Calling all filmmakers!

Are you an emerging filmmaker who’s recently completed their first ever short film? Are you more established, but still look fondly back on your first project? Are you looking to display your achievement in front of a crowd of enthusiastic cinephiles?

For the first edition of the Début International Film Festival, we want to bring something DIFF-erent to the forefront. Showcasing all the best directorial debuts, we are searching for the most passionate directors to submit their first films.

Opening night of DIFF will be held at the grand RMIT Capitol Theatre - a great opportunity to showcase your work at a Melbourne heritage-listed venue, supported by Dolby surround sound and state of the art projection. Your work will be screened alongside other spirited filmmakers’ first works, both contemporary and classic.

In a city enthralled by cinema culture, your work can be showcased in a venue that holds up to 500 seats, followed by well-known and loved feature films.

DIFF will take place from the 31st of May to the 2nd of June, 2023.

There’s no better time to submit your first ever film than now!

Our Mission:
To celebrate directorial debuts of filmmakers, from those we know and love, as well as up and coming directors. We will strive to champion a diverse range of local, First Nations and international talent for this commendable milestone.

To encourage a wide and inclusive Melbourne-based audience to connect with each other through their love of film.

To promote an accessible and fun environment over the course of a three-day not-for-profit event run by passionate RMIT University students, showcasing notable firsts in film.

Any Questions please feel free to send us an email at:

Best Film Editing

Audience Award for Best Short Film

Best Cinematography

Best Director

Best of the Fest


1. Each filmmaker will be allowed to submit ONE film… their first film!
2. Maximum time for short films is 40 minutes
3. There are no rating/classification or genre restrictions for each film submitted
4. Provide press kit (including a short synopsis of up to 250 words, alongside stills and English closed captions)
5. By submitting your film to the festival you confirm that you own the full rights of your film and have the permission to submit it
6. By submitting your film you agree that we can use the submitted stills and description of your film on our website

Open: 21st of April
Early Birds until: 28th of April
General submissions until: 7th of May

Submission fee: Early birds $5 for students/concession, $7 standard
For general submissions, $7 student/concession, $10 standard

There will be a waiver fee for First Nations filmmakers

Overall Rating
  • Vlad F. Dumea

    We were excited and honored to be selected with our short, The Forbidden Fruit, to the first edition of the Debut International Film Festival.

    Great communication, and humbled to win Best Cinematography at the Festival!

    June 2023