5th Annual

Social Justice Film Festival

October 14, 2016 to October 25, 2016

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Social Justice Documentary Feature
Social Justice Documentary Features are Feature-length nonfiction films dealing with issues relevant to Social Justice. This genre includes journalism, personal profile, and cinéma vérité films, but it excludes fiction films.
Social Justice Narrative Feature
Social Justice Narrative Features are non-documentary Feature-length films dealing with the themes of the Social Justice Film Festival. This genre can include scripted and improvised narrative, experimental, and even based-on-a-true-story films, but it excludes documentary films.
Social Justice Documentary Short
Social Justice Documentary shorts are short nonfiction films dealing with the themes of the Social Justice Film Festival. This genre includes journalism, personal profile, and cinéma vérité films, but it excludes fiction films.
Social Justice Narrative Short
Social Justice Narrative Shorts are non-documentary short films dealing with the themes of the 2016 Social Justice Film Festival. This genre can include scripted and improvised narrative, experimental, and even based-on-a-true-story shorts, but it excludes documentary films.


The Social Justice Film Festival highlights film and video work created to institute change around the world. As a movement, social justice promotes a global culture where equality is achieved on all levels. This includes issues pertaining to incarceration, the environment and sustainability, oppression, race and racism, gender equality, the arts and rights of expression and speech, animal rights, alternative currency and lifestyles, disenfranchisement, water and food insecurity, economic disparity, homelessness, exploitation, corruption within the system and more. The festival will showcase works that challenge society structures all over the globe on a macro and micro level.


The Social Justice Film Festival returns for 2016 in partnership with Columbia Legal Services to explore all aspects of social justice.
Based in Seattle, Washington, a city known for progressive politics, technical innovation and stunning natural surroundings, the festival brings together filmmakers from around the world to encourage interaction and engagement through film and events.

The festival will include programming and speakers that bring attention to social justice concerns in the world, and celebrate the stories of groups and people who are working for a better future. We will exhibit shorts and feature-length documentaries and narrative films from the U.S. and around the world. In 2016, we especially invite submissions that explore worker justice, employment and debt.

Featured speakers for past programs have included author of "Dead Man Walking" Sister Helen Prejean, activist and actor Mr. Danny Glover, investigative journalist Will Potter, founder of Define American Jose Antonio Vargas, recording artist and educator DJ Cavem, activist and former captain of the Seattle Black Panthers Aaron Dixon, Yupik elder Bobby Andrew, activist and filmmaker Sanjay Rawal, and more.


Anne Paxton (Festival Director); Joseph Cole (Festival Registrar)



Early submission deadline:
May 1, 2016
Regular submission deadline:
June 1, 2016
Final submission deadline:
July 1, 2016

Notification of acceptance:
Labor Day, Monday September 5, 2016

Exhibition media due:
September 30, 2016

Festival dates:
October 13-October 16, 2016

The 2016 Social Justice Film Festival in partnership with Columbia Legal Services is hosting our 5th year of Social Justice films. Only films related to social justice are able to be reviewed, and the selected films will screen in conjunction with a panel discussion and speakers over the course of the festival in October in Seattle.

Selected films must be made available for Festival presentation in digital video (DVD, BluRay, or Digital file) or 35mm. Flash drive with quicktime.mov is the preferred format. Filmmakers whose films are selected should deliver their film in an acceptable final presentation format. Failure to provide the film in acceptable format may result in the film being unable to play at the Festival.

Foreign language films must be made available with the original
language soundtrack and English subtitles or English dubbing.


Entry Fee
International entrants who do not pay by credit card must use an international money order paid in US dollars through a US bank.
Entry fees are not refundable.

Preview DVD
DVDs will not be returned unless accompanied by an addressed and prepaid return envelope.
• Key film still - 300dpi JPEG image, captioned with name of actors
• Film description and synopsis
• Complete principal cast and production credits listing
• Self-addressed, stamped postcard to verify receipt (optional)
Entry materials will not be returned. Incomplete entries will not be
considered. Required materials can be submitted digitally.
All film submissions must be shipped prepaid and packed in proper
containers to arrive on time.

Please be aware that in all categories, World, North American and US
Premieres are preferred.

DVD Labeling & Shipping:
Preview DVDs should be clearly labeled with the film title, running
time, and contact information (including name, address, and phone

International shipments must be accompanied by a
commercial invoice (containing the film’s title, running time, format
[color or b&w], value of shipment, and sender’s name and address).
SJFF can not help with customs clearances.

We advise all preview media shipping from outside the U.S. be sent with the following declaration:
“Free entry claimed under #724.12 (960.60). U.S. Tariff Act.
No commercial value, for Film Festival use only.”

Films selected for screening will be notified by September 5, 2016.

Shipping (accepted films):
It will be the filmmaker’s responsibility to cover the incoming shipping
costs to SJFF. SJFF will cover the return costs to the domestic address designated by the filmmaker.
SJFF can not cover international shipping.

The Seattle Social Justice Film Festival awards honors according to audience voting in each of our categories.


Consideration for the Social Justice Film Festival is contingent on adherence to the submission dates, beginning in May and ending July 1st. All entries must be postmarked no later than July 1st to be considered. Submissions are not returned unless the submitting filmmaker includes a SASE. The Social Justice Film Festival will make every effort to return your submission in cases where a SASE is provided, but cannot be held liable for your film in transit. Please, never send a project's master copy.