The Underground Cinema Films Awards are now going in to their 12th year. From January 2021 through to September 2021 Underground Cinema will once again begin screening on a monthly basis a selection of some of the best independent short films and music videos from filmmakers from around the globe.

For 11 years our screenings have been live events. With the Covid outbreak in 2020 our monthly screenings switched from live events to online events. The switch over has been enormously sucessful with incredible viewing figures recorded online. We also host Q&A sessions before the screenings with a lot of filmmakers from all over the world joining us via Google Meet.

Until it is safe to screen live again we will continue with our program of short films online during 2021. When we can eventually go back to live screenings we will be heading back to our resident venue, the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire. For our international friends, that's in County Dublin in Ireland.

NEW FOR 2021:
For the first time as part of the competition for 2020, we will begin screening independent feature films online. This means there will be an award for best independent feature film for 2021. Its important to note, this category is an online category. Feature films submitted will not be screened live

At the end of our season in September we will be announcing the nominees for the 12th Underground Cinema Film Awards.

The awards ceremony will be a live event which will be held in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin in Ireland in early November 2021. The short film awards are the only awards ceremony in Ireland that recognise every aspect of the art of making short films.

How it all works:

Once you have submitted your film to us it will be viewed by a member of our judging panel. If your film has been selected by our screening judge, he/she will then be in touch to advise you that your film has been selected and you will be given an online screening date. Links will be sent to you for you to access the film online and should you wish to join a Q&A session online with our online audience we will forward to you a Google Meet link so you can join us.

Our panel of judges will be viewing the films selected throughout the year and they will advise by September the nominees for the 2021 Awards Ceremony

With regard to the awards themselves, the awards will be presented at our annual award giving ceremony in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire in November 2021 which is a ticketed event. Tickets for the event go on sale as soon as the full list of nominees are announced. Tickets include a four course dinner, the awards ceremony and aftershow party. Nominees interested in attending must purchase their own tickets. if a nominee cannot attend and happens to win an award then we will ensure that the award gets to the winner shortly after the awards ceremony.

Short Film Awards
Best Film
Best International Film
Best Student Film
Best Director
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best Screenplay
Best Cinematographer
Best Editor
Best Production Design
Best Sound
Best Score
Best Make Up
Best Costume
Best Documentary
Best Visual Effects
Best Music Video
Best International Music Video
Best Comedy
Best Horror Film
Rising Star Award

Feature Film Compeition
Best Independent Feature Film 2021

1. We are looking for story based films, which can be in the form of narrative (fiction), documentary (non fiction), or animation.
2. All foreign language films must include English subtitles
3. Films that have been previously screened at an Underground Cinema season of short film screenings cannot be re entered.
4. Short films must be under 35 mins long.
5. By submitting your film you are agreeing for Underground Cinema to use clips from your film for promotional purposes
6. You must submit a promotional poster or still with your application
7. You must give the name of the director, writer and producer when submitting your film.
8. We do not accept films that are more then three years old.
9. We do not accept films with poor production standard (sound/video resolution less than 720p HD)

Overall Rating
  • Sidhe Company

    We love the Underground Film event. We screened here with 'Medjugorje Man' in 2020 and we had a fantastic experience. We were part of a film makers networking session where we met the other film makers in the programme. The event was virtual due to the pandemic and the programme was easy to access online and a wide audience was able to see our film for the first time. Thanks so much for a wonderful experience.

    January 2021
  • Nuala Dalton

    Thanks so much to Underground Cinema for the selection. Great communication, with a very supportive feel. Really enjoyed the films, looking forward to joining a coffey morning soon!

    December 2020
  • Susan Gleeson

    I found the Underground Cinema Film Festival to be a fantastic experience. I had attended it before to support friends who are also film-makers but this was the first year (and first project) I submitted.
    So you can imagine how delighted I was that we were chosen as an Official Selection, it was wonderful news & very exciting. Even just announcing it on social media got a lot of interest & attention.
    It just shows how highly regarded this film festival is & a pleasure to be a part of.

    The way they adapted at short notice to move the festival online was amazing & so smooth. It still kept it's spirit & feeling that it really is supporting the independent film-maker.
    It was very easy to navigate the program & I watched so much new & exciting content that I am truly inspired & motivated.

    Well done & congrats to Dave & all the team at Underground Cinema.
    Thanks so much again, very best, Susan x

    December 2020
  • Excellent festival. Great communication and very good web site promoting our films! Thank you, Underground Cinema Film Awards!

    November 2020
  • Chris Rahill

    Great communication. Fantastic new website for watching submitted films too.

    November 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thanks for the kind words Chris. Im glad you enjoyed the experience for 2020.