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. 30, 2022.

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
  • The festival was virtual this year, but I it was great to have Thunder Rises screen in the mid-west at a large festival.

    March 2022
  • Karoline Xu

    A lovely festival! Our short film PIPPI played there this fall. Wish we could have flown in in person to experience it. Thank you to the whole team for your hard work and artistry.

    December 2021
  • Abraham Lim

    I had screened my first film here a while ago, and was happy to see the same people heading the festival. My life took me far from the midwest and I was glad to be back, if not in person at this great festival.

    December 2021
  • Ellen Boscov

    We were honored to share our short animation, FIRST LIGHT, through this outstanding film festival.

    December 2021
  • George Nelson

    SLIFF is now my favorite film festival to have been a part of. Communicative, great programming, and coordination by the team and staff. The categories made it easy to discover new films of interest, as well as cater to audiences' tastes. Thank you St. Louis!!

    November 2021