Why There's Hope for Short Films and Where to Submit Yours

As recently as a couple years ago, short films were a dubious way to get your foot in the film industry's door. They weren't particularly promising, and certainly not lucrative (in fact, it was usually all cost and no gain).

However, thanks to the smartphone and mobile age, more shorts are seeing the light of day in more promising ways, and yours can be one of them.

It all began with video sharing.

YouTube set the stage for indie filmmakers to share their projects; then Vimeo stepped it up with its focus on hosting high quality (HD) videos (YouTube does the same, but HQ videos are Vimeo's niche). These sites gave short films a new safe haven, a place to belong and be shared, and still build a solid audience.

Thanks to their example, other sites have taken notice and are joining the fold.

Yahoo! has established its own entertainment network of sorts, now offering miniseries (including the recent success "Cybergeddon", starring Olivier Martinez); and Netflix is seeking to produce its own movies, as is Amazon, according to TheWrap.com. Furthermore, YouTube offers its own exclusive shorts and miniseries now, including Julia Stiles' "Blue".

Now there's greater hope for your shorts, and film festivals just for them.

With these avenues now available, more producers are attending short film festivals in search of great web content to buy, because shorts currently still trump features for mobile device viewing.

If this sounds interesting to you, here's where you can submit yours.

Raindance.org, the site for one of England's many short film festivals, lists the top 5 film festivals the world over that you "must submit" your short for:

  1. Sundance (U.S.)
  2. Cannes (France)(for shorts under 15 minutes only) 
  3. Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films (U.S.) 
  4. Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival (France) 
  5. Aspen Shortsfest (U.S.)

However, if you're curious for more options, here some others for your consideration:

AFI Fest 

L.A. Film Festival 
SXSW: South By Southwest Film Festival 
Tribeca Film Festival 
Slamdance Film Festival 
Woodstock Film Festival 
Florida Film Festival


Montreal International Festival of New Cinema 
Canadian Film Centre's Worldwide Short Film Festival (this one's accredited by the AMPAS, so submit your best work) 
Montreal World Film Festival


Raindance Film Festival 
London Short Film Festival 
Manchester International Film Festival


Melbourne International Film Festival 
Sydney Film Festival


Rio de Janeiro International Short Film Festival
Sao Paulo International Short Film Festival

South Africa:

Durban International Film Festival

Ever submitted a short to a film festival before? What was your experience? Share it in a comment below.

Flickr photo by Bart Everson.

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