***The Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival's 2021 Submissions are now open!***

Full rules for short films, documentary and feature films below, please read carefully before submitting.

Taking place every spring, the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival is one of the most iconic events in Ireland’s cultural calendar. The programme has evolved over the years, but each Festival is guaranteed to offer a mouth-watering mix of cinema from around the world, with many screenings attended by the filmmakers and stars.

From hidden gems to red-carpet spectaculars attended by directors and stars, every Festival is a celebration of cinematic excellence in all its forms. Our awards recognise outstanding achievements in documentaries, features and shorts, while the Dublin Film Critics’ Circle Awards distribute accolades from Ireland’s professional film critics and the Audience Award gives festivalgoers a chance to vote for their favourite features and shorts.

But the Festival’s most prestigious accolade is the Volta. Named after Ireland’s first dedicated cinema, the Voltas are awarded each year to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the world of film. Previous recipients have included iconic figures such as Al Pacino, Julie Andrews, Ennio Morricone, Daniel Day-Lewis, Claudia Cardinale, Martin Sheen, Kristin Scott Thomas, Brendan Gleeson, Terry Gilliam and Angela Lansbury.

Many of these stars join us in helping to nurture the next generation of talent, as every year Virgin Media DIFF invites a wealth of leading industry professionals to run workshops, give talks, and offer inspirational advice. Over the years we’ve welcomed leading lights from every area of filmmaking, including writers and directors (and quite a few writer-directors), composers, producers and casting agents. Our Creative Catalyst series – introduced in 2019 – showcases the visionary figures (such as Sean Bailey, President of Walt Disney Motion Picture Production) who are changing what we see onscreen.

And that’s not all. With a host of special events, from exhibitions to live concerts, every Festival is unique. Whether you’re a dedicated film fan, an aspiring director, or you simply want to try out one of Ireland’s best festivals, the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival is for you.

Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival's Commitment to Greater Diversity:

As part of Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival's mission to employ greater diversity in its programming, we welcome submissions from varied ethnicities and marginalised voices, as well as seeking greater parity and a 50/50 gender-balance. Please make us aware of the diversity in your project when submitting your film.

Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival is committed to treating all peoples with respect, dignity and fairness and will take steps to welcome individuals, organizations and communities of all backgrounds including: of any race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, ability, citizenship, creed, sex, sexuality, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, same sex partnership, age, marital status, family status, immigration status, receipt of public assistance, history of mental health issues, health status, political affiliation, learning difference, level of literacy, accent, first language, body type, physical appearance and abilities, stature or socio-economic status.

The Festival is not complacent about its progress to date, and recognises that there is more work to be done to achieve diversity in all of its activities.

For full list of winners visit our previous recipients page on diff.ie

The documentary jury chose "Confucian Dream" as the winner of the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2020 Documentary Competition.

"Herself" was announced as the winner of the recently relaunched Dublin Human Rights Film Award, a partnership with the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL). Liam Cunningham was also awarded a Lifetime Contribution Award in 2020.


Audience Award Feature Winners:
2020 - "Endless Sunshine on a Cloudy Day", John Connors
2019 - "Maiden", Alex Holmes
2018 - "The Breadwinner", Nora Twomey

Audience Award for Short Film:
2020 - "Iarscoláire", Shaun Dunne
2019 - "99 Problems", Ross Killeen
2018 - "Time Traveller", Steve Kenny

Renamed the Aer Lingus Discovery Award in 2020, the Discovery Award has enabled the Festival to shine a spotlight on emerging Irish talent since 2008. The programme offers unique mentoring opportunities with Festival guests as well as networking opportunities.

DIFF Discovery Winners:
2020 - Cara Holmes (Director), Dónall Ó Héalaí (Actor), Paddy Slattery (Writer/Director), Claire Byrne (Director)
2019 - Alexandra McGuinness (Writer/Director), Ian Hunt Duffy (Director), Oonagh Kearney (Director), Special Mention: Madonna Bambino (Make Up Artist)
2018 - TJ O'Grady Peyton (Actor), Mia Mullarkey (director), Trevor Whelan & Rua Meegan (Director/Cinematographer)

The Virgin Media DIFF Short Film Awards support and nurture emerging Irish and international talent in the short film form as voted for by an international jury of industry professionals.

Short Film Award Winners:
2020 - Best Irish: "Welcome to a Bright White Limbo," Cara Holmes
2020 - Best International: "Quiet Land Good People," Johannes Bachmann
2019 - Best Irish: "Five Letters to the Stranger Who Will Dissect My Brain," Oonagh Kearney
2019 - Irish Special Mention: "The First Was A Boy," Shaun Dunne
2019 - Best International: "Inanimate", Lucia Bulgheroni
2019 - International Special Mention: "Child", Joren Molter
2018 - Best Irish: "Mother & Baby", Mia Mullarkey, Alice McDowell
2018 - Best International: "Retouch", Kaveh Mazaheri

The Fantastic Flix Children’s Jury in association with The Ark Children’s Council and the Irish Film Classification Office.

Fantastic Flix Winners:
2020 - Best Feature: "Onward," Dan Scanlon
2020 - Best Short: "Streets of Fury," Aidan McAteer
2019 - Best Feature: "Mia and the White Lion", Gilles De Maistre
2019 - Best Short: "First Disco", Helen O'Reilly
2018 - Best Feature: "Rum 213"
2018 - Best Short: “Earthy Encounters"

The inaugural Young Programmers Choice Award took place in 2019.
2019 - Best Feature: "Rafiki", Wanuri Kahiu
2019 - Special Mention: "Ballon", Michael Herbig

Every year the Dublin Film Critics vote for their Best Film, Best Director, Best Irish Film, Best Documentary, Best Performances and the Michael Dwyer Discovery Award and the George Byrne Maverick Award, named in honour of the contributions of two late Irish critics, from the Virgin Media DIFF programme.

* All films considered must be Irish premieres.*
Accepted Formats for Cinema Exhibition:
DCP / Digital

Submitting your film:
For viewing purposes entries should be submitted on DVD or by screening link at the submission stage. NB: If posting a DVD, please label submission clearly on the DVD with film title, contact name, duration, tracking number and email address

Submission Waivers will not be granted.

Submission envelopes must not exceed 25cm Width or 6 cm Height

All packages/envelopes should be marked NO COMMERCIAL VALUE - FOR CULTURAL PURPOSES ONLY

***DEADLINE For Submissions is midnight on Friday the 16th October 2020***

Applicants will be notified of the status of their submission by email by approximately 15th Jan 2021. Successful applicants will be required to supply a film print or video master for screening at Virgin Media DIFF 2021. You should pay particular attention to the shipping and customs information, which will be sent to you at that time.
- Please note that Virgin Media DIFF cannot acknowledge receipt of entries.
- Preview copies will not be returned.
- All foreign language entries must provide English subtitles
- Submissions with unpaid fees will not be considered for selection.

Runtime: Features: minimum 60 minutes

Completion Date: Projects completed after September 1, 2019

Place of Origin: Projects may originate from anywhere in the world. All non-English speaking films must have English subtitles.

Premiere Status: Projects must be a premiere in Ireland. Films available publicly online will not be accepted.

Distribution Status: Projects may have distribution

RUNTIME: Maximum 30 minutes

Completion Date: Projects completed after Sept 1, 2019

Place of Origin: Projects may originate from anywhere in the world. All non-English-speaking films must have English subtitles.

Premiere Status: Projects must be a premiere in Dublin. Films available publicly online will not be accepted.

Distribution Status: Projects may have distribution

The Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival welcomes unsolicited submissions made in accordance to the regulations below: * Virgin Media DIFF only accepts feature films or documentaries of 60 minutes or more and Short Films under 30 minutes in length * Submissions will only be accepted through FilmFreeway. * Virgin Media DIFF does not pay screening fees. * Films must be presented in their original format and have English language subtitles or commentary where necessary. * All films considered must be Irish premieres. * When submitting your film please include details of any public screenings and festivals that your film is being exhibited at before Virgin Media DIFF 2021. * The selection and scheduling of films screened at the Festival is entirely at the discretion of the Festival Director. * Please ensure that you include a synopsis of no more than 200 words as you would like it to appear in the programme. (NB: Please note that the Festival reserves the right to amend the copy submitted). * No cuts or changes in any film will made by Virgin Media DIFF for any reason. * Due to the large number of submissions received, Virgin Media DIFF cannot enter into any discussion regarding films that are not selected for the Festival. * The cost of shipping prints must be met by the sender. The Festival will pay for one-way return shipping of prints only (prints can be forwarded to another festival after their screening at Virgin Media DIFF by prior arrangement with the Print Transport Manager only). * The Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival does not accept any responsibility for damage to prints. * Television and Internet broadcasting: Taking part in Virgin Media DIFF implies allowing broadcasting on Irish and foreign televisions and on the internet (extracts limited to and not exceeding 3 mins) for the purpose of promoting the Festival. *In submitting to VMDIFF, the Festival may occasionally contact you about relevant industry events and updates. You can opt-out of this at any time*

Overall Rating
  • Sidhe Company

    Getting selected to screen at The Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival was an honour for our team who created our short film, PADDY. Although virtual this year there was still a vibrant atmosphere around the festival. Gráinne Humphreys and her crew did a brilliant job. Highly recommend.

    April 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thanks so much for the kind words. Grainne

  • Tiernan Williams

    Simply the best festival hands down. I would 100% recommend it for so many reasons. It's brilliant for networking and also has a world class festival experience. The team are passionate and supportive. This is a festival with an excellent line up of films, with expert panels, discussions and workshops. It was a real honour to have a short and feature accepted this year. If you'd like to submit your film to a festival that is as enthusiastic about film as you are, this is the one.

    March 2020
  • Helen O'Reilly

    This is an amazing festival and the advertising was phenomenal - every bus in Dublin was covered in ads for the festival. The venues were also quality and very well attended. They also had some good networking events for filmmakers and we were delighted to win an award.

    December 2019
  • Meg Elwood

    Really enjoyed the festival this year. Great venue, well organised and very professional. Great pics too!

    June 2019
  • summer agnew

    Great team. Really well organized and fun to be a part of such a well curated short film Program. Thanks Dublin

    March 2019