San Diego Underground Film Festival (SDUFF) is San Diego's premier showcase of experimentation in video, film, and audio based mediums. A strong DIY ethos, combined with an art school brain and a punk rock heart makes the San Diego Underground Film Festival a unique place for films, videos, and audio pieces that strive to push the boundaries of accepted form and content. Films and videos that dissent radically in form or technique will be our priority in selections. Narrative films and documentaries that expand on narrative structure, or cover subjects related to subcultures or esoteric topics; animations both narrative and experimental; experimental films and video art; all will be considered for selection. Films and videos must show a strong sense of authorship.

Lo-fi films, punk rock films, skate/surf films, cooking shows, NO WAVE, glitter pop. Surprise us.

"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

This festival is non-competitive and is held in sunny San Diego, CA, USA.

**** Beyond Categories ****

※ If you are looking to submit an installation or expanded cinema performance, please see "Rules & Terms" for more information.

※ 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 2018.
※ 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.
※ Selected applicants will be notified on May 1, 2018. 
※ Please submit applications to

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.
※ Selected applicants will be notified on July 1, 2018.

※ Accepted screening formats are Apple ProRes HQ422, Regular 8, Super 8, or 16mm print.
※ No DCP will be accepted.
※ 5.1 sound mix is not necessary, as the theater the films are screened in does not support surround sound.
※ 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.

※ 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:
※ No screening fees are provided at this time.
※ The festival does not provide transportation or lodging accommodations at this time.

Overall Rating
  • Russell Sheaffer

    SDUFF is incredible -- it's a great mix of folks making crucial work. The festival is super fun, the people are wonderful, and it's one of the only chances each year to see experimental work in San Diego.

    December 2017
  • Noah Engel

    Legendary Fest! Seriously one of the best! Submit! Submit! Submit!
    So glad to have been included.

    November 2017
  • Melissa Tvetan

    I am sad I wasn't there in person but thanks for all the photos & info on the events.

    September 2017
  • Meredith Sward

    Being a part of SDUFF was an amazing experience! I feel so honored to be included in in Rachel and Ryan's innovative programming. The festival not only includes exceptional films but also includes expanded cinema and musical performances.
    Being at the festival for four days, I could see and feel the dedication Rachel and Ryan to create an amazing experience for everyone involved. I can't wait until next year!

    September 2017
  • Samuel Hinsvark

    I've been lucky enough to go to every year of the San Diego Underground Film Festival and I've got to say it just gets better every time! Everyone I've met from the staff is so fantastic and so excited to be doing what they're doing. This is a festival run by the kind of people I wish were running more festivals: artists who really care and want to foster a sense of community. I feel so welcome at SDUFF and I can't wait for the next event!!

    September 2017