (60 minutes and over)
Documentary Feature (60 minutes and over)

Student:
Narrative or Documentary Short (under 60 minutes)

Professional/Independent/Student:
Local Film Showcase San Diego

PLEASE NOTE: We do not accept screenplays, music videos, marketing videos, non-profit institutional videos or testimonials that are not independently produced, and PSAs.


GENERAL RULES
Competition is open to U.S. and international entries. There is no limit to the number of films you can submit. Each film must be submitted separately with a submission fee paid by the entry deadline via FilmFreeway. All submission fees are NON-REFUNDABLE.

Works in progress/Incomplete films (still in need of color correction, final credits, soundtrack, score, etc.) may be submitted for review and consideration by the Earlybird or General Deadlines so long as they are clearly marked as incomplete and which elements are still being worked on. Final Cuts of incomplete films must be submitted by the Late Deadline of January 20, 2021. Incomplete films will not be screened at the festival.

Previously rejected films by the GI Film Festival San Diego should not be re-submitted into competition unless specifically invited to re-submit.

Non English-language films must be subtitled in English.

Entrants shall obtain all licenses, royalties, and permits necessary to present their work. Entrant will assume all costs arising from the use of patented, trademarked, franchised, or copyrighted music, materials, devices, processes, or dramatic rights used in production of work.

DEADLINES AND FEES
Submission fees must be paid by the deadline prior to being reviewed by festival programmers.

Festival will not pay exhibition/screening/rental fees for any accepted entries submitted through our general call for entries.

AWARD ELIGIBILITY
STUDENT AWARDS: If you pay the student submission fee rate, you must provide a copy of your student ID. Your film -completed while in school (elementary, middle, high school, college, university, film school, or workshops)- will be considered as a student film entry and only be considered for Student awards.

LOCAL FILM SHOWCASE AWARDS: To be considered for these awards, you must enter your film in the Local Film Showcase San Diego submission category. Please include a notation in your submission which indicates the San Diego local connection if you wish to be considered for the Local Film Showcase awards including the 60% connection for the Local Choice Award on the CUSTOM SUBMISSION FORM.

BEST FILM MADE BY OR STARRING VETERANS OR MILITARY: This award is only awarded to a filmmaker (Director, Producer, Writer) that is a veteran or active duty filmmaker OR to a principal/lead-actor or principal/lead-actress that is a veteran or active duty. Please include a notation in your submission that indicates who the veteran and/or active duty above the line talent are and their military connection. These can be filled out on the CUSTOM SUBMISSION FORM. If your film does not display an obvious military connection and you do not provide a notation with your submission regarding the connection, your film will be disqualified. Please note there are no refunds.

JUDGING AND SELECTION PROCESS:
Judging Round One:
The first round of judging consists of a technical review of the submissions. A volunteer group of industry professionals judge the films on their general Story/Plot, Production Value, and Sound Quality. Each criterion will be judged on a scale of 1-10. Top scoring films will move to round two.

Judging Round Two:
Round two consists of a panel of festival advisers who will watch the films, score them, and recommend for awards. Highest scoring films will be selected by KPBS for inclusion in the festival.

Judging Round Three:
Judges designated by KPBS will select the winners in each award category.

Selection:
Official selections will be notified of their status via email from GIFilmFestivalSD@kpbs.org or FilmFreeway’s notification system on or around March 10, 2021.

Selected films may be screened more than once during the course of the Festival at our discretion. In addition, there is the possibility of films being screened securely online with filmmaker permission in the case that an in-person festival viewing experience is not possible.


FILM/VIDEO ENTRIES
All submissions will be handled online via FilmFreeway.com only and should include links to view your film along with passwords if password protected. No physical screeners will be accepted or viewed. This ensures that your film receives proper attention and consideration by the Selection Committee.

If selected for the festival, filmmakers will be required, no later than March 31, 2021, to provide a labeled DCP for festival presentation and a stereo QuickTime file as a backup. In the situation that our festival chooses to go virtual if an in person festival is not a safe option, MP4 videos with h.264 codec will also be required. Hard drives, thumb drives and DCPs should be shipped in sturdy, reusable containers or bubble wrap envelopes with return shipping information enclosed. DCPs and drives provided will be returned after the festival run. The festival will incur the cost of the film's return. If available, direct links for download of files can also be provided.

LIABILITY
Although every possible care will be taken with drives and films while in our possession, we cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage during shipping, handling, or screening. Do not send original prints or master drives. The festival reserves the right to pull any film from competition and screening for any reason whatsoever without incurring liability.

REPRODUCTION AGREEMENT
Submission of an entry gives the festival permission to have excerpts of accepted work, including trailers, shown at promotional activities related to the festival including on TV, Radio, and on Social Media unless otherwise requested in writing by the filmmaker. If selected, a signed release from the filmmaker will be required.

Any additional inquiries, please email: GIFilmFestivalSD@kpbs.org

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • This was such a great festival to be a part of. So many great films, so inspiring, and humbling to be a part of. Wonderful filmmakers and a wonderful festival. Organization and communication was perfect with follow up emails and ensuring I was all set. 10/10.

    November 2019
  • Colby Doler

    We absolutely loved the GI Film Festival and would highly recommend it for anyone considering submitting! They showed us a great time and we hope to go back again!

    October 2019
  • Brayden Yoder

    A gem of a festival in America's Finest City, with tremendous audience interaction and a dedicated filmmaking community. Its focus on the military veteran community reminds us that those who serve are as complex and complicated as anybody else. A real privilege to attend and San Diego is always worth the effort.

    October 2019
  • Amazing festival. Venue was great and the staff were great about communication throughout the entire process. I would say a must do for any project in the GI space.

    October 2018