Now heading into our 3rd year, SDEFF's mission remains to curate an artistic, educational experience that uses film to bring people together, facilitate knowledge exchange, and affect social change!

Every year, the SDEFF chooses films for our Official Selection Film Screenings from the following categories: Land, Air, Water, People, New Filmmaker, and Youth Filmmaker. We will also have cash award prizes announced closer to the festival date.

***Please select only ONE category per film submission and submit only ONE entry fee per film submission, however, note that each submission will be considered for all categories. We also have limited space for films over 1 hour so if you are submitting a film longer than 60 minutes, your film might not be selected due to time constraints.***

Who can submit: Anyone! SDEFF is open to filmmakers worldwide.

Film requirements: Films MUST highlight an environmental and/or social topic (nature, wildlife, people working in conservation, equity, etc.) in order to be considered for film entry. Both non-fiction and fiction are accepted.

• Land - Films highlighting terrestrial issues, places, or land animals
• Air - Films highlighting air issues, or animals that take flight
• Water - Films highlighting water issues, places, or marine/aquatic animals
• People - Films that highlight stories of people (related to environmental work or topic).
• New Filmmaker - For filmmakers with less than 2 years of filmmaking experience.
• Youth Filmmaker - For youth filmmakers that are less than 18 years of age.

If your film is selected to be a part of the 2024 SDEFF, you will receive a variety of perks as follows;
• Access for you and one guest to the 2024 Festival
• Opportunities for marketing and other promotional activities through SDEFF social media channels
• Be in the running for award prizes

By submitting your films to the SDEFF, you hereby grant permission for SDEFF to use it for the following purposes:

Stills: Still images from the films will be used on the website, printed materials, banners, and other promotional materials. Please submit one high-resolution headshot of the filmmaker in JPG format.

Clips: Clips of submitted films may be used to promote SDEFF by appearing on the SDEFF website, in the SDEFF trailer, possible partnership websites, third-party advertising sponsors (i.e., television spots, newspaper print, magazine ads, etc.)

Trailer: SDEFF may request a short trailer for films over 10 minutes to use for promotional purposes.

Interim Screenings: In addition to possibly being screened at SDEFF during the stated festival dates, accepted films may be screened throughout the year for promotional purposes, as a separate screening in cooperation with other SDEFF partnership organizations.

• All submissions must be environmental themed.
• All works must be in English or have English subtitles. Entries can be any genre – documentary, narrative fiction, or animation – and can be submitted by professional or amateur filmmakers.
• We have limited program slots for films longer than 60 minutes, but all submissions of this length and longer will be taken into consideration.
• Film must be completed by the deadline date in which they are being submitted. Works in progress will not be accepted, and edits to films after they have been submitted will not be allowed.
• More than one film may be submitted, but a separate entry fee must be paid for each.
• SDEFF does not pay screening fees or shipping fees in order to screen a film, nor does SDEFF underwrite production costs (duplication, subtitling, etc.).
• Upon completion of the Festival selection process, we will attempt to contact the Applicant using the contact information provided on the submission form to notify the Applicant of the Film’s acceptance status. It is the sole responsibility of the Applicant to ensure that the contact information provided on the submission form is correct throughout the entirety of the selection period.
•SDEFF is under no obligation to provide to the Applicant or any other representative of the Film any comments or feedback regarding the submitted Film should it not be accepted for exhibition at the Festival.
• Every submitted film is evaluated on its merits and how it meets the criteria for our festival. The fact that it is or has been available on Youtube or Vimeo or has had limited distribution at selected theaters or has been shown on TV is considered in our evaluation but is not a reason for rejecting the film. We prefer films made within the past year or two but an older film that deals with an unusual subject or has historical importance or has not been shown theatrically for several decades might also be considered for the festival. Each film is unique and will be evaluated as such.
• All filmmakers will be required to sign a FILM & MEDIA CONSENT LICENSE AND RELEASE AGREEMENT granting SDEFF permission to use their film as part of the film festival. If your film is chosen for the 2024 Official Selection, this form will be emailed to you.
•Official Selections are not required to submit a film with closed captions, but it is highly encouraged.

Overall Rating
  • Meron Alon

    We're happy that our short film Anxious played at SFEFF this year. Cindy, Lindsay, and the rest of the team were super friendly, hospitable and helpful. UCSD campus was a great venue for screenings and enjoyed the programming, panels and mingling with other filmmakers. Would love to come again next year!

    November 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for sharing your creative film with us, Meron! We had an amazing time getting to know more about you and your filmmaking process. Definitely join us next year - would love to have you as we build this community of change makers like yourself!

  • laure quinlivan

    Thank you to the San Diego Environmental film festival for choosing to screen my film Living with Landslides and hosting the filmmaker Q&A. I had a wonderful time!

    November 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for coming all the way to San Diego, Laure! We learned so much from your film and enjoyed hearing about your expertise in storytelling! Hope to see more of your work in the future!