The South Dakota Film Festival (running September 17-20, 2020) is a fantastic festival offering a filmmaker-friendly environment with a casual vibe. We are always looking for great movies to show at our festival and would love to check out your film out. We have a single screen, so we'll run more shorts than features, but we're happy to consider your feature.

Our little festival has been host to some big Hollywood names: Oscar Winner Kevin Costner ("Dances with Wolves"), Oscar Nominated Graham Greene ("Thunderheart, Dances with Wolves"), Oscar Nominated Cinematographer Adam Greenberg ("Terminator 2"), along with actors such as Molly Ringwald (Sixteen Candles), Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride), Doug Jones (Hellboy), Anthony Michael Hall (Breakfast Club), Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day), Lisa Ann Walter (The Parent Trap), and Producer Hawk Koch (Chinatown).

Other guests we have had at the SDFF include: Robert Costanzo (actor (City Slickers/ Total Recall), Josh Kelly (actor Transformers) Alexandra Holden (actor Friends), Emily Goss (actor House on Pine Street), Kyle Eastwood (composer), Chris Beetem (Blackhawk Down), Irene Bedard (actress), Rene Haynes (casting director), Chris Eyre (producer/director), Sean Covel (producer Napoleon Dynamite) Charlie Hoffheimer (Mad Men), Shannon Lucio (The O.C., Prison Break), Bai Ling (The Crow, Red Corner), Gary Graham (Alien Nation, Star Trek), David Midthunder (Cowboys and Aliens, Lone Ranger), Adam Moore (Screen Actor's Guild Associate National Director) and many more. We look forward to bringing a little more "Hollywood" to South Dakota each year.

The South Dakota Film Festival is the premier film festival in South Dakota and the region, located in Aberdeen, South Dakota, with jet service twice daily to and from Minneapolis or a scenic drive from anywhere. Come for the films and stay for the after parties.

The SDFF has hosted premiere screenings for dozens of films including a regional premiere for "Into the Wild". Films that have shown at SDFF have gone on to national critical acclaim, including the Oscar Nominated Short Films "Miracle Fish" and "Weekends".

While the festival emphasizes films from the Great Plains, that is not the only focus. The goal of the South Dakota Film Festival is to screen the best films submitted regardless of their geographic origin.

The SDFF is a filmmaker's festival—your attendance at the SDFF is a goal of the festival.

The screening weekend of the South Dakota Film Festival runs September 17-20 in Aberdeen, South Dakota. All movies play at the beautiful historic Capitol Theatre in downtown Aberdeen.

The South Dakota Film Festival gives awards in all categories, including jury awards, each year. Some examples are Best Comedy Short, Best Cinematography, Best Regional Film, among many others.

Accepted films will receive 2 VIP passes which get you into all films, workshops, the VIP lounge with free catered food and beverages for the entire festival, and our legendary afterglow parties with live music and catered food.

Movies must be submitted electronically via a link to a site such as Vimeo or the filmmaker's provided URL. No physical media, including DVD and Blu-ray, are accepted as submission copies. If the filmmaker's work is selected, an approved exhibition copy must be provided.

By submitting an entry or entries, we assume that you agree to the Official Entry Rules and acknowledge that the decisions of the adjudicators shall be binding and final.

To Enter: All entries in the "shorts" category can be a maximum length of (40) minutes to qualify. Entries submitted to the "features" category should be at least forty-one (41) minutes in length. Upon becoming an "Official Selection", all promotional material your company is capable of providing—including but not limited to—trailers, press kit, photos, personal bios, bonus material, and out-takes will be requested. Any entry in a foreign language must be overdubbed or subtitled in English. Each entry must also be accompanied by a non-refundable entry fee in U.S. dollars.

The South Dakota Film Festival, its affiliates, employees, officers, directors, licensees, and assignees will not be responsible for late, lost, incomplete, illegible, damaged, garbled, technically corrupt, postage-due, or misdirected entries.

Eligibility: The Competition is open to individuals who are 18 years of age or older, and, if under the age of 18, entries must be accompanied by written parental consent. The South Dakota Film Festival reserves the right to verify and confirm such consent and disqualify any entrant under 18 without valid consent.

By entering this Competition all entrants grant to the South Dakota Film Festival the unrestricted right to use their respective names, photographs, likenesses, voices, and/or biographical information for South Dakota Film Festival programming, publication, publicity, advertising, and all other promotional purposes without compensation, review, or approval unless prohibited by law. All federal, state, local, and international laws and regulations apply.

Additional Entry Regulations: Each entrant represents and warrants to the South Dakota Film Festival that his or her entry is (i) completely the original work of the entrant(s), (ii) not copied from any other source or currently contracted or distributed, disseminated in any media or format (except for previous broadcast on campus television or limited Internet broadcast on a website controlled and maintained solely by the entrant), (iii) not in the public domain, and (iv) not in violation of or conflict with the trademark, copyright, rights of privacy, rights of publicity or any other rights, of any kind or nature, of any other person or entity. If the South Dakota Film Festival, in its sole discretion, has reason to believe that any entry contains any material that may infringe or violate any law or any rights of a third party, South Dakota Film Festival may immediately disqualify such entry and take all other measures South Dakota Film Festival may deem appropriate. Entries that contain any content determined by South Dakota Film Festival in its sole discretion as indecent, inappropriate, morally objectionable or otherwise unfit for dissemination or broadcast will be immediately disqualified. Entries not meeting stated running time requirements will be disqualified. Entries not satisfying these Official Entry Rules in any respect will be disqualified. Each entrant further agrees to sign and to obtain (at the entrant's expense) from all necessary third parties, all releases, permissions and other written documents, in a form acceptable to South Dakota Film Festival, as may be required by the South Dakota Film Festival and any of its affiliates or sponsors upon request so as to confirm, record, and/or protect their rights in the entry. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, each entrant acknowledges and agrees that upon the South Dakota Film Festival's request, he or she shall provide to the South Dakota Film Festival all necessary written releases and permissions pertaining to on-camera talent, writers, composers, and any other third parties providing any services or materials in connection with such entrant's entry to the Competition.

Each entrant further acknowledges that the South Dakota Film Festival and its affiliates, employees, officers, directors, licensees, assigns, and sponsors (collectively the "Designated Entities") may engage and have engaged in extensive activities in connection with developing, writing, acquiring, publishing, disseminating and broadcasting literary, artistic, and other material, including stories, ideas, themes, plots, titles, screenplays, teleplays, treatments, formats, and concepts (collectively, the "Materials"). In submitting an entry to South Dakota Film Festival, each entrant acknowledges and understands that any materials that the Designated Entities may hereinafter use or exploit may have originated with the Designated Entities themselves or may have been acquired from the Designated Entities' employees or other parties, and that such Materials may duplicate, parallel or resemble the entrant's entry to the Competition.

By submitting an entry, entrants acknowledge that they understand and agree that the Designated Entities' use of Materials containing features and elements similar to or identical with those contained in their entry shall not entitle the entrant to any compensation whatsoever. As an inducement to South Dakota Film Festival to accept the entrant's entry into the Competition, each entrant hereby waives any claim or right of action against any of the Designated Entities or their successors in connection with the Designated Entities' use of any Materials (or any portions thereof) whether or not such Materials contain any features or elements similar or identical to those contained in an entrant's entry.

Judging: The official judging panel, consisting of individuals selected by the South Dakota Film Festival, at its sole discretion, will make a number of official selections (the "Official Selections") from all eligible entries received. From these official selections, winner(s) may be selected and announced at an awards ceremony to occur following the close of the Competition. The judging may be based on the following criteria: (i) originality and creativity; (ii) overall quality of all elements and aspects of the production of each entry, including, without limitation, writing, acting, directing, editing, etc.; and (iii) adherence to and appropriateness for a particular format or type of program. An interview with the entrant, conducted at the sole discretion of the judges, may also be required prior to the judges' decision. The judging will be conducted approximately in mid July. At that time, the selected entrants may be required to submit requested information, including but not limited to additional releases and permissions from necessary parties, to assist in the judges' due diligence research. The selected entrants will be notified by telephone and/or e-mail. South Dakota Film Festival shall not be responsible in any way for any missed, lost, or misdirected notification or an entrant's failure to receive a communication from South Dakota Film Festival.

Categories Awards: The South Dakota Film Festival reserves the right to award a number of competition prizes and/or awards, in categories selected by the South Dakota Film Festival in its sole discretion, as it may deem appropriate.

Overall Rating
  • Patrick Weiers

    SDFF has a great group of enthusiastic and thoughtful organizers who, even during a pandemic, were able to coordinate an accessible and engaging festival. Their team combines a genuine admiration for independent cinema with great communication skills; for instance, when I was hoping to make a small update to my film’s trailer, they got back to me within an hour. I look forward to next year!

    September 2020
  • Brian Elliott

    Simply the best! Wonderful folks, wonderful vibe, crazy cool merch, lovely location. High marks all the way around. Thanks SDFF! You guys are awesome!

    September 2020
  • Tessa Germaine

    This was a wonderful festival and I am so grateful to have been a part of it! They adjusted to the virtual format very well and were extremely kind and helpful throughout the process. I wish there was a way to have networked with the other filmmakers through the festival, but it was their first year virtually and it was a great success!

    September 2020
  • SDFF did a great job of shifting gears and delivering a top notch fest in the changing times. Friendly and confident organizers made our film at home and appreciated. Highly recommended.

    September 2020
  • Vanessa Powers

    This festival worked very hard to make things special in a really tough year - they have excellent Q and A's, and great publicity, and lots of great awards to be handed out! Super worthwhile to be a part of and I can't wait to get to be there in person sometime in the future!

    September 2020