Here's what submitting DIFF filmmakers can expect: a selection of short and feature films, engaging filmmaker workshops, red carpet experience, photo opportunities, interviews, an exciting live script read, exclusive secret 16mm pop-up screenings, industry professionals, delightful food and drinks, prestigious awards, and much more. Our aim is to create a filmmaker's getaway, offering opportunities to connect with fellow creators, enhance exposure, and create lasting memories.
In 2024, the Desertscape International Film Festival will undergo a date shift. Instead of late June, this epic cinematic celebration will now align with the long-running St. George Art Festival. Specifically, Desertscape: Year Six will take place from Wednesday, March 27th to Saturday, March 30th! St. George, UT, along with its picturesque surrounding areas, showcases awe-inspiring desert landscapes, making it an ideal location for a film festival. Attend the festival, and stay to explore the incredible sights and sounds of Southern Utah.
The Desertscape International Film Festival invites and encourages filmmakers and screenwriters from all over the world to submit their work, including shorts, features, animations, student films, music videos, and more. If you're proud of your work, don't hesitate to submit it! All genres are welcome.
Every film selected as an "Official Selection" will be showcased in a live theatrical setting (NO ONLINE SCREENINGS), captivating enthusiastic festival attendees over four joy-filled days in one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S. And yes, awards will be presented to honor the best of the best!
Since our inaugural festival in 2019, Desertscape has gained a reputation for featuring top-notch films from around the world. Many of these films have had successful festival runs at renowned events such as Cannes, Sundance, SXSW, and Tribeca, to name a few. In fact, each year since its modest beginnings, Desertscape has showcased one to three films that have gone on to become Oscar-shortlisted and Oscar-nominated. Here are a few examples:
"Brotherhood," a powerful drama by Meryam Joobeur and Maria Gracia Turgeon (2020 Oscar Nominee)
"DCERA (Daughter)," a heartfelt stop-motion gem by Daria Kashcheeva (2020 Oscar Nominee)
"Sierra," a hilariously quirky animated short by Sander Joon (2023 Oscar Shortlist)
"Warsha," an intense and dazzling short film by Dania Bdier (2023 Oscar Shortlist)
Our recent Year Five showcased an impressive lineup of films, including the stunning French import "Revoir Paris," the award-winning short "Ninety-five Senses" by Jerusha and Jared Hess, and the world premiere of the uproariously hilarious superhero parody "Villains Inc" by director Jeremy Warner.
Year Five also marked the beginning of a new partnership with industry professional Rey Reyes of SteadiCam® Ops and an amazing sponsorship with ARRI by providing the Steadicam® team a Trinity system, camera, and additional equipment for excellent hands-on workshops and insightful lectures for visiting filmmakers and guests. This partnership will continue annually, with talented industry professionals in attendance.
Year Six is already in the works, and we're thrilled about what's in store! With the festival now coinciding with the St. George Art Festival, the event promises to be even more magical.
Filmmakers, what are you waiting for? Submit your film now! This is an excellent opportunity to share your work and experience it in a live theatrical setting!
In short, this four-day cinematic extravaganza is not to be missed! Engage in conversations with storytellers and like-minded individuals, attend filmmaker panels, meet special industry guests, enjoy live music, witness a live script read, attend the awards gala, and, of course, indulge in a wide variety of films for your viewing pleasure, all in the enchanting setting of Southern Utah!
Join us at the Desertscape International Film Festival, celebrating independent films from around the globe!
Submitting your film or screenplay is not a guarantee of selection. All Official Selections and Award Winners will be listed on our website (www.fmasu.com/desertscape).
Trophies and/or certificates will be awarded to the best of the best in various categories. Awards will be chosen by a jury select made up of knowledgeable film industry professionals, enthusiasts, and experts.
Please be aware that if you are selected for the festival but unable to attend and are awarded, you will be responsible for the shipping and handling costs of the award. We want to ensure that filmmakers receive their awards, and the filmmaker will only be charged the exact cost of shipping and handling, with no additional fees.
Desertscape Film Categories & Awards are subject to change, but past awards have included:
Best of the Fest
Best Feature (International)
Best Short (International)
Creative Spirit Award
Making a "DIFFerence" Award
Best Student Short
Best Student Short (International)
Best Music Video
Best Animated Short
Best After Dark Film
Best "Made in Utah" Film
Best VR Short
Best Feature Screenplay
Best Short Screenplay
FOR STUDENTS--READ ON;
We will also offer a special Rising Star Award, sponsored by Burning Lines Entertainment.
The award consists of a small trophy and two 90-minute script consulting sessions (via Zoom) with Mark Bracich, the Director of Burning Lines Entertainment. Mark has independent film credits as an actor, writer, and director, and holds a BS in Digital Cinematography and an MFA in Creative Writing (for film).
For 2024, the eligibility for the Rising Star Award has been expanded to recognize the student or first-time screenwriter or writer/director who demonstrates outstanding potential in visual storytelling through a short or feature screenplay or film.
To be considered:
• Students must submit proof of current enrollment in an accredited degree program in
any filmmaking discipline.
• Non-student first-timers must submit a statement that their submission is the FIRST
screenplay or film they have ever entered in a festival. Desertscape does not have to be
the first festival entered.
• For a film (short or feature) to be considered, the student or first-timer must be credited as both the writer AND director.
• If a student or first-time screenwriter for a submitted film wishes to be considered for
the award, the screenplay must be entered separately in the screenplay competition
and applicable entry fees paid.
• This is an individual award, so no “teams” will be considered.
There is no additional charge to be considered for this award.
In addition to submitting for the festival via the normal means, applicants for the Rising Star Award must submit their proof of student status or their “first-timer” statements to:
firstname.lastname@example.org for verification.
Attention Filmmakers and Screenwriters,
Before submitting your film or screenplay to the Desertscape International Film Festival, we kindly request you carefully review the following rules and terms. We assure you that each properly submitted film or screenplay will be given thorough consideration, with the entire work being viewed or read in its entirety.
Desertscape International Film Festival Submission Rules:
• Films/screenplays completed after June 1, 2019, are eligible.
• Films/screenplays previously submitted or screened at other festivals are eligible.
• Films with distribution are eligible.
• Screenplays must not violate any previous sale or option agreements.
• Festival personnel and judges are ineligible to submit for the competition.
• Films not in English must be subtitled. Screenplays must be in English.
• All genres are eligible for submission. You do not have to submit your films multiple times. We are not that kind of festival. One and done. If selected, we will have your film find a place in the program where it may best fit.
• Feature Films: 45 minutes and above (including credits)
• Short/Student Films: Under 45 minutes (including credits)
• Feature Screenplays: 45-150 pages
• Short Screenplays: 44 pages or less
5) Submission & Fees:
• Submissions must be made through FilmFreeway.
• Each title requires a separate entry form, fee, and digital file.
• Do not submit the same title more than once.
• Submission fees are nonrefundable.
• Incomplete submissions will be disqualified. (Without
• Films must be in MP4 or .MOV format. (We are working towards DCP but at this time the theater specs are set for - H.264 | Prores files, 10-bit 1080p output, and 2.0 Stereo
• Screenplays must be in PDF format, without identifying information.
• Only digital files through FilmFreeway are accepted.
• Films and screenplays are judged anonymously.
• Minimum scores and determine "Official Selection" status.
• Jurors and Festival Directors help rank and select winners.
• Official Selections will be published by the end of February 2024.
• Screenplay Semi-finalists and/or finalists will be announced by the end of February 2024.
• Screenplay Award Winners revealed no later than Mid-March 2024.
• Filmmaker Award Winners will be revealed at the 2024 Awards Ceremony on the Closing Night of the Festival on Saturday, March 30th!
• Desertscape reserves the right to accept, reject, or disqualify any submission.
• Filmmakers retain ownership but grant usage rights for promotional materials for the upcoming festival and years to come.
• Legal disclaimer releases Desertscape from liability.
Please refer to these full DESERTSCAPE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL RULES AND TERMS to be considered for this year’s film festival.
BY SUBMITTING THE MATERIAL, I/WE HEREBY AGREE TO DEFEND THE DESERTSCAPE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, FMASU, ITS EMPLOYEES, DIRECTORS, REPRESENTATIVES, AND AFFILIATES FROM ALL LIABILITY, CLAIMS, AND DAMAGES IN CONNECTION WITH THE SUBMISSION AND FROM ANY FEES AND EXPENSES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO REASONABLE ATTORNEYS’ FEES, THAT ANY OF THEM MAY INCUR IN CONNECTION THEREWITH.
Now, what are you waiting for? Submit a movie! The cinematic adventure that is the Desertscape International Film Festival awaits you!
Response from festival:
Thanks a ton, Darren! Congrats again on the short screenplay win. We were ecstatic that you got to make the trip out. We look forward to seeing your script leap from the page to the big screen. It also goes without saying that we look forward to seeing what you tackle next. On a final note, we certainly hope to see you again at a future festival.
Response from festival:
Thank you kindly, Sébastien! As you're already well aware, we're big fans of your work. Thank you so much for sharing your talent with our team as well as our attendees. It goes without saying that we greatly look forward to what you do next. On a final note, it is also our hope that we'll get to meet you in person at one of our festivals in the future.
Response from festival:
Evan! Thank you so much for the kind words. Abruptio was the perfect fit for Desertscape After Dark! Thank you so much for sending it our way. It goes without saying that we're excited to see what you do next. On a final note, here's hoping we'll be able to meet in person at a future festival.