Call for Entries for the 30th Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival (March 9-19, 2023)

Submit Now!

The San Diego Latino Film Festival (SDLFF) was born thirty years ago to serve as a platform that champions underrepresented voices in film by challenging the reigning and ever-present stereotypes about the Latinx experience in cinema. For the past three decades we have given filmmakers the power to tell and share Latinx stories by showcasing their amazing works. We are proud to advocate for inclusive, diverse, and progressive cinematic storytelling about the Latinx identity.

We invite you and all other visionary filmmakers to be a part of our 30th anniversary by submitting your project for consideration. 

SDLFF has had the honor of hosting over 3,000 renowned directors, actors, producers, writers and more including Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, Alfonso Cuarón, Kate del Castillo, Damián Alcázar, Dolores Huerta, Danny Trejo, among many others.

The 30th Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival is being planned as an in-person edition. The festival will continue monitoring developments pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic and will make modifications regarding in-person exhibitions following local and statewide health statutes to ensure the safety of its public. Any changes to our festival’s format will be communicated to participating filmmakers.

Entries must be submitted into one of the categories below. From there, they will be screened and evaluated by our selection committee and festival curators. Accepted entries will be categorized into specific programs at the discretion of the programming team. A longer description of each category is included in the Rules and Terms Section.

Narrative Feature (60 min or more)

Documentary Feature (60 min or more)

Narrative Short (30 min or less)

Documentary Short (30 min or less)

Local Film – Narrative Feature (60 min or more)

Local Film – Documentary Feature (60 min or more)

Local Film – Narrative Short (30 min or less)

Local Film – Documentary Short (30 min or less)

Youth Short (30 min or less)

Episodic Content (30 min or less)

Music Video (5 min or less)

This year’s call for entries will be much more competitive as the festival anticipates accepting fewer finalists than in years prior to accommodate capacity limitations. Submission deadlines will be strictly enforced and we encourage all submitters to read the Rules & Terms very carefully before submitting.

Films in competition for the festival’s awards will be chosen by the selection committee with support from a group of guest programmers. The selection committee is comprised of filmmakers, academics, film critics and members of the community who share a passion for film. In the months leading up to the festival, selection committee members will meet to screen and evaluate the film entries submitted through FilmFreeway. They will work closely with the festival’s programming team to find the best films for this year’s edition and to ensure a diverse group of individuals are making curatorial decisions.  Curators will have access to film ratings created by selection committee members.

All film entries will be screened for eligibility by the selection committee and curators, however, not all entries will be programmed. Not every submitted film will be a finalist for our awards categories. The list of finalists may include features and shorts submitted during the call for entries, and other sources under special circumstances.

We will not reimburse fees if your film is not selected or if it does comply with any of these guidelines. If your film is not selected, the festival is not obligated to provide detailed notes regarding this decision.

More information on Awards included in the  Rules & Terms section below.

Please review the following section before submitting your film. Failure to follow guidelines may result in your film being disqualified from consideration. 

RULES & TERMS

Submissions to the 30th Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival are now open. SDLFF 2023 is seeking innovative, original, and thought-provoking works that are ‘by’, ‘about’, or ‘for’ the Latinx community, that have been completed from 2021-2022. Please register your films through our submission platform, FilmFreeway. Do not send screening links directly to the Programmers’ inboxes. These entries will not be reviewed.  We use this platform to keep track of our entries and links sent directly to our inboxes may be hard to localize given the high volume of emails we receive during our festival season. If you decide to forego the registration, your film will not be placed into consideration.

Fees must be paid before festival programmers screen your works and must be paid by the deadline. We do not give preferential treatment to entries submitted early BUT we advise that filmmakers take advantage of the Early Bird Submission Deadline since it is the lowest price point to register your film.

Submitted films must be the SAN DIEGO COUNTY PREMIERES and must not have been screened at another local film festival, theater chain, television, or be available on Blu-Ray or DVD before the end dates of our festival in the San Diego area. Work available in VOD or S-VOD will be considered on a project by project basis.  Films exhibited in the Tijuana or Baja California region may be accepted but have to fulfill the criteria of being a San Diego Premiere. If a film has been made available in the San Diego County region via a virtual film festival, we will consider the film as long as it is not available in March of 2023 and/or screened in person prior to our festival dates.

The festival will not pay an exhibition fee for any accepted entries initially submitted through our general Call for Entries. 

The SDLFF may screen any accepted entries up to four times during the festival dates (March 9-19, 2023) at ANY of our exhibition venues. The section or program the film is scheduled for is at the discretion of Festival Programmers. By submitting your film, you recognize the festival may select to screen your film in-person and are confirming all rights related to public screenings of your film have been cleared. We are not liable for any legal disputes that may arise from the public exhibition of your film.

You must also confirm that the film was created by Latinx filmmakers, has Latinx talent in front of the camera, and/or is about the Latinx experience.

Submission Categories:

Applicants must classify their film under one of the following categories. The Festival Programmers will then sort the films into the various sections that comprise our festival program. New sections will be created based on the type of content the festival receives. All films must be registered through our FilmFreeway.. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept DVD or physical submissions at this time. Please upload digital exhibition copies to FilmFreeway. If you are linking your film to FilmFreeway from Vimeo with password protection, please make sure the password remains active throughout our selection process.

Narrative Feature

Any scripted work of fiction (including mockumentary style) with a running time of 60 minutes or more. If the film is a narrative documentary hybrid, please submit under this category. Film must be ‘by’ Latinxs, ‘about’ Latinxs or ‘for’ the Latinx community.

Documentary Feature

Any non-fiction work with a running time of 60 minutes or more. Scripted re-enactments within the film are acceptable. Film must be ‘by’ Latinxs, ‘about’ Latinxs or ‘for’ the Latinx community.

Narrative Short

Any scripted work of fiction (including mockumentary style) with a running time of 30 minutes or less. If the film is a narrative documentary hybrid, please submit under this category. Film must be ‘by’ Latinxs, ‘about’ Latinxs or ‘for’ the Latinx community.

Documentary Short

Any non-fiction work with a running time of 30 minutes or less. Scripted re-enactments within the film are acceptable. Films must be ‘by’ Latinxs, ‘about’ Latinxs or ‘for’ the Latinx community.

Local Film (Frontera) – Narrative Feature

Any scripted work of fiction (including mockumentary style) with a running time of 60 minutes or more. If the film is a narrative documentary hybrid, please submit under this category. More than 50% of the production must have taken place in the San Diego or Tijuana Border region. Film must be ‘by’ Latinxs, ‘about’ Latinxs or ‘for’ the Latinx community

Local Film (Frontera) – Documentary Feature

Any non-fiction work with a running time of 60 minutes or more. Scripted re-enactments within the film are acceptable.More than 50% of the production must have taken place in the San Diego or Tijuana Border Region. Film must be ‘by’ Latinxs, ‘about’ Latinxs or ‘for’ the Latinx community.

Local Film (Frontera) – Narrative Short

Any scripted work of fiction (including mockumentary style) with a running time of 30 minutes or less. If the film is a narrative documentary hybrid, please submit under this category. More than 50% of the production must have taken place in the San Diego or Tijuana Border Region. Film must be ‘by’ Latinxs, ‘about’ Latinxs or ‘for’ the Latinx community.

Local Film (Frontera) – Documentary Short

Any non-fiction work with a running time of 30 minutes or less. Scripted re-enactments within the film are acceptable. More than 50% of the production must have taken place in the San Diego or Tijuana Border Region. Film must be ‘by’ Latinxs, ‘about’ Latinxs or ‘for’ the Latinx community.

Youth Short

Any film with a running time of 30 minutes or less that fits the Narrative or Documentary Shorts parameters, submitted by someone less than 18 years of at the date of submitting. Film must be ‘by’ Latinxs, ‘about’ Latinxs or ‘for’ the Latinx community.

Episodic Content

Any single and/or collection of short films (with an overarching theme), television episodes, online webisodes, and telenovela episodes are acceptable. If submitting multiple episodes, each should be included in your submission copy as a single file (for example, if your web series is 10 episodes long there shouldn’t be 10 links for each episode of the web series.) Narrative or documentary projects accepted. This content should not be made available on any VOD or S-VOD platform for streaming, or have premiered on television before the end of the festival. This content should be a San Diego Premiere. Episodic Content must be ‘by’ Latinxs, ‘about’ Latinxs or ‘for’ the Latinx community.

Music Video

A video that integrates an existing song with visual imagery with a running time of 5 minutes or less. Rights for the song must be cleared ahead of any festival exhibition. Film must be ‘by’ Latinxs, ‘about’ Latinxs or ‘for’ the Latinx community. These videos may play within a program showcase, festival trailers, and/or pre-show. 

Additional Information:

We will accept entries submitted as works in progress with temporary music, missing scenes, color correction, etc. However, the submitted project should be indicative of the overall quality of the finished product. If accepted, the film in question should be completed well before the start date of our festival. We DO NOT screen works in progress as exhibition copies.

Films must be submitted with English subtitles if the dialogue is in another language other than English. Films must have been completed after January 2021. Projects completed December 31, 2020 and prior are not eligible for this edition of the film festival.

It is the responsibility of the submitter to ensure that the screening link they submit works properly. We will make an attempt to connect with you if we experience difficulties screening your film and expect to receive a working link in a timely fashion. Failure to comply will render your film ineligible from being placed under consideration.

If your film was not accepted last year and you are re-submitting, please keep in mind that the likelihood of your film being accepted is proportional to the number of changes and improvements that have been made to it. If you are submitting an identical or near-identical version of your film, it will not be accepted.

Please note: DVD screeners, press kits, and any other physical materials submitted during the Call for Entries period will not be returned.

Upon acceptance to the festival, the following is required:

Features: Press Kit containing 100 words synopsis in English, 5 hi-res film stills (300 dpi, CMYK and/or RGB color), digital trailer with English subtitles (if films is in any language other than English), online or physical screener of film for press.

Shorts: Press Kit containing 50 word synopsis in English, 3 hi-res film stills (300 dpi, CMYK and/or RGB color), digital trailer with English subtitles, if available.

Information regarding exhibition copies:

Features: DCP with  a backup Blu-Ray. Along with a copy of the film in a H.264 format video file with a file size smaller than 10GB. Exhibition copies of accepted features must be received by February 1, 2023.

Shorts: DCP along with a copy of the film in a H.264 format video file with a file size smaller than 10GB. Exhibition copies of accepted features must be received by February 1, 2023…

* Submitters will be notified of entry status in mid-January 2023. Judges’ decisions are final. Due to the large number of films we receive, feedback on individual films will not be provided.

An additional panel of filmmakers, film critics, and local luminaries will sit on this year’s Awards Jury. Awards are given for excellence in form and content. Films to be considered for competition will be determined by the Festival Curators. Not every film submitted via the call for entries will be included in the final list of nominees. Nominees will be notified. Feedback on why certain films are not nominees will not be provided.

Awards Categories:

Best Narrative Feature

Best Documentary Feature

Audience Award Narrative Feature

Audience Award Documentary Feature

Best Narrative Short

Best Documentary Short

Best Local Feature

Best Local Short

Best Youth Film (Under 18 years old)

*Additional categories may be added based on festival showcases.

For questions, please contact, Moises Esparza, moises@mediaartscenter.org (619) 230-1938 ext. 105 (Features), or Juan Lopez, juan@mediaartscenter.org (619) 230-1938 ext. 107 (Shorts), and Nicole Góes (Features/Shorts) at nicole@mediaartscenter.org (619) 230-1938 ext.106

Deadlines & Fees: 

Early Bird Deadline: Friday, September 9th, 2022

Features & Shorts: $10

Regular Deadline: Friday, October 7th, 2022

Features: $25

Shorts: $20

Late Deadline: Friday, November 11th, 2022

Features: $35

Shorts: $30

Submit Now!

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