Deaf Spotlight is excited to host the 7th biennial Seattle Deaf Film Festival (SDFF) in Seattle, WA. Films will be screened at Northwest Film Forum from April 5 - 7, 2024. After the screenings, films will be streamed online for two weeks.

Deaf Spotlight believes in cultivating a vibrant community of Deaf* filmmakers, actors, writers, and producers. We welcome any and all filmmakers from the Deaf community to participate. Please check our website for additional information. (

Deaf Spotlight wants to ensure that the online submission platform is equitable for emerging and experienced Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and Hard of Hearing filmmakers. Starting this year, we will offer three submission fee options: Waiver (Free), Inclusion ($15), and General ($30).

To submit your film for consideration, please read the film criteria guidelines below to learn how to submit your film to be considered for the festival. For further questions or to request a waiver, please contact us at with the subject line: SDFF 2024 FILM SUBMISSION. Thank you!

We require all films to be submitted online. If your film cannot be submitted online, please contact the festival director at as soon as possible before the submission deadline to discuss alternatives.

*Deaf includes Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and Hard of Hearing.

SDFF attendees (both in person and virtual) will vote for best films within the following genres: Documentary, Drama, Thriller/Action, Comedy, and Other.

Each genre winner will receive a monetary award.

To be considered, all individual submissions must include a completed entry form within FilmFreeway ( and an accompanying non-refundable entry fee. In doing so, all applicants certify that they have the legal right to submit and exhibit their work. The applicant is hereby responsible and liable for any breach of rights or the law in the submission and exhibition process.

There is no limit to the number of submissions per submitter, provided they are separate submissions, and the required fee is paid for each submission.

Your film must be categorized as either a short or feature film based on the film’s running time. A short film’s total run time would be 40 minutes or less including credits. The feature film will be 41 minutes or longer.

All films MUST have subtitles in English for every signed and spoken word, as well as background audio. It is the responsibility of the filmmaker to provide a copy of their film with subtitles burned on, in addition to a separate SRT file as an attachment. The SRT files will be used and converted into transcripts for DeafBlind attendees. SDFF will not be responsible for accuracy of the subtitles.

Subtitles should be centered on a black background (at least 85% opacity) and should not exceed 2 lines. Visit the FAQ for more information.

The use of “Deaf*” below includes Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and Hard of Hearing individuals.

While SDFF prioritizes premieres and new works, SDFF will consider all works including vintage and archival.

Films will be considered for inclusion in SDFF 2024 if they meet at least 2 of the following criteria:
- The film is made by a Deaf* filmmaker and crew;
- The film features at least one authentic Deaf* character**;
- The film is about the Deaf* experience.

** Authenticity means having true representation of Deaf* actors. Deaf roles must be performed by Deaf* people. If hearing actors act as Deaf* people, the film will not be considered authentic.

If you have questions whether your film satisfies the criteria above, please contact us at

Submitted films must meet all of the following criteria:
- Fits under one or more genres allowed by the festival (Documentary, Drama, Thriller/Action, Comedy, and Other)
- Has not been exhibited at previous SDFFs
- FilmFreeway submission form is completed by October 31, 2023

If a film was previously submitted to Seattle Deaf Film Festival in the past, but not screened, it may be eligible for re-submission. Please contact us first if you plan to re-submit your film. SDFF has the right to ask clarifying questions on any film submission.

Please do not submit films with product placements that are not essential to the story, as these will be automatically disqualified.

All submitted films will be evaluated by the SDFF Film Screening Committee using the above criteria.

The SDFF Film Screening Committee retains sole discretion to accept or decline submissions for any reason. Submission of a film does not guarantee exhibition in the festival. The SDFF decisions are final.

The SDFF Film Selection Committee will select films for public presentation at Seattle Deaf Film Festival. If a film is selected for screening, SDFF will notify the entrant via email by January 15, 2024.

The film lender declares that they have the rights to the submitted film and commits to refraining from withdrawing the film from SDFF. The lender further commits to and agrees with the following:
- The number of screenings, which days, and the location of the venue are at the sole discretion of SDFF.
- Acceptance of a film for SDFF does not guarantee airline or hotel accommodations for talent or production crew.
- SDFF reserves the right to complete any information not supplied by the filmmaker from whatever source available and will not be responsible if incorrect information is entered.
- Deaf Spotlight will retain copies of all submitted films. These copies will not be shared without the filmmaker’s permission. All submitted films MUST include summaries, image descriptions, photos, and trailers (if available) for SDFF marketing purposes by January 31, 2024. SDFF reserves the right to edit your information for grammar, clarity, and brevity. Deaf Spotlight will inform submitters of any major changes before the festival.
- The SDFF program will be announced by February 2024 and published through Deaf Spotlight and SDFF’s websites and social media.

Nominees for SDFF 2024 will receive TWO complimentary weekend pass tickets (either in person or virtual), regardless of how many films the filmmaker is screening at the festival.

By submitting the work, I state that I am authorized to submit this film/video to the Seattle Deaf Film Festival (“SDFF”) for consideration and have read, understand and agree to all entry requirements. I hereby release SDFF from all liability resulting from its exhibition of my film/video. SDFF reserves the right to remove a film from the festival program, and that the film not be screened, for any reason or for no reason and shall not be liable for any refund or claims of any kind arising out of such removal. I agree that if the SDFF accepts my film for exhibition at the Festival, I will comply with these terms and conditions.

Submission of an entry gives the SDFF permission to use the work or excerpts of the accepted work, including trailers, visuals and audio, photos, graphics/art or any information provided in promotional documents and activities related to the festival. Past promotions of submitted works include SDFF website, SDFF Facebook, Deaf Spotlight website, Deaf Spotlight Facebook, and Deaf Spotlight Instagram.

Although every possible care will be taken with tapes, films, drives and files while in SDFF possession, SDFF cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage. Please do not send original or master prints, tapes, files or drives. Please keep SDFF notified of any address or phone number changes.

Overall Rating
  • Kiki Tsakalakis

    Thank you for selecting SILENT NOTES to be part of the 2022 SDFF! We felt privileged to be a part of such special film fest.

    May 2022
  • Lemaine Brigitte

    Thank you to give my film a Deaf audience

    May 2022
  • Hrysto .

    Merci je suis content ! Bonne continuation !

    April 2022
  • Thank you for selected FAITH on your festival. It was wonderful to see all the films online. I enjoyed.

    April 2022