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 both short and feature categories, including Grand Jury Prize (open to all categories), Audience Award, and an Emerging Filmmaker Award.

I. 2023 Festival Dates
November 2023 festival dates to be determined

II. Submission Fees and Deadlines

1. A completed application and entry fee must accompany each entry. There are no exceptions to the entry fee.

III. Programs
The Festival accepts films/videos in the following five categories: narrative feature, narrative short, documentary feature, documentary short, and experimental 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, 2022. For feature-length films, the date of first public premiere (if any) must be after October 1, 2022.

3. Feature length entries cannot have been previously exhibited in San Diego at another film festival or commercial venue, or be available for broadcast, home video, or online for American audiences, before Nov. 20, 2023.

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

All entries must include the following:
(a) a working link to the film.
(b) Completed film information and submission through FilmFreeway
(c) Entry Fee

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, 2023.

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 cannot guarantee screening 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; Experimental Film; 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. Address:
Pacific Arts Movement
Attn: SDAFF Entries Coordinator
9685 Via Excelencia, Suite 108
San Diego, CA 92126, USA
phone: +1-619-400-5911

2. Shipping via courier capable of tracking delivery of submission is recommended.

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

Any additional inquiries, please email:

Overall Rating
  • Zeinabu Davis

    One of the best and long running festivals in San Diego! Great communication and hospitality with their filmmakers - they do their best to make everyone feel like family! Programming is excellent, and I always experience films here that I don't get to see elsewhere.

    November 2023
  • Yue Huang

    Great festival. Thanks a lot to the organizers.

    January 2023
  • Excellent festival, creative and dynamic programming. Appreciate the care and hospitality my film received this year!

    November 2022
  • Rosie Choo Pidcock

    I had an incredible experience screening my short film 'Esther & Sai' at SDAFF 2022. From the first communication I had with their programming and events teams respectively, I could tell this was a deeply caring and committed team. The programming is second to none, and not only did I enjoy screening my own film, I was able to watch a lot of work that is deeply related to and/or inspiring my next projects. I will be back at SDAFF as a filmmaker and an audience member!

    November 2022
  • Curtis Chin

    What a wonderful festival. A real community space that brings film makers and film lovers together.

    November 2022