Based in Austin, TX, GIFT Fest tackles the challenge of gender equality in entertainment by focusing on our next generation of filmmakers, writers and creators (22 and younger). When we ensure that girls and/or nonbinary individuals are 50% of the equation, projects are improved. GIRL improved.

A virtual festival, GIFT Fest showcases approximately 70 short films made by girls and nonbinary youth for on-demand viewing during a week-long period in August. Select films are included in thematic line-ups for live-streamed screenings with partner organizations. In addition, live-streamed Q&A sessions with the filmmakers are held throughout the event. Winners of the screenplay competition will receive a live-streamed reading of their screenplay.

For more information about GIFT Fest, visit Follow us for updates and tag the festival when you submit:

IG: @girl_improved
FB: /GirlImproved
Twitter: @girl_improved


It’s a brutal industry. So we’re doing something radical. We are implementing a new “Hand Up” Mentorship Award. Every girl/nonbinary filmmaker/writer deserves to have someone in the industry who they can call for advice or suggestions.

GIFT Fest has partnered with Cinema Femme’s Mentorship program to connect Mentors with our 19-22 year-old award winners. It will cascade down from there.

Our 19-22 year-old awardees will become Mentors to our 16-18 year-old winners. Our 16-18 year-old winners to our 14-15 year-old winners. The 14-15 year-old winners to our 13 and younger winners. This means that all of our Mentees will be Mentors, too.

Now that’s radical.

How many Hand Up Mentorship Award winners?

- Four in the 19-22 year old Director category;
- Four in the 16-18 year old Director category;
- Two in the 14-15 year old Director category;
- Two in the 13 and younger Director category.


GIFT Fest has partnered with Regine Clemenceau to award the grand-prize-winning writer with a year-long membership to her Online Writer’s Space.

One winner from each age group will receive a live-streamed table read of their screenplay with professional actors during the dates of the festival.


** READ CAREFULLY BEFORE SUBMITTING - it is your responsibility to ensure your eligibility - we do not issue refunds for entry fees. **


GIFT Fest invites artists from around the world, who are 22 or younger and identify as girls or nonbinary, to submit content twelve minutes or shorter that meets the following criteria:

1.) The director and at least 50% of the key creative team (writer, producer, cinematographer, editor) must be girls or nonbinary, and

2.) At least 50% of the people on screen must be girls/women or nonbinary.

Hand Up Mentorship Awards are limited to films made in 2022-2023 and to filmmakers who agree to mentor/ing, but all official selections will be screened and included in the Q&A sessions.

Notification is in July.


1.) Pieces must be 12 mins or less.

2.) Entire crew must be 22 years old or younger.

3.) Submissions from any genre of film are acceptable (i.e. narrative, documentary, animation, experimental, music video, etc.).

4.) Submissions from any type of television/web series are acceptable.

5.) Content must be in English or subtitled/translated to English.

6.) Any piece selected can be used for promotional purposes.


Submitted films will be screened by no less than three different Jurists.

The submission fee offsets costs for the streaming platform and Jurists. When submitting to GIFT Fest, you are agreeing (if selected and the invitation accepted) to screen the submitted film on-demand on our virtual streaming platform during the dates of the festival. The submitted film will be removed at the close of the festival. GIFT Fest will not pay any screening fees for the presentation of the film during the festival.

Selected filmmakers/submitters must provide a high-resolution copy of the film, a short film summary, a filmmaker bio, poster/other digital images, and the film runtime for the program as requested by the festival organizers. Fill out all the details on Film Freeway - it helps us when promoting your film.

By submitting your film, you agree that clips from your film and all other materials related to your project may be used and/or published on our website/social platforms/event program, or for any promotional purposes which GIFT Fest deems appropriate.

If selected, all cleared rights are the responsibility of the filmmaker/submitter. The filmmaker/submitter will indemnify the organizers of GIFT Fest against all claims, demands, costs, damages, expenses (including legal fees), proceedings and losses resulting from the screening of the film at the Festival or from claims by any third parties.

By submitting, the filmmaker/submitter expressly acknowledges and agrees that they shall be bound by the terms of this agreement.

Overall Rating
  • WVN Productions

    We loved being part of the GIFT Festival -- such an incredible way to support and celebrate the incredible work of our youth filmmakers. Andee is so supportive and enthusiastic of all the filmmakers who come through the festival, and patient too!

    September 2022
  • Amelia Cuttle

    If I could give this festival more stars, I would! As an aspiring female filmmaker, this festival has provided me with invaluable opportunities in an industry that seriously lacks them. From the chance to showcase my work for the first time, to getting to meet other young creatives like me, to listening to skilled, experienced professionals, and finally to receiving specific, individual feedback on my writing -- submitting my script to this festival was one of the best professional choices I have made.

    Not to mention the WONDERFUL collection of films made by fellow filmmakers!

    Simply put: so much talent and heart was put into this festival, and I am so grateful to have been a part of it. Thank you to everyone who made it possible.

    August 2022
  • Wonderful festival that uplifts the voices of female and nonbinary filmmakers. Proud to be included in the 2022 festival!

    August 2022
  • The Girl Improved Festival evolves and improves every year. Their communication is prompt and supportive, and the networking opportunities for younger filmmakers are wonderful! Thanks for the chance to collaborate.

    August 2022
  • I absolutely adored being a part of GIFT Fest 2022! I was lucky enough to win Best Documentary for my film 'YOUnion' and had such a blast doing it!

    August 2022