CATALYST INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL focuses exclusively on films that address under-representation on screen and behind the camera; gender equality, diversity and inclusion are core to our programming. We want to create a more inclusive industry and films screened here will promote gender equality, diversity and inclusion whether in content, key creative roles or crew.

National Student Short Film (3rd Level in Ireland)
Best of Limerick
First Time Filmmaker


The Festival Ambassador is Ruth Negga who noted in her opening address in 2023:

"It swells the heart to welcome everybody back and to growing our Shannon side film festival, Catalyst International Film Festival and celebrating the many different faces of our film industry and its future. As our industry experiences a resurgence of exciting attention, it has become increasingly clear that Ireland has extraordinary talent. Let’s nurture and support it so we can continue to explore our ever-evolving identity and culture through the collective in film by encouraging and supporting all Irish voices! Join us for Catalyst International Film Festival, 2023!"

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 are 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 are 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.



- Best Irish Short Film
- Best International Short Film
- Best Documentary Short Film
- Spirit of the Festival Award
- Jury Special Mention Award
- First Time Filmmaker Award
- National Student Short Film Award (3rd Level)
- Short Screenplay Award
- Spirit of the Festival
- Audience Award
- Best of Limerick 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.

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 up to 5 high res images.
3. All submissions must complete the section 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 films submitted or selected.
5. Submission Deadline Friday 6th January 2024. All films must be submitted in final form and ready for screening.
6. Submissions EARLY BIRD - until Friday, 13th October 2023
7. Only films completed after January 2022 can be considered.
8. Student films must be submitted with a valid Student I.D. in order to avail of the reduced submission fee. Student film Category must be selected when submitting.
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 and images may be included in all Catalyst 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 - all selected films must be sent in DCP format with any subtitles in the requested format. Catalyst is not responsible if a selected film is not screened in the correct screen ratio during the festival as we will have provided filmmakers with the required format in advance.
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.
17. Live action, animation and documentary are all accepted.
18. If you are a First Time Filmmaker you must select this Category.

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.

SHORT SCREENPLAY AWARD 2024 - In association with the Writers Guild of Ireland (WGI)

1. All scripts to be submitted via FilmFreeway in the English or Irish language, maximum 10 pages. Longer scripts will be disqualified.
2. The story, themes and/or characters should reflect the ethos of Catalyst International Film Festival which champions under-represented groups and supports gender equality, diversity and inclusion.
3. Scripts that are in production or under option are not eligible. The script must be an original work of the author(s). Only screenplays will be accepted.
4. Works written by another author are not eligible. A script adapted from your own work is eligible if you currently retain the rights.
5. Script revisions must be entered as a new submission and pay a new fee.
6. Screenwriter must be 18 years or older on date of submission.
7. Decisions of the Judges are final and confidential.
8. Winners will be selected from a short list decided by an industry panel. Finalists will be notified and winners will be announced on our website.
9. Unfortunately, the festival is unable to provide individual feedback on your submission.
*10. All Scripts must be submitted in PDF format, with no identifying watermarks or name of writer/s.*

- Cash Prize of €1,500
- Membership of Writers Guild of Ireland (WGI) for one year
- Book Voucher – Value €150 (Kindly sponsored by WGI)
- Catalyst Trophy
Runner Up
- Cash Prize of €500
- Membership of Writers Guild of Ireland (WGI) for one year
- Catalyst Trophy
Special Mention (If decided by Jury)
- Membership of Writers Guild of Ireland (WGI) for one year
- Catalyst Trophy

**The festival does not issue waivers, please do not email the festival asking for waivers.**
**The festival does not accept late submissions, please do not contact us after the deadline date with a late submission request, it is not fair to other submitters**

Updated August 2023

Overall Rating
  • Rob Sharp

    Although we couldn’t attend, we had a great time with Catalyst IFF. We love everything this festival stands for and so it was an honour to be included in their programme. Many thanks guys and we hope to submit to you again in the future ❤️🎬🎥

    May 2023
  • Martin Ngwong

    A great festival - we were honoured to be selected for screening, and overjoyed with winning the Young Audience Award, and runner-up in a brilliant International Short category.

    Everyone was lovely and the communication was fantastic - including feedback from the judging panel which was an unexpected bonus.

    We highly recommend submitting to this wonderful festival!

    May 2023
  • Joanne Heffernan

    A wonderful festival that's perfect for emerging talent to make new connections with likeminded individuals!

    May 2023
  • Vonnie Doc

    We were delighted to be featured in this year's programme featuring a high calibre of films and masterclasses! Catalyst International Film Festival has proven to be committed to bring a programme of great quality to Limerick and to promote diverse voices on screen. I hope the festival has the chance to grow even more reflecting all the potential Limerick has to offer to the Irish filmmaking industry and helping promote the local filmmakers and stories. We are also very thankful for the award of 'Best Short Documentary' given to 'Vonnie - Ireland's Forgotten Fashion Icon', a true Limerick story, and also a Runner-Up Breakthrough Award for director Renata Lima.

    April 2023
  • Nino Tropiano

    A lovely festival, organized with passion

    May 2022