Depict is Watershed’s international short film online competition running since 1998 as part of Encounters Film Festival (Bristol, UK) – one of the world’s leading international festivals for short film, animation and virtual reality, and also an official gateway to the world’s most prestigious awards: the Academy Awards®, BAFTAs and the European Film Awards.

We want to see great films – it doesn’t matter what your budget is or what genre you’re working in as long as you show originality, imagination and are able to connect with audiences.

The competition is open to anyone from anywhere in the world, and entry is absolutely free – but there is ONE simple rule: your film MUST be 90 seconds or less in duration.

To get some inspiration, check out our archive of 20 years of shorts at

Each year, we enlist the expertise of a panel of prestigious industry professionals to select the winners. Previous jury members have included cinematographers such as Robbie Ryan BSC, Rachel Morrison A.S.C and Annemarie Lean-Vercoe FRPS, directors Peter Jackson and Roystan Tan and industry practitioners such as Sorcha Bacon (Producer and Try Hard Films founder), Catherine Bray (Channel 4’s Random Acts), Tabitha Jackson (Channel 4, Sundance), Chris Auty (National Film and Television School) and David Sproxton (Aardman Animations). All short-listed entries are also open to the Audience Award.

The short-listed entries are also exhibited online at where from early September onwards they are open for votes towards an Audience Award.

Last year, the Main Depict 2020 Award of £1,500 and a lifetime Shooting People membership went to Fabulous by director James Skinner, who had the following to say about his experience: "Winning the DepicT! Main Award with Fabulous last year really gave me and the team a huge boost and we are now building on this success. We are using the prize money for our next project, so that we can take our filmmaking to the next level. My advice to anyone entering DepicT! is to have a lot of fun but also use it to hone your skills and challenge yourself."

Prizes include:

• £2,500 (GBP) Cash Awards thanks to sponsors including The Royal Photographic Society and Aardman Animations.
• Career development support from NFTS, BFI NETWORK, BAFTA and Channel 4’s Random Acts.
• Invaluable exposure and promotion through and at Encounters Film Festival (currently planned for 18 - 26 Sept 2021, subject to change) including a Festival pass with all the trimmings, tickets to the Depict Showcase & Awards.
• A 1 year subscription to IMDbPro
• Winning shorts get complimentary BBFC certification and captioning and are made available for theatrical / virtual screenings to exhibitors across the UK.

• The duration of your film(s) must not exceed 90 seconds including titles and credits.

• Depict is open to short films of all production techniques, including animation, documentary, drama, experimental or artist film and hybrid work. We do not accept advertisements.

• Only films completed since January 2020 may be submitted. Whilst we do not have a premiere policy, we positively encourage entries made specifically for Depict.

• The maximum number of entries per individual is five.

• The primary contact completing the submission process must be authorised to submit the film(s) and must have obtained necessary permissions for the inclusion of copyrighted music and/or images within the films.

• If the original language is not English, please ensure that the film includes English subtitles.

• If your film(s) is /are shortlisted, you will be asked to promptly send in a high resolution version of your film for online use on, connected social media channels and screening at Encounters Film Festival (September 2021). You will also need to supply publicity stills, a synopsis and a bio.

• Please note that only the director(s) will be credited on the website and any other promotional material. In the case of shortlisted and/or winning co-directors, multiple prizes may be granted at the discretion of the organisers.

• The Depict British Special Mention Award is open to UK productions only. Films are only eligible if they have a substantial British contribution in the following areas: director, producer, writer, principal cast and crew, production company, finance. To indicate your film’s eligibility for this award, please select “UK” as the country of production in the submission process.

Overall Rating
  • Wonderful festival, wonderful short films! An honour to be part of it Thank you so much! I'm really sad that I couldn't make it to see the Awards ceremony live, but I've watched it on YouTube and it was great.

    October 2021
  • Alicia Johnsen

    This was an incredible festival, especially for one that was restricted by the pandemic. The online events were plentiful, the event organizers were helpful and communicative, and the overall experience was great as both a viewer and a competitor. Highly recommended!

    October 2021
  • Depict team organized a lot of virtual networking event that help aspiring filmmaker like myself. It was the best festival experience. Thank you so much.

    December 2020
  • James Skinner

    I am absolutely delighted that my film Fabulous won the Main DepicT! Award this year (2020). I met the film's writer at the awards event in 2016, so we owe this competition a lot. The fantastic DepicT! team and the judges do so much to support filmmakers like myself, thanks so much!

    October 2020
  • Will Webb

    Working within the limits added by COVID, the Depict team organised a number of virtual events, helped market our films and spread the word about the programme really well. We were in regular communication and I really felt our film was a valued contribution to their programme!

    October 2020