Trinity Film Festival

Trinity Film Festival (TFF) is an international undergraduate film competition held annually on the campus of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Every year, some of the most talented student filmmakers in the country and around the globe submit short films for the chance to screen on our historic big screen. This year will be a hybrid virtual experience, and you are invited to apply. Students from Middlebury College have won awards at Trinity Film Festival in the past!

Trinity Film Festival is accepting submissions at trinfilmfestival.org. Films of any genre are eligible as long as they are under 10 minutes in length. Each year, winning films are eligible for cash prizes. The deadline has been extended to April 20th. 

Film Festivals Available to Undergraduate Students

This past summer I had the pleasure of working for the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival here in Middlebury. In talking to my coworkers I learned about the festival industry and was quite surprised by how much there was that I did not know. I thought of festivals as these extraordinarily elite institutions that I could only ever get into if I had a film with an absurdly high budget. However the truth is that there are film festivals out there for films made on every budget and some specifically geared towards first time filmmakers as well as students. Having been in the film department for four years now, I can confidently say that I have seen dozens of festival-worthy student films that were never submitted anywhere. Winning entry into these festivals won’t win you a chance at stardom or suddenly lay out a path towards lucrative careers in production, but it will allow you to get your work out there. So with that in mind here are a few highly regarded film festivals with cheap entry fees and an eye for young talent.

Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival

No this is not sponsored content. Like I said above, I did work here this past summer, but the festival is genuinely accessible for Middlebury students. The festival coordinators have a close connection with the college and appreciate the talent that the FMMC department can produce. In fact this past year, Matteo Moretti ’21, won an award for his senior thesis Just Being Here. The festival focuses exclusively on first and second time filmmakers, so you can be assured that you will feel at home. Short submissions sent in before the regular deadline cost $35. The festival also almost always takes place the weekend before move-in at the college, so your chances of being able to attend are quite high.

Trinity Film Festival

Hosted by our fellow NESCAC, Trinity College, Trinity Film Festival is a showcase made exclusively for undergraduates and graduates. The festival is going into its 11th year and has received glowing reviews from young filmmakers. The application fee is not easily available since the fest has not begun to accept its next round of applicants, but considering they exclusively accept college students, I cannot imagine it is ludicrously high.

Reality Bytes

Reality Bytes is an independent student film festival sponsored by Northern Illinois University’s Department of Communication. The festival offers cash prizes with each major reward and has an entrance fee of only $25. Your entry must be under 30 minutes in length and have been made in the past year.

Ivy Film Festival

The Ivy Film Festival is going into its 21st year, making it the oldest entirely student run film festival. The festival also uses Brown’s connections to draw star-studded speakers as well as industry professionals. Winners are provided accommodations on Brown’s campus, making attending the festival pretty feasible. Entry fees are as low as $10 if done before the early bird deadline.

Rhode Island International Film Festival

Now this one is a little more prestigious. Rhode Island International Film Festival is an Oscar Qualifying, BAFTA Qualifying, and Canadian Screen Award Qualifying Festival. You might think this is a little too extravagant for your, but the festival actually has a student submission process and student pricing ($40). That’s not to say that this is an easy festival to get into, but they are actively on the hunt for student talent. As someone who grew up in the Rhode Island area, I can also tell you that the event is extremely well attended. Even if you open in an early morning slot you will likely still have a sizable crowd.

There are dozens of other festivals I debated putting on this list, but I believe this is a good starting place. I tried my best to limit the range geographically to what is close to Middlebury, but there are tons of other festivals closer to where you may live. All of the festivals listed above and the vast majority of professional festivals use FilmFreeway, a free submission that allows you to search for and submit to a variety of festivals. Have a look and use the advanced search preference to see what festivals meet your criteria. Festivals provide an avenue for young filmmakers to gain recognition for the hard work they’ve put in, earn money towards their next films, and make meaningful connections in the industry that can help their careers later. It’s not a path often talked about amongst film majors here, but it is absolutely one worth exploring.

Visions 10 Film Festival & Conference 2021

Hosted by the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Visions is the only peer-reviewed, student-led, undergraduate joint film festival and conference. This unique pairing offers the opportunity for both emerging filmmakers and scholars to showcase their work in a diverse, scholarly environment. Visions is designed, managed, programmed, produced, and presented by undergraduate students for undergraduate students. We are especially excited for this year’s virtual festival and conference, as we’ve reimagined our festival to deliver the experiences through the screen of your choice. The festival will take place March 24-28, 2021.

All film and paper submissions must have been completed between January 2019 and January 2021 by undergraduate students to be considered. No works-in-progress will be accepted. Submission related inquiries should be directed to Samuel Farance at VisionsFFCProgramming@gmail.com.

Submission Deadlines

·         Early Submission Deadline: December 7th, 2020

·         Regular Film Submission Deadline: January 4th, 2021

·         Paper Abstract Submission Deadline: January 4th, 2021 *DEADLINE EXTENDED*

·         Late Film Submission Deadline: January 25th, 2021

Submission Instructions

·         All submitted films must go through FilmFreeway: https://filmfreeway.com/Visions10FilmFestivalConference

·         Information about the filmmaker must be provided via this Google Form: https://forms.gle/3AT3pHsTnqw44t8v7

·         All Abstracts must be submitted through this Google Form: https://forms.gle/446Sg3j6Q9Rz53Q88

OFF: Odense International Film Festival 2021

OFF is an alternative film festival, born with passion and creativity in 1975. OFF supports and celebrates the short film genre, and works to support Danish and International film culture. We are open for submission for the next edition of our international short film festival which will take place August 30 – September 5, 2021. We accept films of any genre with a maximum duration of 30 minutes, and which finished production in 2020 or 2021. Applications are due March 15, 2021. Details here. We were able to hold our 2020 festival both in real life in Odense and online at our streaming platform. No matter what happens with Covid-19 restrictions, the festival will happen – and we have the knowledge and means to make it great in 2021 both online and offline.

DGA Student Film Awards

About: The Directors Guild of America Student Film Awards for African-American, Asian-American, Latino, and Women Directors are designed to honor, encourage, and bring attention to outstanding minority and women directors in DGA selected film schools in the Eastern and Western regions. The awards bring prizes of $2,500 to the winners in each category and $1,000 to Jury Award winners, in both regions. Awards ceremonies will be held at DGA headquarters in Los Angeles and New York on dates to be determined.

Entry Deadline: All submissions must be submitted by Friday, October 6, 2017.

General Rules/Submit: 

Aesthetica Short Film Festival – Submissions Open



Entries are open for the 6th edition of the BAFTA Qualifying Aesthetica Short Film Festival, one of the UK’s leading short film festivals and most exciting cinematic events. ASFF supports emerging filmmakers and presents many opportunities for industry engagement.

ASFF also offers a great residential trip for students, presenting 25 masterclasses with leading film organisations such as Vimeo, Association of Camera Operators (Gravity, James Bond), Domino Publishing and many more. The festival provides a fantastic platform for filmmakers looking to reach a wider, international audience and connect with leading industry figures.

ASFF 2016 Prizes:

  • Screenings at BAFTA Qualifying ASFF 2016
  • Awards: Festival Winner, People’s Choice and Category Winners
  • Eligibility to enter the EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA)
  • Editorial in Aesthetica Magazine and promotion via Aesthetica’s online channels (readership 284,000)

Running times up to 30 minutes. All genres accepted. Deadline 31 May 2016. Entry fee is £20 plus VAT. Visit www.asff.co.uk/submit

Call for Entries – Aesthetica Short Film Festival


2015 ASFF Film Festival 

About:  “BAFTA Qualifying ASFF 2015 is now open for entries. We are looking for filmmakers who are driving the genre of short film forward through inspirational and innovative works. Whether you are an established or emerging practitioner, we want to hear from you.”

Location: York, UK (November 5-8, 2015)

Years Running: 4

Student Category: None

Length Restrictions: Under 30 minutes

Deadline: May 31, 2015

Fee: $22.84

Website: http://www.asff.co.uk/submit/