Festival Submit



The Slamdance Film Festival accepts films in every genre, on any topic, from every country around the world. We spotlight low-budget Narrative and Documentary Features by first-time directors, Breakout Features from non-first time directors, short films across genres, and episodes. We do not disqualify any films based on premiere status or date of completion.

The festival program is selected entirely from our blind submissions pool and no films are given special treatment based on who made them or who they know. Over 200 Slamdance alumni filmmakers are responsible for the programming and organization of the festival. Comprised of a variety of backgrounds, interests, and talents, but with no individual filmmaker’s vote valued more than any other, Slamdance committees have been able to stay close to its original DIY spirit and continue to champion the bleeding-edge of contemporary filmmaking.


Submissions Open
May 8th, 2024

Earlybird Deadline
July 8th, 2024
Features $65 Shorts $45

Regular Deadline
August 12th, 2024
Features $85 Shorts $60

Late Deadline
September 16th, 2024
Features $110 Shorts $70

Extended Deadline
October 11th, 2024
Features $125 Shorts $85

Notification Date
December 19th, 2024

Festival Dates

February 20-26, 2025


Over 40 minutes. Not previously or currently being released in the US by a third-party distributor. Not distributed online. Participation in online film festivals is allowed. Budget under $1 million USD.

Directed by first-time Narrative Feature director(s).

Directed by first-time Documentary Feature director(s)


Narrative and documentary features directed by NON-first-time feature director(s).

Over 40 minutes. Not previously or currently being released in the US by a third-party distributor. Not distributed online. Participation in online film festivals is allowed. No budget restriction.


Since 1995, Slamdance has been recognized as the premiere festival for discovering visionary first-time directors:  Christopher Nolan (Following),  Lynn Shelton (We Go Way Back), Bong Joon Ho (Barking Dogs Never Bite), Sean Baker (Take Out),  Lena Dunham (Dealing),  Behn Zeitlin (The Origins of Electricity), Ana Lily Amirpour (Six and A Half), and many more

While Slamdance’s main competition remains exclusive to first-time directors, the BREAKOUTS program (is designed to) serves directors beyond their first films who maintain distinct visual styles and a unique cinematic voice.  At Slamdance, we’ve recognized an inherent need for a viable platform for these fiercely independent filmmakers who might not have the connections to get coveted spots in industry labs and financing along the more traditional development roads.  Rather, they continue to make films “their” way, beyond the more star-driven Hollywood and festival elite’s radar. BREAKOUTS is where we want the next Nolan with his second film, Memento, Shelton with Humpday, and Zeitlin with Beasts of the Southern Wild to take off. We want these types of distinct voices to be recognized by distributors, agents, and producers who can help drive them forward with distribution and long-lasting, commercially viable careers.


Spotlight is a curated program that is for narrative and documentary feature premieres made by established directors who continue to take creative risks in their storytelling. They come to the festival not only to showcase their new work but to support the Slamdance community at large. Previous participants include Jonathan Demme, Lynne Sachs and alumni Dana Nachman and Steven Soderbergh.

Please contact the Slamdance office if you are interested in submitting to Spotlight.


Under 40 minutes. No distribution restrictions. Narrative, Documentary and Animation categories are Academy Award® and BAFTA qualifying. Shorts that blur the lines between categories will be shared and considered by all appropriate programming committees.


All fiction genres, subjects and forms welcome.


All non-fiction genres, subjects and forms welcome.


All mediums, genres, styles, and subjects welcome. Significant portion of film must be made in frame-by-frame manner (live-action footage of puppets is not animation)


Non-narrative films that may be conceptual, abstract, graphic, didactic, or otherwise unclassifiable. Films that challenge the definition of what film can be.


Pilots and single episodes of any length, genre, and style: narrative, doc, experimental, anthology, vlog, talk show, reality show, etc. No run time restrictions. Works can be available online prior to the festival. Works produced or commissioned by major streaming platforms are ineligible.

You may submit one (1) episode of any length, or multiple shorter episodes up to a total runtime of 10 minutes. For formats longer than 10 minutes, each submission should include only one episode. If multiple long format episodes are included, programmers reserve the right to watch only the first episode in the submission.

For narrative works, we highly recommend submitting the pilot episode to best introduce viewers to your characters.


DIG: Slamdance DIG 2025: A New Horizon of Storytelling

Dive into the heart of innovation at Slamdance DIG, where pushing the envelope is a thing of the past and complete transformation is just the beginning. This segment of the Slamdance Film Festival is your gateway to the groundbreaking intersections of Digital, Interactive, and Gaming experiences.

:video_game: What’s Inside?

  • Genre-Bending Games: Challenge conventions with games that rewrite the rules
  • Virtual & Augmented Realities: Transcend the screen into immersive new worlds
  • Live Performances: Experience art that transcends the stage and captivates your senses
  • AI-driven Film & Music: Witness the next evolution of film and music powered by AI
  • Interactive Documentaries: Dive deep into narratives that demand your engagement
  • Experiential Installations: Encounter art that envelops, surprises, and involves you in the story

Join the DIG Vanguard: Set in the creative core of Los Angeles, DIG 2025 is an essential component of the iconic Slamdance Film Festival. Show the world something extraordinary — submissions are now open.
Transform how stories are told and experienced. Venture into this new horizon of storytelling with us.


The Slamdance UNSTOPPABLE program is made by and/or about creators with visible and nonvisible disabilities. Any films submitted to other categories, regardless of genre or runtime, can be additionally considered by our programmers for Unstoppable.

If you are eligible for this program, you can submit directly to Unstoppable through FilmFreeway or the Slamdance Direct Form.


Slamdance’s new 6XTY program embraces affordable technology, apps and DIY filmmaking methods in pursuit of turning your imagination into 60 second moving image gems. Take your filmmaking to the edge in any genre, or reject genre to show our programmers what the future of storytelling looks like in 60 seconds or less.

The 6XTY is geared toward accessible filmmaking and serves to break down the cost barrier of production. Selected works will be screened at Slamdance ’25 in the theater and online.

Entrants under the age of 18 must have written permission to enter their work from a parent or guardian.

Early Deadline $5
Regular Deadline $8
Late Deadline $10
Extended Deadline $15


By entering the Slamdance Film Festival, you certify that you have read and agree to the following Rules & Guidelines.

Eligibility Requirements
  • We consider films in any language, from anywhere in the world. If your film is not in English, make sure it has English subtitles where necessary.
  • We consider work in progress. Please include a title card describing what is unfinished at the beginning of the submission screener.
  • We consider films regardless of their premiere status. Even if your film has already premiered at another festival, whether it screened at a physical venue or online, it’s still eligible for consideration.
  • We consider films regardless of their completion date. You can submit any film no matter when it was made.
  • Features previously or currently being released in the US by a third party distributor are not eligible for consideration.
  • Features previously self-distributed by the filmmakers online are not eligible for consideration in Feature categories.
  • Only directors’ debut features with a budget under 1 million USD are accepted to the Narrative and Documentary First Feature competition. If your work is not your first feature film, submit it to our Breakouts competition.
  • There’s no additional eligibility criteria for short film categories. All shorts are eligible!
  • Films made by or about people with disabilities of any genre/format/runtime are also additionally eligible for the Slamdance Unstoppable Program. Filmmakers should select Unstoppable as an additional category to submit to if interested and eligible.
Submission Guidelines
  • We strongly recommend that ALL submitted films regardless of category include English subtitles (whether the film is in English or another language) so that they may be accessible to all of our Programmers. Films in a language other than English MUST include English Subtitles or they will not be considered.
  • All screeners must be uploaded by the appropriate deadline.
  • Deadlines close at 11:59 PM PST.
  • We will contact entrants if there’s anything wrong with the submission. If this occurs, you will need to fix the submission issue by the requested deadline, otherwise we can’t guarantee that your film will be watched in time.
  • We don’t provide refunds for festival entries.
  • Entrants can update their screener by uploading a new video file provided your original link url does not change. The link must stay the same after you have submitted your entry. If it is replaced programmers will lose access to your screener and it may not be watched in time for consideration.
How We Program
  • Deliberating programmers determine a festival selection through discussion and voting.
  • Each participating programmer has an equal vote and no festival competition selections are made outside of this process.
  • Our programmers are not required to read submission cover letters and other supporting materials, but we encourage you to submit them in case they want to learn more about you and your work.
  • We generally don’t share programming feedback with entrants.
  • The Slamdance programmers’ decisions are final.
If Accepted
  • Accepted filmmakers will be notified via email, phone or text. Filmmakers must confirm their participation by the given deadline, otherwise they might lose their spot in the line-up.
  • Accepted filmmakers must be the authors of their submitted work and be ready to sign an agreement stating that they own all rights to their film and its components ahead of screening at Slamdance.
  • If accepted, entrants are responsible for delivering their festival exhibition copy, trailer, screener link, press stills and press-kit on time.
  • All accepted films must have Closed Captioning in English ready in time for their festival screening. We highly recommend you work on this while you wait for your festival acceptance since it will make your film more accessible to audiences wherever it may be shown.
  • If accepted, filmmakers are expected to attend the festival.
  • If accepted to both Sundance and Slamdance, filmmakers can not screen at both. We notify filmmakers around the same time, so you will have a chance to make an informed decision and commit to one festival.
  • We don’t cover filmmakers’ travel expenses.
  • We don’t cover shipping expenses for screening copies and other materials.
  • We don’t provide screening fees.