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.

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 Cinematography
Best Screenwriting
Best Acting Ensemble

Best 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
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.

Overall Rating
  • Hui Tan

    I deeply appreciate the opportunity from San Diego International ShortsFest, which also provide a great platform for our filmmakers to communicate and learn from each others!

    July 2022
  • Great film festival! I was especially amazed at how well run it was with covid and everything being online. Despite being online, I really enjoyed it and it still felt personal. The filmmaker lounge was a great touch. The communication was excellent and I'm so happy to have been part of this festival.

    June 2021
  • Stephen Brucher

    Had a great time at the San Diego International ShortsFest. Awesome filmmakers & short films. Looking forward to submitting & joining in next year as well!

    June 2021
  • What a great festival!!! I've never had the experience like that before. My film RUST was in the documentary section. The line-up was fantastic, the communication with the organizers - perfect. It was all virtual and very interactive. One could talk to filmmakers from around the globe, lots of meetings and Q&A's (btw thank you Michelle Gritzer from the review beneath for mentioning our nice conversation, I am the mentioned director from Poland :) ) So the Shortsfest was easy to watch and professional! I give you all my heart and the highest possible rating, keeping nice memories! Submit your films here, it is worth it! <3

    May 2021
  • Ruicheng Liang

    Big surprise for my film 'Man Up in Lockdown' to have won Quarantine Award! It's been an honour to be part of the first year of ShortsFest lineup. It's new and virtual but organised brilliantly by the mature team. I love their design of the Festival Virtual Village and well tailored programs showcasing new perspectives from around the world. Looking forward to a fully physical festival next year!

    May 2021