Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema is a niche film festival specializing in films that integrate the aesthetics of dance and cinema. Based in Boulder, Colorado (USA), we've been screening films in our hometown, across the United States, and around the world since 2004. Our mission is to provide a space for the community to share an experience of dance cinema and to elevate the ever-changing nature, culture, and field of dance cinema.

The integration of dance and cinematography is the heart of our work. When choosing works for exhibition and installation, we consider thoughtful forms and themes, investigative / innovative / experimental approaches, production values, audience appeal, choreographic creativity, virtuosic performance, and program fit. None of these criteria is a must; none is more important than the others; excellence in any one or two areas may be sufficient for acceptance. Cinematic elements must be an integral part of every entry. We encourage submissions from all artists regardless of credentials and affiliations.

Audience Choice Award
These awards are voted on by audience present at screening events throughout our season, and are announced at the end of the season.
Jazz Dance Film Award
Artists selected to present works in the Jazz Dance Film category will have their work shown at 2021 screening events, receive laurels from one of the longest-running dance film festivals in the USA to display in advertising their work, audience/artist dialogue opportunities, a chance to win a $200.00 prize for selection as the top submission in the ‘jazz dance film’ category, and open themselves to the possibilities of international and university screenings of their work and winning an Audience Choice Award.

We are interested in dance films that integrate the aesthetics of dance and film, and are an appropriate length in relationship to their treatment and style. Please carefully note the length limits on each category, and if you have questions on which category best fits your film, please reach out to us by email. SSF reserves the right to adjust or change a film’s category according to the curation team’s prerogative. For example, if we feel a film submitted as a dance film fits better with our hybrid category, we reserve the right to screen it in that category if accepted.

Films with spoken word must have English subtitles, or be in English. Multiple language subtitles encouraged. Audio descriptions and closed captions enthusiastically accepted.

If your film has music, it MUST have: music created as an original score for this film, a music license you purchased from the copyright owner, or uncopyrighted music. In case it's helpful, YouTube has a list of copyright free music, and environment sounds can be of inspiration, as well. This rule applies to all categories except for music videos. All music videos must be official music videos, having secured the rights to the music for this submission and subsequent screenings, with the ability to provide documentation if requested (please reach out with questions).

If your film is accepted, we will ask for a still frame from your film to illustrate your work in our programs and/or promotional materials; if you would like to select stills yourself, please have them uploaded to FilmFreeway by the final deadline. They should have the same pixel dimensions and aspect ratio as your film's frame and clearly convey movement or dancing in the image.

Physical support (posters, etc.) of films is sent at the artist's own risk. The festival is not responsible for any damage the physical support may suffer, and there will be no refunds. After the festival, Sans Souci will not return any materials."

If your film is accepted, we may reach out to you in the future to share your work for our touring program. While we usually don't have the budget to fund screening fees for these events, we deeply appreciate your generosity in sharing your work to help us develop a wider audience for screendance. PLEASE NOTE: Selecting the second option when submitting (which says "Additionally, I grant permission for SSF to screen this entry at subsequent venues") will greatly increase the likelihood of your work being invited to our touring program after initial acceptance. However, this line item is not taken into account when judging for initial acceptance into the festival, and we may still ask you for permission to bring your work on tour. 

If your film is accepted for screening this year, it is automatically a part of the Sans Souci Archive, listed on our website. Your film itself will not be published nor distributed to any other person or organization, but if you provide a trailer, we will include that link in your listing on our website. Your film may be exhibited completely or partially during educational events organized by Sans Souci and its campus affiliates (Screening Partners), for example as part of lectures on screendance at universities and conferences.

If the submission fee creates a financial barrier to your entry, Sans Souci may be able to help. For the second time this year, we’re offering a limited amount of fee assistance to those with financial hardship, with a preference for artists from historically or currently marginalized communities. If you’d like to apply for this program, please submit an application form (to find the form, please visit our website and see the Submit page) by the Early Bird Deadline. You’ll be notified shortly after the Early Bird Deadline whether or not you’ve been selected for a waiver. If not, you’ll still receive the Early Bird Deadline price for submission. As stated in our mission and values, increasing equitable access to dance cinema festivals is a high priority for us. If you have questions about this, please feel free to email us at Submitting the form does not guarantee receiving a waiver. Receiving fee assistance does not grant acceptance to the festival. All films submitted must go through curation, and may or may not be accepted for screening. Due to the limited amount of fee assistance available, artists selected will only be able to submit one film. If you are looking for help with the cost of covering multiple submissions, please email us requesting a bulk submission discount.

Curatorial Criteria

When choosing works for exhibition and installation we consider thoughtful forms and themes, investigative / innovative / experimental approaches, virtuosic performance, production values, audience appeal, and how the piece will fit with or complement others we are considering. None of these criteria is a must; none is more important than the others; excellence in any one or two areas may be sufficient for acceptance.

In the Performance Documentation / Hybrid category, we are looking for films that feature a original or unusual method for documenting a live dance/movement performance, or films that began as a dance project for a stage, site-specific location, or other live performance, but were re-crafted into a film. In this category we are interested in unique and creative approaches to documentation, and the use of cinematic elements in transforming the work from live performance into film/video art. Cinematic elements may include multiple or moving perspectives, editing techniques, etc. We are not looking for a single still camera documentation of a performance.

In the Jazz Dance Film category, submitted works must explore jazz and American social dance ideas from forms including but not limited to jazz, tap, and hip-hop styles. We encourage you to join the ongoing conversation around “what constitutes jazz and American social dance," and the sociocultural histories of and innovations in these styles by submitting. Artists 21 and older at any point in their careers are welcomed to submit to this category.

Overall Rating
  • Charli Brissey

    Always such an amazing festival! Wonderful people and programming. Thanks for including my work this year!!

    December 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much, Charli! We love having your work in our line-up... and so do our fans! Thank you for your generosity.

  • Amazing Festival, amazing people. This is the place for dance filmmakers.

    December 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much, Welket! It was great to have you as a part of the festival this year.

  • I was not able to attend, but I have participated in multiple editions of Sans Souci, and they have toured my work around the world. They are very good with communication and community outreach (which grows the audience for dance films around the globe). They are a very important fest to get to know.

    December 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thanks so much for your review, Dawn! We are so grateful for your kind words, and for letting us share your work with our audiences!

  • Estranha Força

    The festival made a huge impact in me and in my film, super communicative and organised.

    June 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much, Bagaceira Filmes! It was so lovely to meet you both, and thank you again for coming so far for the event. Hope to see you again next time we come to Brazil!

  • Francesca Penzani

    Thank you Sans Souci Festival of Dance for screening Double Up at your amazing festival. Although I couldn't be present, I know of friends that came by and thoroughly enjoyed the screenings and atmosphere. I am honored that my film was part of your festival.

    December 2018
    Response from festival:

    Dear Francesa,
    Thank you so much for your review! It was a pleasure to screen your film, "Double Up," and to great reviews from the audience, I might add. Thank you so much for sharing it with us!