FOLCS' Annual International Short Film Competition (ISFC) with themes of social justice and human rights offers independent filmmakers the chance to screen their work in New York City and creatively engage the public in discussions regarding justice and broader culture.

We are now accepting submissions for the 2022 competition year! In 2021, for the very first time, FOLCS virtually hosted its annual International Short Film Competition. In the spirit of continuing to provide a public service for our audiences sheltered at home, we made our independent short films and the 8th Annual Awards Night available to our audience at times when gathering together in person is not possible. If this situation continues in 2022, we will host the 9th Annual Awards Night virtually. However, if the theaters are open by 2022, Finalist shorts will be screened at the FOLCS Awards Night during the 8th Annual Awards Night in New York City.

“Social justice” may be broadly construed. You are free to choose any subject in which the relationship between law, justice, and society can be fashioned into a unique visual story. For example, your film could be about rights that have been denied, harms that have gone unaddressed, the aftereffects of courtroom decisions, government regulations, and statutes, or an attempt to take a new look at what “justice” really means. Any genre (animation, comedy, documentary, drama, musical, sci-fi, etc.) is permitted.

Films should run 20 minutes or less; there is no minimum runtime requirement.

About the Competition:

The FOLCS International Short Film Competition was created in 2011 to encourage the creation of short films exploring themes of law and justice as part of our FOLCS Film Series. Expanding in reach each year, independent and aspiring filmmakers from around the globe are invited to submit their original shorts. Entrants not only have the chance to have their work screened before a New York audience but also the opportunity to have their short films viewed by distinguished professionals from both the legal and entertainment fields. Each year, the Film Series features renowned filmmakers, actors, writers, journalists, public intellectuals, and legal professionals. The Film Series also attracts overflowing and diverse crowds of film enthusiasts, which provides an excellent platform for showcasing your winning work!

Some of the jury members throughout the years include:

- William Fichtner, Actor (Contact with Jodie Foster);
- Margarita Levieva, Actress (The Deuce);
- Herschel Faber, Chair of Filmmaking Department, New York Film Academy;
- Crickett Rumely, Director, Film Festival Department, New York Film Academy (LA Campus);
- Daniel Anker, Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker;
- Henry Bean, director/screenwriter;
- Piero Basso, Chair of Cinematography, NYFA;
- Randall Dottin, Chair of Screenwriting Department, NYFA;
- Andrea Swift, Chair of Documentary Filmmaking, NYFA;
- Jonathan Whittaker, Chair of Short-Term Intensive Programs, NYFA;
- Isaiah Sheffer, co-founder of Symphony Space;
- Ronald Guttman, film and TV actor;
- Nikzad Nodjoumi, art critic and fine art painter;
- Mark Ethan, actor and film professor;
- Sandy Gotham Meehan, Producer/Director/Writer;
- Annette Insdorf, film historian and director of undergraduate film studies at Columbia University;

The night will open with a red carpet for our attending filmmakers and include an awards presentation and reception. In addition, the audience has the opportunity to vote on which short will receive the Audience Favorite Award!

Awards: Best Short, Best Screenplay, Outstanding Woman Filmmaker, Young Filmmaker (18 years and younger), & Audience Favorite. Winner of Best Short Award will also receive an InkTip Script Listing (a listing of your script on InkTip.com so that producers and reps can find you).

Deadlines:

Entries must be received by the following dates for consideration:

- Early: August 1, 2021; entry fee: $25

- Regular: September 1, 2021; entry fee: $35

- Late: October 15, 2021; entry fee: $45

*Student fee for all the above-mentioned deadlines: $10.

Entry requirements:

- One (1) DVD of your short film or a downloadable file.

- A signed copy of the entry form. A signature of a parent or legal guardian, along with a contestant’s signature, must be included if the Contestant is under 18 years of age.

- Entry fee.

Mailed entries should be sent to:
Shervin Abachi, Director, FOLCS International Short Film Competition

Forum on Life, Culture & Society
c/o Shervin Abachi
200 Cristopher Columbus Dr, #B5, Jersey City, NJ 07302

Online entries may be submitted via FilmFreeway or to shorts@folcs.org.

Runtime:

Films must run for 20 minutes or less. There is no minimum runtime requirement.

Format:

Entries may be submitted by mailing a DVD or online video via a file-sharing system (Dropbox, Vimeo, WeTransfer, etc.).

Video resolution should be a minimum of 720x480. You may be required to supply a higher resolution if your entry is chosen as a finalist.

Entries submitted online must be downloadable. Please send the link to shervin.abachi@folcs.org, along with log-in information.

Preferred formatting is .mp4 or .mov – if submitting via DVD, please include a downloadable .mov or .mp4 file on the disc. DVDs should be NTSC Region 0 or 1.

VHS, non-standard DVDs (i.e., no Blu-Ray), and other formats (mini DV, Beta, etc.) will not be accepted.

Works in progress:

Works in progress will only be accepted if substantially complete (i.e., edit locked but needs color correction or sound mixing).

If submitting a work in progress, please make a note of what elements are incomplete.

Please submit as completed work as possible; only the first version of the film submitted will be considered for judging purposes.

Films must be in English or subtitled in English.

Stock Footage:

Contestants are responsible for securing full license, authorization, and release for stock video, photos, illustrations, animation, music, and/or sounds.

The Forum on Life, Culture & Society (hereinafter “FOLCS”), and their affiliates, representatives, employees, agents, and/or volunteers are not responsible for any liability incurred by any Contestant who fails to obtain the correct authorization, releases, and/or licenses in making his or her film. By entering the FOLCS International Short Film Competition, the Contestant agrees that he or she will not hold FOLCS, their affiliates, or any of their representatives, employees, agents, and/ or volunteers liable for any unauthorized use of the stock material.

Copyright:

Commercial, broadcast, and copyrighted videos, photos, illustrations, animation, music, and/or sounds may not be used without authorization and release from the copyright holder for full and uncompensated use in the video for purposes of the FOLCS International Short Film Competition, broadcast at the FOLCS Film Series and/or FOLCS events, for dissemination on the FOLCS website and/or related sites.

Please be aware this can include the use of brand names, logos, slogans, etc.

FOLCS, their affiliates, representatives, employees, agents, and/ or volunteers are not responsible for any liability incurred by any Contestant who does not obtain the correct authorization, releases, and/or licenses. By entering the FOLCS International Short Film Competition, Contestants agree that they will not hold FOLCS, their affiliates, or any of their representatives, employees, agents, and/or volunteers liable for copyright or trademark infringement caused by the Contestant or his or her film.

Other releases:

Contestants are responsible for securing necessary releases from actors and other individuals involved in making the film.

FOLCS, their affiliates, representatives, employees, agents, and/or volunteers are not responsible for any liability incurred by any Contestant who fails to obtain the correct authorization and releases. Therefore, by entering the FOLCS International Short Film Competition, Contestants agree that they will not hold FOLCS and its affiliates or any of their representatives, employees, agents, and/or volunteers liable for the failure to obtain any necessary releases.

Any taxes incurred from prize winnings are the responsibility of the winner.

Films should not contain:
1-Nudity.
2-Excessive or glamorized violence.
3-Excessive or glamorized drug use.
4-Excessive strong language.

Contestants retain the ownership rights to their films but grant a non-exclusive license to FOLCS and their representatives, employees, and agents that would permit the use of the films in perpetuity without additional compensation. Use of films may include, but is not limited to: use in whole or in part to promote/advertise FOLCS, the FOLCS International Short Film Competition, and/or the FOLCS Film Series; screenings of shorts, in whole or in part at FOLCS events; and for use on the FOLCS’ website.

Contestants who are chosen as winners agree that their name, photo, video, likeness, and/or voice may be used for promotional/ advertising purposes by FOLCS and/or their representatives, employees, agents, and volunteers for no additional compensation.

By entering the Competition, the Contestant certifies that his/her short is an original work and that he/she is the legal owner of the submitted short film.

Films and/or Contestants that do not abide by the Submission Rules will be disqualified without notification.

DVDs and other entry materials will not be returned. FOLCS and its affiliates are not responsible for any loss of DVDs nor damaged DVDs. Entry fees will not be reimbursed for lost, damaged, or disqualified DVDs.

The determination of the judges shall be final.

FOLCS reserves the right to change submission rules and categories at its discretion.

By signing the entry form, or entering the Competition through any and all online platforms like FilmFreeway, contestants and/or parents and/or legal guardians agree to be bound by these Submission Rules.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Alireza Kazemipour

    This is one of the best festivals I've attended. Everything from the communication, the clarity, and the layout of the website to the incredible quality and selection of the films was impeccable!

    April 2021
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Alireza, we are delighted to have had you participated in our 2021 festival. We hope to see you and your wonderful works in the future.

  • On behalf of Barê Giran (The Heavy Burden) team, I would like to thank FOLCS International Short Film Competition for the best film award.

    April 2021
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    Response from festival:

    Congratulations, Yilmaz; we wish you success in your future endeavors.

  • Sergio Guataquira Sarmiento

    Great festivals. I'm Honored to be part of his selection!

    April 2018
  • Yasmin Mistry

    We really enjoyed participating in FOLCS. The team behind the festival was well organized and communication was great. The screening itself was well attended. The venue was incredible and the moderated filmmaker panel provoked a great conversation.

    November 2016