Santa Monica Film Festival takes place annually in the beautiful beachside resort town of Santa Monica, CA. Santa Monica Film Festival offers an intimate community experience in which audience members, filmmakers, festival programmers and industry professionals all mingle to discover the next generation of talent.

Santa Monica Film Festival 2021 plans to combine an in-person festival in Santa Monica, CA and a virtual experience for everyone to enjoy. Films officially selected for the 2021 Santa Monica Film Festival may be presented in Santa Monica, online, or both depending on emerging circumstances. *Filmmakers may opt of online screenings if necessary.

Santa Monica Film Festival accepts films in every genre, on any topic, from every country around the world. We do not disqualify any films based on premiere status or date of completion.

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Santa Monica Film Festival awards for artistic and technical merit in the entertainment industry in recognition of excellence in cinematic achievements.

Cash and sponsored service prizes to be awarded to Award recipients pending availability.

-We consider films in any language, from anywhere in the world. If your film is not in English, make sure it has English subtitles where necessary.
-We consider work in progress. Please include a title card describing what is unfinished at the beginning of the submission screener.
-We consider films regardless of their premiere status. Even if your film has already premiered at another festival, whether it screened at a physical venue or online, it’s still eligible for consideration.
-We consider films regardless of their completion date. You can submit any film no matter when it was made.
-Features previously or currently being released in the US by a third party distributor are not eligible for consideration.
-Features previously self-distributed by the filmmakers online are not eligible for consideration in Feature categories.
-Only directors' debut features with a budget under 1 million USD are accepted to the Narrative and Documentary First Feature competition. If your work is not your first feature film, submit it to our Breakouts competition.
-Only independently produced episodes completed in 2020 or later are accepted to the Episodes category.
-There's no additional eligibility criteria for short film categories. All shorts are eligible!

-We strongly recommend that ALL submitted films regardless of category include English subtitles (whether the film is in English or another language) so that they may be accessible to all of our Programmers. Films in a language other than English MUST include English Subtitles or they will not be considered.
-All screeners must be uploaded by the appropriate deadline.
-Deadlines close at 11:59 PM PST.
-We will contact entrants if there's anything wrong with the submission. If this occurs, you will need to fix the submission issue by the requested deadline, otherwise we can't guarantee that your film will be watched in time.
-We don't provide refunds for festival entries.

-Each film will be watched by at least two different programmers.
If a film gets two or more recommendations after the first round of watches, it will be watched by more programmers and discussed at deliberations sessions.
-Deliberating programmers determine a festival selection through discussion and voting. -Each participating programmer has an equal vote and no festival selections are made outside of this process.
-Our programmers are not required to read submission cover letters and other supporting materials, but we encourage you to submit them in case they want to learn more about you and your work.
-We generally don't share programming feedback with entrants.
-The programmers' decisions are final.

The 2021 Santa Monica Film Festival programmers consist of Emmy Nominated, award winning indy and union filmmakers, artists, technicians and Director Members of the Director's Guild.

Accepted filmmakers will be notified via email, phone or text. Filmmakers must confirm their participation by the given deadline, otherwise they might lose their spot in the line-up.
-Accepted filmmakers must be the authors of their submitted work and be ready to sign an agreement stating that they own all rights to their film and its components ahead of screening at Santa Monica Film Festival.
-If accepted, entrants are responsible for delivering their festival exhibition copy, trailer, screener link, press stills and press-kit on time.
-All accepted films must have Closed Captioning in English ready in time for their festival screening. We highly recommend you work on this while you wait for your festival acceptance since it will make your film more accessible to audiences wherever it may be shown.
-If accepted, filmmakers are expected to attend the festival.
-We don't cover filmmakers' travel expenses.
-We don't cover shipping expenses for screening copies and other materials.
-We don't provide screening fees.
-If accepted, will deliver the screening copies and other materials to the Festival office upon request.

© Santa Monica Film Festival 2021. All rights reserved.

Overall Rating
  • so honoured to have been included in this wonderful festival. Thank you so much

    May 2021

    Thanks for having us guys. Great festival

    April 2021
  • Many thanks to the SMFF programming team and Jury for the Honorable Mention! I hope to physically attend the festival in the future.

    February 2021
  • Sheri Sussman

    This is always a great festival!

    January 2021
  • Melissa Purner

    We are honored to have been recognized by the SMIFF 2020 festival for our film The Tampon. Santa Monica is home to many of our crew members and served as the location for some of our film. Being a part of this festival was extra special since its our hometown. We can't wait to come back in the future!

    January 2021