San Diego Underground Film Festival (SDUFF) is one of the West Coast's premier showcases of video, film, and audio based mediums. Selected MovieMaker Magazine Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee in 2019, SDUFF has quickly risen the ranks to become one of the nation's most challenging, nurturing, and down to earth film festivals. Known for taking risks on young talent alongside showcasing legendary film makers, SDUFF prides itself on being a festival by and for disciples of the moving image.

"In a middlebrow city like ours, such an event challenges the soft and conventional programming that has become the status quo. Yet Betschart and Nakawatase seem downright positive about their radical objective ...Ambition runs deep with these two, and it shows in their programming." - San Diego City Beat

**** Beyond Categories ****

※ UPDATE (5/17/2020) - Installation & Expanded Cinema category have been cancelled for the 2020 festival with plans to resume in 2021.

※ If your film is finished on film, please visit <> for more information.

"Most Metal" Award

※ Filmmakers are required to fill out a completed application form via FilmFreeway.
※ The festival only accepts online submission links for preview (Vimeo, Youtube, etc.) Film links may be private or public. 
※ All films submitted must be fully completed as works in progress will not be considered.
※ Productions must be independently produced, with the maker retaining complete editorial control and copyright.
※ Submission of an entry indicates acceptance of all regulations, guarantee that a screening copy in the format specified will be made available for the dates of the event, and authorization to publicly exhibit the work at San Diego Underground Film Festival 2020.
※ If screening copy is to be provided by a distributor or agent then entry must be submitted by that distributor/agent, along with any criteria or conditions.
※ Submission of entry grants San Diego Underground Film Festival use of materials and images related to the project for the marketing purposes of San Diego Underground Film Festival and its parent company San Diego Underground Arts.

※This category has been cancelled for the 2020 festival and will reopen in 2021.

This category is for works that have been finished on film only.

※ There is no submission fee for this category.
※ Accepted formats are Regular 8, Super 8, and 16MM.
※ There is no restriction on duration, completion date, or premiere status.
※ Films must be exhibited on film stock.

※ Accepted screening formats are Apple ProRes HQ422, Regular 8, Super 8, or 16mm print.
※ No DCP will be accepted.
※ No 5.1 soundmix will be accepted.
※ Films with dialogues in a language other than English must have English subtitles.
※ San Diego Underground Film Festival reserves the right to refuse a screening copy of poor technical condition that may be detrimental to the screening.
※ San Diego Underground Film Festival reserves the right to revoke a selection status if a file or print is received after the asked deadline.

※ The party responsible for sending film materials bears the cost of transporting selected films. The festival incurs the cost of the films return. If sent via mail, the sender must provide the festival with necessary information regarding its return (date needed by/address/phone number). International parcels should be marked ‘For Cultural Purposes Only/No Commercial Value'. The copy will be returned within three weeks after festival completion.

Please note:
※ The festival does not promise transportation or lodging accommodations at this time.
※ All donations are final. No refunds will be given to submissions after 24 hours of purchase.

Overall Rating
  • Danielle Wakin

    <3 <3 <3 Loved showing film print, saw so much inspiring work and felt very welcomed by everyone.

    January 2020
  • Yanyu Dong

    It was an absolute pleasure having my film screen at SDUFF last year. The lineup of films was astonishing, and the SDUFF organizers go above and beyond to ensure that filmmakers and audiences have a great time attending and networking at the festival. This is truly a one-of-a-kind event. Highly recommended.

    September 2019
  • Rajee Samarasinghe

    Some of the most progressive and interesting programming around with a warm festival staff in beautiful San Diego. A great place to check out festival favorites from around the world mixed in with a number of exciting new discoveries. Had a blast showing my films here this year and last. The festival is well-organized and the programs are rich and multifaceted with live performances and installations etc. in addition to the main film programs. Many thanks to Ryan + Rachel for a wonderful experience!

    September 2019
  • Paolo Zuñiga

    The best! This is my second year participating in the festival and it's one of my favorites. They have an incredibly diverse program of films, live cinema, and music performances. Plus their festival team is amazing and very accommodating to both guests and artists. I look forward to attending next year regardless if my work is being screened.

    September 2019
  • Gabriela Garcia Medina

    This is one of the best festivals out there. The organizers had fantastic communication. Watching the line-up it was obvious that the organizers are huge lovers of film and pushing the boundaries of creativity. It showed through the curated selection of chosen films. I was always getting social media updates with film trailers and info on the festival and filmmakers. This festival is not about "who you know" or "how many celebrities you managed to cast in your film" but rather it's all about the art itself. Super inspiring to be around so many creative people. It's great for networking with other filmmakers and creatives who are exploring innovative and unique ideas. It's a cinephile's festival! A filmmaker's festival! So stoked and excited to have had my short film screen at SDUFF.

    September 2019