The GI Film Festival San Diego brings the stories of America’s service men and women to life through compelling and authentic films and events. Major film genres will be featured including documentaries, narratives, shorts, and feature length productions.

The 2018 festival takes place September 25-30, 2018 at select venues throughout San Diego County. Highlights of the festival include filmmaker discussions, premieres, and the Local Film Showcase, featuring the works of San Diego area filmmakers, locations, and actors. Festival events include opening night reception and the awards celebration honoring the filmmakers featured in the Local Film Showcase.

Submissions are open to filmmakers of every experience level from first-timers to veteran directors and producers. Short or feature length film submissions from any filmmaker who serves, or has served, in the U.S. Military are welcome, regardless of whether or not the film submission is military-themed or not.

Official submissions are eligible for awards in numerous categories, including (but not limited to) Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short, Audience Choice, Best Film Featuring Service Members or Veterans, and/or Local Choice Award.

Student Awards
Best Narrative Short
Best Documentary Short

Professional/Independent Awards
Best Narrative Short
Best Documentary Short
Best Narrative Feature
Best Documentary Feature

Additional Awards:
Audience Choice
Best Film Featuring Service Members or Veterans
Local Choice (Only films where at least 60% of the cast, crew and locations have been sourced from San Diego County or Imperial County are eligible)

To be selected for the 2018 GI Film Festival San Diego’s Local Film Showcase, films must meet at least one of the following criteria:

A storyline or narrative arc that is about the military experience within San Diego County or Imperial County.

A military themed film that is made by individual(s) who reside in San Diego County or Imperial County.

A military themed film that features more than 60% of cast and crew from San Diego County or Imperial County.

A military themed film that was shot or edited within San Diego County or Imperial County.

A film of any genre featuring 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.

All submissions must have been completed and released after January 1, 2013.

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.

Narrative Shorts (under 60 minutes)
Documentary Shorts (under 60 minutes)
Narrative Features (60 minutes and over)
Documentary Features (60 minutes and over)
Narrative Shorts (under 60 minutes), Documentary Shorts (under 60 minutes)

San Diego County
Imperial County

March 1, 2018: Submissions open
April 10, 2018: Early Bird Deadline ($35 fee, Students $20)
May 15, 2018: General Deadline ($45 fee, Students $30)
May 31, 2018: Late Submission Deadline ($55 fee, Students $40)

Judging Round One
The first round of judging consist 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. Scores will be added up and the top 50% of all 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 screening.

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

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 submission fee paid. All submission fees are NON-REFUNDABLE.

Entries must be submitted via online link for pre-screening. Please make sure to include the password if password protected and make downloadable.

If selected for the festival, filmmakers will be required to provide an Apple Pro-Res 422, 1080p digital version of the film (or highest resolution available). In addition, a DCP version is required. Send entries in sturdy, reusable containers or bubble wrap envelopes. Drives used for film delivery will be returned.

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

Submission of an entry gives the festival permission to have accepted work photographed, locally presented, and reproduced, either in part or whole, for publicity purposes, unless otherwise requested in writing by the filmmaker. If selected, a signed release from the filmmaker will be required.

To help the festival promote your film and drive attendance, please submit the following with your festival entry:
* Entry fee via online payment system
* High-res digital production photos/JPEG images of film for program guide. These are required upon acceptance.
* Digital format trailer of film for posting on festival website. Requested, but not required.
* Filmmaker bio
* Filmmaker headshot (JPEG)
* Any promotional materials (eg, electronic press kit) available for your film, including, but not limited to, endorsement quotes/reviews, press clippings, etc.

Overall Rating
  • 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