2019 George Sidney Independent Film Competition

Named for renowned director George Sidney, longtime supporter of the SLO Film Fest and indie filmmakers during his lifetime, this film competition is growing fast! Thanks to filmmakers from all over the world submitting exciting new films of all genres, lengths and subject matter, the SLO Film Fest is able to offer to its audiences a wide variety of contemporary, thought-provoking cinema and over 85% filmmaker attendance at their screenings. Great scenery, friendly, intelligent audiences, industry reps and wonderful hotels await you in beautiful San Luis Obispo. We hope to screen your film here in March 2019!

How to Participate

We will start to accept film entries in all categories on July 9, 2018. Select filmmakers will be invited to present their films before a festival audience, from March 12th to 17th, 2019.

Films in the George Sidney (worldwide) competition will compete in several categories:

  • Best Full-length Narrative Film (45 min.+)
  • Best Full-length Documentary (45 min.+)
  • Best Narrative Short Film (under 45 min.)
  • Best Documentary Short Film (under 45 min.)
  • Best College Student Film (any length)

All winners will receive San Luis Obispo County hotel, restaurant and wine tasting packages.

Competition films will also be eligible for Audience Awards in five categories: Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Short Narrative Film, Best Short Documentary Film and Best in Fest (any length.) Best in the Fest award is a weekend resort package at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort in Avila Beach.

Competition Rules

If a film is accidentally entered in the wrong category, it will be disqualified so please read these rules carefully.

Submissions in the George Sidney and Central Coast Filmmaker categories must be received by November 19, 2018. The extended late submission deadline is December 3, 2018. Absolutely no late submissions will be considered after this date.



For specific contest rules for The Filmmakers of Tomorrow competition for high school, middle and primary school students (not college students), please click here: Youth Contest Rules. Submissions for this competition should be entered directly to the SLO Film Fest and there is no entry fee.

Filmmakers with films that were produced, directed or written by residents in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara or Monterey counties are invited to submit their films through Withoutabox or Film Freeway, for a discounted entry fee, for possible screening in the Central Coast Filmmakers Showcase. The same film cannot be entered in the George Sidney Independent Film Competition however. A separate set of jurists will choose a selection of films to be screened as “local” films. If the “local” film is entered in the George Sidney Independent Film Competition it will be judged by the SLO Film Fest Programming Committee along with all other entries from around the world. If a film is entered in this category but the filmmakers are not residents of one of the three counties listed above, the entry will be disqualified.

The SLO Film Fest reserves the right to determine eligibility of any work submitted. All films submitted must have a completion date after March 1, 2017. Preferred format for screening copies is online link – preferably Vimeo or YouTube.
Films selected for screening at the Festival will be notified no later than January 31, 2019. All George Sidney Independent Film Competition filmmakers will be provided with one night’s accommodation at a hotel in the San Luis Obispo area. They will also be given two all-access passes to the 2019 SLO Film Fest.

SLO Film Fest Alumni filmmakers are invited to submit a new film with a fee waiver. Please contact



Deadlines Student Short Feature
Earlybird: September 10, 2018 GS*: $25.00
CCFS*: $19.00
GS: $30.00
CCFS: $22.00
GS: $40.00
CCFS: $30.00
Regular: October 15, 2018 GS: $30.00
CCFS: $22.00
GS: $40.00
CCFS: $30.00
GS: $50.00
CCFS: $37.00
Late: November 19, 2018 GS: $40.00
CCFS: $30.00
GS: $50.00
CCFS: $37.00
GS: $60.00
CCFS: $45.00
Extended: December 3, 2018
GS: $55.00
CCFS: $40.00
GS: $65.00
CCFS: $50.00
GS: $75.00
CCFS: $55.00
*GS: George Sidney Independent Film Competition (open to all filmmakers worldwide)
*CCFS: Central Coast Filmmakers Showcase
(open to filmmakers in San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Santa Barbara Counties – see more information above)