Anyone brave enough to pick up a camera to tell a story is our hero.

SENSEI FilmFest was born out of the shared vision of an Asian-American and diverse, globally dispersed team of industry professionals who were impassioned about bringing an authentic slice of Japanese aesthetics to the western world. With the rise of remote collaboration, the team was able to bridge geographical boundaries and unite their efforts in creating a unique film festival that would break cultural barriers and offer a fresh perspective on global cinema. Aiming to build a platform where both Asian and Western cinema could coalesce and interact, they conceptualized a film competition that was as much a cultural exchange as it was an artistic showcase. This pioneering spirit led to the creation of SENSEI, a vibrant online festival that today celebrates the confluence of diverse cinematic traditions and invites filmmakers worldwide to be a part of this extraordinary narrative.

SENSEI embodies the philosophy of empowering indie creators and recognizing their work. The brand sees independent creators as superheroes who tirelessly bring their stories to life, often without significant external support. SENSEI is dedicated to making these creators look and feel like superheroes, providing an online platform with substantial audience reach, press coverage, and an inspiring competition.

SENSEI serves as a global stage that celebrates a wide spectrum of cinematic genres and styles, mirroring the vast, diverse landscape of worldwide cinema. The festival invites submissions from independent creators of all ages, from all corners of the world, who express their creativity across a variety of mediums, ranging from film and television to web/new media, documentaries, animation, podcasts, and screenwriting.


Once your project is submitted for any of our main award categories, it is automatically eligible for consideration in all relevant technical categories as well.

All of our award categories are officially accredited by IMDb, giving added prestige and visibility to your achievements.

Best Film of the Competition
Best Feature Film
Best Medium-Length Film
Best Short Film
Best Micro-Short Film
Best Animated Film
Best Student Film
Best Experimental Film
Best Queer Narrative Film
Best Directing
Best Original Screenplay
Best Cinematography
Best Lead Actor & Actress
Best Supporting Actor & Actress
Best Editing & Sound Design
Best CGI & Visual Effects
Best Art Direction, Makeup + SFX
Best Feature Screenplay
Best Short Screenplay
Best TV Script
Best Drama
Best Comedy or Musical
Best Action, Sci-Fi or Fantasy
Best Horror or Thriller
Best Feature Documentary
Best Short Documentary
Best Series or Pilot Episode
Best New Media or Commercial Film
Best Music Video
Best Original Song or Score
Best Original Podcast


1. Eligibility
SENSEI FilmFest is open to filmmakers globally. The language of the film can be English without subtitles, or if in any other foreign language, the film must have subtitles.
Projects should not promote extremist political or religious views.
Projects that defame individuals or organizations will be automatically disqualified.
The submitter must own all copyright rights or have acquired permission from the copyright owner.

2. Submission
Entrants must submit their films for critical evaluation, and selected winners, finalist nominees, and honorable mentions close to wins will be showcased digitally. To ensure your viewing experience is safe and secure, all our films are protected against download using Netflix's same DRM technology, including Google Widevine DRM encryption and Apple FairPlay DRM protection technology.
You consent to the posting of stills and short clip fragments from the film or project on the festival's website/platform plus social media channels, for solely promotional, non-commercial and educational purposes.
You can opt-out from showing your film at any time and still keep your IMDb accredited awards and nominations.

3. Communication
By entering the competition, you automatically opt-in to receive marketing communications from partner film festivals and film awards competitions. Opt-out is available by emailing us with a request to unsubscribe. Withdrawal from these communications can be done at any time.

4. Refund Policy
No refunds will be issued after competition results are announced.

5. Feedback and Conduct
We value sportsmanship and integrity. Abusive or non-constructive feedback will not be entertained.

6. Judging Criteria
The SENSEI FilmFest is organized into three divisions:
SENSEI Master Storytellers (Division 1): Recognizes stylistic and thematic auteurs.
Expert Filmmakers (Division 2): Acknowledges technically competent directors.
Emerging Filmmakers (Division 3): Focuses on students or first-time filmmakers.
These classifications allow us to recognize and honor filmmakers at different stages of their creative journey.

Privacy Policy

1. Collection of Information
SENSEI FilmFest may collect personal information such as name, email address, and film project details during the submission process.

2. Use of Information
Your personal data will be used for communication regarding the competition and to send marketing communications from our partners. Selected film clips or images might be posted on our digital platforms, ensuring copyright rules are observed.

3. Opt-Out
You can opt-out from marketing communications by emailing us at any time. Every marketing communication will include a link or instruction on how to unsubscribe.

4. Data Protection
SENSEI FilmFest ensures that all personal data is stored securely. We will not sell, distribute, or lease your personal information to third parties unless we have your permission or are required by law to do so.

5. Contact
For any queries or concerns regarding this privacy policy, please contact us through our official website.

By entering the SENSEI FilmFest, you agree to have read and accepted these rules and regulations and our Privacy Policy. We aim to provide a transparent and fair platform for all participating filmmakers, celebrating their talent and hard work in the world of cinema.

Overall Rating
  • Santos Ortiz-Pasterick

    Honestly I really fun festival. Super high quality. I got good value out of it too. However, I sadly never saw the film on the website and communication felt lost a few times. To be fair it could have just been a language issue. These things happen. However, they were very nice and it was an honor to be nominated. I will definitely return with a new film one day.

    December 2023
  • Awesome communication and a great way for filmmakers and films to be discovered as a part of this great festival process, thank you for including our film "SECOND GEN" to be a part of this!

    November 2023
  • I love to support people in all imaginable situations.
    Page 23 from the book ! " A course in Miracles "
    I am here only to be truly helpful.
    Thank you for the good experience

    October 2023
  • Outstanding festival!!! Great communication! Thank you for including my project Shanghai Palace

    October 2023
  • we certainly think this is one of the best festivals we have attending this year. They were efficient and excellent in our interactions. The judging was also constructive and fair. Well definitely do this again. Arigatou!

    September 2023