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

Full 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 and local restaurants and shops to offer perks and discounts at some of Sanford's best spots.

Join us and experience the beauty of autumn in Southern Maine!

For 2020, our program includes three days and nights of screenings and other events, including our much-loved 12 Hours of Horror on Friday October 16th, and our always exciting catered Awards Ceremony on Saturday the 17th. We plan to have many filmmakers in attendance to meet and discuss their films with our audience.

SIFF 2019 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, Maine.

SIFF award-winners will take home trophies in the image of historical Sanford figure Thomas Goodall (the "Tommy Awards"). Winners will also be highlighted in local press and social media coverage, and win cash prizes! … We are also offering cash prizes in 17 different categories:

Best Feature Film: $300 cash prize
Best Short Film: $300 cash prize
Best Local Film: $300 cash prize
Best Horror Film: $300 cash prize
Quarantine Creativity: $100 cash prize
Best Drama Film: $100 cash prize
Best Comedy Film: $100 cash prize
Best International Film: $100 cash prize
Best Music Video: $100 cash prize
Best Student Film: $100 cash prize
Best Actor: $100 cash prize
Best Actress: $100 cash prize
Best Acting Ensemble or Duo: $100 cash prize
Best Director: $100 cash prize
Best Music: $100 cash prize
Best Screenplay: $100 cash prize
Best Technical Achievement: $100 cash prize
Audience Choice Award: $100 cash prize

Trophies are unique and expensive to ship. If a representative from an award winning film cannot attend the festival, 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--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, USB drive, or Blu-ray sent to P.O. Box 467, 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, that 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 Independent Film Festival; (ii) warrant that you have the rights necessary to exhibit your film at the Sanford Independent Film Festival; and (iii) indemnify and hold harmless the Sanford Independent 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 Independent 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 to permit 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, USB drive, or Blu-ray sent to P.O. Box 467, 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 Independent Film Festival will be shown in the section determined most appropriate by Festival programmers, in their sole discretion.

In Competition:
Feature Films, Short Films, Local Films, Horror 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 Independent Film Festival; works with significant ties to members of the Sanford Independent 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 Screenplay, Best Music, Best Actor, and Best Actress) and will be fulfilled as soon as possible, within approximately 10-12 weeks after the closing date of the Sanford Independent 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).

2020 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:

℅ Brian Boisvert
P.O. Box 467
Sanford, ME 04073

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


Sanford Independent 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 of shooting on a budget. The Sanford Independent Film Festival, in partnership with WSSR-TV and Sanford Films, will develop a winning short script for special screening at next year's Sanford Independent Film Festival.

Guidelines and Rules are as follows:

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

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 August 14, 2020. A winning screenplay will be announced at the Awards Ceremony of the 2020 Sanford Independent 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 winning screenplay will be filmed in or around Sanford, Maine. The story may take place anywhere, as long as it can be filmed locally 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 Independent 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 Independent Film Festival, WSSR-TV, and Sanford Films a perpetual, non-exclusive license to exhibit this film in connection with the Sanford Independent 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 WSSR-TV 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
  • Well, this festival seemed to have fallen off the face of the earth. I was notified that my short film had been selected, and then things were postponed due to Covid. I then received an eMail indicating they were going to be rescheduling it with a deadline of making our films available for download by 12/18/2020. That was the last I heard from them, despite numerous emails and also asking Film Freeway to follow up. (Apparently, they have had no success, either.) I understand Covid threw a monkey wrench into all of our plans--but all they needed to do was respond to share what was happening. I also don't know if they downloaded my film and now have it in their archives...?

    April 2021
    Response from festival:

    Hi Cynthia,
    I’m sorry about our lack of communication and our plodding pace. We fully intended to transition into an online/virtual festival toward the end of 2020, but we didn’t have any idea how to do it. We are a handful of people who love movies, sometimes make our own movies, and are just trying to get some eyes and ears on some really cool projects.

    Our fees are minimal and don’t even cover our prizes, so running our in person festival depends on sponsorships, which we have all been hesitant to gather considering the economic hardship everyone has been going through. Buying into a virtual festival platform was not a choice for us.

    Fortunately, after figuring out our community assets, and downloading the projects who have agreed to let us stream, we have pulled together a pretty cool plan: the festival will air on local cable in Sanford/Springvale, and will stream simultaneously to YouTube and Facebook, on the local PEG channel WSSRTV, and their FB and YT channels. The videos will live on the sites temporarily, as a block of programming, then after a week, the videos will be removed.

    We are shooting for the last weekend in April, and will hopefully have an update for all of our submitters, with more details, in a matter of days.

    None of this excuses your subpar experience with our festival, but I want you to know that we want to honor your work, and we never intended to drop off the earth, and we have been trying to piece together how to do this for a long time.

    Thanks for your understanding. Hopefully next year we can earn a few more stars from you!!


    SIFF Founder/virtual coordinator

  • I'm amazed to see all the current reviews stating how good this festival was...I'm amazed because the festival didn't even take place, in person or virtual! They took everyone's submission fees and vanished.

    February 2021
    Response from festival:

    Hi RJ,
    We’ve earned the good reviews in the past, and now we’ve earned the bad ones. It’s been a rough transition for us into a virtual festival, but we’re almost there.

    Hang with us for a few more days and you will have more information about our free virtual festival, where we will broadcast the projects we’ve been granted permission to stream on Sanford/Springvale cable (via PEG channel WSSRTV) and simultaneously streamed over WSSRTV’s YouTube and Facebook pages. The videos will live for just a few days on those social media sites before we remove them.

    Thank you for understanding. I hope we can earn some more stars next year.
    ~James Harmon
    SIFF founder & virtual fest coordinator

  • Excellent organization and very friendly and warm team  

    January 2021
  • Emmet O'Brien

    Very slick and professional festival and was happy to be included!

    December 2020
  • Hakan Ünal

    I received this mail from the festival on October and I haven't seen the new festival schedule on the website so far. I do not know exactly what to say about my experience...
    As many of you have already guessed, SIFF will be postponed from our original Oct 15-17 date this year. Covid, life, and other frustrations have delayed us a bit... The good news is that no one is traveling, so no plans have to be radically changed. The added time will also allow us to have a better virtual festival with a larger audience.

    I know several of you have outstanding emails and we are working now to dig out of the backlog of our "to do" list and respond, so expect to hear from us soon. We will have a rescheduled date soon and will keep everyone informed. We hope to be up and running and highlighting your fantastic films in the next month or so.

    December 2020
    Response from festival:

    Hi Hakan,
    It’s been a rough transition to becoming a virtual festival. I think we’ve finally landed on a solution that honors our filmmakers appropriately. Sorry about our plodding pace and lack of communication. Please look for an email in the coming days about our local broadcast and free streaming plans, which will happen at the end of this month on WSSRTV (PEG channel, YT and FB).
    SIFF Founder/Online fest coordinator