Our up coming LIVE event will take place at Maya Cinemas on August 12, 2023 and streaming ONLINE August 13, 2023.

SFO Short Film Festival is dedicated to short films created by College Film Students, High School Students, and Independent Filmmakers. Cash awards are awarded in support of future film projects and Certificate of Awards are given to symbolize a record of accomplishment.

SHORT FILM CATEGORY SUBMISSION: (Minimum length 2 minutes; No longer than 30 minutes, including credits.)

1) Independent Filmmaker Short Film
2) SFO Film Student Challenge Competition
3) High School Short Film Competition
4) Animation Short Film Competition


Short Film: Drama/Action/Crime/Suspense/Thriller
Short Film: Comedy/Romance
Short Film: Horror/ Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Short Film: Animation


$300 plus Trophy Award

$200 plus Trophy Award

$150 plus Trophy Award

$150 plus Trophy Award

(Certificate of Award)

Best Actress
Best Actor
Best Director
Best Cinematography
Best Film Editing
Best Script
Best Production Design
Best Silent Film

(Certificate of Award)

NOTE: StudentFilmsOnline SFO Short Film Festival does not waive entry fees. SFOSFF believes waiving entry fees hurts the integrity of the competition. The same rules and entry fees should apply to all applicants so no one film is favored over another. In a similar respect, SFOSFF does not invite films to be in competition. Only films that are submitted will be considered for competition.

A) SFO Short Film Festival is only accepting submission in the United States, United Kingdom, EU and Canada. All films in the Independent Short Film Competition and High School Short Film Competition category must have been completed after January 1, 2018. All films must be in English or have English subtitles at the time submitted and have a minimum length of 2 minutes and no longer than 30 minutes, including credits.

B) High School Short Film Competition: Films must not have retain any sort of premiere status in U.S. and weren't previously released theatrically or via any home video platform, made available for digital download, broadcast or streamed on television. Films screened at any number of festivals anywhere in the world after January 1, 2018 do not forfeit their eligibility for submission to the Festival. (If you are a High school student UNDER 18 years of age you must get the signature from your parent or guardian before participating). All films must have a minimum length of 2 minutes and No longer than 30 minutes, including credits.

C) SFO Film Student Challenge Competition: Filmmaker must be presently attending an accredited college film/digital/media/cinema program. Newly created Short Films made for the purpose of submitting to SFOSFF with talent and crew from the Studentfilmsonline.com member directory. 80% of Non-Member talent and crew listed in the credits must register with Studentfilmsonline.com in this category in order for the film to qualify for the SFO Film Student Challenge Competition Cash Prize & Award. All films must have a minimum length of 2 minutes and no longer than 30 minutes, including credits.

D) Independent Filmmaker Short Film: Films that have played in a theatrical setting to a public audience prior to August 12, 2023 are not eligible to compete at SFO Short Film Festival. Films with US distribution or films produced, financed or initiated by a major film studio or television network are ineligible for competition. Films that have screened on US network or cable television or distributed to theaters prior to the festival dates are also ineligible for competition. The ONLY exception is that a short may play as part of a class screening for an accredited college's film program and films screened at any number of festivals anywhere in the world after January 1, 2018 or on a non-rental YouTube or Vimeo channel do not forfeit their eligibility for submission to the Festival. All films must have a minimum length of 2 minutes and no longer than 30 minutes, including credits.

E) SUBMISSIONS must be accompanied by the applicable submission fee PER ENTRY and a completed online entry form (If you are under 18 years of age you must get the signature from your parent or guardian before participating). All films must be in English or have English subtitles at the time submitted. By submitting your film for consideration for the SFO Short Film Festival, you agree for Studentfilmsonline Short Film Festival to screen your short film if it is an official selection for this year's festival and are obligated to your commitment.

F) Films must be submitted as an online streaming video via a participating submission platform on Film Freeway, a password-protected streaming URL, or on a CD (.mov or .mp4 file format) (please test before sending).

G) In the event of a password change or link change after submitting, you must email the Festival immediately with that change so we may update your record. If the Festival is not notified of the change and the link is found to be inactive or the password to be incorrect, the submission may be deemed ineligible.

H) SFOSFF screens films as digital files during the online Festival, (.mov or .mp4 file format) . Selected films will be notified 20 days prior SFO Short Film Festival which format to submit.

I) Films must have been completed after January 1, 2018. Selection for screening will be determined no later than one month prior to the festival. Films must be available for screening during the Studentfilmsonline Short Film Festival, August 12, 2023.

J) Films that have been submitted to SFOSFF in previous years are eligible to be resubmitted, provided they are eligible according to all of SFOSFF’s current rules.

K) Short films that are publicly available online, except for non-rental YouTube or Vimeo channel, prior to the Festival may be considered for exhibition during the Festival, but will be ineligible for Jury Awards. We prefer that shorts not be publicly available online. Online, private screenings through a festival’s online program do not count as publicly available online.

L) Private invite-only screenings (for instance for cast and crew or donors) do not affect a film’s eligibility.

M) SFOSFF reserves the right in its sole discretion to reject or disqualify any ineligible entries, without a refund.

N) Films that are officially selected to screen at the LIVE event and ONLINE screening may not necessarily be selected to be “in competition” for cash awards purposes but a certificate of award as an honorable mention. Officially selected films to screen at the LIVE event will receive one complementary ticket to attend the LIVE venue. Notifications regarding potential selection for competition status possibly may occur subsequent to notifications of acceptance for exhibition.

• Films must be the original work of the applicants. If a film is based upon another person’s life or upon a book or other underlying work, applicant(s) must secure any necessary rights to make such adaptations. However, it is not necessary to submit the adaptation rights agreements to the Festival. Neither the Festival nor its jurists investigates or attests to the authenticity of an applicant’s statement of authorship or rights secured. By entering the competition, you represent that you have secured all necessary rights (including child actors’ parental permission).
• Applicants are solely responsible for obtaining all necessary rights and permissions for third-party materials included in their films, including but not limited to music, trademarks, logos, copyrights, and other intellectual property rights. SFOSFF expressly disclaims all liability or responsibility for any violations of the foregoing.

• Films that have not received a full color edit, or sound edit are eligible for submission. SFOSFF prefers picture-locked submissions for the consideration process. SFOSFF’s focus is on story, full color edit, full sound edit and performance which affects the final decision of any film. Should the film be accepted to play during the Festival, the filmmaker will have the opportunity to supply the Festival with their most recent version with completed full color edit, and full sound edit.
• Once an entry payment has been received we cannot provide a refund. If a payment is disputed by an entrant for any reason, the entrant may be subject to any transaction fees or similar amounts incurred by SFOSFF in connection with the dispute.
• You MUST include your physical address either in your entry or in your cover letter. Please do not submit a film without giving us your address, which we need for our records.
• Payments are made through PayPal or a credit card.

• SFOSFF has no obligation (other than as stated in these rules or on our website) to disclose any of the following information: a) identities of screeners or judges; b) notes, feedback, or information relating to the submitted project; and/or c) details regarding the submission review or selection process.
• SFOSFF explicitly disclaims any liability or responsibility for any comments, notes, or opinions expressed about a submission, whether by SFOSFF or by its volunteers.
•. Official Selections will be announced after July 14, 2023.
• Winners will be announced and Awards will be presented on August 12, 2023 during the LIVE EVENT. The judges’ decision is final.
• Winners receiving cash prizes are solely responsible for payment of all applicable local, state, and federal taxes.

• CDs (.mov or .mp4 file format) and press materials will not be returned under any circumstances. Include a self-addressed, stamped postcard for each submission if you wish acknowledgment of the receipt of your entry.


Overall Rating
  • Sheila B. Productions

    As a new film maker I was completed honored to have my film selected for Best Cinematography. Thank you for the wonderful communication, quick response to my questions and for appreciating my dream!! I would absolutely recommend!!

    November 2022
  • Maria Picar

    The SFO Short Film Festival was very communicative and provided myself and my team to network with other filmmakers. We also won a "Best Script" award and hope to submit again for next years' festival!

    November 2022
  • Tonny Yang

    Decent festival! Had the pleasure of screening our film "A Quarter of Silence" and receiving a certificate of achievement along with an honorable mention! They do give out prices which was super cool! Hope to come back soon!

    November 2022
  • Ismael Morales

    Great communication and lots of great films I will definitely love to be included in this festival again.

    November 2022
    Response from festival:

    Ismael, your film noir style of "Cremble" and production design was amazing. Thank you for participating in SFO Short Film Festival's first year.