The Santa Monica Film Festival ® is an annual film festival focused on emerging filmmakers and artists.


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.

The 17th edition of the Santa Monica Film Festival plans to combine an in-person film screenings in Santa Monica, CA and a virtual experience for everyone to enjoy. Films officially selected may be presented in Santa Monica, online, or both depending on emerging circumstances. *Filmmakers may opt out of online exhibition 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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FACEBOOK @santamonicafilmfestival
TWITTER @smfilmfestival


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.

A. Entrants must complete the online submission form located on FilmFreeway site.
B. Dialogue or narration must be substantially in English or the film must have English-language subtitles.
C. All required entry materials, including the digital upload of the film for
voting purposes, must be received by 11:59 p.m. PT on final deadline date.
D. If a film advances to the second round of voting, additional materials may be required within five business days after the shortlist is announced. Shortlisted films must have the necessary cFestival clearances.
E. By submitting a film, the filmmaker agrees that the Festival has the
right to make copies and distribute them for voting purposes only.
F. The recipient of the Award will be the individual most directly responsible for the concept and the creative execution of the film. In the event that more than one individual has been directly and importantly involved in creative decisions, a second statuette may be awarded. However, no more than two awards will be given to a winning production.
G. No film may be submitted more than once for Award consideration.
H. Submission fees are non-refundable.

Submissions will be reviewed by members of the Programming Team, who will use a
preferential voting system to produce a shortlist of films. Nominees will then be
chosen by a second round of balloting, again using a preferential voting system.
Final voting shall be restricted to programmers who have reviewed all of
the nominated submissions.

The 2023 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 official notified via FilmFreeway. 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.

Upon notification of acceptance to festival, filmmaker must within (5) business days to upload the required materials to the festival designated dropbox including but not limited to:

1. Film File
Max file size: 30G
File name:

2. Trailer (if available)
Max file size: 30G
File Name:

3. Poster
Recommended dimensions: 4000 x 6000 (2:3)
Max file size: Under 25MB
File name: title-poster.png

4. Primary Thumbnail
This will appear in emails, trailers, Facebook, Twitter, and your site.
Recommended dimensions: 3840 x 2160 (16:9)
Max file size: Under 25MB
File name: title-thumbnail.png

If selected for an in-person screening, filmmaker will have no more than (5) business days to deliver a DCP file to the festival designated DCP service provider SimpleDCP. DCP must meet AMC theatres DCP specifications.

If selected for an in-person screening, filmmaker will have no more than (5) business days from notification date to fill out the required information on festival's SimpleDCP print submission portal for filmmakers.

© Santa Monica Film Festival All rights reserved.

Overall Rating
  • Shaun Anthony Robinson

    I'm honoured to have my film selected for the virtual screening at the Santa Monica film festival your team has been nothing professional and made my experience enjoyable thank you for giving people a chance to watch my film and again thank you to your Film Festival for giving me this opportunity thank you. Shaun Anthony Robinson writer director Surviving Sunset

    January 2023
  • I appreciated David Katz and his hospitality. I have a saying that a great film festival embodies the spirit of its host city and SMIFF felt very Santa Monica: relaxing and fun. The festival definitely has a lock on the animal rights filmmaking market, and while that's not my thing, there is a subtle charm in seeing that community come together as artists to express themselves. If you can attend the live screenings, I highly recommend it. Terrific short film selections and I was rarely bored. Overall, I'm happy to have the SMIFF laurel on our feature film, "Exemplum."

    January 2023
  • Ken Sagoes

    We are deeply honored that our short film “The Secret Weapon: Yesterday IS Today was selected to be a part of the Santa Monica Film Festival. May the festival continue to provide filmmakers a platform that fosters creativity and self expression.

    January 2023
  • Incredible festival! As first time filmmakers, we were so honored and thankful that our short film Back Home was selected to screen through SMFF's online screening platform. David and his team programmed such an amazing in-person event with a diverse set of incredible films and truly talented filmmakers. The networking opportunities were fantastic and the whole night was a blast. Highly recommend.

    January 2023
  • Rita Panahi

    Excellent film festival! Extremely organized and outstanding communication every step of the way. Thank you for Selecting my short documentary Ayni (Reciprocity). Would definitely submit my future films to you as well!

    January 2023