SDUFF // Heavy Light 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, SDUFF // Heavy Light 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 // Heavy Light 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

- Jury Award
- 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 and Heavy Light 2024.
※ 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.

※ There is no submission fee for installation or expanded cinema submissions.
※ Applicant must submit a complete proposal and narrative of proposed installation/expanded cinema along with images and documentation.
※All proposals must include technical specifications and equipment needs.
※ Installation formats include projection, films on monitors, video sculptures, and interactive works.
※ Please visit our website for submission instructions.

※ Accepted screening formats are Apple ProRes422
※ 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.
※ Festival dates are subject to change due to availability of venue rentals.

Overall Rating
  • Zazie Ray-Trapido

    Such a lovely festival run by great people.

    May 2022
  • Great communication, great program, great vibe. A festival that respects artists. Thanks for bringing this to San Diego !

    January 2022
  • Paul Sbrizzi

    This festival is the real deal, truly committed to shaking things up and presenting a wild, unabashedly arty program minus any stuffy pretense. They keep things fun and dangerous. Ryan and the gang are about the loveliest, most passionate and playful people you will meet running any festival — where do they get all that energy?? I can't recommend SDUFF highly enough.

    December 2021
  • Thank you SDUFF for selecting my short film "Rite of Passage"! The communication from the team is excellent, and I enjoyed watching the diverse program line-up on the Twitch stream. While I wish there's more networking opportunities between the filmmakers, overall it was a positive experience with the festival! Thank you SDUFF team for your hard work in putting the festival together.

    December 2021
  • Thoughtfully curated programming that rewards the adventurous theatergoer. I really admire the staff's openness that invites the community and those participating to create memorable screening events. Highly recommended for those wanting their films to be screened alongside new, experimental works in the vanguard.

    December 2021