San Francisco Dance Film Festival (SFDFF) is a multi-day international event showcasing the best in dance film from around the world. In eight short years, SFDFF has become one of the most respected, influential, and essential dance film festivals.

Dancers and filmmakers have worked together since the invention of the motion picture, but the dance film genre has exploded in recent years as digital technologies have become more accessible to independent artists. Today’s dance films encompass a wide range of interpretations and include contributions from visual artists, animators, composers and live performers.

From ballet to ballroom, hip-hop to tap dance, SFDFF’s programming presents a kaleidoscopic look at dance in its varied forms. Our signature Screendance Shorts programs highlight short dance pieces created specifically for the camera. Feature documentaries focus on the process of creating dance—from historical profiles to behind-the-scenes views of today’s most innovative choreographers. Live Performance Capture presents a filmed relay or capture of a live dance performance. And in an effort to expand the genre’s reach, SFDFF is collaborating with new partners to present experimental and innovative works that are suited for or were specifically made for a gallery experience.

Filmmaker Benefits

— Eligibility for filmmaker cash awards up to $1,000

— Free Festival Pass providing admission to all programs and events during the four-day festival

— Industry networking and discovery opportunities. Several of the films screened at SFDFF have gone on to receive distribution offers.

— Inclusion in our permanent digital archive.

— Opportunities for further exposure via our “On the Road” touring reel and other educational outreach programs

— “Official SFDFF Selection” laurel to help promote your film

Awards & Prizes

All films selected for the Festival are eligible for the following awards. Winners will be chosen by independent award jury.

— Best Documentary ($1,000)
— Best Live Performance Capture ($500)
— Best Screendance Film
• Under 5 minutes ($500)
• Under 10 minutes ($500)
• 10 minutes and Over ($500)
— Best Student Film ($500)
— Best Art/Experimental ($500)
— Best Technical Achievement ($500)

Audience Favorite awards, selected by audience survey from the individual screendance shorts programs, will be announced the week following the festival.

Rules & Terms


— All dance-based films of any style or length will be considered.

— Films must have a production date of 2014 or later.

— Student filmmakers must submit a current, valid student ID or proof of enrollment at the time the film was made, with your submission.

— Include high-resolution film stills and/or production photos with your submission. Remember to include photo credits.

— As fellow artists we take to heart the amount of work put into each film. Therefore, we are careful to ensure that each film is screened by at least three reviewers.

Selected films will be requested in their native frame rate in QuickTime format using one of the following codecs: ProRes, ProRes HQ, or ProRes 4444. Blu-ray may be requested as an additional option for films over 20 minutes ONLY. A ProRes file will also be required as backup.

— The individual or production company submitting the film hereby warrants that they have cleared all necessary copyrights, including any underlying rights, to submit this film and its supporting materials to SFDFF and will hold SFDFF harmless from and against any and all third party claims.

— By submitting your film, SFDFF is hereby granted the right to utilize any submitted materials, including video and still images for purposes of promotion of the 2017 Festival and for future institutional promotion of SFDFF.

— Once submitted, a film cannot be withdrawn for any reason.

4 Reviews

Overall Rating
  • false

    I was so grateful to be included in this prestigious international dance film fest. The level of films is incredible and are such a high level. My film, The Secret Woman, was very well received and was screened on closing night.

    November 2016
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    Alain El Sakhawi

    I met human and passionated people!

    November 2016
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    mary jane doherty

    This festival renews my faith in the festival system. Smart programming, passionate organizers, beautiful venue and inspiring fellow filmmakers. So, there you go.

    October 2016
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    Claire Marshall

    Brilliant festival. Quality of the dance films was exceptional. Such diversity too. Well organised too.

    October 2016