Since 2000, the San Diego Asian Film Festival has been one of the premier platforms for Asian American cinema and has grown into the largest showcase of Asian and Pacific Islander cinema in the western United States. The festival is borne out of the love for independent film and the desire to showcase the diverse Pan Asian experience through film and other arts.

SDAFF supports both Asian and non-Asian artists by giving them a venue to showcase their work, and it gives the community access to quality films that otherwise would never show in San Diego.

Prizes for Best Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Narrative Short, Documentary Short, Animated Short, and International Short, as well as a Grand Jury Prize (open to all categories), Audience Award, and an Emerging Filmmaker Award (for first-time feature filmmakers).

GENERAL RULES
I. 2021 Festival Dates
October 28 - November 6, 2021
Please note that we are carefully monitoring the COVID-19 situation. We are currently fully intending to proceed with our tentative November dates, but we will weigh public health concerns and state/city guidelines in determining if we need to move it to a virtual platform, or hold a hybrid in-person/virtual event. If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at programming@sdaff.org.

II. Submission Fees and Deadlines
1. A completed application and entry fee must accompany each entry. There are no exceptions to the entry fee. Entries must be postmarked per the deadlines on the listing for each category.

2. For submissions not paid through FilmFreeway, make payment by check or money order in US dollars payable to PACIFIC ARTS MOVEMENT.

III. Programs
The Festival accepts films/videos in the following five categories: narrative feature, narrative short, documentary feature, documentary short, and animation short. Festival programming staff may use their discretion to place your film in the appropriate category.

IV. Eligibility
1. Films/videos entered into competition must be directed or principally acted by an artist of Asian or Pacific Islander descent, or contain subject matter relating to Asian or Pacific Islander cultures or communities. Clarify questions of eligibility prior to submission of entry.

2. Entries must have been completed after August 1, 2020. For feature-length films, the date of first public premiere (if any) must be after October 1, 2020.

3. Feature length entries cannot have been previously exhibited in San Diego at a film festival or commercial venue, or be available for broadcast, home video, or online for American audiences, before Nov. 1, 2021.

4. Each project entered into competition must pay an entry fee. There is no limit to the number of qualifying entries by any entrant so long as an entry form and fee accompanies each entry.

5. Non-English dialogue must be subtitled in English.

6. Films/videos cannot be re-entered into competition if previously rejected by the San Diego Asian Film Festival.

7. Entrants shall obtain all licenses, royalties, and permits necessary to present their work. Entrant will assume all costs arising from the use of patented, trademarked, franchised, or copyrighted music, materials, devices, processes, or dramatic rights used in production of work.

8. Short films previously exhibited on the Internet are eligible for entry.

V. Feature and Short Definition
A feature is any work of running time forty minutes or longer; less than forty minutes running time designates a short.

VI. Submission Materials
1. All entries must include the following:
(a) DVD labeled with film title, director, contact telephone number, and running time; unless submitted online through FilmFreeway's streaming video service.
(b) Completed film information and submission through FilmFreeway
(c) Entry Fee

2. The Festival is not responsible for returning DVD screeners. Entry fees are not refundable.

VII. Selection
1. Festival programming staff will select and invite films at their discretion. Entrants will be notified of their selection status via email or FilmFreeway's notification system on or about July 31, 2021.

2. Selected filmmakers are expected to provide as much of the following as possible:
(a) Exhibition print. The Festival exhibits work in only the following formats, regardless of origination: 35mm film, 16mm film, Blu-ray, DCP, or H.264 file for feature-length works; H.264 file, DCP, 35mm film, or 16mm film for shorts.
(b) Press kit including film stills (digital TIFF or JPEG files preferred with minimum 300 dpi), synopsis, and full production credits. Director photo and biography are optional. Additional collateral material including postcards, posters, etc. may be included if available.
(c) Clips or trailer to be used for press, promotion, and awards ceremony.

3. Selected films may be screened multiple times during the course of the Festival at our discretion.

4. Pacific Arts Movement and the San Diego Asian Film Festival are not responsible for any damage to films/videos during shipping, handling, or screening.

VIII. Screening Fees
The Festival does not pay rental fees; instead we choose to invest our resources in producing the best possible showcase for your work and promoting your work as widely as possible.

IX. Awards
The Festival presents the following awards to films in competition:
Narrative Feature; Documentary Feature; Narrative Short; Documentary Short; Animated Short; Emerging Filmmaker Award; Audience Choice Award; Grand Jury Award; International Short

Winners (except for Audience Choice Award and International Short Award) will be recognized during the festival's Gala Awards Dinner. There may or may not be additional awards. If jurors deem all films in a category undeserving of awards, they can elect to not choose an award for that category.

X. Shipping
1. Submit entries prepaid including applicable customs fees to:
Pacific Arts Movement
Attn: SDAFF Entries Coordinator
2508 Historic Decatur Road, Suite 140
San Diego, CA 92106, USA
Email: entries@sdaff.org
phone: +1-619-400-5911

2. Shipping via courier capable of tracking delivery of submission is recommended. Package DVDs properly and securely using bubble-wrap.

3. Selected filmmakers are responsible for delivery of exhibition prints or videos to our offices by the date designated at time of selection notification. The Festival will handle the return shipping of prints and videos after the conclusion of the Festival.

Any additional inquiries, please email: programming@sdaff.org

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • CHU Hoi Ying

    Wish I can go to the film festival physically in the future!! Thanks SDAFF!

    November 2021
  • SDAFF is such a cool festival to be part of, I only wish I would've been able to attend in person! The team was super communicative, gave us a fantastic social media package, and organized lots of networking events in San Diego. Hopefully next time I'll get to be there and meet everyone!

    November 2021
  • James Shih

    SDAFF is amazing. They're the only festival that sent a care package to me. It really made me feel a part of the festival even though we couldn't be there in person because of the pandemic. The Q&A was fun and very professional. My film "Ahma & Alan" was part of the Taiwan/USA Q&A panel which was very fitting and great organizing by the festival director Brian Hu's part. the programming was so GOOD, I wish I had more time to catch more of the films. San Diego Asian Film Festival rocks.

    December 2020
  • Raymond Lai

    First off, the San Diego Asian Film Festival was the very first film festival I ever screened at over a decade ago, so it will always hold a special place in my filmmaker heart. Since then, I've been back several times with subsequent films. I love this festival so much. The staff and their programming, my films aside, is simply top notch, and their parties are just epic and memorable.

    This year, in this especially trying time, they really went above and beyond to make it feel like a physical festival, providing an amazing physical program, swag bag, and even a filmmaker badge. They are only festival to provide such tings that we've been a part of this year. Like I said, above and beyond. If you're thinking about it at all, just submit. It's well worth your time and money.

    Best of luck!

    November 2020
  • Kim Tran

    this was such an amazing fest!! they really took care of their filmmakers.

    November 2020