San Diego Movie Awards is in its first year as a Quarterly Film Competition – Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer – with an annual in-person festival celebrating the very best films from our quarterly competitions. The festival is held in the very heart of America’s Finest City -Balboa Park- at the Museum of Photographic Arts.
Our mission is to recognize and honor films and filmmakers from all over the globe, recognizing each type of artist involved in the filmmaking process.
At our annual festival, we will present the winner of the very best short and feature from the winners of our quarterly competitions. Cash prizes will be awarded to the best feature ($2500) and the best short ($1500) and best features will be considered for distribution by IndieRights, the premiere distribution company for independent films
San Diego Movie Awards accepts films of all lengths and genres and seeks to honor new and unique voices and stories from our global community. San Diego, with its close proximity to Los Angeles, is a thriving city for independent filmmakers with a long tradition of celebrating the spirit of indie film and their creators. It is a great movie-making city in its own right, with its rich, diverse population and every landscape imaginable – from the beach to the mountains to the desert.
San Diego Movie Awards judges are also filmmakers – directors, actors, writers, producers, cinematographers, editors, composers – and we know the innumerable struggles that existing in creating and completing a film– and the struggles to be accepted at festivals or picked up for distribution! We understand the financial struggle – and sacrifice – that often goes into getting a film made. Which is why we have created a festival that will give you and your project the respect and exposure you so richly deserve! With the pandemic making in person festivals almost impossible in 2020, we committed in 2021 to creating a festival which will allow for recognition during the time of Covid, and a festival to look forward to in 2022 when we know we can, once again, gather in person to honor your films!

Cash prize of $2500 for Best Feature of the Year
Cash prize of $1500 for Best Short of the Year
Consideration of Distribution of Best Features by IndieRights, the premiere distribution company for independent films
Awards of Excellence
Awards of Prestige
Awards of Merit
Honorable Mention
Grand Jury Awards
Certificates with Laurels in All Winning Categories
VIP Filmmakers Passes for All Winners

Films must be submitted via an online screener ONLY. We do not accept films submitted on DVD.
Your film will be privately screened and evaluated by international filmmakers and producers with expertise in the specific categories for which you submit.
Make sure to fully enter your project on FilmFreeway, including downloadable posters and names of the candidates for additional categories.
By submitting your film, you agree to the following terms:
A MAIN category must be selected for each submission.
Multiple categories may be selected for additional submissions,
All non-English films must have English subtitles in order to be judged,
All submissions must have been released after January 1st, 2017,
You are providing San Diego Movie Awards a nonexclusive limited license to use segments of your film (including trailers/film posters/press kits/teasers) for promotional purposes,
Entry fees are non-refundable,
Waiver codes are currently not available,
Judging decisions are final,
Poor quality film standards (e.g. bad sound, lack of subtitles/lack of captions for non-English films, video resolution below 720p) will not be accepted,
Entrants confirm and warrant that they have the required legal authority to use all music, images, and content in the entry submitted,
No restrictions on premiere or online statuses.
A DCP copy of the film is required for the annual gala screening.
PLEASE NOTE: Unfortunately we are not able at this time to accept unsolicited requests for a full fee waiver to the festival.

Overall Rating
  • Thank you for selecting our documentary "The Disparity". What a great honor that is. Bless you all!

    Madeline Kelley (Scriptwriter & Movie Producer)
    Kamnar Productions, LLC

    September 2021
  • Jay Mohan

    Our film, RUINS, had an amazing run at the San Diego Movie Awards. It was a delightful and inspiring experience. Thank you folks at the SDMA for conducting a very professional festival that any serious filmmaker should be a part of. Impeccable communication was one of the key traits at each step. Highly recommended.

    July 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your kind words! Wishing you continued success with "Ruins!"

  • Receiving the Best Drama Short - Grand Jury Award for our film The Witching Hour from San Diego Movie Awards has been a beautiful and moving experience in this very challenging year.

    Terry Ross has been truly wonderful and we feel very fortunate to be a part of this film festival.

    We are looking forward to submitting our future films and highly recommend it!

    July 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much! Congratulations on your beautiful film!

  • Edward Platero

    Thank you to the SDMA for selecting The Isle of Ailynn for best music video in June. Great festival, great marketing, great communication.

    June 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Edward! Wishing you much much deserved success with Isle of Ailynn!

  • Chris Robinson

    Great festival! I’ll be submitting all my films here and you should too!

    June 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thanks so much Chris! Wishing you continued success!!!