The 15th Annual Santa Fe International Film Festival takes place October 18th-22nd, 2023. Dubbed “Toronto, but on a much smaller scale ” by Deadline Hollywood and “a young Sundance” by indieWire, SFiFF 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 provides over $100k in cash and prizes, filmmaker travel, juried awards, and all-access passes to the festival. Santa Fe is now one of the greatest theater cities on earth with the 11 screen Violet Crown, George R.R. Martin’s Jean Cocteau, the historic Lensic theater, and the Center for Contemporary Arts. SFiFF is the longest continually running film festival in New Mexico, and in 2013 was named one of Moviemaker Magazine's "coolest Film Festivals on the Planet" and was recognized with the Arts Innovator Award at the 2021 Santa Fe Mayor’s Arts Awards.

[the]preeminent Santa Fe film fest -The Santa Fe Reporter

SFiFF is New Mexico's foremost attraction for cinephiles -Pasatiempo Magazine

Recent guests have included Godfrey Reggio, Catherine Hardwicke, Oliver Stone, Shirley MacLaine, Robert Redford, Gena Rowlands, Ethan Hawke, Wes Studi, Jay Roach, Ali MacGraw, Jacqueline Bisset, Tantoo Cardinal, and John Sayles.

Feature Film Categories : Narrative, Animated, Documentary, Experimental, Indigenous, Student, New Mexico and International.
Short Film Categories (under 45 minutes): Narrative, Animated, Documentary, Experimental, Indigenous, Student, New Mexico and International.

Santa Fe International 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.

Santa Fe International Film Festival provides over 100k in cash and prizes. 2023 SFiFF winners will receive:
• Narrative Feature Award presented by Panavision: Includes camera package courtesy of Panavision valued at $60,000, a post-production package from Light Iron valued at $30,000, and $1,000 cash prize from the Santa Fe Film Institute.
• Best Documentary Feature: $1,000 cash prize from the Santa Fe Film Institute.
• Best Narrative Short: Includes camera package courtesy of Panavision valued at  $15,000, and $500 cash prize from the Santa Fe Film Institute.
• Best Documentary Short: $500 cash prize from the Santa Fe Film Institute.
• Best New Mexico Short: $500 cash prize from the Santa Fe Film Institute.
• Best Short Film by an Indigenous Filmmaker: $500 cash prize from the Santa Fe Film Institute.

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 film submissions to the 2023 Santa Fe International 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 International Film Festival: or 505-397-0371.

1. The Santa Fe International Film Festival accepts submissions for films in the following categories:

Features Films: Narrative, Animated, Documentary, Experimental, Indigenous, Student, New Mexico, and International.
Shorts Films (under 45 minutes): Narrative, Animated, Documentary, Experimental, Indigenous, Student, New Mexico, and International.

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. To be eligible, your film must not have played in person or online in the state of New Mexico, USA. Please contact SFiFF office with any questions.

5. Films must be submitted electronically via FilmFreeway.

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. Each submission must be accompanied by the appropriate fee. Submission fees are in are U.S. Dollars per submission and is non-refundable. Cash is not accepted.

8. If a film received 50% or more of its funding from sources outside of the United States, the film may be submitted as an International Film.

9. Subtitles must be in English.

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

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) 397-0371. 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 2021 and July 2023.

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
  • Rylee Jean Ebsen

    SFiFF is one of the very best! A very filmmaker friendly festival with a wonderful team who puts together a fabulous festival. I saw great films and met lovely storytellers in the beautiful town of Santa Fe (stunning in the fall!). I can't wait to go back! xx

    November 2022
  • Daniel Yoon

    SFiFF is definitely the real deal. We heard more than one filmmaker say how the festival as well as the town of Santa Fe felt somehow magic, which to me is not an overstatement. Festival directors Jacques Paisner and Liesette Bailey really get that independent filmmakers want to celebrate their films with engaged audiences in excellent venues. And also to make new friends (and meet some filmmaking idols) at packed, super-welcoming festival gatherings. Some festivals seem to view filmmakers as a resource to be extracted and exploited, or at best in transactional terms. Santa Fe is the opposite. The overall vibe is one of overwhelming goodwill, generosity and possibility. It was such an enormous privilege to be there. We’ll always be grateful. Thank you SFiFF.

    November 2022
  • An all-around life-affirming event that showcased not only great films but also the best venues and spaces Santa Fe has to offer. I met a wonderful, vast array of artists, curators, filmmakers, and audiences. Thank you for including our short doc, "Spokespeople" in the '22 festival. We are so glad we attended.

    November 2022
  • Julian Rubinstein

    This is a great small festival with a dedicated staff and great connection to the city. Events and screenings were all easy to get to and the people that come have important and moving stories to tell. Don't overlook it.

    November 2022
  • Thank you, SFIFF for another great year. Festivals like yours make me want to make more fils!

    November 2022