Congratulations to our 2017 Winners:

BEST of FEST: "The Amazing Mortimer" - Huntington University
AUDIENCE FAVORITE: "How to Bake a Movie" - Zac Kiesling
BEST INDIE: "Seventy" - Robert Belinoff
BEST ADVANCED STUDENT: "The Amazing Mortimer" - Huntington University

Best Directing : "Seventy"
Best Cinematography: "Splitting Maul"
Best Editing: "Seventy"
Best Sound: "Splitting Maul"
Best Performance (tie): "Eyes of Sorrow Moon", "Seventy"
Best Story: "The Amazing Mortimer"

The Southern Arizona Independent Film Festival is a family oriented festival designed to solicit entries from all levels of experience, age groups and genre interests ensuring that opportunities are broadly available to anyone creating visual stories. We screen G and PG rated short films (under 15 minutes). The festival is geared towards the student filmmaker but fully embraces the work of Indie filmmakers as well..

The 2018 Festival will be held on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the Historic Willcox Theater in Willcox, Arizona, USA.

Awards & Prizes

All winners and screened films will receive respective Laurels for promotional purposes.

We award our top winners with cash awards paid out via PayPal. All winners receive a signed, printable PDF Award Certificate (via email) that is suitable for printing and framing.

The following categories are awarded cash and certificates:
Best of Fest
Audience Favorite
Best Student Film
Best Advanced Student Film
Best Independent Film

Other award categories recognized for certificates:
Best Directing
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Sound
Best Performance
Best Story

Stan Robinson Memorial Award of Excellence
(Individual contribution to the festival)

Rules & Terms

Please see our webpage at for ratings guidelines (PDF) to ensure that your film is acceptable.



By entering your film for consideration, you agree that you have read, understand the accept the ratings guidelines for admissible films in this festival. Blatant disregard for the guidelines will result in immediate disqualification and no future entries from the violating party will be accepted for future festivals.

Entries will be accepted for the 2018 Festival beginning April 24, 2017.

Film Submission Deadline: 5:00 pm (MST) on Monday, February 5, 2018. No extensions will be allowed.

All submissions must go through this site and must include a downloadable file or download link. Extra large files may be made available via ftp (Dropbox, etc.)

All fees must be paid before an entry will be considered for acceptance. No refunds as fees help to off-set the cost of staging the festival including prizes.

All films submitted must have a downloadable version of the file available for festival screening use. Recommended file type is either MP4 or MOV with a preference to HD. 4K files will not be acceptable at this time. All foreign language films should include English sub-titles for the judges and festival screening audience.

Participation in Southern Arizona Independent Film Festival is open to everyone.

No films completed prior to 2016 will be accepted.

No commercially available films will be accepted.

No refunds will be given for films that do not make the final screening list (All films are important though not all make it to the screening list).


Maximum Running Time: 10 minutes from opening through end credits.

Divisions: We have both a “Student Division” and “Independent Division”. A cross competition will occur for “Best of Fest” and “Audience Favorite”.

Categories: We have 2 categories in each division. The first category is Domestic which is anything produced within the United States or it's territories. Our second category is Foreign and includes anything that is produced outside the United States or it's territories.

Genre: All genres are permitted (horror, drama, comedy, action, suspense, etc.).

NO ATTRIBUTION OR MUSIC VIDEOS. We do not consider music videos as a genre of narrative storytelling. If you have someone singing as part of a dramatic story in a “Musical” fashion (as part of a scene), that might be acceptable. If your story is about the making of a music video and includes the music video, we will consider it to be a music video and it will not be accepted for judging or screening.

No previous Southern Arizona Independent Film Festival submissions are permitted.

Southern Arizona Independent Film Festival reserves the right not to accept offensive or obscene material.

Southern Arizona Independent Film Festival reserves the right to accept or decline any films based on the discretion of the organizers.

By submitting your film to this festival, The entrant has read, understands, accepts and agrees with each of the following provisions:
1. Entrant has read and fully understands the “Film Rules” listed above.
2. To the best of entrants knowledge, all of the following statements are true.
3. This film is not subject to litigation nor is threatened by any litigation and entrant accepts all licensing responsibility for any copyrighted material contained in the film (Entrant must own the copyright or have the necessary rights for any content that is contained in the film. This includes: video, film, pictures, graphics and music. Entrant must also have signed releases from any and all talent or persons who appear in the film).
4. Entrant is duly authorized to submit this film to the Festival and understands that the Festival holds the right to screen said film for Festival screening and promotional purposes.
5. Entrant is authorized and/or empowered by all parties to legally represent the film.
6. Entrant understands that any adult content including violence, language or other adult themes may cause the film to be eliminated from screening consideration at the “Festival” organizers discretion.
7. Entrant understands that even though the film will be juried, it may not receive a screening based on final judging scores and ranking.

3 Reviews

Overall Rating
  • false
    Robert Belinoff

    The small up and coming festival not far from tucson az. is big in community involvement, especially concerned with teaching, students and young people, great little theater, wonderful screening and local participation...was honored to have been selected and awarded...definitely on my submit list for next year.

    August 2017
  • false
    Kelly Van Shaar

    Hey look, first of all it's a free two-day festival with workshops taught by industry professionals who are making their living doing this stuff. Secondly, it's small enough that you'll get the opportunity to talk one on one with anyone you meet. Third, students get their films personally reviewed. Fourth, free food is provided at the evening reception. Fifth, film entry fees are only $10!

    This is one of those festivals you ought to attend in person, and if you live anywhere in Southeast Arizona or Southwest New Mexico, it's one worth submitting a film to. The smallness is what makes it great.

    April 2017
  • false
    Jim Politano

    I've been in many festivals over the years all over the country. It seems the really big ones in big cities screening in big theaters get all the attention. But there is something about seeing my film in a small historic theater in a small town in a small festival that makes the overall experience much more enjoyable. I love how the festival director introduced each film before it screened. This one scores a big thumbs up. Spend a few days in the area and visit Tombstone, or head over to Old Tucson Studios.

    May 2016
    Filmfreeway saiff logo
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Jim. We were happy to screen your film and so glad that you had a good experience. We try very hard to make this festival work.