The Haydenfilms Institute (HFI) announces a call for entries for the $25,000 Haydenfilms 5.0 Online Film Festival, featuring shorts and feature films open to all genres!

The Haydenfilms Online Film Festival unites global filmmakers with unique life experiences to empower creativity and talent. Independent filmmakers will be celebrated with the 60-day online short film festival and the four-day (4 day) event based in Los Angeles, California during the month of January, 2024. These four days will include the award ceremony and screenings of the top four (4) short finalists and selected feature film finalists (TBD).

Founded in 2001 with a two-person team and a tiny office in northeastern Pennsylvania, the Haydenfilms Institute’s mission is to educate, empower and fund student and independent filmmakers. The Haydenfilms 1.0 Online Film Festival was launched in 2004, long before the modern-day need for a virtual option. In fact, the HFI holds the distinction of being host to one of the world’s first online film festivals. Every year, film entries were submitted through the festival’s website, where the top 50 entries were selected, competed and voted upon by a global audience; each year, one (1) winner took the grand prize of $10,000. In the effort to expand the celebration and empowerment of all members of the film industry, HFI launched the 1.0 Screenwriting Competition in 2021 where the winner received $10,000. The Haydenfilms 2.0 Screenwriting Competition will be announced in 2024.

The HFI believes in the power of accessibility and distribution to independent filmmakers. Today that mission reigns true. The HFI seeks to enable up-and-coming filmmakers with the platform, knowledge and networking to break into the industry. The HFI wants all filmmakers to bring their potential in our 5.0 Online Film Festival and to join the legacy of worldwide film professionals who have emerged from our organization.

Past Haydenfilms Online Film Festival winners:
1.0 Quinn Saunders "Fortunate Son"
2.0 John Burgess "The Powder Puff Principle"
3.0 Reda Mustafa "The Boot of War"
4.0 Johnny Ray Gill "My Turtle's Name is Dudley"

Past Haydenfilms Screenwriting Competition winners:
1.0 Quinton Buxton “The Revolving Door”


GRAND PRIZE | $25,000

The Grand Prize Winner will receive $25,000 for the achievement of the top-rated short film–voted on by the global online audience–from the 60-day Online Film Festival. The Grand Prize Winner will be announced at the four-day event in Los Angeles, California where the four (4) top-rated short films will be screened.


AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD | $10,000

The Audience Choice Award Winner will receive $10,000 for the achievement of the top-rated feature film. The feature film finalists invited to the four-day event in Los Angeles, California will be screened and compete to be the top-rated film. The Audience Choice Award will be announced at this event and will be based on votes by attendees.

***All filmmakers are expected to have read the full rules and terms for their categories, below, prior to submitting their film for consideration.

The Haydenfilms 5.0 Online Film Festival, 2023, will consist of a 60-day Online Film Festival and a four-day event held in Los Angeles, California during the month of January 2024.

During the 60-day Online Film Festival the top 50 of the submitted short films–which will be selected by the Preliminary Judging Panel composed of professors of media, film industry experts and others–will compete for the top-rated short film and the honor of being named the Grand Prize Winner. Competing short films will be rated by the online global audience.

Of the 50 competing short films, the 4 top-rated short film finalists will be screened during the Los Angeles event; the short film with the highest rating will be announced and awarded the Grand Prize ($25,000). All film ratings will be documented prior to the Los Angeles event and award ceremony.

Feature films will not be screened during the 60-day Online Film festival. The filmmakers of the top feature films will be notified–after being selected by the Preliminary Judging Panel–of their finalist status on July 31, 2023. The feature finalists will then compete for the Audience Choice Award ($10,000) during the Los Angeles event during the month of January, 2024. The Audience Choice award will be based on votes by attendees.


GENERAL ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

- The festival will accept films of all genres in the categories of short and feature films (see category-specific requirements below)
- Major motion picture studio films are not eligible for submission
- Non-English speaking films must include English subtitles
- After submission, no drafts or revisions will be accepted
- Film submissions will NOT be offered individual feedback


SHORT FILM REQUIREMENTS

- Runtime must be a minimum of 5 minutes and must not exceed 50 minutes in length
- Submission grants consent for the short film to be privately screened by the Preliminary Judging Panel
- Acknowledgement that a submission does not guarantee entry into the 60-day Online Festival; only the top 50 short film finalists chosen by the Preliminary Judging Panel will proceed to the Online Festival
- Submission grants consent for the short film to be virtually screened during the 60-day Online Festival; additional information on the virtual screening process will be provided via Filmfreeway notifications, and submissions may be withdrawn at the filmmakers discretion at anytime without refund
- Acknowledgement that, if selected, the filmmaker is encouraged to/responsible for promoting their short film during the 60-day Online Festival; the HFI will provide generic marketing, advertising or promotion for the Online Festival, but is not responsible for using resources for each of the 50 competing short films
- Short film submissions are ineligible to win the Audience Choice Award
- Short film submissions are eligible to win the Grand Prize


FEATURE FILM REQUIREMENTS

- Runtime must be a minimum of 60 minutes and must not exceed 180 minutes in length
- Submission grants consent for the feature film to be privately screened by the Preliminary Judging Panel
- Acknowledgement that a submission does not guarantee entry into the Los Angeles event; only the top feature film finalists chosen by the Preliminary Judging Panel will proceed to the live screenings at this event
- Feature film submissions are ineligible to win the Grand Prize
- Feature film submissions are eligible to win the Audience Choice Award
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By submitting a film you confirm that you have read and agree to our eligibility, rules and requirements. Any submissions failing to meet the Haydenfilms 5.0 Online Film festival rules, eligibility and requirements will be disqualified from consideration without refund. Judges’ decisions are final.


DISCLAIMER

The Haydenfilms Institute values live film showings and in-person connections, and this passion for networking is what drives the long-standing hybrid format. Yet, please note that the HFI recognizes that the state of the country’s and the world’s health regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in the future is unknown. Given the global reach of the 5.0 Festival, it is up to HFI discretion to restructure the in-person, 2024, Los Angeles event into a solely virtual experience.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Do yourself and your screenplay a big favor and enter NOW. They are very supportive and give a lot of online presence to writers. You'll reach a big audience. I was also given time to pitch as a prize. Well-worth it, thank you very much, Haydenfilms!

    February 2022
  • Dabney Jackson

    Honestly among the best if not the best experience I've had with a screenwriting festival. Communication and transparency were excellent, and the judges were more than accommodating. I received feedback and praise for my work (which my ego enjoyed) as well as some great pointers and advice (which my studious mind enjoyed). I'm always trying to grow as a writer, and I felt like this was a great milestone in my own personal journey; despite not quite winning ;)

    I was apprehensive and nervous about pitching my script to the judges at first, but they were so great and the experience so smooth I'm very glad to have partaken in it. For comparison sake the Austin Screenwriting Festival promises feedback on every submitted script, and the feedback I received was two paragraphs summarizing the events of the script. They don't need to tell me what happens, I wrote the d*** thing! This was not the case with the Haydenfilms Screenwriting Competition, I actually felt like the judges had read my script and more importantly thought about it and let it simmer. If I could give it six stars I would but I guess we live in a world were five is the magic number of rating a competition's excellence. Oh well Taco Bell, FilmFreeway needs to add a sixth star for special cases; this festival being that case. I tend to ramble, my apologies if this is tedious. If you've gotten this far into my review then have an excellent day. Strike that, have an excellent life. Oh yeah.

    January 2022
  • Will Berry

    Excellent festival! A rare opportunity to actually pitch and interact with the judges of a competition. I look forward to future events, hopefully in-person with a chance to meet our fellow writers. When Haydenfilms says they advocate for independent filmmakers, they really mean it!

    January 2022
  • Tatiana Skyy

    Everyone was so friendly and communicative! Between the emails and their promo on Instagram, it was a great way to stay in the know about everything that was going on. Well organized and everyone involved seemed very genuine -- would definitely recommend/participate again!

    January 2022
  • K.C. Connolly

    Awesome.well organized and lovely people. Would enter again.

    January 2022