The First Take Shorts Series is a local film festival that’s dedicated to screening new short films by talented area filmmakers. Our mission is to present a diverse lineup of independently produced films by local auteurs, who range from students to seasoned professionals. Our yearly festival is intended to give filmmakers based in the Greater Philadelphia Area the opportunity to share their work with a large audience on the BIG screen.

Sponsored by Renew Theaters Inc. films selected to our 2024 showcase will be screened and promoted across two of our historic art house movie theaters.

The Ambler Theater (Ambler, PA) and The County Theater (Doylestown, PA), will once again play hosts to this year's screenings.

Submissions will remain open starting December 3, 2023 through February 18, 2024. With in theater screenings scheduled for April 24th at the Ambler Theater and April 25th at the County Theater.

Each screening will feature their own unique line-up of short films. Selected filmmakers will be notified of which screening date and theater location their film will take part in. Screening and theater selections are based on location, content and run time.

Submission fees to the First Take Shorts Series are FREE. We do ask that filmmakers ONLY SUBMIT no more than 2 short films to our program. Any films submitted outside of the first 2 entered into in our festival will NOT BE IN CONSIDERATION.

Each screening of the First Take Shorts Series will be followed by a LIVE in-person Q&A with participating filmmakers in attendance.

Before submitting your film, please read our rules and terms section below.

• Films must be no longer than twenty (20) minutes in length (including credits).

• There is a cap of only 2 films per submitter, any more than that limit will not be considered.

• 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 DVDs, 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 screenings.

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

• If you have any questions please email us at

Overall Rating
  • Gina DeAngelis

    This was a truly fantastic festival, from the quality of every film selected to the outstanding questions asked by the host, Brendan, as well as the audience and fellow filmmakers. Sometimes Q&A sessions only measure the worth of the gear used, but this fest clearly & thoughtfully put the storytelling and the craft of filmmaking at the forefront. Hoping to submit again, and our team will be keeping an eye out for whatever First Take's team are up to! (Including the other filmmakers, especially the Ocean Heights music video team.) Thank you for hosting!

    April 2023
  • Mark L. Mazzeo

    Great event! A well programed block of films that were really enjoyable, an excellent venue with great picture and sound quality, and a good turn out. Excellent Q+A after the films will all the filmmakers in attendance. Will definitely be submitting again!

    April 2023
  • First Take was very communicative and friendly throughout the whole process! Thank you for selecting my short film, "Tail Lights" to be included!

    April 2023
  • Will Martinko

    Brendan hosts a spectacular local showcase of the filmmakers in the PA/NJ/DE area, and I feel extremely proud to have had several films of mine shown amongst the groups over the years. It's an extremely fun event filled with networking opportunities and community gathering. Thank you, Brendan, for all you do!

    February 2023
  • First Take Shorts Series is a wonderful festival!

    December 2022