Sep 8, 2020
The 64th SFFILM Festival Is Scheduled for April 9–18, 2021; Early Submission Deadline Is October 19, Final Deadline Is December 7
San Francisco, CA – SFFILM is now accepting submissions for the 64th San Francisco International Film Festival, recognized throughout the world as an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation in one of the country’s most beautiful cities. Works in all genres, forms, and lengths are considered. The Festival is currently scheduled for April 9–18, 2021, and is being planned as a hybrid in-person and online event in accordance with all public health regulations active at that time. Details about the Festival’s venue footprint and in-person event structure will be shared as they become available, based on the realities of producing a safe and accessible film festival next spring.
Monday, October 19: Early deadline (all films)
Monday, November 16: Regular deadline (mid-length and feature films) / Final deadline (short films)
Monday, December 7: Final deadline (mid-length and feature films)
Monday, January 11, 2021: Late deadline (youth-produced works only)
Founded in 1957, SFFILM Festival is the longest-running film festival in the Americas. Refreshingly intimate for a festival of its size and scope, the event combines a range of marquee premieres, international competitions, compelling documentaries, new digital media work, live music performances, and star-studded red carpet events.
An extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery, SFFILM Festival is an internationally renowned cultural event, deeply rooted in the Bay Area values of diversity, inclusion, innovation, and creativity. The 2019 SFFILM Festival presented 209 screenings of 163 films from 52 countries, hosting more than 300 filmmaker and industry guests from around the globe. Although the 2020 SFFILM Festival was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its lineup was programmed and published (sffilm.org/festival) and many of its offerings were pivoted to online presentations.
“[SFFILM] Festival is situated in one of the most culturally diverse and progressive places on Earth, a place that harbors curiosity, creativity, innovation, internationalism, and a strong support for the arts…Indeed, beyond diversity and inclusion, one of the guiding principles of the festival is the desire to inspire a more civil discourse about the issues that affect us today.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“The annual flagship event for what is quickly becoming one of the most innovative film organizations in the US.” —IndieWire
The Festival’s awards and prizes recognize the best in emerging international and Bay Area talent by honoring remarkable innovation in documentary, narrative, animation, experimental, and youth-produced works. Filmmakers with work in the Festival lineup can also take advantage of industry meetings and networking events hosted by SFFILM Makers, the organization’s artist development arm.
Golden Gate Awards—More than $40,000 will be awarded by independent juries in several categories including the McBaine Documentary Feature Award with a $10,000 prize; the McBaine Bay Area Documentary Feature Award with a $5,000 prize; a New Directors Prize of $10,000 for the director of a first narrative feature; and awards totaling more than $15,000 in other categories of shorts, youth-produced, and family films.
This year the Festival is introducing a new Golden Gate Award for Best Mid-Length Film (31–50 minutes), with a cash prize of $3,000 in recognition of innovative work by filmmakers working outside of the traditional short and feature film formats.
Audience Awards—Decided by audience ballot throughout the Festival, Audience Awards for Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature are announced on Closing Night.
In addition, SFFILM Festival is an Academy Award–qualifying festival for all short film categories (documentary, live action, and animated), and a qualifying festival for the 14th annual Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction filmmaking, founded in 2007 to honor exemplary craft in documentaries.
“The SFFILM Festival screening experience is one of the best in the nation. There is so much thoughtfulness that goes into the programming and the surrounding events. The staff is incredibly supportive, and the screenings are well attended by a diverse and engaged audience—it’s a filmmaker’s dream.”
—Filmmaker Kelly Duane de la Vega, co-director of The Return
SFFILM is a nonprofit organization with a mission to champion the world’s finest films and filmmakers through programs anchored in and inspired by the spirit and values of the San Francisco Bay Area. Presenter of the San Francisco International Film Festival, SFFILM is a year-round organization delivering screenings and events to more than 75,000 film lovers and media education programs to more than 15,000 students, teachers, and families annually. In addition to its public programs, SFFILM supports the careers of independent filmmakers from the Bay Area and beyond with grants, residencies, and other creative development services.