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. Held in beautiful and historic Boulder City, Nevada, DSFF will feature 120+ short films of varied style, subject, and origin.

Dedicated to staying true to what makes DSFF so special, we are proudly continuing full steam ahead into the 18th Annual Festival, while being cognizant of and sensitive to the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic. Though planning for the best-case scenario, we are executing extreme caution and creating alternative arrangements that will ensure the curtain rises from February 10-14th. No matter what comes our way, preparing for the unknown is the least we can do for our incredible filmmakers, audience, volunteers, and our community partners, without whom, we would not have this iconic festival.

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.

There will be award screenings, mixers, and parties.

Boulder City, home of the Hoover Dam, is only 30 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip and 4 hours from Los Angeles. Screenings will be held at the beautiful and historic 400-seat Boulder Theatre, located in charming downtown Boulder City.

Selected filmmakers will receive access to all screenings, parties, and will receive fine swag and hotel rooms.

The 18th Annual Dam Short Film Festival has eight 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, also chosen by the audience. Award winners receive a one-of-a-kind award statuette made by a local artist. The Best Screenplay Award and the Leslie Paige Award for Excellence in Short Filmmaking will be awarded by the festival board of directors; in addition to a special award statue, the Leslie includes a $1000 cash award. Award winners are determined by the festival board of directors and all decisions are final.

2022 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.

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 two awards chosen by the festival board of directors: the Best Screenplay award and 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 board 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, 2022. 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. After a film is selected, it cannot be withdrawn from the festival – there are no exceptions.

9. 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. Virtual screenings will occur for a limited time (for example, the 2022 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.

10. Virtual Exhibition Copies: Films screened virtually must provide an exhibition copy by January 15, 2022. 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. Failure to submit an exhibition copy by January 15, 2022 will disqualify selected films from all award considerations. After a film is selected, it cannot be withdrawn from the festival – there are no exceptions.

11. Notification: Selected films will be notified by email on or around January 1, 2022. (Please add filmfreeway.com and damshortfilm.org your email filter to avoid the notifications going into your spam folder!)

12. 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.

13. Ratings: The festival staff does not share film review committee and programmer comments or ratings with the public or submitting filmmakers.

14. 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 programmers.

15. 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.

16. Payments: All submission fees must be in U.S. funds. Films submitted without the correct payment will be disqualified.

17. Warranties: By submitting your film to the Dam Short Film Festival, you warrant that you hold all the necessary rights to screen your film at our event.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Jake Isaacs

    Dam Short was a d*** delight. The bloc in which I was included was hugely entertaining, and the virtual Q&A in which my producing partner took part was professional, engaging and fun. I've taken part in the festival both virtually and previously in-person, and can't say enough good about it.

    March 2021
  • Mike Thompson

    Perfect fest in every way.

    March 2021
  • Cindy Wathen-Kennedy

    What a dynamic festival! All of the organizers are such pros and total gems to work with. I had a blast being a part of this festival. It's very very filmmaker friendly.

    February 2021
  • Lucas Hicks

    Dam was well put together and I was honored to be a part of this festival! Hopefully will see you guys again soon in the future whether online or in person!

    February 2021
  • One of the best experiences I have had with a film festival during these crazy virtual days. The whole staff and team at Dam Shorts went above and beyond. The communication and open arms were constant, the vibe joyful and exciting, the work fantastic. Thank you so much for having me! I loved every minute!

    February 2021