The San Francisco International Film Festival presented by SFFILM is an essential stop on the circuit for emerging storytellers and established filmmakers alike. The 2024 edition will take place from April 24–28 in venues in San Francisco and around the Bay Area. The SFFILM Festival is the longest running film festival in the Americas, bringing films from around the world to discerning and warm Bay Area audiences since 1957. SFFILM is rooted in the culture of film appreciation by exploring film as an evolutionary art form, and as a transformative force for social change.

For over six decades, the San Francisco International Film Festival has hosted countless world premieres including Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It, Jonathan Demme’s Stop Making Sense, Sydney Pollack’s Bobby Deerfield, Wayne Wang’s Center of the World, Abbas Kiarostami’s The Wind Will Carry Us, Helen Hunt’s Ride, and Stephan Eliot’s The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Past guests of the Festival include Akira Kurasawa, Greta Gerwig, Boots Riley, Michelle Yeoh, Bo Burnham, Charlize Theron, Savanah Leaf, Shah Rukh Khan, David Byrne, Wesley Morris, Sandra Oh, Christopher Nolan, Celine Song, Mary Harron, Steven Soderbergh, and many, many more.

The 2024 SFFILM Festival will take place from April 24–28, 2024 with both in-person and online events, parties, talks, and more. Screening schedules, venue footprint, and in-person event structure are all subject to some change based on the realities of producing a safe and accessible film festival at that time.

See all of our submissions requirements under RULES & TERMS below.

🎥 Opportunities for Filmmakers

Festival filmmakers have several incredible opportunities to connect with our SFFILM Makers and SFFILM Education programs during the 5-day event including a series of industry talks and pitch sessions to discuss future projects and funding resources as well as participate with Bay Area students and educators through student screenings, school visits, hands-on workshops, and more.

"Few festivals are more suited to their city than the SFFILM Festival. It’s clearly a festival programmed by those who love film for people who love film.” — Variety

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) recognizes SFFILM Festival as a qualifying festival for their short film (live action, documentary, and animated) competitions.

SFFILM Festival is a qualifying festival for Cinema Eye Honors for nonfiction filmmaking.

🏆 Golden Gate Awards

The Golden Gate Awards recognize the best of international and independent cinema by honoring excellence and superior innovation in narrative, documentary, shorts, animated, and youth-produced work.

The historic Golden Gate Awards will continue in 2024 with a slightly adjusted structure. Cash prizes will be limited to the Best Feature Film and the Best Documentary Film. All films outside of the Marquee and Gala presentations will be invited to be in competition, and juries will identify the winners of these two prizes and recognize a Bay Area Documentary Film, Cine Latino film, and Emerging Director. We will continue to honor short films for Best Narrative Short, Documentary Short, Animated Short, Bay Area Short, Family Short Film, and Youth Works. SFFILM will celebrate all finalists with festival laurels and recognition in a dedicated press announcement. As a reminder, SFFILM requires a CA premiere for all feature films and a Bay Area premiere for all short films. If you have questions about this please contact

Audience Awards for Best Narrative and Documentary Features will also be presented, decided by audience ballot.

✅ Rules & Terms

As of 2020, a California premiere is required for all feature films. This does not apply to mid-length or short submissions, though a Bay Area premiere is still required. Please note the Bay Area includes all nine counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma).

All feature entries must have been completed on or after January 1, 2023, and are only eligible if the film’s premiere date is after September 1, 2023. This does not apply to mid-length or short submissions.

Any film (feature, shorts, and mid-length) previously exhibited publicly—either theatrically, via television, VOD, or internet broadcast—is not eligible for submission. Festival participation in other states does not disqualify a work’s eligibility for the SFFILM Festival.

Take special note that the SFFILM Festival will only accept film submissions entered via the FilmFreeway platform. We cannot consider any project that has not been officially submitted through FilmFreeway. Please refrain from sending direct messages via social media or emails to the SFFILM staff with your proposed titles(s). SFFILM may, but is not required to, disqualify or reject any film that is not submitted in this manner and cannot promise a response to your emails if your project has not been officially entered via FilmFreeway.

All filmmakers must provide accurate and complete information when submitting to the SFFILM Festival. SFFILM requires each filmmaker to include the following specifications:

• Filmmaker name, email, mailing address (city, state, ZIP code)
• Production credits
• Film language
• Run time
• Completion date
• Student project
• Youth Works submissions: To be eligible you must upload or send a photo ID with date of birth (proof of 18 years and younger at time of film completion) within the FilmFreeway submission. You can also send the photo ID to with the subject line: Youth Works Submission + FFW Confirmation Code. Please do not submit to this category if you are not 18 years or younger.

Incomplete application / entry forms will not be accepted and will need to be re-submitted.

A complete application includes participation in SFFILM’s demographic survey. By tracking responses each year, SFFILM is able to measure and improve upon our commitment to supporting artists from diverse backgrounds around the world. From 2022-2023, we saw a 14% increase in submissions from filmmakers belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community, a 28% increase in submissions from filmmakers identifying as gender-expansive, and a 4% increase in submissions from emerging minority filmmakers.

Bay Area filmmakers (directors and producers only, not production crew or cast) are eligible for entry fee discounts and additional Bay Area awards given in recognition of the rich variety of work that has established Northern California as a center of independent production. Bay Area awards are presented to a documentary feature film and a short film. To qualify for a Bay Area award, entries must have been made by a filmmaker who is a current resident of the San Francisco Bay Area (the area from Monterey to Mendocino: postal ZIP codes 93901 to 95457).

The Festival is unable to waive entry fees or provide discounts beyond those indicated. Entry fees are not refundable. We encourage and urge all filmmakers to submit by the early deadline of September 29 before fees increase.

You may submit any number of titles; however, a separate entry form, preview copy, and entry fee are required for each title. If the Festival determines a work is entered in the wrong category and needs to reassign it, any discrepancy in entry fees between the categories must be paid by the filmmaker.

Narrative, documentary, and animated short films (under 30 minutes) can also be considered for inclusion in our popular Family Films program. Family Films should be suitable for ages 7 and up. Selections in this category engage and entertain the entire family. This program traditionally mixes emerging talent with established filmmakers such as Domee Shi, Glen Keane, Bill Plympton, Cartoon Saloon, Aardman Animations, and Tonko House. Please indicate on your application to be considered for the Family Films program.

Rough cuts or works-in-progress are accepted and reviewed. However, filmmakers are urged to submit as close to the final cut as possible. The Festival will not accept new versions of an entry unless requested by the programming staff. If you update the film link on your submission page after applying to SFFILM, we cannot guarantee the new version will be considered.

All entrants will be notified of the Festival’s decision by March 19, 2024.

Overall Rating
  • Cleto Acosta-McKillop

    One of the best film festival experiences I've ever had!

    May 2023
  • Athena Cheris

    The best festival I have ever attended. Thank you for everything.

    May 2023
  • Álex Mene

    A great experience in an interesting and amazing festival.

    May 2023
  • Paolo Marinou-Blanco

    An incredible experience! An amazing welcome and great opportunity!

    July 2022
  • Filmes do Gajo

    I attended this festival and everyone from the organization was super nice and welcoming. San Francisco is a great city to visit and the festival is great to attend. It's a good place to know other directors, producers and industry guests that gather for this event. The festival program had lots of interesting highlights, special events and Q&As with interesting questions. Thank you SFFILM! You will stay in my memory.

    May 2022