Hidden Door 2020 will run for 10 days, from 9th-18th of October and see a secret venue transformed into a temporary live music venue, theatre and performance space, alongside a multitude of art exhibitions and installations. 

Hidden Door is an arts organisation which aims to open up urban spaces as a platform for new and emerging artists, musicians, theatre makers, film makers and poets. Through organising temporary events Hidden Door works to showcase new work and create engaging environments for the public to experience, explore and discover.

Hidden Door is volunteer-run and not for profit, with the festival funded through ticket sales, sponsorship and fundraising. Hidden Door also applies for grants and any money received goes straight back into the festival and its creative contributors.
The festival has steadily grown in size and reputation since 2014, when it cleared out the abandoned Market Street vaults to run a 9-day arts festival focused on showcasing local creative talent. In 2015 the festival moved to a hidden courtyard behind Kings’ Stables Road, and returned to the same site in 2016, attracting over 12,000 visitors to experience a wealth of art, poetry, theatre, cinema, dance and music. In 2017 the festival breathed new life into the old Leith Theatre, attracting rave reviews and critical praise for its role in resurrecting “Scotland’s best new live music venue”.
In 2018, the festival returned to Leith Theatre for 10 more days and nights of music, theatre, visual art, film, dance, spoken word, late-night DJs and special events – finishing what was started to transform the building into the major arts venue the city needs. Continuing the festival’s tradition of discovering forgotten spaces, the festival also took up residency in Leith’s empty and derelict former State Cinema building, just around the corner.

Hidden Door is based in Scotland and aims to create opportunities for those living and working in Scotland, but it also is open to those based further afield. Hidden Door is also committed to creating dynamic audience experiences for the arts and increasing audience engagement with the arts.

See www.hiddendoorblog.org for more details.

A cash prize of £500, awarded by jury for an outstanding piece of film work from the Selected Film Programme.

Hidden Door is looking for film and moving image work to form the Selected Film Programme at Hidden Door Festival 2020. Selected works will be curated alongside a programme of invited works from a range of filmmakers, old and new.

The deadline is 11:59pm on Sunday 19th of April 2020.

This year we are looking for submissions focused on a specific theme, one which is fitting to the ethos of Hidden Door, that of preservation. Today the choice of what to leave behind and what to keep and cherish seems to be more important than ever, as the planet faces a climate emergency as a consequence of our previous choices. Preservation on any level - of a personal memory, a family legacy, a cultural heritage, an idea, an object or a place - if it has survived until this day, is already a part of the foundation that secures our path into the future.

Preservation is a central idea at the heart of Hidden Door, a festival that at its core is about the discovery and re-emergence of Edinburgh’s forgotten spaces. Within these spaces new stories are created from the foundations and cobbles of the past. It is with this spirit that we ask for film submissions that celebrate this central theme.

A cash prize of £500, known as the Hidden Door Film Innovation award, awarded by jury for an outstanding piece of film work from the Selected Film Programme


Open to filmmakers at any stage of their career working with any film form, included but not limited to fiction, non-fiction, experimental and animation.

Open to filmmakers of any nationality. (Please note however that if your film is selected and you live outside the UK, we will be unable to fund any travel expenses to Hidden Door 2020.)

Fees for entry:

There is a small submission fee of £10 for submitting your film to Hidden Door 2020.

We regard a short film as 30 minutes or under. Please refer to the FilmFreeway site for information on how to pay. Hidden Door is deeply committed to being as accessible as possible, so if you are unable to pay the submission fee, you can apply for a fee waiver. Please contact the HIdden Door film team at HiddenDoorFilm2020@gmail.com

For the film viewing and selection process, a selection of viewers comprising of members of the Hidden Door Team alongside external invited selectors will conduct the viewing and selection.

Rules and Conditions

For your film to be considered for Hidden Door 2020, you must include the following information:
- A brief synopsis of the film, including film duration and genre (max 250 words)
- A statement on why you believe your film will contribute to the Hidden Door Film Programme for 2020 and how it relates to the chosen theme.
- A comment on your filmmaking practice, and whether you have screened at festivals similar to Hidden Door in the past.
- The screening history of the submitted film. Films that are currently available to be purchased will not be eligible for the Hidden Door Film Innovation Award.

If your film is not yet finished, we will consider rough cuts and judge the film accordingly. No film will be rejected on the basis of being incomplete, but it will need to be complete by 14th of June 2020. When submitting a rough cut, please provide details of the elements of your film still to be completed.

If your film contains non-English dialogue, we require that you include English subtitles.
Please note that Hidden Door does not pay screening fees.

Submission certifies that all film and music rights and clearances have been obtained, in accordance with UK copyright laws. By submitting, you agree to not withdraw your film from Hidden Door after it has been accepted by the selection board.

Filmmakers that have been selected will be notified by the 1st of June.
Due to the high level of interest and number of submissions, Hidden Door will unfortunately not be able to give feedback on submissions, and the decision of the Jury is final.

Being Part of the Event

As part of the Hidden Door programme, participating filmmakers will be invited to Hidden Door 2020, and may be asked to be available for Q&A sessions if possible. Filmmakers will also be featured on the Hidden Door website, print publications, and Hidden Door social media. Filmmakers will be invited to participate in and help with Hidden Door promotion campaigns, sharing social media content, and helping with general publicity where they can.

Participating filmmakers will receive a full access pass to the entire festival as well as guest list passes and discount codes for friends etc. that will be confirmed closer to the festival.

See FAQ section the Hidden Door website for more answers to questions you may have.