Now in its 37th year, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization with a mission to engage, enrich and inspire people through film.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is an eleven day event held in the seaside city of Santa Barbara, California (90 minutes north of Los Angeles). SBIFF is proud to present a diverse slate of more than 200 films to over 90,000 film enthusiasts. Our audience is a unique combination of film industry professionals, local, regional and International attendees, and a large student population.

SBIFF has devoted sections for documentaries that address social justice issues, nature and oceanography, food and wine, and the performing arts. Additional sidebars highlight contemporary world cinema from Nordic countries, Israel, Eastern Europe, Asia and Spain/Latin America.

In addition to showcasing a diverse spectrum of films, tributes and galas. SBIFF also offers seminars with industry professionals including Directors, Writers, Producers and Women in the Business Panels, as well as Q&A sessions with a diverse selection of filmmakers.

SBIFF has established itself as one of the premiere international film festivals and we look forward to building on that success in 2022 and creating opportunities for participants to network with some of the world's leading independent distributors and filmmakers. In addition to expanding our slate each year to highlight emerging genres, styles and regions, SBIFF is growing our free children's educational and community outreach programs which cumulatively serve over 18,000 students and families. Please visit our website for more information on these and other SBIFF programs at

All categories juried by industry professionals. Awards and prizes are subject to change

Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema
Prize: camera package worth approximately $60,000
Award for Best Independent Film

Jeffrey C. Barbakow Award for International Cinema
Award for Best International Film

Nueva Vision Award
For the best Spanish-language film

Best Documentary Award
For the best documentary feature

Valhalla Award
For the best Nordic feature

The Social Justice Award
For a documentary feature film that addresses social justice issues

Bruce Corwin Award for Best Live Action Short Film
Winning film will be eligible for Academy Award nomination.

Bruce Corwin Award for Best Animated Short Film
Winning film will be eligible for Academy Award nomination.

Best Documentary Short Film

Audience Choice Award


-Submission fee is non-refundable.

-We prioritize US and World Premieres.

-Films that have been publicly broadcast in the United States and/or films that are publicly streaming online prior to the 2022 film festival are not eligible.

-Finished projects must be completed no earlier than November 2020 to be eligible for the 2022 film festival.

-No music videos or commercials.

-More than one entry may be submitted. Each entry must be accompanied by its own online entry and entry fee.

-The filmmaker will assume shipping costs of materials and print to SBIFF.

-If your feature film is selected, you will be asked to provide: digital stills from the film; and three 27x40 printed poster (no other poster size will be allowed).

-Films produced in languages other than English must have legible English subtitles.

-Not all invited films officially selected will be eligible for competition.

-The selection committees' and juries' decisions are final.

-If paying by check, the check MUST include the film title and FilmFreeway ID #

-Entrants must assume all responsibility for clearing films through U.S. and/or foreign customs officials.

-SBIFF reserves the right to make any necessary changes in regulations or Festival scheduling.

* Exception for Santa Barbara Filmmakers

-Santa Barbara Filmmakers must request fee waivers through SBIFF website:

-In order to be considered for the Santa Barbara Filmmakers category, filmmakers (producer[s] and/or director) must have Santa Barbara County residence OR more than 50% of film must have been filmed in Santa Barbara area (Santa Barbara, Montecito, Goleta, Carpenteria, Summerland).

Overall Rating
  • Alana Waksman

    My debut feature had its world premiere with SBIFF in April. I'm so grateful that the programmers recognized our film and we got to have such a lovely premiere. Even in COVID, it was so meaningful to have a way to show our film in person at their drive-in screens, and the film looked great! I got to understand how well respected SB is in the film community as film festivals and sales agents reached out to us as a result of being at their festival.

    September 2021
  • Josh Brekhus

    An absolute joy and honor to be selected to this prestigious festival! Wish we could have done it in person but the drive thru movie experience was amazing! See y'all again next year!

    July 2021
  • Ellen Boscov

    Santa Barbara International Film Festival is awesome! We were delighted that our short animation was an official selection. SBIFF took on the challenge of putting on a film festival during Covid-19, and they did a great job. They threw a hybrid festival, a mix of Drive-In Theater and Virtual. Our animation was shown virtually with a really wonderful mix of animations. Mickey Duzdevich was lovely and did a fantastic job interviewing us. The virtual festival also featured wonderful star-studded panels and tributes. SBIFF, thank you. It was a pleasure to share FIRST LIGHT at your fabulous festival!

    April 2021
  • Trudi Angell

    Though we were not able to be in attendance in Santa Barbara due to covid restrictions, our crew here in Baja California Sur, Mexico wish to acknowledge the entire team (especially Mickey and Sean) at SBIFF 2021. We are thrilled that our film, La Recua - The Mule Pack Train, had its World Premiere in Santa Barbara, and to be able to post our first laurel as hailing from another beautiful city along El Camino Real. Muchas Gracias!

    April 2021
  • 20 Steps Productions

    It was great to attend the festival, very good events, and a good audience.

    February 2020