The Sanford International Film Festival (SIFF) is a world-wide-community event; we show some of the most compelling work from all over the world, and we invite all to become a part of our creative and compassionate Maine community.

Screening passes are free to anyone credited in an accepted film, so SIFF is filled with creative, interesting people, from actors and actresses, to writers, directors and producers. We also partner with local press for event coverage, local restaurants and shops to offer perks and discounts at some of Sanford's best spots.

Come experience the beauty of autumn in Southern Maine and join us!

For 2018, our program includes five days and nights of official SIFF events, with many other ancillary events taking place over the weekend. 2017 was a smashing success, and we hope to offer more this year for our filmmakers and audiences alike, including the best films that the world has to offer, in the heart of York County.

We are also offering cash prizes for several awards, including $500 for best feature. Come be a part of the Sanford International Film Festival!

Tommy award-winners will take home trophies, be highlighted in local press coverage, and in some cases win cash prizes!

Best Film $500 cash prize
Best Short Film $100 cash prize
Best Documentary $100 cash prize
Best Horror $100 cash prize
Best Maine $100 cash prize
Audience Choice Award $100 cash prize
Best International $100 cash prize
Best Music Video $100 cash prize

*Awarded to one member of the production: This prize is non-transferrable. One lifetime free pass per film, regardless of number of awards collected.

Best Student Film **$100 cash prize
**One payment, to be collected by one member of the production. Co-directors may split the prize if they choose.

The following will also be recognized in the awards ceremony:
Best Director
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Screenplay
Best Special Visual Effects
Best Music
Best Sound
Several Best Acting Awards

Trophies are unique and expensive to ship. If a representative from a Tommy-winning film cannot attend SIFF, that film's Tommy award will stay with SIFF until it can be claimed in person, or shipping arrangements favorable to SIFF can be made.

SCRIPT TO SCREEN: Only Short screenplays will be considered for awards, selections, and production. Please limit your submissions to 30 pages or less.

Entry fees are in U.S. Dollars, are per film and are non-refundable. The Festival reserves the right to disqualify a submission, without refund of any kind, if eligibility requirements are not met including if eligibility status changes post-submission.

To be eligible for consideration Entrants must fully comply with these Entry Rules & Regulations, including all deadlines, film length, student status, entry material and other requirements.
Non-English language works must have English subtitles at the time submitted. Dialogue lists will not be accepted.

Note: If the Festival determines that a submission no longer meets all of the criteria listed in the applicable chart above, the submission will be designated ineligible.

Apply online at
ALSO mail/provide all required entry materials (see below).

All entries must include the following:

The entry fee(s) (or student ID/school letter photocopy), which is payable ONLY by credit card (American Express, Visa, MasterCard, TCB, or Discover). You must include a copy of your payment receipt if you have paid by credit card and are submitting physical media.

A link to view a streaming HIGH DEFINITION version of the work. If the work is accepted, we require a download link, through vimeo, youtube, google docs, or dropbox (please do not share a folder--please provide a download link directly to the file).

PHYSICAL COPIES (Only if you cannot provide an online screener):
DVD copies of the work must be postmarked by the deadline. If sending physical copies, please send TWO DVD copies of the work, formatted for Zone 0 or Zone 1 (North America) and labeled with the work’s title, running time, and director(s) name(s). Physical copies of must be in NTSC format. Check that each submitted DVD plays in its entirety on consumer DVD players. Please note we do not accept Blu-ray discs.

NOTE: For exhibition, we will need a high-definition compressed video file, either provided via email, SD card, or USB drive sent to 15 North Ave, Sanford, ME 04073.

Note: It is Entrant’s sole responsibility to ensure all ENTRY MATERIALS arrive at the shipping destination within the deadline window selected by Entrant. The Festival reserves the right to disqualify any submission, without refund of any kind, which does not arrive at the shipping destination within the deadline window selected by Entrant.

*Entry materials will not be returned by the Festival, unless arrangements are made before sending materials. SIFF is not responsible for shipping costs, or return shipping costs.

Each entered film must be submitted on its own; please do not send a compilation DVD composed of works for separate entries.

The festival programmers and director retain the right to invite and disinvite works for screening. The festival director, board, and Judges retain the right to qualify, and disqualify works for awards consideration.

You must fulfill the following requirements by the date(s) designated by the Festival:

You must execute a release agreement wherein you (i) accept responsibility for obtaining any and all clearances necessary to exhibit your film at the Sanford International Film Festival; (ii) warrant that you have the rights necessary to exhibit your film at the Sanford International Film Festival; and (iii) indemnify and hold harmless the Sanford International Film Festival, its affiliates, and subsidiaries and any of their respective directors, officers, employees, and representatives against any claim arising out of exhibition of your film at the Sanford International Film Festival.

(i) You must deliver to the email address(es) designated by the Festival a downloadable link to a high definition copy of the invited work
You must deliver to the address(es) designated by the festival one exhibition copy of the invited work, on SD, USB, or DCP. SIFF is not responsible for shipping costs, or return shipping costs.

(ii) additional exhibition copies, links to high definition copies, or the right to make limited copies of the digital file IF requested by the Festival (to allow for multiple screenings at more than one venue). We recommend you ship physical media via courier in order to permit the tracking of your entry once it leaves your hands.

All exhibition copies must be delivered via a high-definition compressed video file, either provided via email, SD card, or USB drive sent to 15 North Ave, Sanford, ME 04073. If neither a download link, nor USB key is viable, the festival may make arrangements with Entrant to transcode DVD media into our preferred exhibition format.

(iii) Upon notification of acceptance, festival organizers will seek promotional materials from accepted filmmakers.

Works invited to participate in the Sanford International Film Festival will be shown in the section determined most appropriate by Festival programmers, in their sole discretion.

In Competition:
Feature Films, Short Films, Documentaries, Maine Films, International Films, Music videos, Student Films.

Special Screenings:
Special Screenings are by invite only, determined by Festival Programmers and may include but are not limited to: works previously exhibited at the Sanford International Film Festival; works with significant ties to members of the Sanford International Film Festival; works with significant or historic ties to the city of Sanford.

Unless otherwise agreed by the Festival in writing, awards will be given to the winning film director (as identified in the Entry form) on behalf of the film (except for Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Screenplay, Best Special Visual Effects, Best Music, Best Sound, Best Leading Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Leading Actress and Best Supporting Actress) and will be fulfilled as soon as possible, within approximately 10-12 weeks after the closing date of the Sanford International Film Festival. Awards may be shipped at the sole discretion of the festival, in which case award winners may be responsible for postage.

Award eligibility is subject to any restrictions or conditions imposed by applicable laws and regulations (international, federal, state or otherwise), and the award recipient is responsible for applicable postage, taxes, customs, tariffs, insurance and similar charges or costs (if any).

2017 Awards listed in the above Festival sections and Awards sections are subject to change.

All physical media submissions (SD, USB media and DVDs) must be sent prepaid (including any applicable customs fees) to:

℅ James Harmon
15 North Ave
Sanford, ME 04073

For further inquiries, or questions, please email: with subject: "SIFF Inquiry"


Sanford International Film Festival is seeking scripts for a Script to Screen contest. Scripts will be judged by a panel for creativity and storytelling first and foremost, but also with consideration to feasibility. The Sanford International Film Festival, in partnership with WSSRTV, and Sanford Films will develop a winning SHORT script for special screening at the 2018 Sanford International Film Festival.

Guidelines and Rules are as follows:

This contest is open to anyone who is not a judge, or a part of the WSSRTV/Sanford Films production team. Our judges--in consultation with the production team--will select the most compelling screenplay that the production team can finish.

A writer may enter more than one screenplay provided they enter each screenplay separately, and pay a separate submission fee for each entry.

Finalists will be notified by email on or before July 15, 2017. A winning screenplay will be announced at the Awards Ceremony of the 2017 Sanford International Film Festival.

Screenplays must be in English, typed, and in industry-accepted screenplay format. Sample screenplays, screenplay templates, and screenplay writing freeware are available online. All genres accepted. Final decisions are entirely the judges discretion.

Length: Screenplays must be no longer than thirty 8.5" x 11" pages, in proper screenplay format, with no smaller than a 12 font.

Feasibility: The willing screenplay will be filmed in Sanford, Maine. The story may take place anywhere, as long as it can be filmed in Sanford, in a reasonable amount of time. Please consider simplicity--a tight story with few characters and locations is more feasible than a sci-fi epic loaded with characters and special effects.

Entry Fee
Please see submission fees pulldown menu.

By entering the Script to Screen Contest, entrants affirm that the submitted script is their own work, and that the entrants have not previously sold, assigned or licensed any rights to the script. Entrants understand their submitted work will be distributed and viewed by multiple judges and production personnel. Electronic scripts will not be returned or destroyed. Entrants agree to indemnify and hold harmless the Sanford International Film Festival, its affiliates, and subsidiaries and any of their respective directors, officers, employees, and representatives against any claim arising out of evaluating or producing the entrant's screenplay.

The Entrant agrees that, if entrant's script is produced into a film, the resulting film may vary in form or content from the submitted script, owing to the collaborative nature of filmmaking, artistic choices by the director, and to production needs and limitations. Entrant understands that the Director and production team will consult with the writer at least once during development, and once during pre-production. The production team will have final editorial control over the resulting film. Finally, Entrant agrees to grant The Sanford International Film Festival, WSSRTV, and Sanford Film Club a perpetual, non-exclusive license to exhibit this film in connection with the Sanford Film Festival and all related promotions thereof (including, but not limited to, local television broadcasts, other film festivals, online video viewing and distribution). This license is in consideration of the expense and effort provided by WSSRTV and Sanford Films to produce said film. Any potential monetary earnings and/or cash prizes would be shared 50/50 between entrant and production team.

Overall Rating
  • Chris Esper

    While I didn't get to attend this year, I have in the past and I've always loved this festival. The folks are amazing and supportive. I was very honored to have won Best Director this year for my film, "Imposter." Cannot wait to submit again next year!

    November 2018
  • Simon Scott

    While I wasn't able to attend, my exec producer and lead actress were welcomed with open arms. Communication was top notch, and both reported that this was an excellent opportunity to meet other talented filmmakers and to see some high quality films. Would absolutely recommend.

    October 2018
  • Alfred Thomas Catalfo

    A fun fest with a warm atmosphere and a wonderful line-up of films.

    October 2018
  • Lars Henriks

    Attending the Sanford International Film Festival was a great experience for us - hands down THE best independent film festival I’ve seen, worldwide. We got to meet great fellow filmmakers and I couldn't describe the hospitality and commitment of the awesome festival staff in words! We are so glad that our film was selected and we traveled the other side of the world to be there. We also got to watch a lot of amazing indie films from around the world there, that wouldn't otherwise have seen. If I have the possibility, I hope to attend this festival annually. I'd absolutely recommend to submit your film or attend the festival.

    January 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much Lars! It was a joy to program LEON MUST DIE, and even more to get to meet and talk with you and Nisan over the week of the festival. For all of our volunteers, this is about great people, great films, and making memories. You've made such an impact in all three of those areas. Thank you!

  • Clelia Di Briggido

    Great festival, well organized, good communication. I had my short in the official selection of SIFF it was a very nice experience. Thanks everybody!

    January 2018