Twenty four years ago, the San Diego Latino Film Festival (SDLFF) was originally established as a student film festival focusing on works by Latinos and/or about the Latino Experience. Since then, the SDLFF has developed into one of the largest, most respected and enduring Latino film festivals in the country. Over 260,000 people have attended during the past seventeen years, and over 2,450 films/videos from across Latin America and the United States have been screened. The SDLFF’s distinct legacy can be attributed to the combination of the programming and operational team’s unwavering persistence of finding the very best Latino content and the continuous support from our long-time patrons, sponsors, and community partners. Our Call for Entries is our official launch of the 2017 SDLFF season, and we are eager--and honored-- to screen your work.

Past festival guests have included renowned individuals as Kate del Castillo, Edward James Olmos, Plutarco Haza, Hector Jimenez, Gustavo Sánchez Parra, Cassandra Ciangherotti, Fina Torres, Armando Casas, Juan Manuel Bernal, Alejandro de la Madrid, Sergio Tovar Velarde, Carlos Bolado, Marimar Vega, Gaspar Scheuer, Eduardo España, Gustavo Moheno, Erick Elías, Juan Pablo Medina, Eduardo Verastegui, Barbara Mori, Alfonso Arau, Robert Young, Miguel Littin, Angélica María, Dayanara Torres, Demián Bichir, America Ferrera, John Leguizamo, Bruno Baretto, Roselyn Sanchez, Alfonso Cuarón, Diego Luna, Gael García Bernal, Carlos Carrera, Rodrigo Prieto, Alex Lora, Lupe Ontiveros, Bruno Bichir, Carmen Salinas, Luis Mandoki, Danny Trejo, Adal Ramones, Tony Plana, Elpidia Carrillo, Humberto Solas, Dennis Leoni, Arturo Ripstein, Paul Rodriguez, Patssi Valdez, Luis Valdez, Gregory Nava, Lourdes Portillo, Moctesuma Esparza, Ray Bradbury, Jacob Vargas, Patricia Velásquez, Fernando Sariñana, Lúcia Murat, Nancy de los Santos, Vanessa Bauche, and hundreds of other emerging and established Latino filmmakers.

Rules & Terms

SDLFF 2017 is seeking innovative, original, and thought-provoking works that are ‘by’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ the Latino community, that have been completed between 2015-2016. Work previously exhibited in the San Diego / Tijuana Border Region – whether theatrically, at another local festival or broadcast on television, – is not eligible to apply. A panel of distinguished curators from the San Diego and Tijuana community will select the films to be screened in the “Official Selection” of the festival.

All entries will be pre-screened for eligibility by curators and selection committee, however, not all entries will be programmed. The festival will not pay an exhibition fee for any accepted entries initially submitted through our general Call for Entries. There are no refunds for submission fees for neither accepted or non-accepted films. The SDLFF may screen any accepted entries up to three times during the festival dates (March 9-19, 2017) at ANY of our exhibition venues.

Films must be submitted with English subtitles if the dialogue is in a language other than English. Films must have been completed after January 2015. Fee waivers will be granted on a case by case basis and almost exclusively to non-profit organizations and international cultural/educational organizations.

Please note: DVD screeners, press kits, and any other physical materials submitted during the Call for Entries period will not be returned.

Upon acceptance to the festival, the following is required:

Features: Press Kit containing 100 word synopsis in English, 5 hi-res film stills (300dpi, CMYK and/or RGB color), digital trailer with English subtitles (if film is in any language other than English), online or physical screener of film for press.

Shorts: Press Kit containing 50 word synopsis in English, 3 hi-res film stills (300dpi, CMYK and/or RGB color), digital trailer with English subtitles if available.

Information regarding exhibition copies:

Features: DCP (preferred), Blu Ray. All exhibition copies must come with a back-up Blu Ray. Exhibition copies of accepted features must be received by February 24th, 2017

Shorts: In digital format via USB or email. USBs will be returned. Formatting specifics will be included in acceptance letter. Exhibition files must be received by February 3rd, 2017.

*Submitters will be notified of entry status in early January 2017. Judges’ decisions are final. Due to the large number of films we receive, feedback on individual films will not be provided. Films entered after the November 11 deadline will not be reviewed or returned.

An additional panel of filmmakers, film critics, and local luminaries will sit on this year’s Awards Jury. Awards are given for excellence in form and content. Films to be considered for competition will be determined by the Festival Curators.

Entry Categories:
Narrative Feature (60 or more minutes)
Documentary Feature (60 or more minutes)
Narrative Short (under 30 minutes)
Documentary Short (under 30 minutes)
Local Film (Narrative or Documentary Feature: 60 or more minutes; Narrative or Documentary Short: under 30 minutes)
Youth Short (Under 30 minutes, Must be under 18 years old when submitting)

Awards Categories:
Best Narrative Feature
Best Documentary Feature
Audience Award Narrative Feature
Audience Award Documentary Feature
Best Narrative Short
Best Documentary Short
Best Local Feature
Best Local Short
Best Youth Film (under 18 years-old)

*Additional categories may added based on festival showcases.

For questions, please contact Moisés Esparza, (Features), or Juan Lopez, (Shorts). Both can be reached at 619.230.1938 ext. 102.

5 Reviews

Overall Rating
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    Chelo Alvarez-Stehle

    Great venue and great staff. Thanks so much!

    May 2017
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    Fernando Fisher

    Thanks to SDLFF for everything...!

    April 2017
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    Daniel Maldonado

    Great festival. Look forward to next year

    April 2017
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    Laura Jean

    The hardest working crew on the festival circuit. These guys are pros and treat film makers with respect and have a real love of cinema. The fact that this festival has been around for 24 years speaks to the love and effort that goes into putting it on every year. I was humbled to be invited to screen our film and hope to be able to come back next year.

    April 2017
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    Vanessa Caceres

    Film Festival was really elegant, well organized and the efforts behind the scene were huge. We really appreciated the Q&A at the end of our film. Our crowd may have been small but we felt the appreciation from the audience. I would recommend helping/guiding more the filmmakers to get exposure.

    April 2017