Staunton International Film Festival or SIFF, is a community based festival focused on emerging filmmakers with a high emphasis on experimental, avant-garde and independent underground cinema. The festival was conceived by filmmakers for filmmakers and is setup to be an alternative to the often elitist mainstream festivals. This year SIFF will take place on September 9-10 with a variety of showcases in multiple cinemas, art galleries, book shops, bars, coffee houses and other venues throughout Staunton Virginia (see below for info on Staunton proper). In addition to the multiple showcases, SIFF will also feature various kiosks around town all playing various short films, much like mini museum exhibitions (we do realize some filmmakers might not enjoy that idea, so please indicate rather that's okay upon submitting. We will respect your wishes on that). The actual showcases of the festival will be determined based on the amount of entries we receive but the submissions we are looking for are as follows...........
15 Minute Shorts- For any short up to 15 minutes (it's okay if it's a few minutes over, we aren't that strict).
5 Minute Shorts- For shorter shorts.
Surreal- For the really strange stuff.
Cell Phone- For films made with a cell phone.
Animation- Pretty self explanatory.
30 Second Shorts- For those of us who love short, short shorts.
Abstract- For those of us who just love cool moving images.
Found Footage- For those of us who love cutting up old public domain footage or are
lucky enough to actually find film at thrift stores.
Silent- Shhh, can't talk!
If your film doesn't fit nicely into one of those categories, feel free to submit to the closest genre (again we aren't that strict). We are also planning this year to fill some artist studios with multimedia installations and are open for submissions for that as well. If your interested in that, please be able to travel here for assembly etc. and email proposals to us at Thanks!

A Note on Submissions Fees- We are charging, what we believe to be a reasonable rate to submit this year. With that none of the organizers of SIFF are getting paid (it's an act of love on our part!) and instead all the money collected from submissions goes directly to advertising/award money and thus in a way back to you the filmmakers! We do though understand that some filmmakers, especially students, do undergo financial difficulties and thus are willing to waive some fees on a case by case basis (please send us a line if this applies to you). Thanks!

A note on Submission Deadlines- We are keeping submissions open well into August but encourage all to apply sooner rather than later. With that, all submissions will be notified of acceptance status, as soon as they are reviewed by our panel and the notification date listed below mainly applies to the very very late submissions.

A Note About Staunton (pronounced Stan-ton)- Nestled amidst the mountains in the lovely Shenandoah Valley, Staunton was recently named one of "Best Small Towns in America," and is buzzing with arts and culture offerings. Known for its historic architecture the downtown features over one hundred unique shops, art galleries and restaurants including a great selection of wine bars, coffee houses, vineyard tasting rooms and small- batch breweries. In addition to being home to SIFF, Staunton also hosts the world renowned American Shakespeare Center and many street fairs such as PAC'n the Streets, which this year will be happening concurrently with SIFF.

For additional information or questions please contact us at

Awards will be given to the top three films which will be chosen by a jury of local artists and filmmakers (jurors films of course will be ineligible for judging). The exact amount of the awards will be announced soon.

By submitting, you affirm that you own the rights or have the rights permission to both the visuals and audio of your film (exceptions only for found footage films using from the public domain) and that the festival is not responsible for violations. The festival also reserves the right to use stills and trailers for promotional purposes (if your adamantly adverse to that, please contact us, exceptions can be made there and we will respect your wishes).

Overall Rating
  • Sarah Gampel

    I didn't have the possibility to visit the festival irl but the communication with the festival staff and the media exposure was great, hope to visit the next one!

    September 2016
  • Arron Foster

    Great event and great opportunity.

    September 2016
  • Pablo Radice

    Excelent feedback and responsability with artist.

    September 2016
  • Thank you for your accept

    September 2016
  • S2_Rustav Dante

    Being unable to attend the festival it is hard to review all different aspects of the festival.But there is a wish to tell that the festival very in detail informed on each step. Very much a lot of work has been made in social networks.
    I would recomend the festival to any independent filmaker.Your participation at a festival - will be noticeable for you .
    Nice work,guys
    All the best
    Team "Dante Rustav Films"

    September 2016