So, your short is finally ready. You’ve worked away at it for months, polished it to perfection. Now what? The ideal way to get the fruits of your labour on people’s screens, to garner the recognition that your work merits, is to enter it into film festivals. Here’s a little list of festivals exclusively for short films to help you in your search as you unwind from gruelling days of shooting and post-production.
Begun in 1979, Aspen Shortsfest takes place in Aspen, Colorado. To qualify, the film must be under 40 minutes and submitted under Animation, Comedy, Documentary, or Drama. For 2019, 69 shorts were selected (out of roughly 2600 shorts), of which 41 per cent were directed by women. Oh, and it is also Oscar-qualifying.
Set to commence on the 31st of January 2021, Clermont-Ferrand has been the biggest short film festival for about 40 years. We’re talking over 160,000 annual attendees, 7000 submissions, of which around 600 are selected. Films must be under 40 minutes for the International competition and 59 minutes for the National competition. For the Lab competition, films are chosen from the submissions of the international and national categories.
Receiving near 5000 submissions, this Oscar-qualifying short film festival selects roughly 325 films out of the lot. Films need to be under 40 minutes to be eligible and only one cut is reviewed. Standard entry fee is 50 USD. The great thing about PSI ShortFest is that it does not require a premiere status.
Coming up with its 30th edition in 2021, Oscar-qualifying & BAFTA qualifying FlickerFest has five competitions, all requiring films to be under 35 minutes—International, National, ASEAN, Documentary and the under 18 competition, FlickerUp. The festival receives close to 2500 entries, selecting about 110 of these. A select few out of 110 get the privilege of being toured around Australia, also receiving screening royalties. Entry fee is 33.50 USD.
Oscar-qualifying BSFF accepts entries (must be under 30 minutes) in three competitions: National, International and Student Films Competition “Next Generation.” The 10-day festival will screen over 300 films. International entry fee is 8 Euros.
The first short film festival to include short film distribution, Interfilm only accepts entries which are under 20 minutes (though special provision may be made). There are seven competitions in which you can enter: International Competition, Confrontations Competition, Documentary Competition, German Competition, Green Film Competition, eject_XVIII and Online Competition. There is no entry fee, but the submission portal does charge around 3 Euros.
Begun in 1995, Encounters was originally known as Brief Encounters. An Oscar-qualifying fest, Encounters is the go-to festival to enter animated shorts. Films are entered into the following competitive categories: Animated Encounters, Brief Encounters and Immersive Encounters. All entries must be under 30 minutes. Entry fee £25.
The 2019 edition of one of the largest short film festivals in the world will screen 333 films over eight days. It is the only film festival with 7 award categories recognized by the AMPAS. For films that are under 40 minutes, the entry fee is $55, while those that are between 41 to 55 minutes, the festival charges you $59 per entry. There is also the Screenplay Competition. Scripts must be under 30 pages and by emerging screenwriters.
Born in 1999, SSFF & Asia is one of the largest short film festivals in Asia. To qualify, films need to be under 25 minutes long. There’s a bunch of competitions for you to compete in: International Competition, Asia International Competition, Japan Competition, Save the Earth! Competition, and CG Animation Competition. Entry fee is $20.
One of the oldest short film festivals in the world, Oberhausen hosts a range of competitions including International Competition, German Competition, and International Children’s and Youth Film Competition. Out of 7000 submissions, around 500 films are selected. There are no entry fees.
So, there you go. A list of festivals and their competitions exclusively for short films that could be your ticket to recognition. Which other festivals would you like to have included? Tell us in the comments below and we will add it to our list of the best festivals to submit short films.