CATALYST INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL will focus exclusively on films that address under-representation on screen and behind the camera; gender equality, diversity and inclusion are core to our programming. We will prioritise stories and storytellers who may struggle for visibility in the film industry and in mainstream film festivals. We believe that talent is plentiful but opportunities can be limited. Of course, Catalyst films will entertain with engage audiences - but they will also challenge and inspire.

Panel discussions, workshops, interviews, Q&A and special events will be an integral part of Catalyst International Film Festival. This is a place where diverse filmmakers, emerging and more established, can connect and maybe even collaborate. It is also the place where diversity is welcomed, not merely accommodated.

Key issues of the day will be enthusiastically debated with filmmakers, guest speakers, industry personnel and audience members. We anticipate not only a festival of films but also of ideas and opinions. We believe that there are clear cultural benefits created by engaging with diverse films and filmmakers.

Mindful of the power of film to engage and challenge, Catalyst International Film Festival will provide thought provoking cinema and proactive debate. We seek to generate new audiences and discussion around gender equality, diversity and inclusion and the practice of that by individual filmmakers. Our targeted festival guests will themselves speak to diversity whether in the vision, themes and characters explored in their films (content) and/or in the diversity of their personnel and crew (behind camera). Catalyst aims to generate new audiences for film culture and present a thought provoking and innovative programme.

Catalyst International Film Festival is also keen to engage with emerging filmmakers, ‘new’ rather than inevitably ‘young’, in order to broaden the horizons of potential future filmmakers and audience members. Filmmaking can be enriching as an art form, in and of itself; new technology has democratised filmmaking to some extent and we hope to capitalise on that in time.

Awards will be made in the following categories:

- Best Irish Short Film
- Best International Short Film
- Best Documentary Short Film 

- Best Short Film Audience Award
- Spirit of the Festival Award


1. Short films must not run longer than 20 minutes including titles and credits.

2. Only digital copies submitted through FilmFreeway can be considered by Catalyst IFF. Applications should include a brief synopsis (30-50 words) and a high res image.

3. All submissions must be accompanied by a list indicating which diversity criteria your film has met. See the section below on Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Standards. If films are submitted without this information they will not be considered and the application fee will not be refunded. (Please include this information in the cover note when submitting)

4. Catalyst IFF does not pay screening fees for any of the short films submitted or selected.

5. Submission Deadline February 7th , 2020. All films must be submitted in final form and ready for screening.

6. EARLY BIRD - until January 7th.

7. Only films completed after January 2018 can be considered.

8. Student films must be submitted with a valid Student I.D. in order to avail of the reduced submission fee.

9. If the film is not in the English language it must have English subtitles hard-coded.

10. Music and image rights must be cleared for all films.

11. Selected submissions extracts can be included in all promotional material and publicity. (Extracts limited to and not exceeding 1 min)

12. Entry fees are non-refundable.

13.By submitting to Catalyst International FF you are accepting all the festival regulations and procedures.

14. Decisions of the Catalyst IFF Jury and Judges is final

15. The festival will liaise with the filmmaker regarding screening formats after final decisions have been taken

16. Selected finalists will be individually notified and a list will be on the website and social media platforms We regret we cannot provide individual feedback on your submission.

For inclusion in the Catalyst International Film Festival films will need to satisfy a number of criteria in order to demonstrate how content and personnel contribute to diversity. The British Film Institute’s ‘standards’ are highly regarded in the wider international film industry.

Films must demonstrate a commitment to inclusion and meet the criteria in at least two of the following three areas:

A) on-screen
B) creative leadership.

A) On-screen representation, themes and narratives: if your film has a lead character/s or at least two secondary character/s in the underrepresented group list OR has a storyline or subject matter about an underrepresented character/s or group it qualifies for consideration for the festival.

B) Behind the Camera Representation: If at least one member of your film’s key creative team – writer, director, producer, cinematographer, editor - is on the underrepresented group list OR two or more crew member it qualifies for consideration for the festival.

The festival seeks to address underrepresentation in the following areas:

· Gender
· Social and economic exclusion
· Race
· Disability
· Age
· Sexual Orientation

Please note this is not a definitive list and we would welcome queries about films that address under-representation in areas not mentioned here.

Overall Rating
  • Patricia Kelly

    We were delighted to be selected to be part of the inaugural Catalyst Intl FF and fingers crossed we make it again next year with our latest film. The programme for the first year was really interesting, from films to panel discussions and networking sessions. I expect this new festival will go from strength to strength. Thanks Catalyst!

    April 2020
  • Laura O' Shea

    Great festival! A lovely team to correspond with. Sadly, due to Covid-19, the festival had to cancel public events but they still went ahead with a jury and selected Winners for the fest! We were thrilled to receive the award for Best Irish Short Film and it meant a lot to us that the festival team still tried their best to showcase filmmakers and their work. I have no doubt the festival next year will be excellent!

    April 2020
  • Zlata Filipovic

    Lovely ethos behind the festival and a pleasure for our film 'Welcome To A Bright White Limbo' to have been selected - and an honour to win Best Short Documentary. Despite the restrictions of our current world, the festival went ahead in an adapted way and for that we salute you. Thank you and looking forward to many years of great programming to come!

    March 2020
  • Khalil Charif

    Amazing and passionate people making an outstanding festival, plus really great communication. A huge pleasure and honor to be part of this first edition of this Festival that has a philosophy that really makes the difference. Long live the Festival! You are awesome!

    March 2020
  • Katie McNeice

    This is a fabulous festival with a wonderful philosophy of representing diversity on screen, and supporting those who do. The engagement from Susan and Vanessa was fantastic from start to finish. This is going to be one of the most important festivals on the Irish circuit in no time. I'm so, so proud to say IN ORBIT was part of its first edition.

    March 2020