Welcome to SoCal Summer Camp for filmmakers!

We curate an intimate lineup of stellar shorts from around the world in every genre, showcasing them to a community of artists seeking inspiration and conversation. Selected films will enjoy an audience of working entertainment industry professionals and compete for cash and prize packages and an Academy Award®-Qualifying Theatrical run.

Our festival was started by filmmakers for filmmakers. Every decision is steeped with intention and care - from the programming, to the parties and the marketing. The entertainment industry can be a cold and competitive place, and we seek to combat that through genuine care and connection. Community is one of our core values and thus, selected filmmakers are adopted into our filmmaking family. Notable alumni include Jim Cummings (Thunder Road), Ursula Taherian (United States of Al), Ben Brewer (Everything Everywhere All At Once - VFX), David Fried (True Colors), and Danny Madden (Beast Beast).

We are seeking thought-provoking, conversation-starting stories that align with our mantra: Films with an Aftertaste. Whether they are shot on the iPhone or the Alexa, we seek to program a slate of films that represents the diverse and distinct voices in our world today.

Our lineup will feature top films from the festival circuit, as well as hidden gems we uncover in the screening process.

You can read reviews from our alumni below.

Salute Your Shorts is proud to present an Academy Award®-Qualifying theatrical run as a top prize. Every film in our lineup is eligible for this award, as long as the film has not received Academy qualification through another event.

We grant a $500 cash prize to our juried BEST OF FEST, $250 to our Programmer's Choice winner, and $250 to our AUDIENCE FAVORITE. There is also a substantial prize package for our LOCAL FILMMAKER award.

In 2023 we gave more than $13,000 away in cash and prize packages combined.

Additionally, "Best in Category" awards are determined by jurors. We recognize WINNERS and HONORABLE MENTIONS in the following categories:


Jurors from past years have included:
- TONY HALE - Emmy Winning Actor (Veep, Arrested Development, Toy Story)
- DAN LIN, Producer (Lego Movie Franchise)
- ANIA TRZEBIATOWSKA (Programmer, Sundance Film Festival)
- TROIAN BELLISARIO - actress/director (Pretty Little Liars, Good Trouble)
- KABIR AKHTAR - director (Grownish, Crazy Ex Girlfriend)
- JEREMY HOWE, writer/producer (The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon)
- DOUG JONES (Shape of Water, Pans Labyrinth)
- INA PIRA (curator at Vimeo)
- MATT FAGERHOLM (film critic, Rodgerebert.com)
- PAUL SLOOP (Shorts Programmer, Cleveland International Film Festival)
- GREG SORVIG (Artistic director, Heartland Film Festival; Associate Programmer, Tribeca)
-CÉLINE ROUSTAN (Programmer, Short of the Week, SXSW)
- ABIRAM BRIZUELA (composer, former director of Artist Development -Sundance Institute)

Panelists and Moderators have included:
- DANIEL SCHEINERT and the "Everything Everywhere All At Once" VFX Artists.
- BEN PROUDFOOT (Academy-Award Winning Doc Director)
- JIM CUMMINGS (Sundance & SXSW Winning Filmmaker)
- SUJATA DAY (Sundance Lab Fellow and HBO Visionaries Ambassador)
- ANNA BAUMGARTEN (Austin Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Winner)
- EMILY BEST, Founder and CEO of Seed&Spark
- DARIOUS BRITT (D4Darious on Youtube).

We DO NOT require premiere status and will consider shorts that have been made available for online viewing or have screened in Los Angeles.

Every submitted film will be viewed in its entirety by member(s) of our selection team.

** Shorts vying for the "best super short film" must have credits rolling by 4:59. If your credits sequence pushes your film past 5:00, please submit it in its appropriate category (i.e., animation, comedy, drama, etc...). It will still be considered for the super short award.

Directors living in Southern California are eligible for the local film award.

Students are welcome and should include school information in their cover letter.

All submitted material must be the original work of the author(s) aside from copyrighted music (which we accept).

Music videos, screen-dance, and experimentally constructed films should be submitted under the experimental category. Music videos may be spec.

We accept material from anywhere in the world. All submitted material must be in English or with English subtitles.

Entry fees are non-refundable. No refunds will be issued for any reason.

Contest applicants must accept without reservations the decisions rendered by the competition.

We do not provide screening fees.

In 2022 and 2023 we provided traveling stipends for select visiting filmmakers traveling long distances. We will make our best efforts to expand upon this offering in 2024. However, Salute Your Shorts Film Festival cannot guarantee lodging or travel stipends. We will put traveling filmmakers in touch with affordable options if requested.

Upon invitation, participants will be contacted via email by the Print Traffic Coordinator with format confirmation, exhibition details, and delivery instructions.

We have the right to NOT award in any category if we are unable to make a selection based on our panels scores.

This year, we are accepting films completed on or after January 1, 2022.

Overall Rating
  • Truly cannot say enough good things about this festival. The programming was exquisite. Every film I saw was fantastic. The filmmaker networking was a delight. Erin, Lauren, Jillian, Kath, Vinny, Elle and team put their heart and souls into making SYS an unforgettable experience for filmmakers-- and it was just that.

    August 2023
  • GG Hawkins

    Salute Your Shorts is my favorite festival that I've ever been to. From the submission process to the final awards, this festival is about building a filmmaker community and celebrating powerful storytelling. The programming of the filmmakers emphasizes quality over quantity. It was an honor to be a part of this festival!

    August 2023
  • I couldn’t attend with our film THE STUPID BOY but I felt so included in everything right from when we were first selected, when I received a personal phone call even though I am in the UK, and ongoing fantastic and personal communication from then on. My cousin was able to attend on my behalf and confirmed that it was a really high quality festival with excellent programming, carefully curated blocks with films that compliment each other and all of a really high calibre, plus it’s run by a really lovely and warm team who genuinely care about every film. It was therefore even more of an honour to win Best Drama. A lot of festivals claim to champion short films, but these guys actually do, in real and tangible ways. I will definitely be submitting again and I look forward to meeting the lovely team in person soon!

    August 2023
  • John Henry Hinkel

    Simply put, one of the best festivals I've ever had the honor of attending. The programming and programmers are incredible!

    August 2023
  • Jahmil Eady

    Salute Your Shorts is one of the best festivals I've ever attended. It is a tightly curated well-organized festival. The location was perfect for screening and mingling with fellow filmmakers. The small but mighty team of programmers and volunteers are thoughtful about every aspect of the experience. Something that often goes unnoticed at marathon screenings like these -- convenience of food and drinks. Every day SYS brought a variety of food and drinks to us. Thank you, Erin, Elle, Becky, Lauren, Jillian, Nakorn, and volunteers for inviting my short, The Bond, to SYS this year!

    August 2023