The Santa Cruz Film Festival supports and promotes film arts for the local community and for filmmakers and their audiences world-wide. Through the production of an annual film festival and year round events and educational activities, the Santa Cruz Film Festival engages the entire community in the appreciation of the film arts, and is becoming a national leader in the film festival industry for communities of our size.

Now in its 18th year, the Santa Cruz Film Festival celebrates innovative and original filmmaking in and for the Greater Monterey Bay community. Since 2002, SCFF has screened over 1800 independent films and videos including scores of quality, locally produced works to tens of thousands of enthusiastic and dedicated film lovers.

The Santa Cruz Film Festival celebrates the diverse art of talented filmmakers. SCFF presents artists who create films and videos in all genres from around the world in one of the most thought-provoking, entertaining, fun-filled regional film festivals in the country.

The Festival has been proud to not only showcase new creative talents, but also to provide an interactive experience where filmmakers, musicians, performers, artists and the community can come together to share their art and ideas and to have an enlightening and fun time.

Honoring today's most creative independent films, SCFF presents awards in 17 categories:
Audience Award
Best Animated Work
Best Documentary Feature
Best Experimental Feature
Best Experimental Short
Best Locally-Produced Work
Best Narrative Feature
Best Narrative Short
Best Short Documentary
Best Student-Produced Work
Director’s Award for Artistic Merit
EarthVision Environmental Feature Award
EarthVision Environmental Short Award
Evan Kuhn Youth Film Award
Visionary Women in Film Award
Spirit of Action Prize (Feature)
Spirit of Action Prize (Short)

Films may be screened more than once during the Festival.

The Festival may use images and clips from accepted films for promotional purposes.

Student produced work please include either proof of enrollment - copy of student ID, etc.

Santa Cruz/Monterey local produced work please include proof of residency in Santa Cruz/Monterey County - driver's license copy, etc.

Youth works please include proof of age.

SCFF alumni may submit for free. Please email for a code.

Overall Rating
  • Great festival!
    I unfortunately couldn't attend the festival. Though the communication with Logan and his team has been effortless and very effective all along the process. I'm very glad my film has been part of their selection.

    December 2019
  • Two Balloons

    A great festival. A big thanks to Logan and his team for such great communication and everything they are doing to support film.

    October 2019
  • Bittersweet is how best I would describe my experience as a filmmaker at the Santa Cruz Film Festival. Sweet because I was genuinely honored to be accepted into the event. It is seen as legitimate among festivals and filmmakers and it's an amazing place to visit. Bitter because the communication was hit and miss for the most part (example: I sent in promotional materials costing me upwards of $100 in print and shipping only to find them returned to my house after the festival as 'return to sender' from USPS. And yes the festival knew they were coming...I even followed up if they'd been received prior to my travel).

    As to Networking, I showed up at the Saturday evening happy hour to the green room and filmmakers lounge to find no one in attendance (not even a key festival member to greet my team). Hmmm...why have a happy hour if you're not going to be there?

    Finally, for hospitality, they forgot to pass out voting ballots to my audience for the audience awards at my film screening. They admitted it and my contact Logan (a very friendly individual) felt bad, however, their leadership reply to this was to not even offer an apology. Instead she merely gave just a clarification of the purpose of the ballot and added (paraphrasing) that I wouldn't have won (anyway) as my attendance did not match those who did win. Really classy.

    My advice is to go if you wanna see Santa Cruz and have fun in California, not if you're a hardworking filmmaker wanting a festival experience and an opportunity to grow and learn.

    October 2019
  • Brian McHugh

    I really enjoyed my screening experience with the Santa Cruz film festival. Logan was great at communicating and responded quickly when I had questions. Our film was paired well with a like minded film. Theater was beautiful and screening was good. I would submit my next film to the SCFF

    October 2019
  • Super supportive festival! Great communication and enthusiasm for independent filmmakers. Grateful to be included!

    October 2019