15 Best Shorts Film Festivals for Young Filmmakers

Short film festivals provide a good opportunity for young filmmakers to showcase their creativity to a wider audience. These occurrences attract young talent and fellow filmmakers to offer valuable networking opportunities. If such young filmmakers win or even participate in such festivals, it brings recognition and credibility to their work.

With all these benefits aligned, short film festivals pave the way for their future projects and funding opportunities. In this article, we will familiarize young short filmmakers with all the famous festivals happening worldwide. After reviewing this article, you can keep an eye on the deadline to apply to these short film festivals to capitalize on every opportunity.

short film festivals in filmmaking

1. Arizona Short Film Festival 

Event Date: June 8th, 2024

Arizona Short Film Festival celebrates the art of concise storytelling wonderfully. This platform provides the best chance for emerging filmmakers to exhibit their creativity and connect with industry professionals. Young filmmakers can submit their short films in different categories, including drama, comedy, and animation. 

Anyone can send their short films to this festival that celebrates young talent on a yearly basis. You can even help reach a wider audience by submitting projects of 45 minutes at maximum. Moreover, all the projects must be submitted in English language or should have English subtitles. Also, make sure to submit the new project, as re-submitted projects are not accepted.

Last Deadline: January 28th, 2024

Deadline Fee: $50 (Best Short Film Category)

arizona shorts film festival

2. HollyShorts Film Festival

Event Dates: August 8th to 17th, 2024

HollyShorts Film Festival stands as a symbol of creativity and innovation in the world of short films. It offers filmmakers opportunities like screenings, networking events, and diverse forums. This film festival holds Academy and Oscar Qualifying status, presenting the finest short films with 40 minutes or less runtime during the event. 

Film production enthusiasts showcase their talent in different categories of short films. The submitted short films must be 40 minutes or less to be considered for the nominations. In case you re-submit any project or if your project doesn’t get accepted, there is no refund for that.

Last Deadline: June 3rd, 2024

Deadline Fee: $85 (Short Live Action Category)

hollyshorts shorts film festival

3. Los Angeles Short Film Festival 

Event Dates: April 20th to 21st, 2024

Los Angeles Short Film Festival helps independent filmmakers find their spotlight. In a crowded digital landscape, this platform prioritizes showcasing the best in short films. Whether drama, comedy, documentaries, or more, they provide a stage for emerging talent to shine and connect with an enthusiastic audience.

Projects that are in progress are not eligible for submission by any means. If you want your project to be considered for screening, keep its length to a maximum of 60 minutes. Further, ensure that your submitted projects are completed and contain no political agenda.

Last Deadline: January 31st, 2024

Deadline Fee: $30 (Short Category)

los angeles shorts film festival

4. Chicago International Reel Shorts Film Festivals 

Event Date: November 10th to 11th, 2023

Chicago International Reels Short Film Festival showcases the best short film storytelling experiences to the world by giving them prizes and awards. This festival accepts submissions from all over the world to encourage and appreciate producers. Moreover, it is specially designed to celebrate short film artwork in different themed categories to give the spotlight to the rising talent. 

The film that you want to submit should be less than 35 minutes. Also, the file should be a downloadable MP4 file so there will be no screening issues for the related projects. The language for each project must be English or at least contain English subtitles.

Last Deadline: October 6th, 2023

Deadline Fee: $55 (Short Film Category)

chicago reel shorts film festival

5. Oregon Short Film Festival

Event Date: March 16th, 2024

Oregon Short Film Festival is a special event in different seasons throughout the year. It allows filmmakers of all kinds to share their creative works in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. With 12 judges ready to hand out over 20 awards, this platform is optimal for young talent. They have a variety of nomination categories, including animation, comedy, and dark drama.

Applicants can submit projects of any genre not exceeding the project limit of 30 minutes. The best thing about this festival is that even if your videos are already uploaded on YouTube, they are still eligible for this festival. There are a total of 5 nominations for this category, and that is why you must submit your project as early as possible.

Last Deadline: December 31st, 2023

Deadline Fee: $60 (Short Film Category)

oregon shorts film festival

6. Show Me Shorts Film Festival 

Event Date: October 6th to 29th, 2023 

In New Zealand, the Show Me Shorts Film Festival is hosted annually to connect the country’s audiences with foreign short films and share the country’s short film talent with the world. It usually puts 100 screens in 35 cinemas across the country. All the screened films are geo-blocked to only allow the natives to watch them.

There are certain requirements to enter this festival, such as the applicant must be at least 18 years old. Moreover, the durations for the films should be no less than 2 minutes and no more than 20 minutes. Plus, your film projects shouldn’t be older than 2 years at the opening date of the festival. Entry to this festival is non-refundable in any case.

Last Deadline: July 1st, 2023 

Deadline Fee: $50 (International Films)

show me shorts film festival

7. Nitehawk Short Festival 

Event Date: February 28th to March 3rd, 2024

Nitehawk Short Festival is a well-known event in New York that presents short films of various producers and artists to the world. This event highlights short films in various genres, including animation, music videos, horror, and much more. Many local and international filmmakers can easily participate in this event to show their skill level. 

The final projects that are being submitted must be under 20 minutes. Also, these projects must be aired between 2022 and 2024. Short films presented at other festivals or publicly available are also eligible for this festival. Further, you should be prepared with still images of your film in good resolution to send in via email in case your project gets selected.

Last Deadline: November 22nd, 2023

Deadline Fee: $25 (General Category)

nitehawk shorts film festival

8. DokuFest 

Event Date: Occurs Every August

Many types of creators, such as narrative filmmakers, musicians, and documentarians, celebrate the DokuFest event and highlight the best films and music. This event lasts around nine days and showcases a wide range of short film productions. Most of the films screened in it are Asian films produced by multiple countries.

DokuFest has provided a solid platform to many filmmakers worldwide for the last 22 years. This festival gets around 3000 estimated submissions and selects a wide range of 200 projects. Your projects must be of a maximum of 30 minutes when submitting short films. For short documentaries, the time duration can go up to 45 minutes.

Last Deadline: N/A

Deadline Fee: N/A

dokufest shorts film festival

9. Aspen ShortsFest 

Event Date: April 1st to 7th, 2024

Aspen Shorts Fest is an annual Oscar-qualifying short film festival that has been organized since 1979 in Aspen, Colorado. This event showcases short films made around the globe to highlight their uniqueness, diverse stories, and experiences from which new artists and audiences can learn a lot. ASF is truly industry-recognized that always discovers new talents and brings them to the front.

The time duration for each project shouldn’t exceed 40 minutes, and applicants must ensure that their submitted projects haven’t premiered before March 2023. The most important point to keep in mind here is that the films with restricted availability online are still eligible for submissions in this event. 

Last Deadline: November 24th, 2023

Deadline Fee: $99 (Extended Deadline)

aspen shorts film festival

10. Encounters Film Festival

Event Dates: N/A

Encounters Film Festival is a top international competition for short films, leading to prestigious awards like The Academy Awards and European Film Awards. For over 25 years, the festival’s goal has been to give emerging filmmakers a global platform. It brings filmmakers and fans worldwide together to celebrate short films.

Students and young filmmakers can submit films of any genre, but these must have been completed after January 1st, 2023. The max duration for each submitted project must be no more than 40 minutes, and this even includes the credits. Even if the submitted films have no online or premiere status, they are still eligible for submissions.

Last Deadline: N/A

Deadline Fee: N/A

encounters shorts film festival

11. Indy Shorts International Film Festivals 

Event Date: July 23rd to 28th, 2024

Preparing for next year’s short film festivals to present your creative ideas in front of the world is never too late. Indy Shorts International Film Festival focuses on various short film categories, including comedy, horror, animation, and more. Besides this, the festival also has a lot of prizes for the short film winners whose creativity is liked most in the world.

Plus, the submitted projects must have a ProRes or H.264 suitable copy available before the deadline listed below. The film projects must be 40 minutes in duration. The film must have been completed on or after January 1st, 2023, to be eligible for submission.

Last Deadline: April 7th, 2024

Deadline Fee: $85 (Extended Deadline) 

indy shorts film festival

12. Hollywood Comedy Shorts 

Event Date: April 26th to 28th, 2024

As stated in the name, the Hollywood Comedy Shorts Festival deals with showcasing the best short films in the comedy category. It deals with different types of comedy films like dark comedy, horror comedy, cringe comedy, and so on. Many people visit this event yearly to experience and enjoy quality films with their friends and family. 

The comedy short films must be produced by students and shouldn’t exceed 30 minutes in duration. This festival has been running for 8 long years now and provides 14 categories for students to compete in.

Last Deadline: March 8th, 2024

Deadline Fee: $65 (Extended Deadline)

hollywood comedy shorts film festival

13. Madrid Shorts Film Festival

Event Date: November 5th, 2023

Madrid Shorts Film Festival is a cinematic spectacle that engages people with inventive short stories that are brought to life. This event honors the art of short filmmaking from all over the world with different prizes and awards. It carefully selects extraordinary films and shows them to the world so that young filmmakers can get inspiration. 

You can submit short films in any genre with a duration of under 40 minutes. If you are submitting any non-English language film, you have to attach English subtitles for public understanding. Moreover, you also have to make sure that you own the rights to the short film you are submitting.

Last Deadline: October 29th, 2023

Deadline Fee: $14 (Best Short Film)

madrid shorts film festival

14. Tampere Film Festival 

Event Dates: March 6th to 10th, 2024

Tampere Short Film Festival is one of Europe’s most historic and significant short film events. Over 5 busy days, it hosts more than 100 screenings to feature around 400 short films. With approximately 30,000 attendees, this festival is a valued Short Film Conference ISFC member. Moreover, this platform successfully creates a relaxed and inclusive atmosphere for sharing a passion for short films.

The event has 30 and 60-minute categories, so videos accessing even 1 second above 30 minutes will fall under the 60-minute category. You can only submit a certain video in only one category. So, you have to make sure that you choose the right category for your short film before submission.

Last Deadline: November 1st, 2023

Deadline Fee: $14 (International Competitions)

tampere shorts film festival

15. Austin Film Festival

Event Dates: October 26th to November 2nd, 2023

Austin Film Festival has a core mission to support and uplift the work of writers and filmmakers. As their film competition grows, they’re putting even more effort into helping aspiring talent break into the ever-changing entertainment industry. In addition, this platform allows young filmmakers to compete in categories such as narrative, comedy, and animated short films. 

The filmmakers have to ensure that the short film they are submitting is original. Any plagiarized work will be rejected without listening to the excuses. Young artists also have the option to submit films without color and sound editing. They will surely be judged on the basis of the content of the video, so you have to focus on the story.

So, if you are not a professional at video editing using complicated software, you can use high-quality cameras like Hollyland VenusLiv to film and color-correct the video using their built-in tools and features and submit your entry. In case you lack professional equipment or have a low budget, no problem! Even GoPros can work. And if your story is touching and attention-grabbing, you have a high chance of being a participant in this film festival.


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Last Deadline: July 7th, 2023

Deadline Fee: $90 (Narrative Short)

austin shorts film festival


Q1. Why are short film festivals important for young filmmakers? 

Short film festivals are important events for young artists because these events showcase some of the best short films from the world. This can help the young filmmakers to get inspired, have exposure, and build networking with different people for new opportunities. 

Q2. Attending short film festivals is important for filmmakers or not? 

Yes, attending short film festivals in person is important for filmmakers to benefit from the networking that is going to happen at the festival. With the help of this networking, they can learn a lot of new things and understand how different people are working and growing in the industry. 

Q3. Do short film festivals offer prizes for young filmmakers?

Short film festivals offer awards and various amazing opportunities to filmmakers who have exceptional creativity. These prizes include deals distribution, mentorship programs, and much more to assist young filmmakers in enhancing their skills. 

Q4. What is the duration of a short film in short film festivals?

The short film duration depends on the festival type and short film category. This is because every festival has its specific criteria that qualify a video as a “short film.” However, the average duration of a short film can be considered between 40 minutes.


Participating in these short film festivals is not just an opportunity; it’s a stepping stone toward a successful filmmaking career. These events offer more than just recognition, as they provide a chance to establish crucial industry connections and gain valuable feedback on your work. For young filmmakers, these festivals are platforms where creativity meets opportunity.

So, if you’re passionate about short films, mark these dates on your calendar. It’s time to enter a vibrant community of filmmakers, enthusiasts, and industry professionals. So, hurry up and start shooting your videos now to ensure you don’t miss any of these deadlines.


John Doe

John Doe

I am John, a tech enthusiast with a knack for breaking down complex camera, audio, and video technology. My expertise extends to social media and electronic gadgets, and I thrive on making the latest tech trends understandable and exciting for everyone. Sharing my knowledge through engaging content, I aim to connect with fellow tech lovers and novices alike, bringing the fascinating world of technology to life.

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