Additional Submission Questions

What running time do you consider a feature film or short film?

Films with a total running time over 40 minutes are considered a feature film. Films 40 minutes or less are considered short films. This rule is strictly observed.

Do you accept works in progress and rough cuts?

Yes. We will consider rough cuts of films as long as a completed version will be available by the final week of December, 2013. Please note that your submission rate will be based on the date your final cut is received

Can I send in an updated version of a submission I already sent in?

Yes. Please let us know the film is a new version when you send it in and we will swap it out.

What should I include with my submission?

Please make sure your film is labeled, both on the disc and case, with the title, WAB number, contact name, and e-mail address. If your film is a rough cut, please label it as such and list what needs to be completed. If you are a local filmmaker, please label your film to that effect.

Please write your WAB number on the shipment envelope/box.

An e-mail address is required with your submission along with a contact name and title. This information is required so we may acknowledge receipt of your submission. No other acknowledgement will be sent.

Should I include a press kit?

DO NOT INCLUDE A PRESS KIT. We will request a press kit including digital stills if your film is accepted

The information included with your submission application on Withoutabox will provide us with all the info we need about your film. We will contact you if we need any additional information.

My film was not accepted last year, can I submit it again this year?

Films submitted in previous years can be resubmitted ONLY if they are new versions of the film. We will not accept films submitted in previous years that have not been changed.

What kinds of films do you accept?

We accept all kinds of films and are not limited to one genre or another with the following exceptions:

· We will not accept music videos, commercials, PSAs, or promotional films.
· Films/videos that have received national U.S. network television (including cable) or theatrical release prior to Festival are not eligible.
· Films/videos that are available for sale on DVD, or available for viewing on the internet, are not eligible.

Will screeners be returned once decisions are made?

No, we are unable to return screeners. Please do not send master copies.

Do you provide feedback if a film is not accepted?

Due to high volume of submissions we are unable to provide feedback on individual entries.

Are you an Academy Award nominating festival?

Yes. The short films that win the Bruce Corwin award for short fiction and animation will be in consideration for the Academy Award.

When will decisions be made?

Acceptances are sent out on a rolling basis starting in December. Final decisions will be made and announced at the end of the first week of January. An exact date is not available.

ALL Filmmakers will be notified via e-mail about final decisions. If no e-mail address is provided, no notification will be sent. We are not responsible for incorrect or nonworking e-mail addresses.

Does SBIFF have any premiere policies?

We do not have any official premiere policies, films screened at other festivals domestically and abroad may screen at our festival. However, we prefer if films have not been shown in the local region.

Can I submit multiple films?

Yes. Each film must have its own unique WAB number and separate submission fee.

Where do I send my film?

All screeners can be sent to:

Santa Barbara International Film Festival
Attn: Programming
1528 Chapala St. Suite 203
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Please write your WAB number on the envelope.

How many films are submitted and how many are accepted?

Last year we received well over 3,000 submissions. We accepted over 170 feature films and over 70 shorts. These numbers change from year to year.

What is your review process?

All films are viewed by the SBIFF programmers and a committee of local and trusted film lovers and professionals. Each film is viewed a minimum of two times, rated, and will move on to the next stage based off those ratings. SBIFF programmers will make final decisions and notify filmmakers accordingly. All decisions are final and feedback for individual films is not available.

I’m a local filmmaker, what special steps do I take?

Before submitting on Withoutabox please e-mail us at to let us know your submission is on the way. In your e-mail, please tell us how you are related to the Santa Barbara community.

Local filmmakers are considered as living in Santa Barbara County. Student films completed at UCSB, SBCC, Brooks, Westmont, and other local schools are also considered local films. Films shot in Santa Barbara are only considered local if the filmmakers live locally. If you are unsure if your film qualifies, please contact us.

Once we have determined your film qualifies as a “Local Film” you will be provided with a promotional code for a free submission to input during your WOB submission process. (Please note that once submission fees have been paid they may not be refunded even if your film subsequently qualifies as a local film)

Please clearly mark your submission on the packaging that the film is from a local filmmaker.

Your odds of acceptance are much higher if your film is submitted to the “Local Films” category however films submitted to this category are not eligible for competition. Qualifying local films submitted to other categories will still receive a fee waiver.

My question isn’t on this list.

If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us at and we will do our best to assist you.