2023 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 April 2023!

How to Participate
In 2023 we will offering a hybrid festival with virtual and in person screenings. Prizes and cash awards will still be presented and our festival will continue its commitment to presenting world-class cinema in San Luis Obispo County from April 25 – 30 2023.

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 Student Film (any length)
  • Best Music Video
  • Best Animation

All winners will receive cash prizes: $1000 for feature-length films and $500 for short and student categories. Other prizes may also be awarded for Music Videos. The Central Coast Filmmaker Showcase films are eligible for awards in the same categories, and other prizes may also be awarded.
George Sidney 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.) Prizes will be announced in early 2023.

Competition Rules
If a film is accidentally entered into 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 22th, 2022. The extended late submission deadline is November 30th, 2022. Absolutely no late submissions will be considered after this date. Submissions will be accepted via Film Freeway.

The SLO Film Fest reserves the right to determine eligibility of any work submitted. All films submitted must have a completion date after July 1, 2021. Preferred format for screening copies is an online link – preferably Vimeo.

Films selected for screening at the Festival will be notified no later than February 1, 2023. All George Sidney Independent Film Competition filmmakers will be provided with one night’s accommodation at a hotel in the San Luis Obispo area (this does not include filmmakers in the Central Coast Filmmakers Showcase, Music Video Showcase, or Filmmakers of Tomorrow Showcase unless excess availability). They will also be given two all-access passes to the 2023 SLO Film Fest.

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 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 the wrong category, it will be disqualified.

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

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. 
Submission fees are non-refundable and will not be refunded if a film is not selected.

August 31, 2022
GS*: $25.00
CCFS*: $19.00
GS: $30.00
CCFS: $22.00
GS: $40.00
CCFS: $30.00
October 25, 2022
GS: $30.00
CCFS: $22.00
GS: $40.00
CCFS: $30.00
GS: $50.00
CCFS: $37.00
November 22, 2022
GS: $40.00
CCFS: $30.00
GS: $50.00
CCFS: $37.00
GS: $60.00
CCFS: $45.00
November 30, 2022
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)