The StoryMode Independent Short Film Awards (SISFA Film Festival), is an annual film festival celebrating the power of indie film nationwide. Now in it's 14th year, this Southern Colorado festival is now accepting short film, feature film, and short script submissions for entry into this year's event.​

With so much festival noise out there, our mission is to provide a place for indie filmmakers to showcase their work, in an environment that is like no other.

Combining exciting films, red carpet events, amazing musical performances and an interactive live show, SISFA takes film festivals to a whole new level.

SISFA was initially created over a decade ago by two filmmaking brothers and their grandfather, under the Short Film Awards name. In the early years, the festival brought local family and friends together to share in a small film gathering at a very tiny venue.

Over time, the festival has evolved into one of the biggest and most anticipated annual events in Southern Colorado, bringing the community together to share in an artistic celebration of film and visual storytelling.

At SISFA, we take pride in the uniqueness of our event, mixing the festival aspect with that of a live show, setting an Oscar-esque tone for the whole run of the fest.

The festival will kick off with a Short Film Showcase Night, premiering select Colorado shorts, Late Night selections, and an assortment of additional shorts from around the United States, complete with cast/crew Q&A's. From there, guests will find themselves at the SISFA Kickoff Party where they can enjoy a bevy of local brews and live music from the best new indie artists at a local brewery in town.

Day Two of the festival will feature interactive panels and creative conversations with industry insiders and a Feature Film Showcase in Red Carpet fashion.

It all leads up to the Main Event, combining live stage entertainment with amazing films. The show will begin with an exciting opening from the evening’s host followed by the presentation of the selected short films. The audience will then get to vote in select categories for their favorite films. A special musical performance will entertain guests as they enter the show’s second half, where in an Oscar-type fashion, awards are presented and the winners will accept them live on stage.

The festival will then conclude with PartyMode, the SISFA After Party, where filmmakers and film fans alike can gather to relax, network and celebrate.

Presented Live from a theater in historic Pueblo county, this annual fest brings together filmmakers, film fans, local sponsors, and entertainers alike to share in several captivating days.

There is no other event in Southern Colorado, or in the US in general, that is quite like SISFA. It's the only place where artists of all types unite to tell incredible stories.

-There are six headlining categories for the Short Film Competition: Best Dramatic Short, Best Comedic Short, Best Documentary Short, Best Sci-Fi/Thriller/Horror Short, Best Long-Form Short and Best Short Screenplay.

-The Feature Film Showcase allows filmmakers the opportunity to submit their films for a chance to be featured at a SISFA Red Carpet Event/Screening. The film with the highest score will also receive the Award for Best Feature Film.

-In addition to these, there are also categories for Best Post Production, Best Cinematography, Best Original Story, Best Actress, Best Actor, Audience Choice, and Best Picture.

- All winners will receive a hand-crafted trophy, glazed to perfection in the fiery kiln of a local pottery shop.

-Short films can be anywhere between 1-16 minutes in length.
-Long-Form short films must be between 16-43 minutes in length.
-Feature films must be between 43-130 minutes in length.
-All films must be submitted in a resolution of at least 1920 x 1080p. 
-Films may be about anything as long as they are not copyrighting any existing films, stories, or ideas. 
-Films can be of any genre. 
-All films must be submitted (through FilmFreeway or postal mail) by September 13, 2024. No films will be accepted after this date.

-Our judging panel, consisting of Emmy Nominated individuals and industry professionals, will evaluate the submitted films several weeks before the festival. The short films that receive the highest scores will make it into the Main Event/Live Show.
-Show inclusion is determined by selecting the highest scoring films in each category, thus creating a two hour show. 
-Feature films selected will be showcased individually as their own events, separate from the Main Event.

-Foreign language films must contain English subtitles. 
-Films that make it into the show must be submitted to the festival in a digital file. 
-Films previously submitted to SISFA will not be accepted. 
-Entry materials will not be returned. 
-All fees and forms must be payed, signed and acknowledged before inclusion into festival. 
-Filmmakers will be notified of their inclusion in the festival no later than September 20, 2024. 

All filmmakers acknowledge and agree to the following:
1) Filmmakers understand, and comply with all entry requirements.
2) Filmmakers are legally authorized to submit their film to SISFA.
3) By submitting to SISFA, filmmakers are allowing StoryMode Films, LLC to screen their project, in whatever format that may take, during the festival weekend.
4) Filmmakers agree to indemnify and hold harmless StoryMode Films, LLC from and against any and all claims, losses, damages, or expenses which they may have concerning the marketing, publicity, screening and loss of or damage to the screening videos submitted.

Overall Rating
  • The Salay Brothers who put on this festival do an incredible job. From the email communications leading up to the festival to the individually hand made awards to the follow up after, everything is totally on point. There is so much heart and so much loving effort put into this. Not to mention the fantastic, interactive theatrical/mixed media show that was put on by Brian, seamlessly woven in and out of the awards show.. A POV of a screenwriter/filmmaker, trying to finish his project, despite the distractions of life.. He "dared to venture" .

    You'd have to have been there to even grasp what I'm talking about, it was so unique! I was just blown away by the thoughtful, artful, passionate and heartfelt design and execution of this whole visionary festival!!

    Pueblo is a very sweet little town, steeped in great American history that is just crying out to become the next indie film boom-town. Once upon a time, Sundance was just a little film fest in the mountains nobody had heard of.. and now... well, we all now...

    I truly believe SISFA is on it's way to becoming the next boutique film fest for all short filmmaker's getting their first works out there and beyond.
    I will be back every year!

    (And thank you so much for acknowledging my work!)

    October 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so incredibly much for your very kind words about our festival! It truly means so much to know that we are on the right track! As for Pueblo becoming the next 'it' destination, who knows...maybe it can be when we all 'Dare to Venture.'

  • Warm & welcoming team, engaged audience, beautiful venue & host city, amazing hospitality and communication - one of the best festivals I’ve ever had the good fortune to be a part of!

    October 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much Jake for your kind words! We hope to see you and a new film of yours at SISFA sometime in the near future!

  • John Sexton

    A very well produced festival, Very film maker oriented. Great programing. Thank you SISFA for a great weekend of film.

    October 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you John for coming out and sharing your film with us. We are so glad you had a great time! Hope to see your new film soon!

  • D. Mitry

    Amazing festival and organization! We were so honored to be part of it!

    October 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so very much! We were so glad we got to share your film with our audience. Looking forward to your next projects!

  • Elias Hinojosa

    Wonderful experience. The festival ran so smoothly and everybody was so passionate and welcoming. The interactive storyline that was threaded through the event was such a unique special touch. Excellent locations as well! Will definitely submit again. Thanks, SISFA!

    July 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Elias for sharing your film with us! We are so glad you had a good time. Looking forward to next year!