IMDb qualifier's Independent Shorts Awards (ISA) is a Los Angeles-based international film festival, with monthly live screenings at the Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, CA, along with a major annual awards event at the same venue.
Besides the premiere screenings at one of the most prestigious venues of Hollywood, ISA offers a distribution deal to all award winners through its streaming TV channel, plus the exclusive ISA official trophy (at the annual event) and other rewards.

ISA is looking for independent projects from all genres, particularly low or no-budget ones, as well as from all countries, especially from those traditionally underrepresented in the global film industry.

Each round, the submitted projects are judged by a random team of invited experts from academia and film industry, against a high standard of merit. The monthly winners are automatically qualified to compete and to be screened at ISA annual event. Some of them, selected by the programmers of ISA, are publicly screened in Los Angeles at the end of each monthly round.

Every submission can add numerous additional judging categories (via multiple submissions). The name(s) to be credited should be included in the cover letter or sent by email.

All entries are promoted through our social media and website with a dedicated page with synopsis, film stills and trailer.
For this purpose, we recommend that projects must be fully entered on FilmFreeway, including film stills, production pictures, downloadable poster, and trailer or teaser.

All projects officially selected in each season receive the Independent Shorts Awards laurel and certificate. Some filmmakers, screenwriters and actors are invited for an interview or to provide ISA with BTS material to be published also in ISA website.

Some of the award-winning films are screened every month at the Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, CA, and their crews invited to attend and participate in a public Q&A. As screening copies, we accept mov and mp4 files that we convert in DCP with no extra fees.

Based on the highest rates, the pools of monthly Platinum and Gold Awards given during the annual cycle (April 2019-March 2020) are eligible for the nominations for the 2020 annual awards. Our judges' committee can decide to nominate also other award-winning projects.

As an additional reward, the highest-rated projects from all categories receive a 12-month free subscription to IPitch and special discount waivers to submit to our sister film festivals.

Finally, the most competitive films are invited to join our exclusive streaming channel with the payment of shared revenue.

At the annual events, award winners receive also for free the official ISA trophy, an exclusive piece of art made in cristal. These trophies can be ordered by any award winner from the monthly rounds.

Judges score quality and creativity of entries on a performance scale and winning entries are recognized and awarded monthly at four levels:

Platinum Awards, Gold Awards, Silver Awards, and Bronze Awards.
It can be given also Honorable Mentions and Outstanding Achievement Awards.

The awards by category:
Best Short Script
Best Narrative Short
Best Indie Short
Best Student Short
Best Animation Short
Best Documentary Short
Best Experimental Short
Best Microfilm
Best Music Video
Best Drama Short
Best Comedy Short
Best Dark Comedy Short
Best Thriller Short
Best Parody Short
Best Horror Short
Best Crime Short
Best Film Noir Short
Best Mystery Short
Best Fantasy Short
Best Sci-Fi Short
Best Western Short
Best Children Short
Best LGBTQ Short
Best Women Short
Best Web Series/TV Pilot
Best Web and New Media
Best Mobile Short
Best Drone Short
Best First Time Director (Female)
Best First Time Director (Male)
Best Young Filmmaker
Best Director (Female)
Best Director (Male)
Best Student Director (Female)
Best Student Director (Male)
Best Acting Ensemble
Best Acting Duo
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best Child/Young Actor
Best Child/Young Actress
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Sound Design
Best Original Score
Best Original Story
Best Special FX
Best Visual FX
Best Trailer/Teaser

All genres are accepted with a maximum length of 55 minutes.
For student fees, it is mandatory the student status evidence (e.g copy of student card included in the project).

The films must include English subtitles (unless the spoken language is English).

By submitting your film, you agree that:
1. Independent Shorts Awards can use parts of your film (including trailer/teaser/film poster) for promotional purpose.
2. Entry fees are non-refundable.
3. You own all the rights to the film.
4. You can withdraw your submission only during the 5 days after.

Independent Shorts Awards does not accept the following:

1. Extremist or propaganda content from religious or political organizations.
2. Films which are made before 2000.
3. Films with a poor production standard (bad sound, lack of subtitles/captions for non-English films, or video resolution less than 720p HD).

Independent Shorts Awards 2018/19 © All Rights Reserved

Overall Rating
  • Taylor Bright

    I have only been involved in the monthly competition so far, but I get the impression these people really care about Filmmakers just starting out. They are immediately responsive via emails, extremely nice and pleasant to deal with, and extremely well organized. I strongly recommend to anyone with a short film!

    November 2019
  • Luke Luoh

    This is the first submission for our microshort Ostinato, and what a good start that was. The staff are extremely well put together and responsive. Excellent communication and consideration all around.
    We eventually got Gold for Microshort and 2 other Silver recognition, and will come back with future projects.
    Everyone should look into ISA as a stop in their submissions.

    December 2019
  • manuel (peta) Rivero Y Hornos

    hello ! everything was great ! thanks for awarding who are you?
    we are very happy ! thanks a lot from the other side of the world!

    November 2019
  • Benoit Perrin

    It is a high quality festival and the team is great and helpfull !
    Thank you and I wish you all the best.

    October 2019
  • Theo Francocci

    Very professional festival for emerging short films. Thank you so much Independent Shorts Awards!

    October 2019