Now in its 38th 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 100,000 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 2023 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 rental package worth approximately $60,000

Best Documentary Award

Jeffrey C. Barbakow Award – Best International Feature Film

Best Middle Eastern/Israeli Film Award

Best Nordic/Dutch Film Award

Nueva Vision Award for Spain/Latin America Cinema

Social Justice Award for Documentary Film

Audience Choice Award


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 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 2023 film festival are not eligible.

-Finished projects must be completed no earlier than November 2021 to be eligible for the 2023 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 posters (no other poster size will be allowed, no foam core posters).

-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 County.

Overall Rating
  • David Bonneville

    A Fabulous Festival. Extremely well organised, with a very good line-up of films selected by programmers who watch submissions (and not by recycling previous high-profile festival programmes). Great network opportunities and massive red carpet and Award ceremonies easy to attend if you hold a festival pass.

    April 2022
  • Holly Morris

    Love that Santa Barbara crowd. Participating in this fest gave us all our local and LA-area friends the chance to see the film on the big screen, in front of a great audience.

    April 2022
  • Alexandre de Villeneuve

    Great Festival! Amazing selection and great people to meet!

    March 2022
  • Marian Cook

    The organizers were very friendly. Claudia, Ernie, and Natalie were always on top of things and made everyone feel at home. Benjamin was always very helpful. It was a pleasure to have the Premiere of Bad Hombrewood at SBIFF. I hope we go there again in the future.

    March 2022
  • SBIFF team, Luca went wayyy out of their way to make sure my film 'MIIKA' stood considerable chances going as far as creating a DCP when I failed to do so. Honestly for a first time festival circut goer (not sure of that's what its called) the team at SBIFF raised the bar for my expectations. Wonderful and detailed communication. Thank you for selecting my film, 'MIIKA' God bless you all.

    March 2022