Twenty-five years ago, the San Diego Latino Film Festival (SDLFF) was born out of a desire to take a stand against the status-quo of cinema, to challenge the reigning and ever-present stereotypes about the Latino experience in movies, and to give Latino filmmakers the power of telling and sharing their stories, first-hand, about what it means to be Latino. After all of these years, the SDLFF is proud to remain linked to these ideals, constantly advocating for inclusive, diverse, and progressive cinematic storytelling about the Latino identity. We invite you and all other visionary filmmakers to be a part of our silver anniversary -- 25 and still going strong! -- by submitting your project for consideration. It’s going to be a celebration to remember, which like cinema, will stand the test of time.

The SDLFF has had the honor of hosting over 2500 renowned directors, actors, producers, writers and more including Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Alfonso Cuaron, Kate del Castillo, Dolores Huerta and Danny Trejo.

Awards & Prizes

Best Narrative Feature
Best Documentary Feature
Audience Award Narrative Feature
Audience Award Documentary Feature
Best Narrative Short
Best Documentary Short
Audience Award Narrative Short
Audience Award Documentary Short
Best Local Feature
Best Local Short
Best Youth Film (Under 18 years old)

Rules & Terms

SDLFF 2018 is seeking innovative, original, and thought-provoking works that are ‘by’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ the Latino community, that have been completed between 2016-2017. Please register your films through one our submission platforms, FilmFreeway. Do not send screening link directly to the Programmers’ inbox, unless instructed to do so. We use our platforms to keep track of our entries and links sent directly to our inboxes may be hard to localize given the high volume of emails we receive during our festival season. If you decide to forego the registration, your film will not be placed into consideration. Links, digital uploads, and physical copies must be received by the deadlines stipulated below.

Early Bird Submission Deadline:
September 8th

Official Submission Deadline:
October 13th

Late Submission Deadline:
November 10th

Fees must be paid before festival programmers screen your work and must be paid by the deadline. We do not give preferential treatment to entries submitted early BUT we advise that filmmakers take advantage of the Early Bird Submission Deadline since it is the lowest price point to register your film.

Submitted films must be San Diego Premieres and must not have been been screened at another film festival, theater chain, television, VOD or S-VOD platform, or be available on Blu Ray or DVD before the end dates of our festival in the San Diego area. Work exhibited in the Tijuana or Baja California region may be accepted but have to fulfill the criteria of being San Diego Premieres.

A panel of distinguished curators from the San Diego and Tijuana community will select the films to be screened in this year’s special 25th Anniversary “Official Selection” for the 2018 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 either selected or declined entries. The SDLFF may screen any accepted entries up to three times during the festival dates (March 15-25, 2018) at ANY of our exhibition venues. The section or program the film is scheduled for is at the discretion of Festival Programmers.

Submission Categories:
Applicants must classify their film under one of the following categories. The Festival Programmers will then sort the films into the various sections that comprise our festival program. These sections include Spotlight Films, Viva Mujeres, ¡Documania!, Cine Gay, among others. New sections will be created based on the type of content the festival receives. All films must be registered through our FilmFreeway portal even if you are sending in a physical DVD or Blu Ray of your film. Please upload digital exhibition copies to FilmFreeway.

Narrative Feature
Any scripted work of fiction (including mockumentary style) with a running time of 60 minutes or more. If the film is a narrative documentary hybrid, please submit under this category. Film must be ‘by’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ the Latino community

Documentary Feature
Any non-fiction work with a running time of 60 minutes or more. Scripted re-enactments within the film are acceptable. Film must be ‘by’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ the Latino community

Narrative Short
Any scripted work of fiction (including mockumentary style) with a running time of 30 minutes or less. If the film is a narrative documentary hybrid, please submit under this category. Film must be ‘by’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ the Latino community

Documentary Short
Any non-fiction work with a running time of 30 minutes or less. Scripted re-enactments within the film are acceptable. Film must be ‘by’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ the Latino community

Local Film - Narrative Feature
Any scripted work of fiction (including mockumentary style) with a running time of 60 minutes or more. If the film is a narrative documentary hybrid, please submit under this category. More than 50% of the production must have taken place in the San Diego or Tijuana Border Region. Film must be ‘by’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ the Latino community

Local Film - Documentary Feature
Any non-fiction work with a running time of 60 minutes or more. Scripted re-enactments within the film are acceptable. More than 50% of the production must have taken place in the San Diego or Tijuana Border Region. Film must be ‘by’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ the Latino community

Local Film - Narrative Short
Any scripted work of fiction (including mockumentary style) with a running time of 30 minutes or less. If the film is a narrative documentary hybrid, please submit under this category. More than 50% of the production must have taken place in the San Diego or Tijuana Border Region. Film must be ‘by’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ the Latino community

Local Film - Documentary Short
Any non-fiction work with a running time of 30 minutes or less. Scripted re-enactments within the film are acceptable. More than 50% of the production must have taken place in the San Diego or Tijuana Border Region. Film must be ‘by’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ the Latino community

Youth Short
Any film with a running time of 30 or less minutes that fits the Narrative or Documentary Shorts parameters, submitted by someone less than 18 years of age at the date of submitting. Film must be ‘by’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ the Latino community

Episodic Content
Any collection of short films (with an overarching theme), television episodes, online webisodes, and telenovela episodes are acceptable assuming the content fills 60-120 minutes. If submitting multiple episodes, each should be included in your submission copy as a single file (for example, if your web series is 10 episodes long there shouldn’t be 10 links for each episode of the web series). If you are submitting multiple episodes, each individual episode should not exceed 60 minutes. Narrative or documentary projects accepted. This content should not be made available on any VOD or S-VOD platform for streaming, or have premiered on television before the end of the festival. This content should be a San Diego Premiere. Episodic content must be ‘by’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ the Latino community.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality project submissions must be submitted as a 360 video link (such as YouTube 360 or Vimeo 360) and can be either Narrative Feature/Short or Documentary Feature/Short. Please provide an app installation package if necessary and a 2D version of your project. Virtual Reality projects do not need to be San Diego premieres. Film must be ‘by’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ the Latino community

*A note about works in progress-
We will accept entries submitted as works in progress with temporary music, missing scenes, color correction, etc. However, the submitted project should be indicative of the overall quality of the finished product. If accepted, the film in question should be completed well-before the start date of our festival. We DO NOT screen works in progress as exhibition copies.

Films must be submitted with English subtitles if the dialogue is in a language other than English. Films must have been completed after January 2016. Projects completed January 31st, 2015 and prior are not eligible for this edition of the film festival.

It is the responsibility of the submitter to ensure that the screening link or physical screening copy they submit work properly. We will make an attempt to connect with you if we experience difficulties screening your movies and expect a working copy in a timely fashion. Failure to comply will render your film ineligible from being placed under consideration.

If your film was not accepted last year and you are resubmitting, please keep in mind that the likelihood of your film being accepted is proportional to the amount of changes and improvements that have been made to it. If you are submitting an identical or near-identical version of your film, it will not be accepted.

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 words synopsis in English, 5 hi-res film stills (300 dpi, 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 (300 dpi, 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 23rd, 2018.

Shorts: In digital format via USB or e-mail. USBs will be returned. Formatting specifics will be included in acceptance letter. Exhibition files must be received by February 23rd, 2018.

*Submitters will be notified of entry status in January 2018. Judges’ decisions are final. Due to the large number of films we receive, feedback on individual films will not be provided. Films entered after November -- 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.

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

*Additional categories may be added based on festival showcases.

For questions, please contact Moisés Esparza, moises@mediaartscenter.org, (619) 230-1938 ext. 105 (Features), or Juan Lopez, juan@mediaartscenter.org, (619) 230-1938 ext. 107 (Shorts).

6 Reviews

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • false
    Josue Oropeza

    Very fun festival full of great films!! Loved my experience, was magical

    September 2017
  • false
    Chelo Alvarez-Stehle

    Great venue and great staff. Thanks so much!

    May 2017
  • false
    Fernando Fisher

    Thanks to SDLFF for everything...!

    April 2017
  • false
    Daniel Maldonado

    Great festival. Look forward to next year

    April 2017
  • false
    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