Twenty-nine years ago, the San Diego Latino Film Festival (SDLFF) was born out of desire to take a stand against the status-quo of cinema, to challenge the reigning and ever-present stereotypes about the Latinx experience in movies, and to give Latinx filmmakers the power of telling and sharing their stories, first-hand, about what it means to be Latinx. After all of these years, the SDLFF is proud to remain linked to these ideals, constantly advocating for inclusive, diverse, and progressive cinematic storytelling about the Latinx identity. We invite you and all other visionary filmmakers to be a part of the twenty-ninth anniversary by submitting your project to consideration.

SDLFF has had the honor of hosting over 3000 renowned directors, actors, producers, writers and more including Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Alfonso Cuaron, Kate del Castillo, Damian Alcazar, Dolores Huerta, Danny Trejo, among many others.

Like many other festivals around the world, SDLFF was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Its two most recent editions in 2020 and 2021 took place on virtual platforms. It is our intention to produce our 29th edition as an in-person event. The festival will continue monitoring developments pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic and will make modifications regarding in-person exhibitions following local and statewide health statutes to ensure the safety of its public. Any changes to our festival’s format will be communicated to participating filmmakers.

We understand the pandemic has had severe financial repercussions on filmmakers. We have taken the steps to significantly reduce the cost of submission fees. Our Early Bird Deadline will be $5.00 for both Features & Shorts. We encourage you to submit early to take advantage of this discount. However, films will not be given preferential consideration if they submit early.

Entries must be submitted into one of the categories below. From there, they will be screened and evaluated by our selection committee and festival programmers. Accepted entries will be categorized into specific programs at the discretion of the programming team. A longer description of each category is included in the Rules and Terms Section.

Narrative Feature
Documentary Feature
Narrative Short
Documentary Short
Local Film - Narrative Feature
Local Film - Documentary Feature
Local Film - Narrative Short
Local Film - Documentary Short
Youth Short
Episodic Content

This year’s call for entries will be much more competitive as the festival anticipates to accept fewer finalists than in years prior to accommodate capacity limitations. Submission deadlines will be strictly enforced and we encourage all submitters to read the Rules & Terms very carefully before submitting.

Films in competition for the festival’s awards will be selected by the programming members of the festival. All entries will be considered prior to a final nominee list is released. The list may include features and shorts submitted during the call for entries. More information on Awards included in the Rules & Terms section below.

Please review the following section before submitting your film. Failure to follow guidelines may result in your film being disqualified from consideration.

Best Narrative Feature
Best Documentary Feature
Audience Award Narrative Feature
Audience Award Documentary Feature
Best Narrative Short
Best Documentary Short
Best Frontera Feature
Best Frontera Short
Best Youth Film (Under 18 years old)

Submissions to the 29th Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival are now open. SDLFF 2022 is seeking innovative, original, and thought-provoking works that are ‘by’, ‘about’, or ‘for’ the Latinx community, that have been completed between 2020-2021. Please register your films through our submission platform, FilmFreeway. Do not send screening links directly to the Programmers’ inboxes, unless instructed to do so. We use this platform to keep track of our entries and links sent directly to our inboxes may be hard to localize given the high volume of emails we receive during our festival season. If you decide to forego the registration, your film will not be placed into consideration.

Fees must be paid before festival programmers screen your works and must be paid by the deadline. We do not give preferential treatment to entries submitted early BUT we advise that filmmakers take advantage of the Early Bird Submission Deadline since it is the lowest price point to register your film.

Submitted films must be the SAN DIEGO COUNTY PREMIERES and must not have been screened at another local film festival, theater chain, television, VOD or S-VOD platform, or be available on Blu-Ray or DVD before the end dates of our festival in the San Diego area. Work exhibited in the Tijuana or Baja California region may be accepted but has to fulfill the criteria of being a San Diego Premiere. If a film has been made available in the San Diego County region via a virtual film festival, we will consider the film as long as it is not available in March of 2022 and/or screened in person prior to our festival dates.

All entries will be pre-screened for eligibility by curators and selection committee; however, not all entries will be programmed. We will not reimburse fees if your film is not selected or if it does comply with any of these guidelines. If your film is not selected, the festival is not obligated to provide detailed notes regarding this decision.

The festival will not pay an exhibition fee for any accepted entries initially submitted through our general Call for Entries.

The SDLFF may screen any accepted entries up to four times during the festival dates (March 10-20, 2022) at ANY of our exhibition venues. The section or program the film is scheduled for is at the discretion of Festival Programmers. By submitting your film, you recognize the festival may select to screen your film in-person and are confirming all rights related to public screenings of your film have been cleared. We are not liable for any legal disputes that may arise from the public exhibition of your film.

Submission Categories:
Applicants must classify their film under one of the following categories. The Festival Programmers will then sort the films into the various sections that comprise our festival program. New sections will be created based on the type of content the festival receives. All films must be registered through our FilmFreeway. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept DVD or physical submissions at this time. Please upload digital exhibition copies to FilmFreeway. If you are linking your film to FilmFreeway from vimeo with password protection, please make sure the password remains active throughout our selection process.

Narrative Feature
Any scripted work of fiction (including mockumentary style) with a running time of 60 minutes or more. If the film is a narrative documentary hybrid, please submit under this category. Film must be ‘by’ Latinxs, ‘about’ Latinxs or ‘for’ the Latinx community.

Documentary Feature
Any non-fiction work with a running time of 60 minutes or more. Scripted re-enactments within the film are acceptable. Film must be ‘by’ Latinxs, ‘about’ Latinxs or ‘for’ the Latinx community.

Narrative Short
Any scripted work of fiction (including mockumentary style) with a running time of 30 minutes or less. If the film is a narrative documentary hybrid, please submit under this category. Film must be ‘by’ Latinxs, ‘about’ Latinxs or ‘for’ the Latinx community.

Documentary Short
Any non-fiction work with a running time of 30 minutes or less. Scripted re-enactments within the film are acceptable. Films must be ‘by’ Latinxs, ‘about’ Latinxs or ‘for’ the Latinx community.

Local Film (Frontera) - Narrative Feature
Any scripted work of fiction (including mockumentary style) with a running time of 60 minutes or more. If the film is a narrative documentary hybrid, please submit under this category. More than 50% of the production must have taken place in the San Diego or Tijuana Border region. Film must be ‘by’ Latinxs, ‘about’ Latinxs or ‘for’ the Latinx community

Local Film (Frontera) - Documentary Feature
Any non-fiction work with a running time of 60 minutes or more. Scripted re-enactments within the film are acceptable.More than 50% of the production must have taken place in the San Diego or Tijuana Border Region. Film must be ‘by’ Latinxs, ‘about’ Latinxs or ‘for’ the Latinx community.

Local Film (Frontera) - Narrative Short
Any scripted work of fiction (including mockumentary style) with a running time of 30 minutes or less. If the film is a narrative documentary hybrid, please submit under this category. More than 50% of the production must have taken place in the San Diego or Tijuana Border Region. Film must be ‘by’ Latinxs, ‘about’ Latinxs or ‘for’ the Latinx community.

Local Film (Frontera) - Documentary Short
Any non-fiction work with a running time of 30 minutes or less. Scripted re-enactments within the film are acceptable. More than 50% of the production must have taken place in the San Diego or Tijuana Border Region. Film must be ‘by’ Latinxs, ‘about’ Latinxs or ‘for’ the Latinx community.

Youth Short
Any film with a running time of 30 minutes or less that fits the Narrative or Documentary Shorts parameters, submitted by someone less than 18 years of at the date of submitting. Film must be ‘by’ Latinxs, ‘about’ Latinxs or ‘for’ the Latinx community.

Episodic Content
Any single and/or collection of short films (with an overarching theme), television episodes, online webisodes, and telenovela episodes are acceptable. If submitting multiple episodes, each should be included in your submission copy as a single file (for example, if your web series is 10 episodes long there shouldn’t be 10 links for each episode of the web series.) Narrative or documentary projects accepted. This content should not be made available on any VOD or S-VOD platform for streaming, or have premiered on television before the end of the festival. This content should be a San Diego Premiere. Episodic Content must be ‘by’ Latinxs, ‘about’ Latinxs or ‘for’ the Latinx community

* A note about works in progress-
We will accept entries submitted as works in progress with temporary music, missing scenes, color correction, etc. However, the submitted project should be indicative of the overall quality of the finished product. If accepted, the film in question should be completed well before the start date of our festival. We DO NOT screen works in progress as exhibition copies.

Films must be submitted with English subtitles if the dialogue is in another language other than English. Films must have been completed after January 2020. Projects completed January 31st, 2020 and prior are not eligible for this edition of the film festival.

It is the responsibility of the submitter to ensure that the screening link or physical screening copy they submit work properly. We will make an attempt to connect with you if we experience difficulties screening your movies and expect a working copy in a timely fashion. Failure to comply will render your film ineligible from being placed under consideration.

If your film was not accepted last year and you are re-submitting, please keep in mind that the likelihood of your film being accepted is proportional to the number of changes and improvements that have been made to it. If you are submitting an identical or near-identical version of your film, it will not be accepted.

Please note: DVD screeners, press kits, and any other physical materials submitted during the Call for Entries period will not be returned.

Upon acceptance to the festival, the following is required:

Features: Press Kit containing 100 words synopsis in English, 5 hi-res film stills (300 dpi, CMYK and/or RGB color), digital trailer with English subtitles (if films is in any language other than English), online or physical screener of film for press.

Shorts: Press Kit containing 50 word synopsis in English, 3 hi-res film stills (300 dpi, CMYK and/or RGB color), digital trailer with English subtitles, if available.

Information regarding exhibition copies:

Features: DCP (preferred), Blu-Ray. All exhibition copies must come with a backup Blu-Ray. Along with a copy of the film in a H.264 format video file with a file size smaller than 10GB. Exhibition copies of accepted features must be received by February 1, 2022.

Shorts: DCP (preferred), Digital Format via USB or e-mail. USBs will be returned. Along with a copy of the film in a H.264 format video file with a file size smaller than 10GB.Formatting specifics will be included in the acceptance letter. Exhibition files must be received by February 1, 2022..

* Submitters will be notified of entry status in mid-January 2022. Judges’ decisions are final. Due to the large number of films we receive, feedback on individual films will not be provided.

An additional panel of filmmakers, film critics, and local luminaries will sit on this year’s Awards Jury. Awards are given for excellence in form and content. Films to be considered for competition will be determined by the Festival Curators.

Awards Categories:
Best Narrative Feature
Best Documentary Feature
Audience Award Narrative Feature
Audience Award Documentary Feature
Best Narrative Short
Best Documentary Short
Best Local Feature
Best Local Short
Best Youth Film (Under 18 years old)

*Additional categories may be added based on festival showcases.

For questions, please contact, Moises Esparza, moises@mediaartscenter.org (619) 230-1938 ext. 105 (Features), or Juan Lopez, juan@mediaartscenter.org (619) 230-1938 ext. 107 (Shorts).

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • We couldn't attend this year because of the pandemics, but we want to thank you for noticing our film THE LAND BENEATH OUR FEET, also the great work and communication from Moisés Esparza, Juan López and all the San Diego Latino team.

    May 2021
  • Mario Velasco

    It was a great experience and great festival!

    April 2021
  • Gustavo Guardado

    What an amazing experience. While we all wish the Covid pandemic would've been over by the 2021 festival, it was still an amazing experience to participate in this festival. The directors/programmers did an amazing job of communicating and coordinating the screenings, Q&A's and, handling of passes for filmmakers.

    All American and International Latinos should put this festival on their list as a "must submit" festival as their longevity and professionalism are clearly what makes it great!

    April 2021
  • Erin Kokdil

    Excellent communication and an incredible opportunity for our Youth Media Academy's emerging filmmakers. Thank you for creating a space for young people to share the lens through which they see the world. Excited that our youth participant Angelica's film won Best Youth Short.

    March 2021
  • Steve DeBro

    Despite the challenges of running a festival during a Pandemic, Moisés and his team did an admirable job. We had a successful virtual screening, the Q&A was moderated beautifully, and we reached new fans for our film 18th & Grand: The Olympic Auditorium Story.

    March 2021