10th Annual

Santa Monica International Film Festival

July 23, 2016 to July 23, 2016


U.S. Documentary Feature Films


Deadlines & Entry Fees

All fees will be charged in U.S. Dollar
...but you can display them in these other currencies:

Online Services Offered
Entry Form
Fee Payment
Press Kit
Submission Copy
Earlybird Deadline
August 1, 2015
Regular Discounted
Standard Fee 60.00 55.00
Regular Deadline
September 1, 2015
Regular Discounted
Standard Fee 80.00 75.00
Late Deadline
October 1, 2015
Regular Discounted
Standard Fee 105.00 100.00
WAB Extended Deadline
May 1, 2016
Regular Discounted
Standard Fee 105.00 100.00

Discounted fees apply to projects with pre-purchased Discount Packs, on entry fees greater than 30.00.

Category Details

Approximately June 15, 2016

Features: minimum 50 minutes

Projects completed after January 1, 2013

Projects may originate from anywhere in the world

No premiere requirement

Project must not have distribution

Submission & Exhibition Format Requirements

  Secure Online Screener
REGION 0    
REGION 1    

Subtitled Dubbed Dialog List

REGION 0    
REGION 1    
REGION 0    
REGION 1    
Media Files
  .MOV (Quicktime)
Film Gauge

Subtitled Dubbed Dialog List

Press Kit Requirements

A press kit is required, but only after acceptance.
> Production Still Photos - Digital
> Photo of the Director - Digital
> Biography/Filmography - Director
> Biography/Filmography - Producer
> Biography/Filmography - Writer
> One-Sheet Art - Postcards
> One-Sheet Art - Fliers
> One-Sheet Art - Posters
> Statement by the Director
> Press Clippings

Prizes & Awards

This category is a competition.

U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary

Audience Award: U.S. Documentary

Directing Award: U.S. Documentary

Cinematography Award: U.S. Documentary

Editing Award: U.S. Documentary

Category Rules

To submit to this category, your film must be a non-fiction film with a running time of 50 minutes or more WITH THE EXCEPTION OF, and NOT INCLUDING, entirely scripted or improvised fictionalizations of actual events. If your documentary contains some dramatization of actual events, you may submit in this category, but we will ultimately decide which program is best suited for your project, if accepted. In order to qualify as a U.S. Documentary Feature Film, at least half of the submitted project's financing must originate from within the United States. Only films that are World Premieres are eligible for our U.S. Documentary Competition program, but U.S. Documentary Feature Films that have previously played at up to two other festivals anywhere in the world are still eligible for our out-of-competition programs. U.S. Documentary Films that have been otherwise exhibited theatrically, broadcast on television or the Internet, or released via any home video or other distribution platform including, but not limited to, DVD, Blu-ray or video on demand, are not eligible for any of the Institute’s Festival programs.

Feature films may be submitted on either a single DVD or Blu-ray, or via the Withoutabox Secure Online Screener system. For the purposes of reviewing your initial submission, we cannot accept VHS, Beta, Mini-DV, HD-CAM, 16mm, 35mm, YouTube/Vimeo links, etc. If your film is accepted into the Festival, we will contact you regarding the exhibition formats we accept for projection.

Your film must be submitted on a single disc. If you submit half of the film on one disc and half on another, we will only watch the first disc. If your film is too large to fit on a standard 4.7GB DVD, you may burn it to a 9.5GB dual-layer disc, but you must also include a standard DVD-R or DVD+R that is encoded at a lower bitrate as a backup. DVDs and Blu-ray discs must be compatible with standard set-top DVD and/or Blu-ray players. Do not simply burn a quicktime or AVI file to a disc as data. Please ensure that your disc plays in a standard player before sending it to us!

Please refrain from using paper labels on your disc, as they may cause the disc to spin improperly during playback. This includes any label or sticker with an adhesive surface. Instead, please write or print your film’s title and tracking number directly on the surface of the disc.

For DVDs, it is highly preferred that you send us an NTSC, region 1 or region free (region 0) DVD when submitting to us, but we will accept other formats as well (such as PAL). If you are sending a disc that has a region code other than 0 or 1, and/or a format other than NTSC, please mark this CLEARLY on the face of the disc and on the DVD sleeve or case. If you choose to submit your feature film on Blu-ray, we ask that you ONLY submit a region 1 or region 0 disc! Due to region coding issues with the Blu-ray format, most of our Blu-ray players will not play discs that are formatted to region 2 or above.

After you have completed the online application, all we need from you is a single copy of your film. In an effort to cut down on waste, we ask that you do not send printed press or promotional materials to us-- we will not keep anything in your package except for your disc. Quite often, films sent to us in standard size retail DVD or Blu-ray cases will become dislodged during shipping, resulting in scratched, unplayable discs, so we recommend mailing your film in a paper sleeve or slim jewel or clamshell case. Please refrain from taping your disc to any surface, as tape residue may also render your disc unplayable. Our preferred method of packaging is a medium (approximately 6” x 9”), bubble padded envelope. It is not necessary to wrap your disc in bubble wrap and mail it to us in an oversized box. Doing so will only make it more difficult for us to process your film once it is received. If you choose to upload your film via Withoutabox’s Secure Online Screener system, please do not send in a DVD or Blu-ray disc!