Welcome to the fifth Folkestone Short Film Festival by Folkestone International Film & TV Festival (formerly Hellfire Film Festival).

This season we're back to a physical event. In recent years, due to Covid, we made the difficult decision to not hold a physical event, instead opting to livestream the short films and have our judges judge them remotely. However we now believe that it's safe to return to an actual location so in July 2023 we hope to see you all back in-person just like you all did in 2018 (we had a gap year in 2019).

Folkestone International Film & TV Festival is an organisation devoted to showcasing the best and brightest of independent cinema from around the globe, advancing the careers of filmmakers through screenings, networking events, and various panels and forums. Folkestone Short Film Festival is our flagship event.

How we began
The idea for a film festival was first mooted in early 2014 by a group of creative individuals after realising that although Folkestone hosts many creative festivals throughout the year – including music, art, light, book, performance and not forgetting the internationally recognised Folkestone Triennial and the Strangelove Festival – there was no festival specifically dedicated to film.

Being a filmmaker himself and having been involved in the Meniscus Film Festival (the original, not the new Australian festival bearing the same name) in his hometown of Grimsby (Lincolnshire), Gary JJ Spate started the groundwork to launch a film festival for Folkestone.

Folkestone Short Film Festival officially launched in March 2016 – albeit earlier than planned – after an event at the Lime Bar Café was cancelled at the last moment. We stepped in at the eleventh hour with an evening of short films submitted by filmmakers local to Folkestone. That evening Folkestone Short Film Festival (as Hellfire Short Film Festival) was born and Lime Bar Café would become our spiritual home.


Taking place in Folkestone, Kent, Folkestone Short Film Festival is a collection of short films from filmmakers around the world. All selected films are voted on by the audience and the winners will receive the coveted Folkestone Short Film Festival trophy.

Unlike Season One, Folkestone Short Film Festival is now a single event, not a monthly competition.

Previous Short Film Festivals have included short films by talented and award-winning filmmakers including:
Rob Smith, Katie Bonham, Ewan Golder, Dominic Pillai, Ben Barton, Melanie Light, Scott Lyus, Aardman Animations, Javier Chillon, Ruth Pickett, Steve Davis, Laurent Ardoint, Guillaume Foresti, Joseba Alfaro, Adam Spinks, Emil Sallinen, Ivan Villamel Sanchez, Michael James Dean, Mark Brocking, Alastair Train, Eben Skilleter, Stephan Bookas, Derek Boyes.

For the latest information and updates please join our e-newsletter, signup form is on our website.

Best Film
Best Director
Best Actor
Best Screenplay
Best Editing
Best Soundtrack/Score
Best Cinematography

Please read all rules and regulations before submitting your project.


Folkestone International Film & TV Festival is hereby granted the rights to utilise an excerpt from any film submitted for promotional purposes of the festival. The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorised to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements, rules and regulations.

The Competition reserves the right to refuse entries.

You agree to indemnify and hold harmless Folkestone International Film & TV Festival, from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.

By submitting your film to Folkestone International Film & TV Festival the individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorised to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements, rules and regulations.

Do not ask us for waivers.

1. Films will be no longer than 15 minutes.
2. We accept all genres in any language from around the world although all foreign language films must have subtitles in English.
3. Entry fees are non-refundable.
4. Films are suitable for public viewing (ie no pornography, no actual bodily harm, no actual criminal activity, no positive promotion of discriminatory behaviour, etc)
5. You must also own the rights to your short and the music contained within it.
6. All submissions must be in by May 31 2023 at 23.59 EDT (June 1, 2023 at 04:59 GMT).

Overall Rating
  • I cant speak for previous years, but this year, this wasn;t a festival at all. They said it would be the last year of "online festival" but they didn't put on an online screening, an online discussion, an event, literally nothing at all. They released the official selection and started a countdown to the event on the website. When the countdown reached 0, nothing happened. THey said they would announce the winners at 10pm on July 30, but they didnt announce them til 12pm on July 31st. Such disrespect for the artists. A waste of money, I would really recommend to stay away from this festival, they just took our money and did nothing to put on an event of any sort, online or otherwise.

    August 2022
    Response from festival:

    Hi Daniel, I'm sorry you feel we're only worthy of one star in every category. However I'd like to point out that we DID livestream the event and there was a link on the Official Selection post, in the top menu and on every event page throughout the website.

    I'm also sorry you feel disrespected because I delayed the announcement of the results. If you'd have emailed us (it's info@folkestonefilm.org by the way, we also have a contact form on our website and there's a link saying Email right here on this FilmFreeway page) asking why I would have told you that I was in A&E at the time and unable to update the website from a hospital waiting room, I did however inform everyone on social media of the delay so you weren't left waiting.

    I feel your review is very inaccurate and disrespectful.

    Best wishes,

  • Andrew McCann

    Really happy to have our film be part of this festival, definitely entering next year.

    August 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your great review Andrew. We really appreciate it and we look forward to seeing your next film.

  • Thank you for the selection of my short Final Card!

    July 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for giving us 5 stars in every category Diana, we really appreciate it. We all love a good Western film but the story raised a very serious and important issue and we commend you for highlighting it. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  • Hellfire is a well organised Film Festival fast notice of entry with a very good selection of entries from all over the World located in United Kingdom .. Rod Power AUSTRALIA

    July 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Rod! You and Rodney Jr looked to have so much fun. Hope to see your name again in our submissions :D

  • Ana Maria Ferri

    Young Festival, good communication, good networking.

    August 2017
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much Ana for your great review. Remind us to keep away from that shop! Great film!