Named Moviemaker Magazine's 50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee for 6 years in a row!!!
The 11th Annual Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, October 16th-20th, 2019 was dubbed “a young Sundance” by indieWire, and “an all-inclusive resort for cinephiles” by Filmmaker Magazine. SFIFF is not only the most attended film festival in the area, it is now a top regional fest on the circuit. The Fest is a creative center for film in Santa Fe allowing a unique and unpretentious festival experience. SFIFF promotes emerging and established filmmakers by screening features and shorts in the beautiful and unassuming setting of downtown Santa Fe. Artists can let their guard down, and feel free to network every evening at a different venue, where they can at once enjoy our festival nightlife and create lasting professional connections. Santa Fe is now one of the greatest theater cities on earth with the newly opened 11 screen Violet Crown, George RR Martin’s Jean Cocteau Cinema, the historic Lensic Theater, The Screen, and the Center for Contemporary Arts.

Santa Fe Independent Film Festival (SFIFF), October 16th-20th, 2019 advances independent, innovative, and cutting-edge cinema and brings 5 days of excellence in filmmaking to the inclusive and diverse community of Santa Fe, New Mexico. In April 2019, the Festival was named one of Moviemaker Magazine's "50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” for the sixth consecutive year.

SFIFF has honored screen legend Jacqueline Bisset with the Lifetime Achievement Award and Jay Roach (Trumbo) with the American Filmmaker Award, John Sayles and Maggie Renzi with the Lifetime Achievement Award, writer N. Scott Momaday was presented SFIFF's Lifetime Achievement Award by Robert Redford and welcomed our returning guests John Waters, Chris Eyre, George R.R. Martin, and Wes Studi. SFIFF featured a screening and Q&A with Ethan Hawke, screened over 100 films, and hosted panels with visiting filmmakers. For this past 10th Annual Festival, we welcomed returning filmmaker Bill Plympton, presenting him with the Lifetime Achievement Award and presented New Mexico Filmmaker, Alexandria Bombach with the Visionary Award.

The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival is accepting entries for Narrative films, Documentaries, International films, Animated films, Indigenous films, Virtual Reality and Digital Dome Films. Filmmakers whose films are selected for the festival will have countless creative opportunities, including screening in the unique setting of downtown Santa Fe. Travel and hotel rooms are available to those films that get accepted on a case by case basis. Check out for more information.

All award winners receive a special artisan made SFIFF Statue Award.
New in 2019, The Santa Fe Film Institute will present cash awards in the following categories for 2019 winners at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival.
$1,000 Cash Prize for Best Narrative Feature
$1,000 Cash Prize for Best Documentary Feature
$500 Cash Prize for Best Narrative Short
$500 Cash Prize for Best Documentary Short
$500 Cash Prize for Best International Short
$500 Cash Prize for Best Animated Short


The following is an explanation of the Rules and Guidelines governing the submissions of a film to the 2019 Santa Fe Independent Film Festival. Compliance with these Rules and Guidelines is necessary in order to participate in the Film Festival. Submission of a film implies unconditional acceptance of the Rules & Guidelines, therefore, please carefully read through the Rules prior to submitting your film. If you have any questions, please contact the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival: or 505-349-1414.

1. The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival accepts submissions for films in the following categories: Animated, Documentary, Experimental, International, Narrative Feature, Narrative Short (under 45 minutes), Indigenous, New Mexican, and Student Film.

2. The Entrant/s submitting the film must hold all legal rights for the submission, as well as all necessary clearances for public exhibition.

3. The Filmmaker/s retain/s all submission and intellectual property rights.

4. Films may be submitted electronically via FilmFreeway OR mail a single DVD with the completed submission form and correct entry fee.

5. The DVDs should be formatted for NTSC and labelled with Title, Running Time, and Tracking Number (if applicable).

6. The Filmmaker/s is/are responsible for making sure all submission material are submitted by the submission deadline indicated. If your film does not arrive or is not uploaded by the deadline for which you have registered, you may be required to pay the higher submission fee or withdrawn.

7. The following concerns submission deadlines and submission fees. Note, the deadlines are not the postmark dates, but the dates by which the submission must be in the SFIFF office or registered with FilmFreeWay. Each submission must be accompanied by the appropriate fee. Submission fees are in are U.S. Dollars per submission and is non-refundable. These fees may be paid by check, cashier’s check, money order, or by Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express) made payable to: Santa Fe Independent Film Festival. Cash is not accepted.

8. If a film received 50% or more of it’s funding from sources outside of the United States, the film can only be submitted as an International Film. If a film received 50% or more of it’s funding from sources within the United States, the film can only be submitted as a Domestic Film.

9. All films must be in English or with English subtitles. Non-English language films without subtitles will not be considered.

10. Please test your media prior to submission to make sure they run properly and are not damaged.

11. The SFIFF is not responsible for any damage to materials that occurred while in transit. If your film arrives damaged, we will contact you to request another copy.

12. Filmmakers are allowed to submit more than one film for the Festival provided that each film is submitted separately and meet SFIFF guidelines. If submitting a DVD, please do not send a compilation DVD composed of films for separate entries.

13. Filmmakers are allowed to re-submit a film that was previously submitted provided significant changes were made and all eligibility requirements are met. When re-submitting the film, include a brief letter detailing the changes made.

14. A student submitting a film must provide a photocopy of a current and valid student ID or a letter from his/her school verifying enrollment.

15. If you would like your materials returned after the festival, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

16. Entrants may contact the SFIFF to find out if the Festival received the submission: or (505) 349-1414. Filmmakers submitting through Filmfreeway can check their status through the website.

17. The Filmmaker is responsible for all inbound shipping costs, domestic or international.

18. All personal contact information is to remain confidential and not to be shared with any third parties.

19. SFIFF reserves the right to use images from films selected in the Festival for marketing purposes.

20. All decisions regarding award winners are considered final and incontestable.

21. New Mexico Premiere is suggested but not required but the programing team may consider a films local premiere status when making final decisions.

Overall Rating
  • Lynn Hamrick

    Jacques and Liesette go out of their way to program great films and give the filmmakers amazing hospitality and opportunities to party in style! They are a juried festival and we are so grateful our feature doc HIRO'S TABLE won the New Mexico Best Documentary 2018!

    April 2019
  • Alejandro Montoya Marin

    Energetic, young, with a lot of great films and promotion. Without a doubt the best fest of the state of New Mexico.

    October 2018
  • rebecca karpovsky

    Our feature film, PINSKY, was at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival in 2017. The festival was one of the most incredible experiences for our team. Not only is the organization of the festival fantastic but the panels and films are top notch. We went to so many writers panels and top of it all we got to meet John Waters and Robert Redford. Icons who are both creatively brilliant but humble which perfectly characterizes the festival itself. This festival actually cares about the FILMS and the FILMMAKERS. It wasn't about flashiness. Everything was so well curated and the whole program was so welcoming because essentially a family runs it and that family, the Paisners make you feel like you're right at home. As the festival was coming to a close, we realized what a true privilege it was to be there and particularly amongst these incredible filmmakers and cinephiles.

    June 2018
  • Catherine Haun

    A wonderful, ambitious festival. Lots of good, fun networking opportunities. Really happy to show my film here. Thanks you guys!

    October 2017
  • Michael Goldburg

    Great festival! Jacques, Liesette, Jena, Derek, and the whole staff make SFIFF feel very personal. The programming was terrific, the parties and networking were great, and Santa Fe itself has a lot to offer. I met a lot of great filmmakers, staff, filmgoers, and locals here -- many of whom I'm still in touch with. I'm very proud to be an alum of Santa Fe Independent!

    January 2017