The 13th Annual Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, October 13-17th, 2021 was dubbed “a young Sundance” by indieWire, and “an all-inclusive resort for cinephiles” by Filmmaker Magazine. The longest continually running film festival in New Mexico, SFiFF is now one of the top regional film festivals in the United States. The Fest is a creative center for film in Santa Fe, allowing filmmakers to connect with industry and distributors. SFiFF showcases emerging and established filmmakers by screening features and shorts in one of the greatest art cities in the world. SFiFF offers cash prizes in most categories, filmmaker travel, and all-access passes to the festival. Santa Fe is now one of the greatest theater cities on earth with the recently opened Violet Crown, George RR Martin’s Jean Cocteau, the historic Lensic theater, The Screen, and the Center for Contemporary Arts.

Santa Fe Independent Film Festival (SFiFF) is the premiere forum for international and independent cinema in the area. Focusing on artistic excellence, SFiFF serves as a creative center for film year-round, and as a presentation of the year's top films each October. SFiFF provides professional opportunities for artists, and unmatched audience participation in the world’s greatest little film city.

SFiFF’s past guests have included Shirley MacLaine, Gena Rowlands, Robert Redford, Ethan Hawke, Wes Studi, Jay Roach, Ali MacGraw, John Sayles, and Jacqueline Bisset. For the 11th Annual Festival in 2019, SFiFF welcomed Tantoo Cardinal and Jane Seymour, each accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2020, SFiFF presented a hybrid festival locally at a Drive-In theater as well as online.

The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival was named one of Moviemaker Magazine's 50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee for 7 years in a row!!! SFiFF is accepting entries for Narrative films, Documentaries, International films, Short films, Animated films, Indigenous films, Student films, and Virtual Reality. Filmmakers whose films are selected for the festival will have countless creative opportunities, including screenings in Santa Fe’s unique, arthouse theaters. Dependent on public health orders, travel and hotel rooms will be available to those films that get accepted on a case-by-case basis. Visit for more information.

Safety of SFiFF audience members and guests is our first priority. As theaters reopen responsibly, and Santa Fe begins to enliven, we are optimistic that the 2021 festival will take place with few restrictions, but with the utmost consideration for safety. We will adhere to the recommendations from the State of New Mexico, and national guidelines as well. Certain screenings, Q & A sessions, and film panels may be made available online, and there may still be limits on large gatherings, but the festival itself will continue its commitment to presenting world-class cinema in Santa Fe.

The Santa Fe Film Institute will present cash awards in the following categories for 2021 winners at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival.

$1,000 Cash Prize for Best Narrative Feature (International or USA)
$1,000 Cash Prize for Best Documentary Feature (International or USA)
$500 Cash Prize for Best Narrative Short (International or USA)
$500 Cash Prize for Best Documentary Short (International or USA))
$500 Cash Prize for Best New Mexico Short

All award winners receive a special artisan-made SFiFF Statue Award.
Non-Cash Awards
Audience Choice Best Narrative Feature
Audience Choice Best Documentary Feature
Audience Choice Best Short
Best New Mexico Narrative Feature
Best New Mexico Documentary Feature
Best Experimental Short
Best Animated Short


The following is an explanation of the Rules and Guidelines governing the submissions of a film to the 2021 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: International, Animated, Documentary, Experimental, Narrative Feature, Narrative Short (under 45 minutes), Indigenous, New Mexican, Virtual Reality 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. New Mexico Premiere is required in most cases. Please contact SFiFF office with any questions.

5. Films may be submitted electronically via FilmFreeway OR mail a completed submission form and correct entry fee with a Vimeo link and password. If film is selected, we do require a DCP.

6. The Filmmaker/s is/are responsible for making sure all submission materials 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 its 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 its funding from sources within the United States, the film can only be submitted as a Domestic Film.

9. Subtitles must be in English.

10. Please test your media prior to submission to make sure they run properly and are not damaged. Please keep screener links and passwords up-to-date and notify the SFiFF office promptly with any changes.

11. Filmmakers are allowed to submit more than one film for the Festival provided that each film is submitted separately and meet SFiFF guidelines.

12. 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.

13. 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.

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

15. 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.

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

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

18. SFiFF reserves the right to use images from films selected in the Festival for marketing purposes.

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

20. All films submitted must have been completed between September 2019 and 2021.

21. Applicants acknowledge that SFiFF reserves the right to change the nature of screenings and events due to circumstances related to public health and welfare or at the direction of local, state, or federal authorities. In such cases, no submission refunds shall be issued.

Overall Rating
  • Mark Pedri

    Great program with tons of filmmakers attending screenings. Santa Fe is also a great town for a film festival. Best swag bag I've ever gotten at a festival!

    October 2021
  • Joey Clift

    Amazing Festival! So well organized!!

    October 2021
  • Our feature documentary was an official selection at SFiFF this year. We had a fantastic in-person festival experience in Santa Fe, from the communication pre-festival and during the events. We had 2 screenings of 'Street Heroines', one in a theater and another in a park. Both played very well. It was a packed week of seeing wonderful films by local filmmakers and other established artists, as well as seeing Oliver Stone accept the Lifetime Achievement Award. I look forward to coming back with another project or as a film fan!

    October 2021
  • Joy Marzec

    This is an amazing festival. Your films will be screened in a top notch venue and they are ace in communicating with the filmmakers. I highly recommend applying to this festival. It’s well worth the submission fee.

    October 2021
  • Valerie Steinberg

    Fabulous hospitality, curation, and city !

    October 2021