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 17th 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 1500 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.

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.

Overall Rating
  • This was by far the most accommodating and supportive film festival for filmmakers that we have ever participated in! This film festival definitely supports independent films and women filmmakers which we appreciated! We will definitely be submitting our future films to this film festival and we highly recommend that you submit as well!

    March 2019
  • Cue Jane has won the Best Narrative Short in 16th Santa Cruz Film Festival!! It was such a great experience. The staff were all very friendly and helpful. They even provided amazing fresh oysters as snacks for mixer. Would love to attend it next year for sure!

    November 2018
  • Maia Nikiphoroff

    Santa Cruz is a beautiful place and everyone gathers together to celebrate cinema with the festival. Everyone was very friendly, making sure the festival ran smoothly and there's a big community of film lovers. THANK YOU!

    November 2018
  • Natalia Cortesi

    It was a nice festival to attend, but it was difficult to communicate with the staff in the days priors to / during our stay in SC. Also, I believe festivals should make the effort and offer at least SOMETHING to filmmakers, whether it's accommodation (they had discounts at a hotel but didn't tell us until we asked and it was already sold out), a screening fee, or a super strong PR that assures big audiences, which didin't happen here. People who attended (around 15 for bothn screenings) were really into the film and involved in the debate, which is always nice.

    October 2018
  • Joshua Provost

    I was really impressed by Santa Cruz Film Festival, from their generous policies for alumni to the stunning accommodations to the great staff and the awesome venues. I was not able to promote as I would have liked, but they had a nice built-in appreciative audience for my film and their programmers paired it with a like-minded short film, something which I always appreciate. Thanks SCFF!

    October 2018