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Submit A Film

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Call For Entries For The 2014 SDBFF is now open!

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1. Festival programming staff will select and invite films at their discretion. Entrants will be notified, if selected, via email, on or before November 8, 2013. If your film is not selected you may or may not be notified. Please feel free to email us regarding your film's status after November 8, 2013.

2. If selected, filmmakers are expected to provide the following:
(a) Exhibition copy. The format is Blu-ray, 35mm or DCP.
Again, we screen/exhibit work in the following formats only: Blu-ray, 35mm or DCP. (NTSC Region 1) (PAL is Not Accepted. NO PAL).
(b) Your film's trailer (MPEG compatible formats). Upon acceptance only, please upload your film's trailer to either DropBox, YouSendIt or similar uploading service and email us a link. (Youtube linked trailers are not acceptable). If your film has not been accepted, please do not email us your trailer link. It be will discarded.
(c) Stills (300dpi). Please upload your film's stills to either DropBox, YouSendIt or similar uploading service and email us a link. If your film has not been accepted, please do not email us your stills link. They will be discarded.
(d) Upon acceptance please mail us your film's poster and/or postcards. (Hard copies only, no electronic files).
(e) Upon acceptance, FedEx, UPS, or Express Mail your Blu-ray, 35mm or DCP screening copy to the festival. (Please send two screening copies. One will be used as backup if needed).

NOTE: Upon acceptance of your film; your film's trailer, stills and other materials may be used during the Festival for promotional purposes and in subsequent years. Selected films may be screened multiple times during the course of the Festival at the festival's discretion. Your press kit material and film may be used to promote the following year's event. In addition, your DVD copy will not be returned, but may be archived for research and historical purposes. However, your screening copy may be returned pursuant to the festival's return policy (See below). The San Diego Black Film Festival is not responsible for lost films or damage to any films during shipping, handling, or screening.

Screening Fees

The festival will not waive fees and will not pay rental fees under any circumstances. Rather, we devote our resources to producing the best possible showcase for your work and promoting your work as widely as possible with distribution of your product in mind.


We do not offer monetary awards. Our awards are solely based on honor and merit. The Festival presents the following awards to filmmakers and actors in competition:

Best Dramatic Feature
Best Documentary Feature
Best Documentary Short
Best Dramatic Short
Best Religious
Best Comedy
Best Animation
Best Music Video

Best Cutting Edge
Audience Choice


Winners will be presented with an award, to be determined, during the festival's Awards Ceremony. There may or may not be additional awards or giveaways.


Submit entries prepaid, including applicable customs fees via Fedx, UPS, or U.S. Post Office, etc.

San Diego Black Film Festival 220 West G Street, Suite E San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 685-7215

Package CDs securely. Selected filmmakers are responsible for delivery of the exhibition of Blu-ray or 35mm or DCPto our offices by the date designated at time of selection notification.

Please email submission questions to:

2014 Festival Dates: January 30 - February 2

Submission Fees and Deadlines

A completed application and entry fee must accompany each entry. There are no exceptions to the entry fee. Entries must be postmarked per the following deadlines:

  • Early-Bird Entry/Fee and Deadline: Must be postmarked by June 7, 2013. For fee schedule go to WAB or Direct Submit applications.

  • Regular Deadline: Must be postmarked by August 2, 2013. For fee schedule go to WAB or Direct Submit applications.

  • Late Entry Deadline: Must be postmarked by September 27, 2013. For fee schedule go to WAB or Direct Submit applications.

  • Rush/Extended Entry: Must be submitted by October 31, 2013. For fee schedule go to WAB or Direct Submit applications

    Entry fees are not refundable. Checks and credit cards are accepted through Withoutabox. If making a Direct Submit, money orders only. Payable to: San Diego Black Film Festival

Film Genres

The Festival accepts films/videos in the following genres: dramatic feature, dramatic short, comedy, documentary feature, documentary short, GLBT, animation, Christian, and music video. Festival programming staff may use their discretion to place your film in the appropriate category.

Eligibility/Rules of Entry

Films/videos entered into competition must be directed, produced, or principally acted by an artist of African descent in the USA or in any country, or by a person born in any country in Africa, or whose subject matter relates to African American culture or any cultures of Africa (including Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, etc.) regardless of race. Clarify questions of eligibility prior to submission of entry. Entries must not have been completed prior to January 1, 2012. Feature length entries and shorts must not have been exhibited previously at a film festival in San Diego, or any other commercial or nonprofit venue, (library, cultural center, university, etc.) in San Diego County. Nor can your film be commercially available for rent or purchase on DVD or other format for American audiences. Each project entered into the festival must pay an entry fee. There is no limit to the number of qualifying entries by any entrant so long as an entry form and fee accompanies each entry. Foreign language entries must be subtitled with English sub-titles. Films/videos cannot be re-entered into competition if previously rejected by the San Diego Black Film Festival. Entrants shall obtain all licenses, royalties, and permits necessary to present their work. Entrants will assume all costs arising from the use of patented, trademarked, franchised or copyrighted music, materials, devices, processes, or dramatic rights used in production of work. Entries previously exhibited on the Internet are eligible for entry so long as they meet the above requirements.

Feature and Short Definition

A feature is any work with a running time of 60 minutes or longer. Less than Sixty minutes running time designates a short.

How to Qualify

The San Diego Black Film Festival rules of entry define qualifying work and filmmakers. Entry to the Festival affirms understanding and acceptance by the filmmaker of all rules of entry.

Your submissions package must include all of the following:

  • A completed copy of the entry form for each entry

  • Standard NSTC DVD copy

  • Entry Fee (postmark on or before deadlines)


If your film is selected for screening at the 2014 San Diego Black Film Festival, you will receive an email from us on or before November 8, 2013. If you do not receive an email, this does not automatically mean your film was not accepted. Sometimes the notification process is delayed for various reasons. Feel free to email us after November 8, 2013 to obtain the disposition of your submission. But please do not email us prior to this date.

Legal Notice: By submitting your film, you're representing that you are duly authorized to submit your film and commit it for screening at the San Diego Black Film Festival and hereby do so in consideration of a submission fee and the festival's promise to screen your film, if selected. Accordingly, this shall constitute a binding agreement between the San Diego Black Film Festival and you as the applicant or filmmaker. If your film is selected, you must submit your screening copy per the deadline indicated in the notice of acceptance. You agree to adhere to all rules and regulations of the festival. You agree to hold the San Diego Black Film Festival harmless from damage to or loss of the screening/exhibition copy en route or otherwise during the course of the festival's possession of the film. You understand and agree that the San Diego Black Film Festival is not obligated to return any film/screening copy not personally retrieved during or at the close of the year's Festival. Should any liability or damage result or legal action commence, stemming from the submission and/or exhibition of your film, you agree to indemnify the San Diego Black Film Festival and its affiliates, and waive any claims. By submitting your film, you are confirming that you have read and fully understand the above terms and conditions and further agree that the submission constitutes your electronic signature upon receipt by the festival.

How to Submit Your Work

To apply utilizing Withoutabox, click HERE.

TO APPLY ONLINE, directly with the Festival, CLICK HERE.