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Ten Film Festivals to Submit Your Short Films To

29 February 2020

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Ten Film Festivals to Submit Your Short Films To

Short films are an excellent starting point for any aspiring filmmaker; hardly any of the household names today started out by launching at feature length films. Anybody with dedication, entry-level equipment and a dream could make their start here. 

However, that is not to say that the format is any less than its feature long cousin. Brevity is the soul of wit and there arises distinct challenges. Short films don’t have the liberty of time to fully establish actors, while a usually modest production budget makes it difficult to capture a mood or mise en scene – narratives have to be distilled into digestible chunks while retaining the emotional resonance that a feature film would offer.

These challenges have turned the format into a unique and extremely competitive subgroup of film festivals around the world – especially when a larger pool of filmmakers are able to submit their films given the relatively lower barriers to entry vis-a-vis feature films.

Below is a brief collection of ten film festivals from around the world that are open for all submissions, collated in order of premiership requirements, from the local to the international level.  


General Resources

For submission of entries, most film festivals around the world either use FilmFreeway or SHORTFILMDEPOT as a middle-man. These websites also double as a vast resource of the short film festivals around the world.

Some of the submissions would also be required to be in the Digital Cinema Package (DCP) format. (Coincidentally, Sinema.SG offers DCP conversion services for both festival use and commercial use. Find out more here.)


Singapore

Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) – Southeast Asian Short Film Competition

(Image credit: Singapore International Film Festival)

What: 

Singapore’s longest running film festival has grown to become a prominent event on the Singapore arts calendar, with more than 110,000 festival-goers attending its 2019 edition.

The SGIFF is also home to its Southeast Asian Short Film Competition. With stiff competition every year since 2014 between a whos-who of filmmakers in the region, the competition has arguably emerged as the region’s premier destination for the very best in Southeast Asian short films. 

While the details of the 2020 edition of the competition have not been announced, check back on the Singapore International Film Festival’s official website (sgiff.com) in mid-April for the full details.

Visit the festival’s official website for full details.

When: 

– Call for entries: mid-April 2020
– Festival dates: Late-2020

General submission requirements (as of its 2019 edition):

– Maximum running time: less than 30 minutes
– Format: Not specified
– Short films must be from Southeast Asia
– Short films must be at least be a Singapore Premiere. Priority will be given to World, International and Asian Premieres
– Films must not have been broadcasted on TV, made available on the Internet or screened publicly in Singapore in any way prior to the Festival

Submission Fees (as of its 2019 edition):

– Early bird submission: submission fee waived
– Regular submission: $25 USD

For submission details for the 2019 edition of the Singapore International Film Festival, visit an archive of the page (https://web.archive.org/web/20181014064321/http://sgiff.com/film-submissions/#entry-fees).

(Image credit: Singapore International Film Festival Facebook page)

Singapore Shorts

(Image credit: Asian Film Archive Facebook page)

What:

Singapore Shorts is an annual showcase celebrating the best and most promising local short films. Each year sees a collection curated by a panel of professionals across Singapore’s film industry. In addition to the screenings, the showcase also features post-screening discussions with the filmmakers and dedicated reviews from critics.

Follow Asian Film Archive’s Facebook page for the latest update on the 2020 edition.

When: 

– Call for entries: Mid-2020
– Event dates: Late-2020

General submission requirements (as of its 2018 and 2019 edition):

Maximum running time: 30 minutes
– Films must be produced between 2019 and 2020 by Singaporean/PR or shot in Singapore
– No premiere requirements

Submission Fees:
– No submission fee


National Youth Film Awards (NYFA)

(Image credit: National Youth Film Awards Facebook page)

What:

The National Youth Film Awards is a national award set up to promote and celebrate youth filmmakers. Since its launch in 2015, NYFA has served as a showcase of Singapore’s up-and-coming filmmakers. 

Visit the Awards’ official website for full details.

When: 

– Call for entries: Open now; deadline is 30 April 2020
– Event dates: Mid-2020

General submission requirements:

Maximum running time: 30 minutes
– Format: QuickTime
– Applicants must be from 15 – 35 years old (before 31 December 2020)
– All non-English submissions must have English subtitles
– No premiere requirements

(Image credit: National Youth Film Awards)

Categories for submission and submission fees:

Media Student Category:
– For students currently enrolled in a media related course/module at any Institute of Higher Learning (IHL)
– For IHL graduates (between 31 May 2019 and 30 April 2020) from a media-related course/module at any IHL in Singapore
– Open to Singaporeans, PR or valid student pass holder
– Other than professional actor(s) engagement, the Applicant will be required to disclose in the submission form should the submission be outsourced to a company or professional individual for completion or enhancement

Open Youth Category:
– Open to Singaporeans or PR
– Applicants must be residing in Singapore during the time of submission

Submit your entries via NYFA 2020’s submission form for the Open Youth Category and Media Student Category.


Regional

SeaShorts Film Festival – SeaShorts Award

(Image credit: SeaShorts Facebook Page)

What:

SeaShorts is a film festival dedicated to Southeast Asian short films, through film screenings, panel talks, master classes, and a whole slew of activities. Its 2020 edition is set to take place from 25 to 30 August in Ipoh, Perak, with its programmes set within the theme of “Reimagining Short Films, Reinventing Southeast Asia.”

A selection of 30 titles will be in contention for the SeaShorts Award, with the Next New Wave Award reserved exclusively for Malaysian directors. Outstanding achievement in direction, screenwriting, cinematography, editing, sound, and acting round off the rest of the categories.

Visit the festival’s website to find out more.

When:

– Call for entries: Open now, deadline 30 April 2020
– Festival dates: 25 – 30 August 2020

General submission requirements (as of its 2019 edition):

– Maximum running time: Under 20 minutes
– Director(s) and Producer(s) must be from Southeast Asia
– There are individual awards for specific crafts e.g. Best Cinematography, Best Performance. For your film to be eligible for these sub-categories, the person responsible for the role must be from Southeast Asia. 
– Country of production: Southeast Asian countries (fulfilled by at least two of these: film locations, main cast, or funding)
– Films submitted has not been premiered in any other film festival before SeaShorts 

Submission fees:
No submission fee

Full submission details have just been released. Follow SeaShorts Film Festival’s Facebook page to keep up to date with the festival.

(Image credit: SeaShorts Film Festival Facebook page)

Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival (JAFF) – Blencong Award and Non-Competitive Section 

(Image credit: Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival)

What:

The Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival in Indonesia focuses on the development of Asian cinema, working closely with the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC). Given its goal, the festival is home to a myriad of competitions dedicated to both accomplished and student filmmakers, and to feature length and short films. 

The Blencong Award is awarded to the best Asian short film of the festival, while the festival also has a non-competitive section to showcase Asian shorts by already established directors.

When:

– The festival’s 2020 edition is now closed for submission. The festival is expected to be open for submission again in mid-2020
– Festival dates: late-2020

General submission requirements (as of its 2019 edition):

Maximum duration: Not specified
– Format: DCP, HD, Blu-Ray and/or DVD
– Films not in English dialogues must have English subtitles except for those with no dialogue
– Premiere requirement not specified
– List of accepted genres not specified

(Image credit: Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival)

Submission Fee:
– No submission fee

The full rules and regulations of JAFF 2019 can be found here.


Minikino Film Week (MFW) – Bali International Short Film Festival

(Image credit: Minikino Film Week)

What:

Established in 2015, the MFW is an annual international short film festival. With an entire festival dedicated to the short form format, it receives submissions from all around the world while presenting a vast array of unique themes and programmes. For example, its 2019 edition was home to the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival Program for 4 – 7 year olds, and the S-Express Short Film Program Exchange, a regional short film exchange program.

The competition portion of the festival is equally vast, consisting of categories from the best short films for children to documentary and animation. Furthermore, with its reasonable submission fees, the festival is an excellent starting point for any filmmaker on the international stage.

Visit the festival’s website to find out more. 

When:
– Call for entries: Open now
– Regular deadline: 29 February 2020
– Late deadline: 22 March 2020
– Extended deadline: 12 April 2020
– Festival dates: 4 – 12 September 2020

(Minikino 2019 / Photo credit: Minikino Facebook page)


General submission requirements:

– Maximum running time: 25 minutes (20 minutes on specific categories)
– All short films preferred to be presented in their original language. If other than English dialogues used, films must be subtitled in English
– By submitting, you are committed to screen the film, if the film gets selected.
– By submitting, you agree to screen your film without a screening fee or any monetary reward.
– Only short films that have been released after 1 January 2019 are eligible for award consideration.
– Only short films that hold Bali’s premiere status; films that have never been screened in Bali Island before 4 September 2020 are eligible for award consideration. 

Submission Categories and submission fees:

Works dedicated for children younger than 13 years old:

– Maximum running time 20 minutes
– Regular deadline entry fee: $2 USD
– Late deadline: $3 USD
– Extended deadline: $5 USD

Fiction:

– Regular deadline entry fee: $3 USD
– Late deadline: $6 USD
– Extended deadline: $9 USD

Documentary:

– Regular deadline entry fee: $3 USD
– Late deadline: $6 USD
– Extended deadline: $9 USD

Animation:

– Regular deadline entry fee: $3 USD
– Late deadline: $6 USD
– Extended deadline: $9 USD

Audio Visual Experimental Work:

– Regular deadline entry fee: $3 USD
– Late deadline: $6 USD
– Extended deadline: $9 USD

For full submission details, visit the festival’s FilmFreeway page.


International

Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia (SSFF)

(Image credit: Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia)

What:

The Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia is an Academy Awards accredited festival where the winner of the Best Short awards in the Official Competition, as well as the Non-Fiction Competition, will be eligible for nomination in the short film categories of the Academy Awards of the following year. Founded in 1999, the SSFF has established itself as one of the largest and most competitive short film festivals in Asia. Despite this, local filmmaker Yee Wei Chai still clinched the Asia International Competition award in 2018 for his film Benjamin’s Last Day At Katong Swimming Complex.  

Find out more about the festival on its official website.

When:

– The festival’s 2020 edition is now closed for submission, but do look out for when it opens for submission for the following edition around mid-2020.
– Festival dates: 4 – 15 June 2020

(Photo credit: Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia)

General submission requirements:

– Maximum running time: 25 minutes or under
– English subtitles are required for submissions with languages other than English or Japanese
– Japanese premieres only; films must keep premiere status from when the call for entries opens to the end of the year’s festival
– Films screened in Japan on any media and for any occasion including screening events, film festivals and so forth before and/or during Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2020 in Tokyo will be disqualified
– Films streamed online with Japanese subtitles and/or in the Japanese language before and/or during Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2020 in Tokyo will be disqualified
– Non-dialogue films available online will be ineligible.

Submission Categories (as of its 2020 edition):

Japan Competition
– For short films from Japan

Asia International Competition
– For short films from Asia with the exception of Japan

International Competition
– For short films from the rest of the world

Non-Fiction Competition
– For non-fiction short films from around the world

CG Animation Competition
– For animated short films using either partly or fully computer-generated graphics

Cinematic Tokyo Competition
– For short films that take “Tokyo” as their subject

BRANDED SHORTS
– Competition for shorts considered as branded videos

Musical Short Film Pitch Competition
– Pitch competition for musical short films

Submission Fee (as of its 2020 edition)

– Early submission: $20 USD
– Regular submission: $30 USD
– Late submission: $40 USD 

For the full submission details, visit the festival’s official landing page.


Busan International Short Film Festival

(Image credit: Busan International Short Film Festival’s Facebook Page)

What:

Founded in 1980, the Busan International Short Film Festival is the first festival in Festival dedicated to short films. It aims to create filmmaking friendly environments and find talented film professionals. While the festival initially only screened Korean films, it has expanded to accommodate international offerings in recent years. Today, the festival’s competitive sections are separated between the International Competition and the Korean Competition.

When:

– The festival’s 2020 edition is now closed for submission. However, do keep a lookout when the festival opens again for 2021, expected to be in late-2020
– Festival dates: mid-April 2020

General submission requirements (as of its 2020 edition):

– Maximum running time: 30 minutes
– Non-English films must have English subtitles
– No premiere requirement
– Accepts all genres

(Image credit: Busan International Short Film Festival)

Submission fees:

Regular deadline (was late-2019 for its 2020 edition):
– ShortFilmDepot: 8 Euros + 3 Euros (platform fees)
– FestHome: 8 Euros + 2 Euros

Final deadline (was early-2020 for its 2020 edition):
– ShortFilmDepot: 11 Euros + 3 Euros
– FestHome: 11 Euros + 2 Euros

For full submission details, visit the festival’s FestHome or shortfilmdepot page.


Kaohsiung Film Festival – International Short Film Competition

(Photo credit: Kaohsiung Film Festival Facebook page)

What:

The Kaohsiung Film Festival International Short Film Competition is dedicated to discovering short films with creative styles and unique perspectives, to encourage new filmmaking talents and also to stimulate cultural exchanges. 

When: 

– The 2020 edition of the Kaohsiung Film Festival is currently not open for submission yet. The call for entries is expected to come in mid-2020
– Festival dates: 16 October – 11 November

General submission requirements (as of its 2019 edition):

Maximum duration: 25 minutes
– Films must be subtitled either in Chinese or English
– Accepts all genres
– No premier requirement

(Facebook post announcing the dates of the 2020 Kaohsiung Film Festival / Image credit: Kaohsiung Film Festival Facebook page)

Submission Fee:
No submission fee

The full submission details of the International Short Film Competition for 2019 is available here.


Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival

(Image credit: Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival)

What:

The Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival is the world’s largest international film festival dedicated to short films, boasting over 160,000 attendees annually. Throughout its illustrious four decades of history, the festival has seen immense competition from the very best around the world. 

Naturally, Clermont-Ferrand has also become the premier destination for Singaporeans to showcase their work and make a mark in the world. Emerging filmmakers such as Tan Wei Ting (CA$H) and Nicole Midori Woodford (Permanent Resident) have had their film selected for the prestigious festival in recent years, while our very own Royston Tan even won the Grand Prize at the festival in 2007. 

Visit the festival’s website to find out more.

When:

– The 2020 edition of the festival has just passed in early February but if past years are any indication, the following year’s edition will be open for submission in mid-2020.

General submission requirements (as of its 2020 edition):

– Maximum running time: 40 minutes
– Films can be submitted from all countries except for France for the International Competition
– Any type of film (fiction, animation, documentary, experimental) can be submitted to the selection committee
– Industrial or commercial films are not accepted
– The Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival does not apply a premiere status rule, but special attention will be paid to films that have not yet been shown. When submitting, please list the festivals and awards previously obtained. 

Submission categories (as of its 2020 edition):

International Competition:
– Films from around the world

National Competition:
– Restricted to French films

International Short Film Market:
– All films submitted to the National or International Competition of the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, whether or not selected, will be referenced in the digital catalog of the International Short Film Market

Submission fees:
– No submission fee

Full submission details are available here.

(Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival / Photo credit: Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival)

Cannes Film Festival – Short Film Palme d’Or

(Image credit: Festival De Cannes)

What:

The Cannes Film Festival is the most prestigious film festival in the world. While it’s more well-known for presenting the very best feature length films from around the world, the festival also has an extremely competitive short film category with the Short Film Palme d’Or.

Similar to the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, Singaporean filmmakers have graced the competition with their short films. These filmmakers such as Anthony Chen (Ah Ma) and Jerrold Chong (Piece of Meat) have gone to become industry figures and it is no coincidence that part of their start came with Cannes.

Visit the festival’s official website to find out more.

When: 

– Call for entries: Open now
– Deadline: 9 March 2020
– Festival dates: 13 – 21 May 2020

General submission requirements:

– Maximum running time: must not exceed 59 minutes
– Must have been completed within the 12 months prior to the date of the Festival (between Cannes 2019 and Cannes 2020)  
– Must not have participated in any festival outside its country of origin (whether in competition or out of competition)
– Must not have been shown on the Internet or broadcasted on TV, or commercially released outside its country of origin.

Submission fees:
– 25 Euros (without taxes)


Read also:

Sinema’s Compilation of Call For Entries to Grants, Workshops and Film Festival Entries for Filmmakers
Filmmaking Grants for Southeast Asian Filmmakers

There's nothing Matt loves more than "so bad, they're good" movies. Except browsing through crates of vinyl records. And Mexican food.
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