SAIFF Statement Regarding Covid-19:

The South African Independent Film Festival (SA Indie Film Fest) is fully dedicated to the health and safety of our audience, artists and organisers.

The 3rd annual SA Indie Film Fest was scheduled to take place from 16-31 May 2020 in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.

After discussions with our venues, sponsors and the relevant municipalities as well as in consideration of the ban on gatherings of more than 100 people under the Disaster Management Act, we have decided to postpone the 3rd annual South African Independent Film Festival.

We are hopeful that by June, the situation in South Africa will have improved and we can forge ahead with hosting a world-class event in 2020.

Our submissions remain open and we are currently working to find a new date for the festival. The current dates listed on our website and FilmFreeway page are TBC. All submissions and ticket sales from our current season will remain valid for the rescheduled dates.

If the situation changes, we will provide an update as soon as possible.

We are hugely thankful to those who have submitted their incredible films and to everyone who has supported the festival!

We wish everyone a safe and healthy outcome in this trying time.


THE SOUTH AFRICAN INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL IS SA's biggest independent festival, featuring events across all of SA’s major cities. For 2020, we’re presenting events in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town to bring filmmakers and filmgoers an unforgettable selection of independent cinema.

Since our first edition in 2018, SA Indie Film Fest has celebrated local and international short-form cinema through showcasing short films, animation, documentaries, music videos and VR. For the first time, we’re presenting a selection of feature-length films and documentaries from around the world that encompass the same independent spirit.

The festival boasts a prestigious jury comprising of some of the most prolific professionals in filmmaking today. The 2019 jury featured Hakeem Kae-Kazim (Black Sails, Pirates of the Caribbean III), Kim Engelbrecht (The Flash, Dominion), Enhle Mbali-Maphumulo (Thisa, Rockville), Sean Cameron Michael (24, Blood Drive) and many more accomplished filmmaking talents.

Everyone involved in the festival, from the organisers to the jury have a heartfelt love for indie film. As independent filmmakers ourselves, we understand the disappointments and thrills that come with the territory. This festival aims to celebrate all the highs, lows, hard work and creativity of indie filmmaking!


2019 JURY

Hakeem Kae-Kazim
Actor - Black Sails, Pirates of the Caribbean 3

Kim Engelbrecht
Actor - The Flash, Dominion

Enhle Mbali-Maphumulo
Actor - Thisa, Rockville

Siv Ngesi
Actor, Comedian, Presenter

Sean Cameron Michael
Actor - 24, Blood Drive

Brandon Auret
Actor - District 9, Blood Drive

Steve Wall
Actor/Musician - Vikings

Ross Learmonth
Musician - Prime Circle

Mieke Vlaming
Editor - The Widow, Bloodshot

Jolynn Minnaar
Director - Unearther

Faheema Hendricks

Sean Drummond
Writer - Five Fingers for Marseilles

Ryan Kruger
Director/Actor - Fried Barry

Paul Blom
Festival Director - South African HorrorFest


- Best Film
- Best Documentary
- Audience Award
- Best Director
- Best Screenwriter
- Best Actor
- Best Actress
- Best Editor
- Best Cinematographer
- Best Original Score


- Best Short Film
- Audience Award
- Best Director
- Best Screenwriter
- Best Actor
- Best Actress
- Best Editor
- Best Cinematographer
- Best Original Score
- Best Documentary
- Best Experimental
- Best Animation
- Best Music Video
- Best Virtual Reality Experience
- Best Experimental
- Best Horror
- Best Comedy
- Best Drama


- Outstanding Achievement by an African Filmmaker
- Outstanding Achievement by a Womxn Filmaker
- Outstanding Artistic Achievement
- Outstanding Stunt Performance

N.B. Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the stipulated deadlines, festival dates and notification dates are subject to change.

1. Submission Deadlines
Submissions will be accepted from 5 September 2019. The early deadline is December 5, 2019; the regular deadline is May 21, 2020; the late deadline is June 10, 2020; the extended deadline is July 1, 2020. Early entry is encouraged but in no way guarantees acceptance.
2. Submission Format
Films must be submitted via online screener ONLY. We do not accept films sent over by DVD.
We do not accept subsequent cuts or more complete versions of submitted films, therefore changing or updating the originally submitted link is not accepted. Only one version of the film will be reviewed by programmers.
3. Submission Eligibility & Premiere Status
- Films completed at any date before 10 April 2020 are eligible.
- SAIFF does not require any premiere status for feature films – although national and world premieres will be given preference.
- There is no premiere policy for short films and music videos.
- Work-in-progress and films with distribution are accepted.
4. Film Classification
All films screened during the SAIFF receive a blank 18 certificate from the FPB. This means we cannot accept anyone underage during any screening of the Festival. Please take this into account when submitting to SAIFF.
5. Submission Fee
All submissions for SAIFF are to be paid through FilmFreeway platform. The submission fee is non-refundable.
6. Shipping - for selected films ONLY
If selected you will receive instructions for delivery of your film.
If the film is selected for the Festival all shipping and postage costs for DCPs and additional materials sent to and returned from SAIFF must be borne by the submitting party. SAIFF will not accept Cash On Delivery shipments. SAIFF will not absorb any fees incurred in SA customs. All charges must be pre-paid.
7. Selection of Films
Submissions are reviewed and selected under the following criteria:
- Quality of narrative and production values.
- Independent nature of the production.
8. Notification
SAIFF endeavours to complete all selection procedures by July 14, 2020 and inform all submitting parties, in writing, if their film has been successful or not after that time. Successful submissions will receive information that will include important information on delivering your film to the Festival, press and publicity, guest accreditation, contact information and how to make the most of participating in the Festival.
9. Festival Screenings - for selected films ONLY
All foreign language films MUST contain English subtitles files.
Blu-ray will be used as backup only. SAIFF aspires to provide the best quality projection possible but will not be held liable for any failure in the technical quality of the projection, nor will fees be refunded in any such case.
10. Scheduling - for selected films ONLY
Screenings are scheduled at the discretion of SAIFF. Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the published schedule, SAIFF reserves the right to make changes at any time for any reason. SAIFF will not be liable for any costs claimed as a result of a change in scheduling.
No film may be withdrawn from the festival programme after its selection.
11. Promotion - for selected films ONLY
Selected films must acknowledge that SAIFF reserves the right to promote the films on SAIFF website and social media using both images and video that you provide.
If shortlisted for an award, the online screeners of the film must be made available for the duration of the festival for all the jury members

Overall Rating
  • Good communication & organization and well received by the host.

    June 2019
  • Ana maria Estrada

    very good! we are still answer for the awards

    June 2019
  • High standard of excellence upheld regarding film finalists, general organization & communication was excellent. Incredible vibe on the day despite the weather, individual attention given and all filmmakers were encouraged to break the ice and socialize. A great experience all round!
    Massive congratulations to Ryan Kruger & James C. Williamson on this initiative. Highly recommend this festival!

    August 2018
  • Peter Regan

    My short "Once Upon a Planet" screened here. Although I could not personally attend, I will say that the communication was great. I was able to confer with the festival directors, they responded to my tweets, promoted my films online, all that jazz. Hope I can submit again and hopefully attend next year with another film!

    June 2018
  • Fantastic! Looking forward to being a part of future endeavours with the festival. A special thanks to Ryan Kruger, James C. Williamson and Ruaan Van Rooyen. My short Tears In The Rain was well received by the local crowd.

    June 2018
    Response from festival:

    Great piece of work Christopher, much Respect!