San Diego Art Film Festival is passionate about arthouse filmmaking, indie artists and aims to promote and recognize art film projects of all genres in various sections of the festival.

Every online edition, the committee of the festival recognizes and promotes independent artists working in media. Film critics and film studies scholars typically define an art film as possessing "formal qualities that mark them as different from mainstream Hollywood films".

These art film cinematic qualities can include (among other elements): a sense of social realism; an emphasis on the authorial expressiveness of the director; and a focus on the thoughts, dreams, or motivations of characters, as opposed to the unfolding of a clear, goal-driven story.

Film scholar David Bordwell describes art cinema as "a film genre, with its own distinct conventions". We are dedicated to art cinema and seek to promote art film projects and artists with U.S. and international projects. The festival is a firm believer in indie filmmaking's potential.

Artists and film projects are encouraged to submit their work to our committee.

Best Narrative Feature
Best Narrative Short
Best Documentary Feature
Best Documentary short
Best Experimental
Best Animation
Best Science Fiction
Best Horror
Best Director
Best Producer
Best Cinematography
Best Editor
Best Actress
Best Actor
Best Script
Best Unproduced script
Best TV Series/Pilot/Web
Best Comedy
Best Student Film
Best Music Video
Best Thriller
Best Trailer
Best Composer
Best First Time short Filmmaker
Best First Time feature Filmmaker
Best Female Filmmaker
Best Independent feature Film
Best Independent short Film
Best feature Film Director
Best short Film Director

All genres and nationalities are welcome to participate.

To submit, you must own the rights or have permission from the owner.

To be eligible, films must have been completed after 2018.

Any non-English language foreign film must include English subtitles.

Overall Rating
  • Jonathan Ruggiero

    My film was selected, but I don't think it was even shown online anywhere, let alone in person.

    October 2022
  • I am honored to have my screenplay MIXED SPIRITS selected as the BEST DRAMA FEATURE Screenplay of the San Diego Art Film Fest. The Festival communication was timely and excellent. I highly encourage all Creatives to participate and endorse the Festival to ALL.

    October 2022
  • Amine Boucekkine

    Thank you for granting "Dead Dreams Falling" with an award for the best music video! My partner Craig Murray and I feel very honored to be part of your festival. Looking forward to applying again in the future with a new project we're already working on. Thanks a lot!

    August 2022
  • Great to be Selected for the San Diego Art Film Fest, especially given the fact that our li'l short "Lighter Darker" moves way into experimental territory. Thanks, judges, and here's a ringing endorsement to all: enter this competition. It's good. :-)

    August 2022
  • Elizabeth Burke

    We were thrilled to be an awards winner at the 2022 festival and recommend this festival to film makers looking to get their film seen.

    August 2022