IWM Short Film Festival is a showcase of imaginative and challenging films inspired by our collections and our role – to explore the causes, course and consequences of war and conflict, and its impact on people’s lives.

IWM tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since 1914. We challenge people to look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and consequences of war and its impact on people's lives.

Submissions should use IWM collections or should be based on our subject matter in its broadest sense. The film doesn't need to be about IWM subject matter if it uses IWM collections and vice versa.

Originality of subject matter is a key factor – the Judges will be looking out for less well known content and stories.

The judges will consider how the films:
- Use archive material ethically
- Tackle the subject matter objectively
- Make historically accurate use of source material
- Treat material and subject matter sensitively

Production values, while important, are not the most important consideration when judging the films – we welcome submissions from first time, student and amateur filmmakers.


There will be awards for all of the categories listed below:

When submitting please only select ONE of the following two categories:
- Annie Dodds Award for Best Documentary
- Best Creative Response

Films will be sorted into the following categories based on information included in the submissions form:
- IWM Special Category: Making a New World*
- Best Student Film
- Best Use of IWM Archive Material
- Audience Vote Award**

*This special category encourages creative responses exploring how the First World War has shaped the society we live in today.
**All films shortlisted for the festival will be included in the Audience Vote Award

Winners in all categories except the Audience Vote Award are decided by panels of judges. Judging will take place shortly before the start of the festival. Winners in these categories will be publically announced at an awards ceremony held at IWM London at the start of the festival.

Audiences attending the screenings will be invited to rate the films they watch on a scale from one to five. The film with the highest average score will be announced the winner of the Audience Vote Award after the festival.

These instructions relate to IWM Short Film Festival 2018 and will be revised for future years.

- Films do not have to include IWM Collections material, but they must be inspired by IWM and its collections.
- Films do not need to focus on war and conflict as long as there is a demonstrable link to IWM collections.
- Submitted films that are not linked to IWM - either through subject matter, or through another demonstrable link IWM's collections - will not be considered for the Festival.
- Films must be no longer than 30 minutes in length. Films submitted which are longer than 30 minutes will not be considered for the Festival.
- Films must be in English or have embedded English subtitles
- All submissions must conform to the technical specifications as outlined in the FAQs on IWM's website: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections-research/iwm-short-film-festival/faqs
- Films should have been completed after 1 January 2013. Films completed before this date will not be considered for the Festival.
- Films which have been previously submitted to IWM Short Film Festival will not be considered for re-submission.
- Films must be submitted before midnight on Friday 27 April 2018. Films submitted after this deadline will not be considered for the Festival.
- Anyone can enter IWM Short Film Festival. We especially encourage submissions from student and amateur filmmakers.
- Entrants can submit more than one film. However each submission must be made via a separate submission form, and separate versions of the required materials for each film must be provided.
- To cover administration costs, a small payment is required for submitting a film to IWM Short Film Festival 2018, as outlined on the submissions form*. All costs for film production and formatting are the responsibility of the entrant.
*FilmFreeway is a Canadian company which charges for submissions in US Dollars. The total amount in British Pounds will vary on the day due to the exchange rate. Filmmakers will also need to cover any bank charges incurred when making payment to FilmFreeway.
-For more information, including FAQs and Judging criteria, go to: http://www.iwm.org.uk/film-festival

Overall Rating
  • A D Cooper

    This is an extremely well-organised, professionally-curated event running over several days and judged by some of the most eminent names in the UK film industry. Honoured to be part of such a prestige event two years in a row. Plus it just happens to be my favourite museum.

    November 2018
  • Katia Lom

    Wonderful festival! Beautiful films that were carefully curated making each screening a space to think and reflect on the different aspects of how conflict, throughout time, have been, and continue, to affect people's lives. It felt very special to have my film in this festival. The Imperial War Museum and the team behind the festival are truly special. x

    November 2018
  • I was delighted to have Shemira selected for the IWM Short Film Festival, taking place at such an iconic and relevant location in London. Sadly I was unable to attend the filmmaker's event, but my guests had a wonderful time and the feedback I've received from the screenings was incredible. Their communication and professionalism was also great throughout. A wonderful festival.

    November 2018
  • Pontus Joneström

    I was not able to attend the festival but the contact and information from the festival was very good and felt personal! Would recommend this festival!

    January 2018
  • Danial K. Afzal

    Amazing film festival with an extremely helpful management. The festival focuses mainly on conflict and war since the WW2. My film got its screening along with other mind-blowing films from across the globe. The only aspect which I'd call a little turn off was lack of networking and interaction between the public and filmmakers. Nevertheless, I'd highly recommend this film fest to all filmmakers making shorts films on war or on going conflict.

    December 2017