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 16th 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 1300 independent films and videos including scores of quality, locally produced works to tens of thousands of enthusiastic and dedicated film lovers, generating over $1 million in revenue for Santa Cruz.

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, educational 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
Female Filmmaker Award
Spirit of Action Prize (Feature)
Spirit of Action Prize (Short)

Films may be screened more than once during the Festival.

The Festival covers one-way shipping of exhibition materials. The Festival is not responsible for materials lost or damaged in transit.

In case of loss or damage while in possession by the Festival, the responsibility of the Festival is limited to the costs of repair or replacement of the print or video tape materials only.

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

Avoid large plastic DVD cases (the kind DVDs you buy come in.) Use paper sleeves whenever possible.

Use bubble mailers instead of fiber mailers. The fiber can cause damage to DVD players.

Overall Rating
  • A great festival with strong programming and excellent communication. We heartily recommend Santa Cruz Film Festival - well done on the constant great work!

    December 2017
  • Jennifer Townsend

    I know that it is important to filmmakers when submitting to a festival to do some research about the festival. Each one has a different personality. And each film is different, as well. I would describe SCFF as a down-to-earth festival, more concerned about content and curation then glitz and big names. The community supports the festival. The local media pays attention to it. The people associated with it really care about what they are doing. I especially liked the venue, which is a very large arts center. You can stay in one place and walk a short distance from theatre to theatre. The director was easy to find if I needed something and everyone was friendly and helpful.

    October 2017
  • steven bachrach

    Wonderful people; excellent, eclectic programming; spot-on communications and handling of filmmakers prior to and during the event. We had a great time showing our short, "Dogs & Tacos", and meeting so many generous and creative artists. The festival staff couldn't have been more professional or more welcoming.

    October 2017
  • Vanessa LeMaire

    What made this festival fantastic were the people! The Manager, programmers and staff are great. They welcome you to the filmmaker lounge, give you goodie bags, a festival pass to see all movies, introduce you to other filmmakers, and suddenly you belong to the family. Great film line-up for a small festival. I was really proud to be there. The event is spread out over 4 days, much worth the stay to see other films, visit down town, and hit the beach!

    June 2016
  • André Silva

    Very friendly and organized in communication to filmmakers in the lead up to the festival.

    June 2016