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 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. Catalyst films will entertain and 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.


Runner Up - Sycamore

Runner Up - The Grass Ceiling

Runner Up - The Girl at the End of the Garden



JURY PANEL: Marissa Aroy, Barry Dignam, Timara Lawless

In the current climate under the impact of COVID-19, the festival may be online or in a hybrid version. We will alway follow government guidelines for the safety of attendees.


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

- Best Student Short Film
- Spirit of the Festival Award
- Jury Special Mention Award

Spirit of the Festival is awarded to a film, or films, that captivate us while effectively articulating the themes and characters that our festival seeks to champion in productions that support gender equality, diversity and inclusion.


-Cash Prize of €1,000
-Membership of Writers Guild of Ireland (WGI) for one year
-Book Voucher
-Catalyst Trophy

Runner Up
-Cash Prize of €200
-Membership of Writer’s Guild of Ireland (WGI) for one year
-Catalyst Trophy

Special Mention
-Catalyst Trophy


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

2. Only films submitted through FilmFreeway can be considered by Catalyst IFF. Applications should include a brief synopsis (20-30 words) and two high res images.

3. All submissions must complete the notes 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.

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

5. Submission Deadline February 8th, 2021. All films must be submitted in final form and ready for screening.

6. EARLY BIRD - until October 19th 2020.

7. Only films completed after January 2019 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.

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.

Films must demonstrate a commitment to inclusion and meet the criteria in the following 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.


In association with the Writers Guild of Ireland (WGI)

The Catalyst International Film Festival In association with the Writers Guild of Ireland (WGI) announces a new Screenplay Award for short film.

Submission Terms and Conditions:

- All scripts to be submitted via FilmFreeway in the English or Irish language, maximum 10 pages. Longer scripts will be disqualified.
- Entry fee per script - €20
- The story, themes and/or characters should reflect the ethos of Catalyst International Film Festival – reflecting aspects of gender equality, diversity and/or inclusion.
- Scripts that are in production or under option are not eligible.The script will be an original work of the author(s). Only screenplays will be accepted.
- Works written by another author are not eligible. A script adapted from your own work is eligible if you currently retain the rights.
- Script revisions must be entered as a new submission and pay a new fee.
- Screenwriter will be 18 years or older on date of submission.
- Decisions of the Judges are final and confidential.
- Winners will be selected from a short list decided by an industry panel. Finalists will be notified and winners will be announce on our website.
- The festival is unable to provide individual feedback on your submission.
- Final date for submission is February 8th 2021


- Cash Prize of €1,000
- Membership of Writers Guild of Ireland (WGI) for one year
- Book Voucher
- Catalyst Trophy

Runner Up
- Cash Prize of €200
- Membership of Writer’s Guild of Ireland (WGI) for one year
- Catalyst Trophy

Special Mention
-Catalyst Trophy

**The festival does not issue waivers, please do not email the festival asking for waivers.

Updated December 2020

Overall Rating
  • Jonathan Hughes

    A fab festival with such a great vision behind it. Really well managed and created a great buzz and wonderful online community around their festival this year. Can't wait to screen with them again.

    June 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much, Jonathan. The Catalyst team was delighted to have you! We enjoyed screening 'Operator' and wish you well with its festival run. Look forward to welcoming you back soon! Susan

  • Sidhe Company

    This is a wonderful festival and although it was virtual this year, everyone was made to feel included and every effort was made to highlight every film screened. The ethos of Catalyst is to be admired and supported. Also we were honoured when our short PADDY was awarded Best Irish Short. Would highly recommend this great festival.

    April 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thanks to the Sidhe team and congratulations on your winning short, PADDY. We enjoyed having you! Come back soon!

  • What a wonderful festival for diversity and inclusivity! Although this year's was online the team put together a wonderful line up of screenings, talks and competitions. The fabulous Ruth Negga came on board as ambassador and I was delighted to be part of this brilliant festival. Can't wait to be in Limerick next year when we are done with the lockdown!

    March 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thanks so much, Miriam, we were delighted to welcome you to Catalyst Int FF. We appreciate your very positive feedback!

  • Cathriona Slammon

    Highly recommend this festival for its focus on underrepresentated stories and storytellers. Really professional, supportive, authentic and great communication. I think this festival will grow to become a really important and popular film festival in Ireland. 🙂

    March 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thanks so much, Cathriona. Your support is much appreciated. Hope to see you again in 2022!

  • 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