So you’ve put the finishing touches on your short film and you’re ready for people to see it – now what?
Well, beyond showing it to your mum, your housemates, and your cat, there’s a tonne of local and international festivals that accept short films. A spot in one of said festivals will guarantee at least a few eyes on your film, and maybe even some awards down the track.
If festivals aren’t your jam, then I highly recommend an open screening night in your nearest capital city, as explained below. It’s a way to show your stuff to likeminded cinephiles without all the high-falutin’ awards and accolades.
If festivals ARE your jam, then right off the bat you should register for FilmFreeway. It’s an online service that connects you to most film festivals all over the world, and allows applications in bulk. It makes the process incredibly easy.
Read on to find out about other options for screening your short film, including open screen nights at local cinemas that allow emerging filmmakers to show of their latest work without a lengthy application process.
Upcoming festivals accepting short film submissions now
Human Rights Arts and Film Festival: The annual Human Rights Art and Film Festival is devoted to the exploration of human rights issues through a high-calibre creative program that will challenge, touch and inspire audiences from all walks of life. Submit your film for the opportunity to move and inspire HRAFF audiences, and be a part of the premier human rights art and film festival in Australia. Closes 18 November.
Sydney Women’s International Film Festival: Sydney Women’s International Film Festival (SWIFF) is an event where the creativity and stories of women and non-binary and self-identified female filmmakers are celebrated and supported, all in the heart of one of the world’s most creative and iconic cities. Closes 17 December.
GoldBlink Short Film Awards: GoldBlink Short Film Awards is an international film festival that attracts a broad selection of shorts in every genre to promote independent filmmakers’ work and give selected filmmakers opportunities to showcase their achievements. Closes 30 November.
AniMate: AniMate receives animated films from all over the world; all genres and lengths are welcome. Your film will be viewed and assessed; and if shortlisted, it could be nominated to the AniMate Film Festival program. Once nominated, you will receive a Laurel to promote your film. Closes 10 December.
St Kilda Film Festival: The Short Film Competition has a huge prize pool of cash and in-kind craft awards, including a $10,000 prize for Best Short Film. Other awards include Best Director, Best Achievement in Screenplay, Best Documentary and Best Achievement in Cinematography. Early Bird closes 31 December but entries are open until 31 January.
Revelation Perth International Film Festival : Now entering its twenty-fifth year, Revelation is one of Australia’s most unique screen and moving image events. With its focus on independent cinema, international film, cutting-edge documentaries, emergent talent – both international and Australian, and experimental film, Revelation maintains its clarity of vision while always seeking to explore the potential of visual cultures. Closes 1 April.
The Very Short Film Festival : Your short film can be about anything – let your imagination run wild. You might be into satire or animation, or you can do something else entirely, it’s up to you. They don’t want to influence your storytelling, but just ask that there’s a reference to the 2023 theme – ‘chip’ – somewhere in your film. How you choose to do that is your call. Closes 17 April.
Note: every major Australian city has its own dedicated film festival that accepts short film submissions every year (MIFF, Sydney Film Festival, Adelaide Film Festival etc). And don’t forget to keep an eye out for major short film festivals like Heart of Gold and SF3 that happen later in the year.
Many, many more festival submissions are available via our Opportunities page.
Open screen events/Kino movements for short films
You can also find a number of open screenings around major cities in Australia. These events are like open mic nights, but for film! Bars that host open screenings will usually set up a projector and let you bring your film on a USB, or submit it via email on the day. Some rules do apply about what kind of content you can show, of course, but they’re generally pretty cruisy and have an 18+ rating by default.
Lido: Short Stack: Short Stack is a bimonthly short film festival bringing together and celebrating local films and local talent, proudly presented by Fantastic Film Festival Australia. They provide a platform for local filmmakers to showcase their work in front of a cinema audience and mingle with like-minded filmmakers and cinephiles. Fantastic prizes are also on offer for filmmakers screening their work!
Loop Bar: Filmonik: Filmonik Melbourne is an inclusive open-screen short film night. Melbourne filmmakers take to the screen with their latest short films of all genres in an energetic evening. Film lovers who crave exciting and fresh screenings fill out the audience. Filmonik Melbourne is a partner of the already booming world Kino movement, which started in Montreal in 1999. The binding philosophy is the belief in filmmaking with minimum resources in a collaborative environment.
Golden Age: Short Film Screenings: Short film screenings take place after the bar is open and before our public film program begins. We have availabilities mostly around 5.30pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays – depending on the length of your film.
Kino Sydney Open Screenings: Kino Sydney is a monthly open-mic night for filmmakers which includes short films, live music, and food. Similarly to Filmonik Melbourne, Kino Sydney is part of the worldwide Kino collaborative filmmaking movement.
Upload your short film to YouTube/ Vimeo etc.
Whether you decide to submit to a festival or not, it’s a good idea to get your film online so that you can easily share it. Most festivals require you to have an online link to your work anyway, so best to get on that early before you’re under the pump of submission deadlines.
Uploading to YouTube or Vimeo is simple. You can create an account for free and link it to your existing social handles and Gmail. Once done, simply use the upload tool to get your film online.
You can then set the title, thumbnail, description, and tags for your short film. If you’re not ready for the public to view it, you can set it to ‘Unlisted’ or ‘Private’. The latter allows you to set a password for viewing.
Note: When exporting your final edit, the H.264 format is the best compression standard to use so that no quality is lost when uploading.
And that’s it for our short film submission guide! If you’re planning on submitting anywhere, ‘chookas’ to you and your team.