top 100 film festivals for short films

i was on the withoutabox message boards and came across this excellent list of festivals. it was put together by Attila Szász, writer director whose short film played at 56 festivals. if you’re not a member of withoutabox, you won’t be able to see the original thread on the message board, so i’ll copy and paste some of his original post:

I have a short film I’ve been trying to manage through the festival circuit for the last 18 months. This means I’ve been researching American and international film festivals for two years now pretty intensively. Chris Gore’s book was a major help halfway through (I managed to get a hold of it after a year), but I believe it’s quite outdated now and doesn’t really focus on short films.

I read a lot of posts on these board asking “What fests to submit?”.

I don’t believe that anyone can answer this question, because it always depends on the given film itself. And even if you calculated every single aspect of your film and came up with a list of festival that might accept it, I’m pretty sure that you ran into some major surprises (both pleasant and unpleasant).

So I don’t try to answer this question. What I’ve tried is to come up with a list of the TOP 100 Film Festivals around the world for short films. This is not a list of Short Film Festivals only. This a list of film festivals that can do the following to your short film:

– qualify it for Oscar consideration
– or qualify it for the European Film Award (if you have a European short with a running time less than 15 minutes)
– or provide amazing distribution possibilities (being a short film market)
– or put the spotlight on you like no other festivals
– or guarantee a huge attendance for your screening like no other festivals
– or give a chance to win amazing amount of cash or equipment
– or bring out the biggest names in the industry to network who can actually make or break your future
– or give a chance to focus on your next film by organizing a co-production market with the festival full of producers hungry for projects
– or take you to places on Earth you would never be able to travel
– or throw the most spectacular parties where you don’t feel like an outsider with your short
– or simply give your short film a huge prestige just by having the laurel on your poster
– or all these combined.

In short, if you have a short, and you want to give it a real shot, you should consider submit it to some of these festivals.

This list is not based (only) on personal experinces, like Chris Gore’s book. It’s based on extensive research on the internet and numerous discussions with European and American players (members of film councils, producers, festival directors, filmmakers, film critics).

the pdf is here:

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  1. For developing countries, filmmakers prefer short film depot, short film central, film fest world and other european festival site. Probably 50% or more of the festival in top 100 list are also members of w/out a box.

    Because, there’s no money involved or the festival fee.

  2. Last April, I went to the L.A. Comedy Shorts film festival and it was awesome! I saw a panel with Wayne Brady and Jeff Garland, hilarious. There was a lot of networking, met a ton of people, made great connections and I didn’t even have a film there. My friend was one of the screenplay finalists for the feature screenplay competition. She didn’t end up winning, but she said she felt like she won because she had such a good time and a couple of huge companies requested her script. Definitely on my future submit list.

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