SOFF offers filmmakers the opportunity to have their films screen in the heart of Los Angeles for an audience that loves independent film. Founded by longtime residents and movie veterans alike, the Sherman Oaks Film Festival looks to showcase the best undiscovered movies. The neighborhood that was home the mall in Fast Times At Ridgemont High deserves a world class film festival!

COVID-19 Update - June 2020
We have been in talks with our local chamber of commerce as well as the owners of the theater we rent.  At this time, we expect to be able to have audiences in person for the November festival.  It's our hope to not have audience-size limits, but if that's the case a local university has approached us about holding screenings on their campus drive-in style. Our worst-case-scenario is having online screenings with pre-recorded Q&A's attached. Whether at a theater, as a drive-in, or online, there will be SOFF 2020 screenings.

TV Series + Podcast Interviews
Filmmakers who receive Grand Jury Prizes, as well as several Official Selections, receive interviews on the "Discover Indie Film" podcast with head programmer Jeff Howard. This allows filmmakers to talk about their work and their history more extensively than a festival Q&A allows. In 2019 the TV series "Discover Indie Film" premiered on Amazon Prime Video. This series is an anthology of short films selected from the filmmakers he has interviewed on the podcast.

The Sherman Oaks Film Festival is proud to announce the Hollywood professionals who comprise our Board:

Mike Flanagan: Director (Oculus, Hush, Before I Wake, Ouija 2)
Jonathan Stern: Producer (Children's Hospital, Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later)
Michael Lynn : Television Producer (True Hollywood Stories)
Jamie Ball : Television Executive (Disney Channel)
Zac Reeder : Entertainment Executive (Head of Domestic Distribution at Electric Entertainment)
Shannon Makhanian: Casting Director (The Brothers Bloom, Unknown, Mysterious Skin)
Dan Mirvish: Producer/Director (co-founder of the Slamdance Film Festival)
Glen Reynolds: Producer/Manager (Conversations with Other Women, Night Train)

GRAND JURY PRIZES (chosen by selection jury)
Best Feature Film
Best Short Film – Drama
Best Short Film – Comedy
Best Short Film – Horror
Best Documentary Film
Best Music Video
Best Director, Feature Film
Best Director, Short Film
Best Actress in a Lead Role
Best Actor in a Lead Role
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Best Performance by a Full Cast
Best Screenplay
Outstanding Cinematography
Best Art Direction
Best Screenplay (Produced)
Best Screenplay (Unproduced)

AUDIENCE AWARDS (audience selections)
Audience Award, Feature Film
Audience Award, Short Film
Audience Award, Documentary Film

FILMMAKERS AWARDS (Jury of filmmakers from past festivals)
Outstanding Short Films
Outstanding Directors
Outstanding Screenplay
Outstanding Acting, Cast
Outstanding Acting, Individual
Outstanding Cinematography

(festival programmer's discretion)


Film entries must be sent via online digital submission of DVD quality or better.

Script entries must be uploaded as PDF or Final Draft files.

The director and/or producer of each project are welcome to be part of a Q&A session immediately following their screening. Cast are also welcome to participate.

Participants agree that their project and material related to their project may be used and/or published in the Sherman Oaks Film Festival program, website and for promotional purposes related to the Sherman Oaks Film Festival.

Copies of movies, scripts and promotional materials submitted to the Sherman Oaks Film Festival are not required to be returned to their owner.

If selected, all commercial/private property including all trademark/copyrighted materials shown or recorded on the project is the responsibility of the filmmaker. The Sherman Oaks Film Festival does not take responsibility for any infringement of copywritten materials.

The cost of delivery and pick-up of all materials is the responsibility of the filmmakers.

Rules are subject to change at any time without prior notice.


Narrative Feature Films: run time over 45 minutes in length

Narrative Short Films: run time of 45 minutes or less.

Documentary Feature Films: run time over 45 minutes in length

Documentary Short Films: run time of 45 minutes or less.

Music Videos: any length

Screenplays: no page minimum or maximum, standard format and standard title page recommended. Movie and Television screenplays are both accepted.

Overall Rating
  • Nathan Ellis

    The Sherman Oaks Film Festival is certainly one of my favorites out there. I went to most of the screenings and was always impressed with the quality of the films selected and especially enjoyed the brief, but informative and well-structured Q&A’s afterwards.

    Each film block has its own, unique theme (for instance, mine was in the “Kickass Spotlight” — a fun way to illustrate things) and are usually just long enough to feel complete and short enough to not be exhausting — not to mention the films selected are all well done.

    Lastly, the mixer events were casual, fun and the Whitefire Theater is the perfect setting for this laid-back, friendly, yet powerfully entertaining and well-run festival. Props to Jeff Howard for running a tight ship! Highly recommend!

    July 2020
  • Truly a one-of-a-kind festival. The level of deep one-on-one contact you'll have with the festival runners and other filmmakers alike is hard to come by in other festivals of this type. I highly recommend SOFF to any filmmaker, new or old, experienced or newbie to throw their content into the running! It's a wonderful journey at SOFF!

    July 2020
  • John Venable

    Love this festival! Jeff Howard has setup his festival to be unlike any other that I've been to. If you've ever been part of a shorts block and then invited up at the end of the block to participate in a Q&A with all the other filmmakers, it's fun... but sometimes not so much as you might be in a block with someone famous or a short that's obviously better than yours and they get all the attention. That's fine. But there is a better way, and that's what happens at SOFF. Jeff invites you and the reps from your film up to have a Q&A about your film... just yours. First off, he speaks positively about your film as they only program films that they love. Then he asks you and your crew questions about your film because HE HAS WATCHED AND KNOWS EVERY FILM THAT IS PROGRAMMED! And lastly, he opens up the questions to the audience. This simply doesn't happen at other festivals, and because of that, the SOFF, Jeff Howard, and the SOFF board should be praised. Praise be!

    July 2020
  • Danice Cabanela

    Sherman Oaks Film Festival will always hold a special place in our hearts. It was the first festival to accept our very first film, and the experience was wonderfully positive, inspiring and invigorating. Jeff Howard is a passionate advocate for the indie filmmaking community, and he programs a variety of terrific, underrepresented films. The festival was well organized, thoughtful, inclusive, and supported by the community. From the audience to the staff, we felt welcomed and well received. Overall we had a jolly good time. Check out Jeff's podcast 'Discover Indie Film' for more on the films he's programmed in the past. We were inspired by the work of the other talented filmmakers and we highly recommend SOFF for all filmmakers everywhere.

    July 2020
  • Denise Karey

    This festival was so much fun. The films were all very original and entertaining. The moderator asked interesting and entertaining questions and kept things upbeat. I would definitely go again and go to more screenings

    January 2020