shutterstock_laurels2017 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 2017!

How to Participate

Entries will be accepted for consideration for the 2017 George Sidney Independent Film Competition beginning on June 6, 2016. Select filmmakers will be invited to present their films before a festival audience, from March 14 to 19, 2017.

Films will compete in several categories:

  • Best Full-length Narrative Film (45 min.+) – Cash Prize $1000
  • Best Full-length Documentary (45 min.+) – Cash Prize $1000
  • Best Short Film (under 45 min.) – Cash Prize $500
  • Best College Student Film (any length) – Cash Prize $500

Competition films will also be eligible for Audience Awards in three categories: Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Short 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

Submissions in all categories must be received by November 18, 2016. The extended late submission deadline is November 30, 2016. Absolutely no late submissions will be considered after this date.
New entries are now being excepted on FilmFreeway and Withoutabox.



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. We’ll start accepting entries in early July 2016.

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, 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.

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, 2015. 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 15, 2017. 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 2017 SLO Film Fest, as well as 2 Wine Tasting Passes.

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


Deadlines Student Short Feature
Earlybird: September 2, 2016 GS*: $25.00
CCFS*: $19.00
GS: $30.00
CCFS: $22.00
GS: $40.00
CCFS: $30.00
Regular: October 14, 2016 GS: $30.00
CCFS: $22.00
GS: $40.00
CCFS: $30.00
GS: $50.00
CCFS: $37.00
Late: November 18, 2016 GS: $40.00
CCFS: $30.00
GS: $50.00
CCFS: $37.00
GS: $60.00
CCFS: $45.00
Extended: November 30, 2016
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)