IN THE PALACE is an established international festival dedicated to short films, new media and digital arts up to 27 minutes in length.

The main purpose of the Festival is to present and promote the contemporary short film art form from Bulgaria, Europe, and the rest of the world. IN THE PALACE is an Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe (EFFE) Label holder, a Student Academy Award® Qualifying Festival, and an Academy Award®/Oscar® Qualifying Festival for shorts in the categories of Best Animation, Best Fiction and Best National Film.

17th IN THE PALACE will take place on 15 – 22 September 2020 in Festival and Congress Center-Varna in the beautiful seaside city of Varna.

The program will consist of the following main components:

• International, national and student competitive programs in 4 genres: fiction, documentary, animation, experimental

• ON FOCUS programmes and EFA and Oscar® nominated/awarded films

• Q & A sessions

• FILMER FORGE: educational program, industry market, industry meetings and a film pitching session

• Video library

• USHI FILM FEST: side film and educational program for children and youngsters

• MUSIC PALACE FEST: side music program

IN THE PALACE International Short Film Festival provides an exceptionally favorable platform for the expression of both young directors and established professionals. Starting as a competitive forum for student films, it has now become the largest and most prestigious short film festival in Bulgaria and the region.

IN THE PALACE is organized by Format SFF Foundation, Veshtina Municipal Centre, National Institute for Culture Research and Policies and Festival and Congress Centre - Varna (, in partnership and with the support of National Culture Fund and Ministry of Culture, Sofia Municipality, and the Erasmus+ Programme and European Solidarity Corps of the European Commission.

The total award fund of the Festival amounts to 10 000 EUR.

IN THE PALACE International Short Film Festival is an OSCAR® Qualifying Film Festival in the categories:
BEST FICTION, International Competition
BEST ANIMATION, International Competition

IN THE PALACE International Short Film Festival is a STUDENT ACADEMY AWARDS® Qualifying Festival.

IN THE PALACE Festival Rules and Regulations

1. IN THE PALACE selects only films having their Bulgarian premiere at the Festival. Films publicly shown in Bulgaria or released online on free-access websites or platforms are not eligible for its competition programs. The Festival reserves the right to reject a film at any stage in the case of non-compliance with this rule.

2. The Festival accepts individual and institutional submissions (i.e. from production companies, distribution companies, film academies, national film centers, television networks, creative associations, etc.).

3. Films submitted to the current edition of the festival will not be taken into consideration for the competitive programs of subsequent festival editions.

4. Eligible films must be maximum 27 minutes in length and completed after 1 January 2018.

5. The accepted screening format is DCP only.

6. Entry fees and deadlines */**:

EARLYBIRD DEADLINE: 01 October 2019 - 15.00 EUR
REGULAR DEADLINE: 01 April 2020 - 20.00 EUR

* Authors whose films have been selected in any of the past 2 editions of the Festival shall not be charged a submission fee for the current festival.
** Authors whose films have been awarded or nominated in previous editions of the Festival shall not be charged a submission fee.

7. A submission is considered complete only when the following 3 requirements have been met:
• the submitter has provided all the information required (as per submission platform chosen);
• the submission fee has been paid;
• a downloadable preview copy (popular digital format) of the film is provided - for selection purposes only.

8. The Festival Competition Program includes:

I. SILVER PRINCESS COMPETITION, National and international professional films (OSCAR® Qualifying)

BEST NATIONAL FILM CATEGORY (fiction and animation films)

II. DOCUMENTARY & EXPERIMENTAL COMPETITION, National and international professional and student films (Student Academy Awards® Qualifying for student documentary and experimental films)

BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM CATEGORY (experimental films, hybrid forms and formats, digital art works)

III. STUDENT COMPETITION, National and international student films (Student Academy Awards® Qualifying)


Eligible are only films that have been completed during the study years of their directors.

9. The Festival appoints a selection committee and a professional international jury to assess the films to be screened at the Festival.

10. The Festival shall not give feedback about the selection committee`s decisions.

11. Once a film is selected, it cannot be withdrawn from the competitive programs of the Festival.

12. The total award fund of the Festival amounts to 10 000 EUR.

13. Representatives of selected films will be notified personally via and invited to obtain accreditation by a given deadline. The Festival has the right to decline accreditation; in this case the applicant will be timely notified.

14. All technical specifications for the screening of selected films will be sent to the address in the application once. Please make sure that the address you provide is correct. If you have not received any communication after the notification date, please contact us asap on to check the status of your film. Submitters of selected films will be sent a catalogue form to fill in and should be prepared to provide: a DCP screening copy of the film, English subtitles burned in the file (including for the ones with English dialogue), a dialogue list and a .TXT/.SRT with time code English subtitle file, a poster, a trailer, 3 stills in 300 ppi print size quality min. 1300px – width, a photo of the Director in 300 ppi print size quality min. 1300px – width, film synopsis and logline.

15. The deadline for receiving screening copies (in DCP format only) of selected films for the 17th edition of IN THE PALACE is 30 July 2020.

16. The Festival reserves the right to screen the preview copies of the films provided for selection, if the screening copy is late and/or is different from the one selected, and/or in case the technical characteristics of the screening copy are different from the ones accepted by the Festival.

17. The Festival does not pay any screening fees.

18. The Festival will cover the accommodation of one film representative per film of those selected for the competition program. The accommodation provided by the Festival is linked to competition category and screening program and will be arranged based on preliminary accreditation and on a first come, first served basis.

19. The Festival reserves the right to include films, that have not accumulated enough selection points for the competition programs, in thematic non-competitive festival programs.

20. With submitting a film to IN THE PALACE, the submitter declares that they carry the right to manage the authors’ and related rights for the film and all property relationships with the rights’ owners have been cleared and paid for. The submitter agrees for the film to be included in the festival program and other screenings related to the Festival. The submitter agrees for screenshots, trailers and parts of the film to be shown (online and in other types of media) to the purpose of promoting the film’s participation in the Festival.

21. Further to the Festival’s mission to preserve and protect short filmmaking as part of contemporary cultural heritage, all submitted films will be automatically included in IN THE PALACE Video Library for a period of 10 years, and will be accessible for non-commercial and professional viewing. In the absence of an explicit written request on behalf of the rights’ owners at least 2 months before the expiry of the above 10-year period, the permanence of the movie in the Festival Video Library will be automatically renewed for another period of the same duration (10 years).

22. The Festival Director has the right to personally appoint any exceptions and resolve any cases not covered by the present rules and regulations.

23. The submission for participation in the Festival constitutes acceptance of all the present Rules and Regulations.

The Festival reserves the right to cancel an application for participation and undertake action in case of breach of the present Rules and Regulations and/or indecent behavior, acts of aggression and arrogance, intolerance towards difference, etc. that undermine the Festival’s name or impede its normal proceedings.
Any legal disputes shall be resolved by a Bulgarian court.

Overall Rating
  • Mailuki Films

    Contando los días para volver a participar una vez más en uno de nuestros eventos cinematográficos europeos favoritos.
    ¡Nos vemos en Varna!

    July 2020
  • Gabriele Fabbro

    I wasn't able to attend, but communication was great. Great selection of films and warm support!

    February 2020
  • Very professional festival. Wide range selection and a high-rank market featuring many filmmakers from throughout the world.

    October 2019
  • Loved my experience as a film representative attending IN THE PALACE ISFF 2019. Wonderful organization and hospitality. Wishing luck to the whole crew and would love to go to the festival even as a moviegoer!

    October 2019
  • Peter Chiviyski

    Great Festival! Had an excellent time.

    October 2019