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, 2021.

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
  • It was an incredible honor to be among the Official Selections for 2020. My team and I at Living Proof Pictures were thrilled to have our film Cueball selected and screened. Brian Spath did a marvelous job communicating with us to get everything taken care of-- and the festival as a whole did a fantastic job adapting to the pandemic and providing a well curated and easily accessible online event.

    We hope to return in the coming years to take part in the festival in person.

    January 2021
  • Chloé Dupeyrat

    I’m very honored to be a part of SLIFF festival ! I’m happy for the selection on my film « Ô ». It was a great experience and I would absolutely recommend it. A really nice event.

    January 2021
  • Dylan Boom

    Brian and the programming staff at St.Louis were awesome, they communicated every detail of how the new format of the online festival was going to happen and supported in anyway possible. We were so honored to play our short film "Pieces" along with the other amazing films that were programed, would 100% submit again!

    December 2020
  • John Hill

    Though was completely online due to Covid Pandemic, the festival was executed professionally and with great care. I really enjoyed seeing the other films and having mine shown. I will definitely be submitting future films to SLIFF!

    December 2020
  • Donna Serbe-Davis

    This is a great film festival! An amazing selection of quality films and a very well run festival, especially considering the challenges festivals face today. Thanks to your team for all their hard work, and for including our film in this year's selection!

    December 2020