The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) will host an online student film festival to showcase the work of Santa Barbara high school and college students, the festival announced Thursday. The high school and college submissions will be grouped separately, and each group will have a Jury Prize and an Audience Winner.

“The staff and I were discussing all the student filmmakers who have been working on films as part of their curriculum, and the unfortunate reality that they were going to miss out on the experience of screening them for an audience due to the coronavirus pandemic,” said SBIFF executive director Roger Durling.

“So we thought: this is somewhere the Film Festival can be of service. We’ll create a platform for the students to get their work out there, and we’ll invite the entire community to watch the films and cast their votes,” he said.

The student films will be available to view on SBIFF’s website beginning June 8, and the SBIFF community will have the opportunity to vote for the Audience Winner for each division through noon on June 22. SBIFF will put together a panel of industry professionals who will vote on the Jury Winner for the two sections. Winners will be announced on June 23.


» To submit your film, you must be a high school or college student in Santa Barbara (verification of student status required), and your film must be an end-of-year school project. To submit a film to the SBIFF Student Showcase-in-Place Online Festival, visit Application deadline is June 2.
» Participants also will be allowed to submit these films for SBIFF 2021.
» Email questions about the contest to Claire Waterhouse at

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization. Over the past 35 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the U.S., attracting 100,000 attendees and offering 11 days of 200-plus films, tributes and panels.

In addition to the festival, SBIFF offers free educational programs that benefit the community. In 2018, SBIFF opened its own Education Center in downtown Santa Barbara to serve as a hub for creativity and learning.