SLIFF is a regional, internationally themed film event dedicated to exploring cross-cultural understanding through the art of the cinema. The organization's mission is to showcase the best in international, documentary, and American independent cinema. Believing that we discover something about ourselves when we learn about others’ cultures and perspectives, SLIFF offers programs that provide glimpses of the human experience from around the world and thoughtfully address issues of race, ethnicity, and sexual identity. The festival is especially concerned with providing local filmgoers the opportunity to see works that would otherwise never screen in St. Louis.

USA Today named SLIFF one of the 2019 top "10 amazing film festivals worth traveling for."

The festival is produced by Cinema St. Louis, a not-for-profit organization.

PLEASE NOTE: After temporarily converting to a virtual fest in 2020 because of the pandemic, we plan to return to a traditional in-person presentation in 2021. However, if an in-person SLIFF cannot be presented safely, we'll again use the secure Eventive online platform and instead hold the fest virtually.

SLIFF presents approximately 20 juried and audience-choice awards. Juried awards include the Spotlight on Inspiration Documentary Award ($5,000 cash prize), the New Filmmakers Forum's Emerging Director Award ($500 cash prize), the Essy Award ($500 cash prize) for St. Louis-related films and filmmakers, and the Interfaith Award for narrative and documentary features.

Additionally, SLIFF is an Academy-sanctioned qualifying festival for both narrative and documentary shorts. Winners of the juried award for Best Live Action Short, Best Animated Short, Best Documentary Short, and Best of Fest (Narrative Short) can submit to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscar® consideration.

Full award information can be found on the Cinema St. Louis website.

Conditions for Eligibility:

This is a competitive, curated event, and submission does not guarantee an invitation.

All films must fulfill the following requirements:
1) Be fully completed by entry deadline (NO works-in-progress).
2) Be a St. Louis theatrical premiere.
3) Be submitted with English subtitles if in a language other than English.
4) Be submitted with complete entry information and appropriate payment.
5) Not be widely available on video/DVD, cable, YouTube, Vimeo, iTunes, or VOD in the St. Louis region before the festival dates. A film's availability on one of these platforms does not absolutely disqualify an entry, but first priority will be given to works that are true premieres.

Music rights and all copyright clearances are the sole responsibility of the filmmaker.

Cinema St. Louis (CSL) will not be held responsible for any legal disputes regarding the exhibition of this film.

Entry Procedure:

Provide complete information on FilmFreeway. Films should be submitted as secure online screeners on the platform (do not send DVDs or Blu-rays to our office).

All entrants will be notified of the status of their submission by e-mail no later than Sept. 15, 2023.

Notification of acceptance or rejection will not include criticism or feedback specific to your entry.

If your film is selected, publicity images must be sent immediately (300 dpi or higher electronic images are preferred in .jpg or .png format). All invited shorts must be immediately available for upload or delivery on invitation.

Please contact Cinema St. Louis for questions and clarifications.

Overall Rating
  • Serpil Altın

    Amazing festival for filmmakers. Great communication throughout. Highly recommend it. 🎬🥳😇🙏

    July 2023
    Response from festival:

    I remain a fan of your quirky sci-fi film and so happy to see it playing so many festivals all over the world!

  • Angela Cohen

    I love this festival. The programmers are so committed to curating thought provoking programming and then bringing in the audiences who will respond to those films. Right down to our amazing Sarah T., who does her best to get everyone to where they need to be, there's a personal touch that goes a long way. Thank you, St. Louis, for your authentic commitment to indie film, genuine welcome, and support of my films!

    May 2023
  • Adrian Todd Zuniga

    A fantastic festival, and it was a thrill to see HOLD ME, DON'T TOUCH ME on the big screen in the city of my birth. Very professionally run, and brilliant films all around. Can't wait to submit my next film.

    March 2023
  • Azimuth Films

    Though we weren't able to attend the Festival in person we were honored and pleased to be accepted for JOHN LEGUIZAMO LIVE AT RIKERS this year. The leadup to the festival date was well organized and communication clear. Thank you St. Louis IFF for including us in your lineup!!

    December 2022
  • Rick Petty

    A great mix of St. Louis films and new studio films. Don't miss the master classes or short showcases!

    December 2022