The AES Short Film Competition is a program of the Columbus Jewish Film Festival, a yearly diverse and comprehensive film festival in it's 16th season in Columbus, Ohio. The 2020 competition will accept entries from the USA as well as Israel.

Filmmakers of all levels and from all backgrounds from ages 18-40 are invited to submit a short film in any genre relating to Judaism, Jewish culture or history, the Jewish experience or other Jewish themes. Film must be between 4 -12 minutes, with a completion date of 2017 or later. Foreign language films must contain English subtitles.

The AES Short Film Competition looks to recognize and inspire filmmakers throughout the United States and Israel as they explore the Jewish experience, culture, identity and connection through film's many genres. We look forward to seeing your work ! Please remember filmmakers can be of any background or faith but films must fulfill theme requirement to be considered for this competition.

Thank You!

Total prize package minimum of $2,500 which includes the Grand Prize of $1,500. Additional prizes will be decided based upon submissions and judging results. The grand prize winning film and other award selections will be shown during the Columbus Jewish Film Festival in a virtual program on November 17, 2020 from Columbus, Ohio at 7pm EST

*Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the CJFF will be held virtually this year, from November 1-19. Filmmakers will need to comply with virtual platform specifications in order to be screened. Selected films will receive instructions via email.

Open throughout the USA and Israel to ages 18-40 (please provide date of birth) including those studying or traveling abroad from USA.

Information can also be found on but films should be submitted through FilmFreeway.

When submitting a film, applicant confirms the competition is their original work, that there are no disputes regarding ownership of their submission and that their submission does not infringe on any existing copyright (including music, photos, images, or other materials). Applicant must confirm that any necessary permissions and releases have been secured and agree to hold the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus harmless from and defend them against all claims, demands, losses, damages, judgments, liabilities, and expenses, including attorney’s fees, arising out of or in connection with any and all claims of third parties based on their submission. Applicant permits the Columbus Jewish Film Festival to use film clips, applicant’s name and image if necessary for promotional purposes in conjunction with this competition.

Competition reserves the right to not complete the judging of films and awarding of prizes in the event that fewer than 15 films are submitted in total to the 2020 AES Short Film Competition. Please note we do not accept "promotional" videos, i.e.: a submission of a film made specifically to advertise or promote a business or service.

Filmmakers receiving any monetary award will need to acknowledge notification via email and verify payee name, mailing address and W-9 information before payments can be sent.

Overall Rating
  • My film Kaddish has won an honorable mention in the AES Short Film Competition of the Columbus Jewish Film Festival, Ohio, USA. It was really an honor to have this award from this reputed festival. Dawn has taken care of the AES Competition on behalf of the Columbus Jewish Film Festival, and he has coordinated very well. When I had made the submission to AES, I thought it is just a very small festival and had no idea that it is actually a competitive section for Short Films at the Columbus Jewish Film Festival. After the winning award, I checked back their Film Freeway page and found they clearly mentioned their role in the Columbus Jewish Film Festival which I skipped seeing while making the submission! I am glad that a wider audience got to see our film remotely during the pandemic, and hope, they liked it. I recommend this competitive section and the festival to all filmmakers who somehow represent their content for the Jewish diaspora, their history, and tradition, or any other issues that somehow connect with either Jewish people or Judaism. Dawn is a rockstar :) I am glad to be part of their 2020 festival.

    December 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank You Razid, It was an honor to share your poignant and powerful film with our 2020 CJFF audience !

  • Arnon Shorr

    A fantastic and important competition - one of very few monetary awards for Jewish short film content.

    Fest was communicative, and prompt with the award money (which is always nice!)

    December 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank You Arnon, It was a privilege to share your film with our CJFF audience !