Named one of Moviemaker Magazine's 50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee for 7 years in a row!!! The 12th Annual Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, October 14th-18th, 2020 was dubbed “a young Sundance” by indieWire, and “an all-inclusive resort for cinephiles” by Filmmaker Magazine. SFiFF is now one of the top regional film festivals in the United States. The Fest is a creative center for film in Santa Fe, allowing filmmakers to connect with industry and distributors. SFiFF showcases emerging and established filmmakers by screening features and shorts in one of the greatest art cities in the world. SFiFF offers cash prizes in most categories, filmmaker travel, and all-access passes to the festival. Santa Fe is now one of the greatest theater cities on earth with the newly opened 11 screen Violet Crown, George RR Martin’s Jean Cocteau, the historic Lensic Theater, The Screen, and the Center for Contemporary Arts.

Santa Fe Independent Film Festival (SFiFF) is the premiere forum for international and independent cinema in the area. Focusing on artistic excellence, SFiFF serves as a creative center for film year-round, and as a showcase of the year's top films each October. SFiFF provides professional opportunities for artists, and unmatched audience participation in the world’s greatest little film city.

SFiFF has honored screen legend Jacqueline Bisset with the Lifetime Achievement Award and Jay Roach (Trumbo) with the American Filmmaker Award, John Sayles and Maggie Renzi with the Lifetime Achievement Award, writer N. Scott Momaday was presented SFiFF's Lifetime Achievement Award by Robert Redford and welcomed our returning guests John Waters, Chris Eyre, George R.R. Martin, and Wes Studi. SFiFF featured a screening and Q&A with Ethan Hawke, screened over 100 films, and hosted panels with visiting filmmakers. For this past 11th Annual Festival, we welcomed Tantoo Cardinal and Jane Seymour, each accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival is accepting entries for Narrative films, Documentaries, International films, Animated films, Indigenous films, Student films, and Virtual Reality. Filmmakers whose films are selected for the festival will have countless creative opportunities, including screening in the unique setting of downtown Santa Fe. Travel and hotel rooms are available to those films that get accepted on a case by case basis. Check out for more information.

Safety of SFiFF audience members and guests is our first priority. As theaters and restaurants reopen responsibly, and Santa Fe begins to enliven, we are optimistic that the festival will take place with few restrictions, but with the utmost consideration for safety. We are prepared to adhere to the recommendations from the State of New Mexico, and the national guidelines as well. Certain programs and Q and A sessions may be made available online, and there may still be limits on large gatherings, but the festival itself will continue its commitment to presenting world-class cinema in Santa Fe.

The Santa Fe Film Institute will present cash awards in the following categories for 2020 winners at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival.

$1,000 Cash Prize for Best Narrative Feature (International or USA)
$1,000 Cash Prize for Best Documentary Feature (International or USA)
$500 Cash Prize for Best Narrative Short (International or USA)
$500 Cash Prize for Best Documentary Short (International or USA))
$500 Cash Prize for Best New Mexico Short

All award winners receive a special artisan-made SFiFF Statue Award.
Non-Cash Awards
Audience Choice Best Narrative Feature
Audience Choice Best Documentary Feature
Audience Choice Best Short
Best New Mexico Narrative Feature
Best New Mexico Documentary Feature
Best Experimental Short
Best Animated Short


The following is an explanation of the Rules and Guidelines governing the submissions of a film to the 2020 Santa Fe Independent Film Festival. Compliance with these Rules and Guidelines is necessary in order to participate in the Film Festival. Submission of a film implies unconditional acceptance of the Rules & Guidelines, therefore, please carefully read through the Rules prior to submitting your film. If you have any questions, please contact the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival: or 505-349-1414.

1. The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival accepts submissions for films in the following categories: International, Animated, Documentary, Experimental, Narrative Feature, Narrative Short (under 45 minutes), Indigenous, New Mexican, Virtual Reality and Student Film.

2. The Entrant/s submitting the film must hold all legal rights for the submission, as well as all necessary clearances for public exhibition.

3. The Filmmaker/s retain/s all submission and intellectual property rights.

4. New Mexico Premiere is required in most cases. Please contact SFiFF office with any questions.

5. Films may be submitted electronically via FilmFreeway OR mail a completed submission form and correct entry fee with a Vimeo link and password. If film is selected, we do require a DCP.

6. The Filmmaker/s is/are responsible for making sure all submission materials are submitted by the submission deadline indicated. If your film does not arrive or is not uploaded by the deadline for which you have registered, you may be required to pay the higher submission fee or withdrawn.

7. The following concerns submission deadlines and submission fees. Note, the deadlines are not the postmark dates, but the dates by which the submission must be in the SFiFF office or registered with FilmFreeway. Each submission must be accompanied by the appropriate fee. Submission fees are in are U.S. Dollars per submission and is non-refundable. These fees may be paid by check, cashier’s check, money order, or by Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express) made payable to: Santa Fe Independent Film Festival. Cash is not accepted.

8. If a film received 50% or more of its funding from sources outside of the United States, the film can only be submitted as an International Film. If a film received 50% or more of its funding from sources within the United States, the film can only be submitted as a Domestic Film.

9. Subtitles must be in English.

10. Please test your media prior to submission to make sure they run properly and are not damaged. Please keep screener links and passwords up-to-date and notify the SFiFF office promptly with any changes.

11. Filmmakers are allowed to submit more than one film for the Festival provided that each film is submitted separately and meet SFiFF guidelines.

12. Filmmakers are allowed to re-submit a film that was previously submitted provided significant changes were made and all eligibility requirements are met. When re-submitting the film, include a brief letter detailing the changes made.

13. A student submitting a film must provide a photocopy of a current and valid student ID or a letter from his/her school verifying enrollment.

14. If you would like your materials returned after the festival, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

15. Entrants may contact the SFiFF to find out if the Festival received the submission: or (505) 349-1414. Filmmakers submitting through FilmFreeway can check their status through the website.

16. The Filmmaker is responsible for all inbound shipping costs, domestic or international.

17. All personal contact information is to remain confidential and not to be shared with any third parties.

18. SFiFF reserves the right to use images from films selected in the Festival for marketing purposes.

19. All decisions regarding award winners are considered final and incontestable.

20. All films submitted must have been completed between September 2018 and 2020.

21. Applicants acknowledge that SFiFF reserves the right to change the nature of screenings and events due to circumstances related to public health and welfare or at the direction of local, state, or federal authorities. In such cases, no submission refunds shall be issued.

Overall Rating
  • Manuel Marmier

    From the very begining the communication with the festival was good.
    Unfortunatly I couldn't attend to the festival, and I didn't present my work to the audience as I would have loved it.
    I hope the film received a good welcome.
    I wish all my best to the festival team, and once again thank you for selecting my film, I'm very happy it has been screened in the Santa Fe Independent Fil Festival

    November 2019
  • Lindsy Campbell

    Great festival! Hope to attend a third time in the future!

    October 2019
  • Siena Bergt

    My team and I premiered our first feature at SFIFF, and I can’t overstate what a wonderful experience it was. Jacques, Liesette, and the rest of the festival team are extremely well organized and passionate about film, and the festival provides amazing opportunities to network and make connections with professionals from all areas of the film world. I’m looking forward to returning for next year’s festival!

    October 2019
  • Motion Hr

    Amazing :) We loved it!

    October 2019
  • Mary Lance

    A vibrant festival with great hospitality. Delighted to have had the premiere of CROWVILLE there.

    October 2019