The First Take Shorts Series is a local film festival that’s dedicated to screening new (and old) short films by talented area filmmakers. Our mission is to present a diverse lineup of some of the best independently produced short films by local filmmakers, who range from students to seasoned professionals. Our yearly festival is intended to give PA, NJ, DE and NY filmmakers the opportunity to share their work with a large audience on the BIG screen.

Sponsored by Renew Theaters Inc. films will be shown and promoted across our 4 historic arthouse movie theaters in 2021. The Ambler Theater (Ambler, PA) and County Theater (Doylestown, PA), Hiway Theater (Jenkintown, PA) and Princeton Garden Theatre (Princeton, NJ) will play host to this years festival.

Our initial screening plans are a hybrid model which will allow us to host an in-person Outdoor screening of the selected films in either Ambler or Doylestown, PA. Followed by an online Virtual screening that would be broadcast through all 4 of our theaters.

Submissions will remain open from December 10, 2020 through March 18, 2021. With an in person screening tentatively scheduled for May 12, 2021

**NOTE** 100% of submission fees will go towards helping our theater's COVID-19 Recovery Fund. Your support will help Renew Theaters continue it's mission of exhibiting artistic, independent and world film offerings for the entire community.


Films must be no longer than fifteen (15) minutes in length.

There is no cap on how many films you are allowed to submit.

Films must have a local connection to the Greater Philadelphia Area, such as cast and/or crew, filming location, or setting.

We accept all short form narrative, documentary, & experimental film. As well as animations and music videos.

We ask that the link you provide in the submission form is either a FilmFreeway, YouTube or Vimeo link.

If your film is password protected, please make sure to provide that in the submission form as well.

We won't accept any DVD's, Blu-Rays or Flash/Hard Drive submissions.

If selected, we encourage filmmakers to attend our LIVE screenings.

Filmmakers will be notified by email if they've been selected to participate in our screening.

The producers of the First Take Shorts Series reserve the right to not screen any film that can be considered pornographic, or that depicts hard core or graphic sex or violence.

If you have any questions please email us at

Overall Rating
  • Charles A. Christman III

    A very nice film festival for people to showcase their work. The festival was very kind and supportive.

    August 2020
  • Lucian Stern

    Brendan did a great job thinking on his toes after COVID19 blew up to keep the festival going online. He kept us filmmakers updated throughout the whole process. Hats off to him!

    April 2020
  • Lauren Loesberg

    Amazing festival, honored to have been a part of it and looking towards the future! Best, Lauren Loesberg.

    November 2019
  • Eve Siconolfi

    Great event for local filmmakers. Q&A was fun, and the networking was really nice for young filmmakers! Thank you, will definitely submit again in the future.

    April 2019
  • Joel Schneider

    We were honored to be selected and absolutely floored to take home Best in Series at First Take. They were professional and pleasant to communicate with from day one and I'll be submitting again. Unfortunately I couldn't be at the event due to my current project, but our DP represented us and spoke very highly of the event and quality programming. THANK YOU!!

    April 2019