The International Ocean Film Festival (IOFF) is the premier ocean film festival of its kind in the world.

Now heading into its 21st year, IOFF has produced an acclaimed festival of independent ocean-related films from all over the world. Themes range from ocean adventure, science, marine life, sports and ocean coastal cultures. The films are not only intended to entertain the audience, but more importantly, to educate and encourage active participation in ocean-specific environmental efforts and better ocean stewardship.

The 21st Annual IOFF will be a hybrid event, with the current plan to host an in-person event on April 13 - 14, 2024 at Cowell Theater in Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture located along the northern waterfront of San Francisco, California, as well as a virtual film festival component. Special programs may focus on topics such as marine wildlife, ocean conservation efforts, environmental issues, coastal cultures and how they engage with the ocean, surfing, sharks, diving, and other subject matter depending on the variety and number of submissions. Programs will include post-screening filmmaker Q&A sessions as well as panel discussions with ocean specialists, scientists, industry experts, filmmakers and more.

A number of finalists from the main film festival program will be selected to participate in the world-renowned IOFF Traveling Program.

Two major events of the IOFF make up the Education Program, namely the 18th Annual Free Student Education Program, which includes free screenings for middle school and high schools students, and the 13th Annual Student Film Competition for middle school and high school students, with a dedicated program screening the top finalists and cash prizes for the top three winners in each category.

*Photo Credit: SeaLegacy, Blue Carbon

Every year, the IOFF presents awards to one winning filmmaker in each of the following categories: Adventure, Animation, Coastal Cultures, Conservation, Director's Award, Environment, Short, Marine Science/Wildlife, Golden Gate Award (for a local Bay Area filmmaker) and an Audience Award.

**Please select only ONE category per film submission and submit only ONE entry fee per film submission, however, please note that each submission will be considered for all categories.

If your film is selected to be a part of the 2024 IOFF, you will receive a variety of perks as follows;
• Access for you and one guest to the Opening Night Reception, all screenings, panel discussions, workshops and Wrap Party (includes other events as they come online)
• Discounted or complimentary hotel lodging with our hotel sponsor, subject to availability
• Opportunities to engage with the press and media
• Opportunity to engage in a Q&A session with the audience each time your film is screened
• Potential for your film to be selected for the IOFF Traveling Program

By submitting your films to the IOFF, you hereby grant permission for IOFF to use it for the following purposes:

Stills: Still images from the films will be used on the website, printed materials, banners, and other promotional materials. Please submit one high-resolution headshot of the filmmaker in JPG format.

Clips: Clips of submitted films may be used to promote IOFF by appearing on the IOFF website, in the IOFF trailer, possible partnership websites, third-party advertising sponsors (i.e., television spots, newspaper print, magazine ads, etc.)

Trailer: IOFF may request a short trailer for films over 10 minutes to use for promotional purposes.

Interim Screenings: In addition to possibly being screened at IOFF during the stated festival dates, accepted films may be screened throughout the year for promotional purposes, as a separate screening in cooperation with other IOFF partnership organizations, and at the IOFF Traveling Program.

• All submissions must be ocean themed.
• All works must be in English or have English subtitles. Entries can be any genre – documentary, narrative fiction, or animation – and can be submitted by professional or amateur filmmakers.
• We have limited program slots for films longer than 60 minutes, but all submissions of this length and longer will be taken into consideration.
• Film must be completed by the deadline date in which they are being submitted. Works in progress will not be accepted, and edits to films after they have been submitted will not be allowed.
• More than one film may be submitted, but a separate entry fee must be paid for each.
• IOFF does not pay screening fees or shipping fees in order to screen a film, nor does IOFF underwrite production costs (duplication, subtitling, etc.).
• Upon completion of the Festival selection process, we will attempt to contact the Applicant using the contact information provided on the submission form to notify the Applicant of the Film’s acceptance status. It is the sole responsibility of the Applicant to ensure that the contact information provided on the submission form is correct throughout the entirety of the selection period.
• IOFF is under no obligation to provide to the Applicant or any other representative of the Film any comments or feedback regarding the submitted Film should it not be accepted for exhibition at the Festival.
• Every submitted film is evaluated on its merits and how it meets the criteria for our festival. The fact that it is or has been available on Youtube or Vimeo or has had limited distribution at selected theaters or has been shown on TV is considered in our evaluation but is not a reason for rejecting the film. We prefer films made within the past year or two but an older film that deals with an unusual subject or has historical importance or has not been shown theatrically for several decades might also be considered for the festival. Each film is unique and will be evaluated as such.
• All filmmakers will be required to sign a Filmmaker Licensing Agreement granting IOFF permission to use their film as part of the film festival. You can view a sample of this agreement form at
• All Official Selections will be required to submit a film with closed captions.

Overall Rating
  • Manlio Martinez

    My first film was selected for IOFF 2023 so I decided to make my way from Honduras to San Francisco and celebrate this great honor and achievement in person. It was the first film festival I ever attended so I don’t have much to compare with, but I can honestly say everything seemed very well organized, the selection of films was impeccable, with films of great quality- and I tried to watch all of them. You could tell from the attendance that it is a well respected festival drawing folks from different fields, the film industry, environmentalists, educators and all in a beautiful location. I got to meet some interesting people, with diverse backgrounds, which opened the door to other film festivals and screening opportunities for my film. I really could not have asked for more, the whole event exceeded all of my expectations- I had the time of my life.

    July 2023
  • We had an absolute blast attending IOFF 2023! It was our first year attending and screening a film and we could not have been happier with the events hosted through the weekend, the communication from IOFF staff, and all the networking opportunities. Can't wait to submit more films in the future!

    April 2023
  • Peter Williams

    Absolutely one of the best film festivals we have been a part of. The event was brilliant. And the festival organization was top tier. Would love to do it again next year.

    April 2023
  • The IOFF San Francisco is a wonderful festival lead by a passionate team. The festival showcased a wide diversity of films connected to the ocean and brought together a broad range of filmmakers and ocean enthusiasts.

    April 2022
  • The most powerful and amazing Festival! To be winner there give you new status. Wonderful!

    April 2022