Recognizing that short film is a unique and valuable art form, the Dam Short Film Society aims to seek out original, unusual, and entertaining short films from around the world and make them available to the general public via the annual Dam Short Film Festival.
The 20th annual Dam Short Film Festival will feature 140+ short films of varied style, subject, and origin with a total of 20+ programs. Historically, screenings have been held in charming Boulder City, Nevada. Boulder City, home of the Hoover Dam, is only 30 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip and 4 hours from Los Angeles. Selected filmmakers will receive access to all screenings and events and will receive special swag and other perks.
Submission categories include Drama, Comedy, Documentary, Animation, Sci-Fi/Horror, International, Student, and Nevada Filmmaker. Films from all years are invited to submit and there is no premiere requirement.
The 20th annual Dam Short Film Festival has 8 award categories, all based on audience votes: Best Drama, Best Comedy, Best Documentary, Best Animation, Best Sci-Fi / Horror, Best International, Best Nevada Filmmaker, and Best Student. In addition, there is one Audience Favorite award, based on audience votes, and one award chosen by the festival board of directors: the Leslie Paige Award for Excellence in Filmmaking. In addition to a special award statue, the Leslie award includes a $1000 cash prize.
2023 -2024 Submission Guidelines
These guidelines are contractually binding – please read carefully!
1. Qualifications: The Dam Short Film Festival welcomes short films with any content and in any style, whether it's live-action, documentary, or animation. Entries must have a total run-time between 1 and 40 minutes. The year of production does not matter and there is no premiere requirement.
2. Submission Categories: We offer the following submission categories: Drama, Comedy, Documentary, Animation, Sci-Fi / Horror, International, Nevada Filmmaker, and Student. See the following two sections concerning Student and Nevada films. If you are not sure which category to submit to, please see our Submission Category Flowchart on our website at damshortfilm.org/flow-chart. Do not submit your film more than one time per submission season. Do not submit your film in multiple categories, else risk disqualification. The Festival may, on occasion, change a submitted film’s category in order to approve the category accuracy.
3. Student Films: The Student category is open to students only. The submitted film must have been created while the film's director or directors were enrolled at a school, college, or university. Note that we have included student genres for organizational purposes (for example, Student - Drama). Regardless of the student genre, all student films will be eligible to win the Best Student award.
4. Nevada Films: The Nevada Filmmaker category is open to any short that was created while the director or directors were residents of Nevada. The production must have been shot primarily in Nevada with Nevada locations.
5. International Films: The International category is open to any short that was created by anyone who is not a U.S citizen and the production must have been shot primarily outside of the United States.
6. Submissions: All films must be submitted through FilmFreeway - there are no exceptions. Links to films or other external submissions will not be accepted.
7. Subtitles: Non-English language films must be subtitled with subtitles in English or contain minimal dialog.
8. Awards: The festival has 8 award categories, all based on audience votes: Best Drama, Best Comedy, Best Documentary, Best Animation, Best Sci-Fi / Horror, Best International, Best Nevada Filmmaker, and Best Student. In addition, there is one Audience Favorite award, based on audience votes, and one award chosen by the festival board of directors: the Leslie Paige Award for Excellence in Filmmaking. In addition to a special award statue, the Leslie award includes a $1000 cash prize. Audience votes are tallied by the festival board of directors and all decisions are final. On occasion, the Festival may add additional awards.
9. Exhibition Copies: Selected films must provide one of the following formats for exhibition: DCP (Digital Cinema Package), .mov (Quicktime ProRes) or mp4 (H.264) with sufficient quality to convert to a DCP. In addition the audio for all films must be stereo format. Selected films must provide an exhibition copy by January 15, 2024. Electronic or online delivery of exhibition copies are the only accepted delivery options. We no longer accept any mailed exhibition copies. Failure to submit an exhibition copy by January 15, 2024 will disqualify selected films from all award considerations.
10. Withdrawals: After a film is selected for screening and its selection is announced publicly, it CANNOT be withdrawn from the festival; if the filmmaker fails to follow this obligation, he or she will be blacklisted from future programming. If you are unsure if you can screen a film with the Dam Short Film Festival, do not submit.
11. Virtual Screenings: The Dam Short Film Festival may add virtual screenings if physical screenings become impossible due to state or federal regulations (such as pandemic restrictions). Some virtual screenings will occur for a limited time around the festival dates (for example, our Film Market, which will run up to 5 days prior to the 2024 festival dates plus 5 days after the conclusion.) These virtual screenings will only be available to festival pass holders. All reasonable precautions, including the use of secure DRM technology, will be taken to protect the intellectual property of the films.
12. Notification: Selected films will be notified by email on or around January 1, 2024. (Please add filmfreeway.com and damshortfilm.org to your email filter to avoid the notifications going into your spam folder!)
13. Stills and Poster: A press kit is not required for submission. Upon selection, filmmakers are required to provide a high-quality digital still and poster for the film if they are not already available via FilmFreeway.
14. Ratings: Under no circumstances will the festival staff share film review committee and programmer comments or ratings with the public or submitting filmmakers.
15. Fee Waivers, Discounts: In fairness to all filmmakers, all unsolicited fee waiver or discount, requests will be declined. The festival board, on occasion, may offer waivers or discounts to films viewed at other film festivals, although this is completely at the discretion of the festival board.
16. Programming: The festival programmers may add selected films to any category or programming block deemed appropriate. A film can only be assigned to one category. After announcement to the public, the festival schedule CANNOT and WILL NOT be changed.
17. Payments: All submission fees must be in U.S. funds. Films submitted without the correct payment will be disqualified.
18. Warranties: By submitting your film to the Dam Short Film Festival, you warrant that we hold all the necessary rights to screen your film at our event.