Come make history at the SignLight International Film Festival! For the first time, Deaf filmmakers from around the globe will be gathered together in Hollywood, the center of the entertainment business, to showcase their work to the industry, and to the Deaf community and allies worldwide via our special streaming platform. All four days of the festival take place at the landmark Pacific Design Center, providing plenty of space for mingling, lounging, and discussing the films screened in the plush state-of-the-art Silver Screen Theater. A gala filmmakers’ welcome reception and closing live-streamed awards ceremony bookend a weekend of special presentations, panel discussions, Q&As, and workshops. Travel and lodging assistance will be offered to accepted entrants to ensure the invaluable opportunities for showcasing, learning, and networking are available to all!

To be ELIGIBLE, FILMS MUST SATISFY at least ONE of the following criterion:

1) be made by a DEAF FILMMAKER
3) prominently feature SIGN LANGUAGE

A nonprofit subsidiary of SignWorld Studios, SignLight, Inc. provides professional online and in-person training as well as internships for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing individuals aspiring to work in the entertainment industry both above- and below-the-line. Founded by CJ Jones in 2020, SignLight brings the vision of an inclusive entertainment industry to life through advocacy and consultation with industry leaders, job placement, and talent promotion. Engaging all-deaf creative teams and deaf/hearing collaborations alike, SignLight and SignWorld Studios bring compelling stories by Deaf Filmmakers to deaf and general audiences worldwide.

• Best Director, Screenwriter, Performance, and Ensemble awards
• Best Short Film
• Best Documentary
• Best Animated Film
• Best Comedy
• Best Music/Song Video
• Best Student Film

• Special Merit Awards ­– in recognition of especially creative, innovative, or impactful presentations of Sign Language or the Deaf Experience, these awards will be determined by Jury discretion

• Industry Accelerator Awards – packaged by entertainment industry studios and communications and media technology companies, these prizes will be presented to the most promising emerging directors and writers to support their next production.

The nonrefundable entry fee must be payable in US dollars to SIGNLIGHT, INC. Submission costs vary depending on category. When submitting to the festival you are agreeing that, if selected and the invitation accepted, to screen the submitted film during the dates of the festival. SignLight, Inc. will not pay any screening fees for the presentation of the film during the festival. The only exception would be if there is a negotiated agreement preceding the submission of the film to SIFF.

SIGNLIGHT INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL is a competitive showcase for domestic and international short films and short documentaries by Deaf filmmakers with production teams comprised of all deaf or a collaborative mix of deaf and hearing artists and technicians. Films that have received prior theatrical, cable, television, satellite, DVD, VHS, VOD, or internet screenings are eligible. All films must have been completed between 2020-2023; films made prior to 2020 are eligible to be screened in one of SIFF’s smaller showcase rooms but are not eligible for award consideration. SIFF reserves the right to determine the eligibility of any project submitted. There is no limit to the number of entries.

All foreign language entries must have English subtitles. Projects must be submitted for consideration as an online screener. If you did not receive a confirmation of submission, please email Global Content Curator Shelly Guy:

For a list of competitive categories, please see our awards page. All films are nominated and voted upon by an impartial jury of deaf and hearing filmmakers, deaf and hearing industry professionals, prominent figures in the domestic and international Deaf Community, and principal festival organizers.

If selected, the SIFF will require an Electronic Press Kit (EPK) to include high-resolution production stills, key art, bio and filmography of the director, production notes and full cast and crew credits.

Every precaution is taken when handling your film once submitted but we cannot accept responsibility for lost or damaged files that are submitted to us.

Submission of an entry gives SIFF permission to have excerpts of accepted work, including film trailers, shown in all promotional activities related to the festival.