The Sacramento Film and Music Festival's mission is the celebrate and showcase the best in filmmaking from around the world and to be the leading sponsor and facilitator of the art of film in California's Capital region. In our 20th year we will be actively looking for material that has been produced in the Sacramento region.

The Sacramento Film and Music Festival is the longest running non-genre-specific festival in the Sacramento region and, as such, has played host to local, national and international filmmakers, from first-time writer/directors to working industry professionals to veteran Hollywood producers.

Each year we select movies in all genres, lengths and formats, from all around the world, and the Festival enjoys an extraordinary track record of picking those that go on to win major awards and/or achieve distribution beyond the festival circuit. Furthermore, we actively pursue those business and creative opportunities for our filmmakers with our industry partners and sponsors.

We pride ourselves as an established member of the California arts community and as a premiere showcase for the best of the best in worldwide film arts and were thrilled to be voted Best Film Festival in Sacramento by the readers of the Sacramento News & Review! We are also a repeat recipient of financial support from the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, as part of a competitive grant program, in recognition of our pro-active approach to arts promotion.

We also complement our many days of exclusive film screenings with a single evening of live music, interspersed with music videos that we commission each year as part of a much-heralded and pioneering program, Sac Music Seen, that matches local talents in music and film-making. Over the past ten seasons, we have produced over 200 music videos and we also accept and respect the music video format in our regular submission pool.

It is of vital importance that we recognize the new generation of filmmakers and our Student Days program regularly features works by students from such leading film schools as NYU, USC, UCLA, AFI, and Chapman - but we also look for high quality films from unaffiliated and high school students.

As a member of the Sacramento Alliance of Film Festivals, the Festival works with our genre festival partners (Sacramento's Jewish, French, Gay and Lesbian, and Black film festivals) and we will pass on especially noteworthy submissions if we are not able to screen them ourselves and if they seem well suited to one of our partners. We happily screen in all genres ourselves, however we simply cannot accommodate every movie we are sent, regardless of how exceptional they might be. The Alliance allows us to share our success and pass on the added value of referrals to our contributing filmmakers, when appropriate, and without additional submission costs. Additionally, we consider "off-season" films for our occasional Gold Circle screening series throughout the year.

The Festival also partners in collaborative projects with the Capital Film Arts Alliance (formerly the Sacramento Film Group), another noteworthy winner of local Arts Council funding, and the oldest uniquely dedicated networking group of filmmakers in the Capital region.

We have been fortunate over the years to receive great attention from the press and it is our pleasure to work to promote the work of our filmmakers in advance of each year's Festival. There are some advantages to being the senior all-genre festival in the area and we are extremely grateful to our partners and supporters.

A separate film jury determines award winners, in addition to the audience awards in the following categories:

Narrative Feature
Documentary Feature
Narrative Short
Documentary Short
Music Video
Student Film
Director's Choice
Director's Choice
Best Program Music Video
Best Independent Music Video
Best Overall Film
Best Theme
Best Inspiration
Best Title
Best Male Actor in a leading Role
Best Female Actor in a Leading Role
Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Best Ensemble

Entry Regulations

For selection and programming consideration, the festival accepts DVD, Bluray, VHS (NTSC), PAL (B/G, I, D/K), SECAM (B/G, I, D/K), PAL-M, PAL-N, NTSC4.43 and MESECAM transfers. Again, if selected, we will then require the optimal digital video format for presentation.

For submission purposes, festival programmers will consider films submitted before completion (i.e., rough cuts, Avid outputs, temporary sound mixes, etc.), provided that the film is completed by July 1, 2018. Programmers will not consider trailers or other promotional videos for selection purposes.

More than one film or video may be submitted. Each film or video must be accompanied by a separate submission form and entry fee.

Competition Categories

Submitted films and videos will be selected and judged in six categories:

Features: Any film or video totaling at least 40 minutes in length. Features are separated in narratives and documentaries.

Shorts: Any film or video totaling fewer than 40 minutes in length. Shorts are separated into narratives and documentaries.

Music Videos.

Student films of any length.

Selected Films

Participants must ensure that they have the right to participate in the Festival with regard to third persons connected to the production of selected films or videos. The Festival rarely pays (and never charges) screening fees and it is assumed that any film submitted without specific reference to a requested screening fee in the cover letter is both available to be screened, with no legal restrictions, and without expectation of a fee being paid.

The final print of each invited film or video must arrive at the Sacramento Film and Music Festival before August 30th, 2018 or have other arrangements agreed upon by the festival directors.

The Festival reserves the right to refuse or cancel the projection of any print deemed of insufficient quality.

Press & Publicity

If your film or video is selected to screen at the Festival, you will be asked to provide: director's bio and filmography/videography, b&w and/or color stills from the film, press materials, and video trailer (if available).

Judging & Awards

Individuals from the media will serve as impartial judges of selected films. Separate Jury and Audience Awards will be presented to the best film or video in each category.


The cost of shipping a submission to the Festival must be paid by the entrant. Please do not send submissions in fiber-filled envelopes, as their residue ruins tapes and equipment. To obtain notification of receipt, please include a self-addressed, stamped postcard. Submission tapes will not be returned unless otherwise requested. The Festival will pay for one-way shipping (i.e., return) of prints of selected films and videos. All other shipping charges are the responsibility of the entrant.

Reproduction Agreement

Unless otherwise requested, film and video submissions selected for screening grant the Sacramento Film and Music Festival the rights to use moving image excerpts, production stills, and information from the film or video for promotional purposes.


Every precaution will be exercised in handling tapes and films. However, should a print be lost or damaged, the Festival will accept responsibility for the period of time that the print is in the possession of the Sacramento Film and Music Festival, and will reimburse the value of the video or film (or part thereof) only. Do not send original prints or tapes.

Acceptance of Rules

Participation in the Festival implies acceptance of all Festival rules and regulations.

Overall Rating
  • Quentin Lareau

    It really seems like a fine festival with a very supportive community. However, they are understaffed, and so while they really care and try very hard, things slip through the cracks because there's just too much going on. I got a congratulatory email of being selected and no further communication from the organizers. I suppose the networking is ok, but I unfortunately was not around long enough to really take advantage of everything they had to offer. I applied very last minute, so my submission cost was pretty high, but my film got to play to a very receptive hometown crowd (the documentary takes place in Sacramento). Overall, it's a fun and enthusiastic festival that you should apply early to in order to keep your costs down.

    September 2019
  • Jack Dever

    This was a really well-run festival. Nate is great to work with as are the rest of the people involved. My first festival experience as a filmmaker, and they made it memorable.

    September 2018
  • A great festival with a programme to rival others - they definitely keep their audience entertained! It's always a joy when we get our clients selected here :)

    September 2018
  • Well run festival. Thoughtful organizers and friendly staff. We just need to see more people attend each year.

    January 2017
  • William Condon

    This was my first festival experience and I had a great time. Hope my film can get into more.

    December 2016