Screening at a festival is certain to create interest in a film and those who created it. Every festival has short-film buyers eager for content for the dozens of websites keen for new film, particularly since it is generally seen to be much easier to see short films on the web or on a mobile phone, in comparison to feature films.
Each festivals programming is different, so it’s worth checking to see if the festival is the right fit for your film. It’s also worth checking online to see what others are saying about the festival and how satisfied they were with the event. The must-submit film festivals are:
Raindance Film Festival, UK
Now Britain’s largest independent film festival, the first Raindance film festival, founded by Elliot Grove, took place in 1993 at the Metro cinema in Soho, central London. Today the festival continues to bring cutting edge, independent cinema and a young, cool, urban audience together, with companies including Peccadillo, One Eyed Films, Distribber, West End Films, Picturehouse and Vue Entertainment open for sales, representation and distribution talks.
The programme related to short-film includes an eclectic array of animation shorts, the genuine telling of the lives and loves of those in the LGBT communities; emerging political, strong and personal UK film-makers; short documentaries and an MA Showcase of short films made by students in the Raindance Postgraduate Degree as part of their course. There are also three International shorts programmes.
Sundance Film Festival (USA)
The Sundance Film Festival is an annual event in Utah where it is possible to see dramatic and documentary films, shorts, performances, panel discussions, and music events. Since 1985, hundreds of films launched at the Festival have gained critical recognition, received commercial distribution and reached worldwide audiences eager for fresh perspectives and new voices. The Shorts programme is driven by innovation and experimentation, to find and support film-making's most original voices. Shorts include animation, documentary, shorts preceding features among others.
Cannes Film Festival (France)
Possibly one of the most famous international film festivals, the Cannes Film Festival has twenty films competing for the Palme d'Or. As part of the Cinéfondation, fifteen shorts and medium-length motion pictures from film schools over the world are presented at the Salle Buñuel with the shorts, being 15 minutes or less, compete for the Short Film Palme d'Or that are presented at Buñuel and Debussy theatres. There are approximately 10 films in this competition.
Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films (USA)
ShortFest receives around 4,200 submissions from more than 100 countries. Approximately 325 shorts are selected and screened in 90-minute themed programmes. To date ShortFest has presented more than 100 shorts that have gone on to receive Oscar nominations and/or awards.
The festival also includes the ShortFest Forum, a series of panels, master classes and round-table discussions designed to encourage emerging film-makers with both the knowledge and the networking opportunities to further their careers in the film industry. A long list of working industry professionals from a variety of disciplines share their knowledge and practical experience in the ShortFest Forum, which covers trends and new practices.
Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival (France)
The Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival is the biggest international film festival dedicated to short films. It is held annually in Clermont-Ferrand, France, and is the second largest film festival in France after Cannes, with more than 160,000 attendees and 3,500 professionals annually.
Aspen Shortsfest (USA)
Recognised as one of the world’s premier short film festivals, the Aspen Shortsfest festival welcomes diverse subjects relevant to today’s world. Notable international film-makers share their work, speak with audiences, and attend panel discussions about the art of film-making. Some of the Shortsfest official selections have been nominated for Oscar success including Bear Story (Chile) which won the Oscar for Best animated Short Film in 2016, and We Can’t Live Without Cosmos (Russian Federation) and Shook (Republic of Kosovo/UK) which were both nominated.
Other short film festivals
USA - AFI Fest, Los Angeles Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, SXSW: South By Southwest Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, Slamdance Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, St. Louis International Film Festival, Cinequest Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, Santa Barbara International Film Festival
Canada - Toronto International Film Festival, Montreal World Film Festival, Montreal International Festival of New Cinema, Canadian Film Centre’s Worldwide Short Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival (for Canadian shorts only), Edmonton International Film Festival, Calgary International Film Festival
Australia - Flickerfest International Short Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival
South America - Rio de Janeiro International Short Film Festival, Sao Paulo International Short Film Festival, Sao Paulo International Film Festival, Mar del Plata International Film Festival, Santiago Chilean International Short Film Festival, Cartagena International Film Festival, Bermuda International Film Festival
Japan - Short Shorts Film Festival
South Africa - Durban International Film Festival, Cape Town World Cinema Film Festival
Ireland - Foyle Film Festival, Cork International Film Festival
Germany - Berlin International Film Festival, Cologne International Women’s Film Festival, Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, Oldenburg Film Festival, Interfilm Berlin Short Film Festival, Filmfest Dresden, Hamburg International Short Film Festival
Spain - Huesca International Film Festival, Bilbao International Festival of Documentary and Short Films, Gijon International Film Festival for Young People, Valladolid International Film Festival
Italy - Venice International Film Festival, Turin International Film Festival of Young Cinema (for Italian shorts only)
Poland - Cracow International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Wroclav Era New Horizons
Belgium - Brussels International Short Film Festival, Ghent Flanders International Film Festival, Leuven International Short Film Festival
Sweden - Uppsala International Short Film Festival, Stockholm International Film Festival, Gothenberg International Film Festival
Denmark - Odense International Film Festival, AFIA Film Festival, Aarhus
UK - London Short Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Manchester International Film Festival, Encounters International Short Film Festival (*Oscar qualifying), Leeds International Film Festival, Aesthetica Short Film Festival