The mission of the San Diego International ShortsFest is to use film to start conversations on important topics affecting our world and our shared humanity. We believe short films tell powerful stories. What’s going on in your part of the world? What are you passionate about? Who are your local heroes? What are you thinking about these days? What’s your dream for the future?

Share your short film during the 3-day ShortsFest with a global audience of your fellow Filmmakers, Film Lovers and the Film Industry and be a part of what San Diego is creating in the virtual film world.

Notable features of the festival include:
Our ‘pandemic project’ was the development of the Festival Virtual Village in partnership with Filmocracy for the 2020 San Diego International Film Festival and includes:
Three theaters (both live streaming and on demand screenings)
Café (networking, live chats, panels, Q&As, award ceremonies, etc.)
Event center (on demand content from the San Diego International
Film Festival, the San Diego International ShortsFest, Industry Interviews, Panels and more!)

San Diego Intl Film Festival features one of the most highly regarded short film competitions in North America. Your film will be considered in all the submitted categories below that apply to your film:

Best Short
Best U.S. Short
Best Foreign Short
Best Documentary Short
Best Animation Short
Best Experimental Short
Best Student Short
Best First Time Filmmaker Short

Best Producer
Best Director
Best Student Director
Best Actor
Best New Actor
Best Acting Ensemble
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Screenwriting

Best Short
Best Foreign Short

Filmmaker Hospitality & Benefits:
2 Filmmaker Virtual Badges with full access to all virtual screenings
Virtual Filmmaker Meet ‘n’ Greet networking with industry professionals as well as our CEO & Artistic Director Tonya Mantooth
Access to SD Intl PitchFest during Festival weekend
Potential for virtual one-on-one meetings with prominent entertainment industry professionals

The SDiFF is a competitive showcase for domestic and international short films and short documentaries. The SDiFF reserves the right to determine the eligibility of any project submitted. All films must be a minimum of a San Diego Premiere and NO theatrical, cable, television, satellite, DVD, VHS, VOD, internet screenings or availability of any kind in the San Diego region prior to the SDFF dates. Only works completed from 2019-2021 are eligible for selection. There is no limit to the number of entries.

All foreign language entries must have English subtitles. Projects must be submitted for consideration as an online screener. Works in progress will be considered, please make a note your film is still a WIP when submitting. If you did not receive a confirmation of submission, please email

The San Diego International Film Festival is a competitive event and unless notified otherwise, all films officially selected are eligible for competition. For a list of competitive categories, please see our awards page. All films are nominated and voted upon by an impartial jury of filmmakers, industry professionals, festival programmers and film aficionados.

If selected, the SDiFF will require an Electronic Press Kit (EPK) to include high-resolution production stills, key art, bio and filmography of the director, production notes and full cast and crew credits.

Every precaution is taken when handling your film once submitted to us but we cannot accept responsibility for loss or damaged files that are submitted to us.

If there is shipping involved in your physical file submitting to us we require that the entries must be paid by the entrant. The SDiFF will not pay the cost of shipping the print back to the filmmaker. SDiFF will not be responsible for expedited or overnight shipping charges to other organizations. Also, SDiFF cannot guarantee shipment of prints to other festivals during the days of the festival. All international entries must be sent 'free domicile' to the SDiFF office with all transportation charges, duties, and taxes prepaid by the shipper.

Submission of an entry gives the SDiFF permission to have excerpts of accepted work, including film trailers, shown in all promotional activities related to the festival.

Films selected for the SDiFF will be notified no later than April 9th, 2021.