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The 8th DC Shorts Film Festival: Film Competition

The DC Shorts Film Festival (8-15 September 2011) turns the spotlight on truly independent short films, created by new and established filmmakers in an era when the art of filmmaking is opening to all.

DC Shorts Film Festival selects films of every genre and niche for its competition screenings — with a special focus on films created by metropolitan Washington, DC-based directors and writers.

In 2009, DC Shorts reviewed more than 850 films and 125 scripts from 34 nations.


DC Shorts Film Festival accepts films under 20 minutes in all genres, styles and themes, and program screenings which allow audiences to watch as many different types of films as possible.

Last year, DC Shorts received hundreds of submissions from 34 nations and showcased 97 films from 11 countries in 10 unique showcases to a combined audience of over 5,000 people.

Please consider the following deadlines for entries:

  • Early Deadline – 31 January 2011
  • Regular Deadline – 30 March 2011
  • Late Deadline – 15 April 2011
  • Withoutabox Extended Deadline – 30 April 2011


  • Outstanding First-Time Director
    Winner is presented with a custom-made trophy and $250 cash award
  • Filmmakers’ Choice (chosen by filmmakers in attendance)
    Winner is presented with a custom-made trophy and $250 cash award
  • Festival Director’s Choice (chosen by the Festival Director)
    Winner is presented with a custom-made trophy and $250 cash award
  • Outstanding Local Film, presented by KVM Rentals
    Winner is presented with a $1000 equipment rental package
  • Outstanding Original Song, presented by Gibson
    Winner is presented with a Gibson prize package and private consultation.
  • Outstanding Cinematography, presented by FujiFilm
    Winner is presented with a substantial amount of film stock.
  • Audience Favorite Awards are selected for each screening
    which consist of a framed certificate and no cash award.


  • Films must have been completed after 1 January 2009.
  • Films must not exceed 20 minutes in length, including credits.
  • All non-English language films must have English subtitles.
  • A separate entry form and additional entry fee must be submitted for each film.

How to enter?

All films must be submitted and paid for through Withoutabox. Preview media must be labeled with the entry confirmation number, film title, running time and entrant contact information (phone and email.)

Films must be sent to:

DC Shorts Film Festival
1317 F Street NW
Suite 920
Washington, DC 20004-1151

Label the outside of your package FOR FESTIVAL PREVIEW ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL VALUE.

Preview copies must arrive to the Festival offices by 2 May 2011.

Entry fee

With special discounts for Withoutabox premier members:

  • Standard entry fees range from $30 – $60, depending on the entered deadline;
  • Student entry fees range from $25 – $50, depending on the entered deadline.