Some filmmakers have dark appetites...

We maintain a ruthless ambition to submerge audiences in unyielding suspense and to throw viewers off balance in new and disturbing ways. We strive to master these techniques, because we are drawn to the writhing darkness deep within the subconscious. Some audiences yearn for this maelstrom with a primal hunger, and devour such viewing experiences with shuddering, cathartic enthusiasm.

The Amsterdam Dark Arts Film Festival (DAFFA) is a new event that celebrates and enables this masochistic interaction with a carefully curated selection of the most disturbing horror, sci-fi and fantasy short films available to mortals. From the Occult to quick-fix slashers, from dystopian realms to wonderfully-weird and dark fantasy, DAFFA is a new home for genre film in Western Europe.

Amsterdam - the Devil's destination.

Set deep within the kinky surrounds of one of the world’s most debaucherous cities, DAFFA is a filmmaker oriented festival created to inspire, empower and entertain those with the darkest imaginations. Filmmakers from all over the world are welcomed to our inaugural event during Halloween 2021 at Lab111, where a weekend of terrifying films, masterclasses, development workshops and networking ends off with an awards ritual and afterparty with distinctly dark entertainment.

Let's get this bloody thing in the can!

As aspirant filmmakers we know the power of the short form as a stepping stone towards more ambitious projects. In our workshops and masterclasses we have a keen focus on empowering filmmakers to develop their creative ideas, but also to take full advantage of strategic opportunities. Old Nick's Pitching Forum has the clear intent to fast-track an idea into production - winners go home with cash- and support prizes that will significantly boost production quality. All pitch-participants will receive thorough feedback from a representative of the jury. We want your work to get produced, so we tailor-make these sessions. Another specific area of focus is networking. In formal and informal sessions, we strive to create meaningful contact with future collaborators, allies and advisors.

DAFFA provides continued support to ambitious filmmakers with our online alumni-community where they can continue to share their success, exchange ideas and ask for guidance.

Join us in the shadows, showcase your mastery of the Dark Arts and become a DAFFA-initiated acolyte...

Filmmakers and screenwriters contend for a high quality “Astaroth’s Blessing” statuette, designed by the brilliant Stephan Vos, or a “Distinction in the Dark Arts” Special Mention certificate. For either at least 17 projects will be honoured.

Our nominations, special mentions and awards are decided by a jury of industry professionals through a points system and debate.

Awards are given in the following categories:

Best Short Film
Best Horror Short
Best Sci-fi Short
Best Fantasy Short

Best Cult Candidate Short (other genres)
Best Benelux Malevolence Short

Best Director
Best Performance (any gender)
Best Cinematography
Best Original Music
Best Screenplay
Best VFX
Best Practical FX
Best Sound Design
Best Student Filmmaker

Winner of the Short & Dark Screenplay Competition
Winner of Old Nick's Pitching Forum

Special Mentions can be given in any of the above mentioned categories, sub-genres or other encouragement prizes.

Some awards include cash and production support prizes by our partners and sponsors. We are updating the list below with new additions:

Raindance is an independent film festival and acclaimed film school that operates in major cities including London, Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Budapest, Berlin, Dubai and Brussels. Raindance showcases features and shorts by filmmakers from around the world to an audience of film executives and buyers, journalists, filmmakers and thousands of fans and is listed by Variety as one of the world’s top 50 unmissable film festivals.
Raindance is one of our major sponsors, providing our special mention winners with free access to a course of their choosing. Award winners receive free access to 2 courses and a year’s free Raindance membership - which in itself holds a plethora of resources and benefits to ambitious filmmakers.

Maloney is a premiere equipment rental company in Amsterdam.

Owner Max Maloney (NSC) is an accomplished DOP with numerous credits to his name. His keen insight into cinematography-trends informs the wide variety of top brands available to rent including Arri, Leica, Red, Cooke, Sony, Canon, Zeiss, Angenieux, Fujinon, Blackmagic, TLS, Teradek, Paralinx, Vocas, Freefly, Easyrig and SmallHD. They also have a wide variety of grip gear (Mövi, Ronin, Dollies, Jibs), lichting equipment (HMI's, tungsten lights, LED panels) and smoke machines.
The winner of Old Nick’s Pitching Forum takes away a whopping €1500,- rental voucher to film their nasty little project! Two worthy Special Mention Winners will each receive a €250,- voucher.

Cinecrowd is the premiere crowd-funding platform in the Netherlands with more than 750 successful campaigns to date. They boast an 86% success rate and provide filmmakers from Europe and all over the world with thorough guidance in creating high quality campaigns.
Winners and special mentions of Old Nick’s Pitching Forum receive a waiver for the handling fee required to set up a campaign, and a first donation from DAFFA towards this end.

Scare-Me is a deeply unsettling live horror experience and a Scare Con nominee for Best European Scream Event. With 4 haunted house experiences and 2 adventure rooms they terrify unsuspecting attendees with live actors in high end FX make-up.
They share our vision to get genre filmmakers into production, and support the winners of Old Nick’s Pitching Forum with set-building, (FX)make-up and featured extra’s - a massive boost for production quality!

Festival Formula is a prominent presence on the industry, film festival, and education scene. As creators of bespoke festival strategies, they enable filmmakers to start the film festival journey fully prepared. Filmmakers are provided with a list of carefully selected festivals which takes into account the length, production values, genre, and budget limitations for submission fees. The service includes all of the information about the festivals such as deadlines, any affiliation the festival may have, dates, submission platforms to utilise, premiere status requirements, or specific categories that may suit the film.
The lucky winner of Old Nick’s Pitching Forum will receive a full strategy package to the worth of ₤666!

InkTip: Where everyone goes for scripts and writers.
Winners of our Short & Dark Screenplay competition will receive an InkTip Script Listing and have their logline featured in InkTip Magazine so they can promote themselves and their scripts to InkTip’s entire network of producers, managers, and agents. InkTip Magazine is sent to over 15,000 producers and representatives.
Producers have made more than 393 films from scripts and writers found through InkTip.

Eligibility & Premiere Status

*Films no older than 2018.
*No premiere status required! Films that are available online without a password for more than 2 years prior to submission will not be accepted - this does not apply to: 1) films screened for a limited time at festivals that were forced to host online editions. 2) Films submitted to our web-series (Dark Web) category. 3) films available on pay-per-view platforms.
*Works in progress and rough cuts are accepted - selected filmmakers must provide a polished screener that is technically and artistically sound before the technical deadlines communicated in the email confirming your selection. Failure to do so will lead to automatic disqualification.
*DAFFA does not discriminate on ethnic, gender, sexual preference, age, religious or cultural grounds. We select films based purely on artistic, technical and thematic merit. Representation and diversity are secondary goals with a strict prerequisite of merit.

Submitting & Usage

*Submission exclusively through FilmFreeway. No hard copy submissions are accepted.
*Submission fees are not refundable.
*If you submitted with a student discount, please immediately email us proof of current enrolment or proof of enrolment during the time of production.
*We do not give fee waivers, so please don't spam us asking for one. We sometimes have extra discount codes for which you may qualify. Information on such instances will be available on all our channels as they occur.
*By submitting you give consent to be added to our newsletter. You can always opt out at a later stage.
*All films are watched in their entirety and thoroughly considered by our selection committee.
*Selection decisions are final. In the spirit of development, DAFFA can provide limited once-off feedback to unsuccessful submissions.
*By submitting you commit to a physical screening and acknowledge that withdrawal will no longer be possible.
*By submitting you confirm that you are the sole rights holder. If you are not the sole rights holder please provide us with proof that you have permission to make use of any and all intellectual property contained in your work that is owned by other parties.
*DAFFA maintains a paperless workflow. Upon selection you must provide us with a download-link of a copy (Prores LT) of your film. Resolution tbc by the venue.
*By submitting you give DAFFA the right to use any footage from the preview screener and all submitted publicity materials and any other materials sent to us pertaining to this entry for DAFFA's promotional purposes. We won't make use of more than 1 minute from a dialogue scene, so your spoilers-bases are covered.
*Films in a language other than English must be subtitled in English. The script contained in screenplay-submissions can be in Dutch (incl. Afrikaans/Flemish/Frisian), French and English. The adjacent synopses and loglines must, however, be in English. We only accept written out short film/TV Pilot scripts. No feature length treatments are eligible at this time. All pitches must be submitted in English irrespective of the language the actual script is written in as selected pitches are to be presented in English!
*DAFFA reserves the right to programme films in categories different from what the filmmaker selected during submission.
*Screenplays must be formatted correctly and include a title page. The title page does not count towards the total page count. Screenplays must be accompanied by a logline and synopsis.
*Pitch-decks are to be submitted as a pdf of no more than 5 pages via a separate email after submitting the script/synopsis on FilmFreeway. Do not send us unsolicited materials! You will burn for all eternity in the junkmail folder if you do.

Communication & Participation

*Please add our email address to your address book or contact list so that any correspondence will not be doomed to wallow in your spam folders.
*Selected participants must comply with delivery deadlines or be disqualified.
*Details on programming and development-activities will be announced on our website, newsletter and social media.
*Details on selection, participation and logistics will be communicated through email.
*All Official Selections receive 2 festival passes. This includes participation in our masterclasses, workshops, networking activities, feedback sessions and parties. The passes allow entrance to all screening blocks subject to availability. We try to make all screening blocks accessible to filmmakers, and will upgrade to a larger venue if public ticket sales prevents us from doing so. A minimum guarantee of 2 seats for your own screening block is in place for all filmmakers. Your crew members and collaborators can purchase discounted festival passes and tickets to individual screening blocks. Selected screenwriters and pitch participants can guarantee 2 seats for a screening block of their choosing.
*All Official Selections automatically qualify for a fee waiver for Old Nick's Pitching Forum, but selection is not guaranteed.
*Submitters that don't make the official selection can purchase festival passes at a 50% discount rate. Submitters in the Short & Dark Screenplay Competition incl. Development Feedback that don't make official selection can purchase festival passes with a 70% discount.

Pandemics, Lock-downs & Acts of The False God

*In case of pandemics, lockdowns or otherwise massive disruption outside of DAFFA's control, the festival will reschedule and/or continue in a limited format or as a closed online event. In any such cases all selected participants will be approached by email to give consent or opt out.

Privacy Policy

DAFFA does not share your contact information with third parties without your consent.

Overall Rating
  • Kiko Morah

    This was the first year for this festival and I really have to congratulate the organising team for such a fun festival. I was very glad to meet a lot of international and local filmmakers. There's room for improvement but that will come as the festival grows with the years. I've no doubts that the Dark Arts Film Festival will become a solid platform Genre Film event in NL and Europe. I really recommend submitting to this festival.

    November 2021
  • I am so honoured for being part of this festival and nominated in the Old Nick's Pitching Forum, with my short film "The Beckoning"! Excellent films, amazing talks, and everybody made me feel at home. Amsterdam is a beautiful city, and the laurel is just awesome! I completely recommend it, and I hope to attend again next year!... but this time, I might bring my dark cape ψ(`∇´)ψ 😈

    November 2021
  • Super nice people, very personal communication, great selection of short films and totally our cup of tea.

    November 2021
  • I absolutely Loved this festival. It was fun exciting and had great films. I will be going back every year, no doubt.

    November 2021
  • Was such an honor to be included in this year's DARK ARTS festival. Gideon was a gracious and entertaining ringmaster. So bummed I couldn't make it to Amsterdam to experience all the decadence in person because it looked like everyone had so much fun!

    November 2021