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 19th annual Dam Short Film Festival will feature 120+ short films of varied style, subject, and origin with a total of 20+ programs. Historically, screenings have been held at the beautiful 400-seat Boulder Theatre, located in charming downtown 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, Music Video, Student, and Nevada Filmmaker. Films from all years are invited to submit and there is no premiere requirement.

The 19th 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 Music Video, 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.

2022 -2023 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, Music Video, 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. Submissions: All films must be submitted through FilmFreeway - there are no exceptions. Links to films or other external submissions will not be accepted.

6. Subtitles: Non-English language films must be subtitled with subtitles in English or contain minimal dialog. Non-English Music Videos do not require subtitles.

7. 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 Music Video, 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.

8. Exhibition Copies: Selected films must provide one of the following formats for exhibition: DCP (Digital Cinema Package) or a .mov (Quicktime) with sufficient quality to convert to a DCP. Selected films must provide an exhibition copy by January 15, 2023. Electronic or online delivery of exhibition copies is preferred. Physical copies of exhibition copies mailed on thumb drives or disk drives will be returned after the festival conclusion. Failure to submit an exhibition copy by January 15, 2023 will disqualify selected films from all award considerations.

9. 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.

10. 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). Alternatively, the festival may add virtual screenings in addition to physical screenings as a means to include additional films. In either case, by submitting you give explicit permission to the Dam Short Film Festival to screen your film via the Eventive virtual festival platform with geo-blocking restrictions set to the United States. If your film is unavailable for virtual screenings, do not submit. Virtual screenings will occur for a limited time (for example, the 2023 festival dates plus 5 days). Virtual screenings will only be available to ticket or pass holders. All reasonable precautions, including the use of secure DRM technology, will be taken to protect the intellectual property of the films.

11. Virtual Exhibition Copies: Films screened virtually must provide an exhibition copy by January 15, 2023. A .mov (Quicktime) with sufficient quality is required. Electronic or online delivery of exhibition copies is preferred. Physical copies of exhibition copies mailed on thumb drives or disk drives will be returned after the festival conclusion.

12. Notification: Selected films will be notified by email on or around January 1, 2023. (Please add filmfreeway.com and damshortfilm.org 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: In fairness to all filmmakers, all unsolicited fee waiver requests will be declined. The festival staff, on occasion, may offer waivers or discounts to films viewed at other film festivals, although this is completely at the discretion of the festival programmers.

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.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • This festival is a true filmmaker's festival. The team behind it maintains top notch communication throughout! And they do deliver on their word. Our film "Living All of Life" won Audience Favorite and we promptly received a beautiful award along with other festival goodies in the mail. I loved it! Thank you!

    May 2022
  • Had a great time at the Dam Short Film Festival. Highly recommend it!

    April 2022
  • Brett Levner

    Loved this festival! The staff is so kind and really take care of you.

    March 2022
  • Carl Hansen

    Had a great time at the virtual Dam Short Film Festival this year. Really great communication and a wonderful selection of films - and great panels with the filmmakers. Highly recommend submitting to Dam Short and hope to make it in person the next time.

    March 2022
  • Virtual festivals can be tricky to pull off, but Dam Festival put on a great virtual festival. Good communication, really supportive of filmmakers, and they did a great job promoting the films. Thank you Dam!

    February 2022