Independent Shorts Awards is an international short film festival, with red carpet screenings and Q&A sessions all year round and an annual awards event in Los Angeles.

During the last 6 years, Independent Shorts Awards has been boosting several projects such as Oscar-longlisted animated short “Umbrella” (Brazil), Oscar-longlisted documentary short “After Skid Row” (USA), Oscar-longlisted live action short "Cognition" (UK), and “One Last Last Heist” (Canada) acquired by Sony.

Proud of having among its previous winners Academy Award winners Joel Harlow, Laura Dern, Nick Vallelonga, Rayka Zehtabchi, Robert Zemeckis, and Ross Kauffman, Academy Award nominees Chazz Palminteri, Diane Ladd, Eric Roberts, Janet McTeer, Michael Shannon, and Paul Giamatti, Primetime Emmy winner Loretta Devine, Primetime Emmy nominees Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, and Mindy Sterling, Screen Actors Guild Awards nominee Jennifer Morrison, as other notable such as Allisyn Snyder, Bonnie McKee, Danny Trejo, Harald Zwart, Jeff Blyth, Kevin Smith, Leven Rambin, Madison Wolfe, Michael Madsen, and William Baldwin, Independent Shorts Awards is one of the world-leading LA-based international indie short film festivals.

IMDb qualifier Independent Shorts Awards 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 monthly season, 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 award winners are considered for the annual nominations. All nominees are screened at the annual event.

So, EVERY MONTH, Independent Shorts Awards establishes a comprehensive hierarchy of the most important films in the festival circuit, awarding a considerable number of projects in several different categories. A monthly breakdown, listed by IMDb, that allows you to be, at the same time, in a TRADITIONAL ANNUAL FESTIVAL competing for a spot among the world’s best short films of the year to be screened in Los Angeles.

Every submission can add 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 featured 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 custom digital certificate. Some of the award-winning films are screened in our venues, and their crews invited to attend and participate in a public Q&A.

For public screenings, Independent Shorts Awards accept preferably DCP. If not possible, we can play full HD mov and mp4 files also.

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

All annual nominees (about 80 films) are screened, during the annual event, usually in August/September, which follows the traditional format of annual festivals.
To learn more:

At the annual events, award winners receive also the Independent Shorts Awards official trophy. 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 (special jury mentions).

Some categories or level of awards can have no winners if there are no submissions meeting the requirements.

The awards by category:
Best Short Script
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 Screendance Short
Best Web Series/TV Pilot
Best Web and New Media
Best Mobile 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 Ensemble Cast
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 Production Design
Best Trailer/Teaser

The event date in Filmfreeway designates the day of the announcement of the award winners of each monthly round.
The special screenings and Q&A as well as the annual awards have a different timeline that is announced through our website and social media outlets. All submitters are always kept in loop and in advance to be able to do the preparations to attend the events.

All genres are accepted with a maximum length of 60 minutes.
All short scripts should have a maximum of 60 pages.
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 cannot withdraw your submission after the official selection announcement of each round.

(i) Independent Shorts Awards has two associate events only: Indie Short Fest and IndieX Film Fest. Any resemblance to other events is purely coincidental. We do not represent or can be represented by any other organization.

(ii) Also, we do not disclose any kind of information with third parties.

(iii) Finally, please be aware that we do not ask for or accept any kind of donations.

Important notice: By submitting to Independent Shorts Awards, we consider that the submitter owns all the rights to the film, meaning that the submitted work (i) does not violate or infringe any copyright, patent, privacy right, publicity right, trademark, service mark or any other personal or property right of any person or entity, that (ii) does not constitute or include a defamation of any person or entity, and that (iii) its representatives have paid and will pay in full all license fees, clearance fees, and other obligations, of any kind, arising from or associated with the exhibition of the Film at or in connection with the Festival. Also, that the submitter is duly authorized, on his own behalf and on behalf of all other persons or entities who have any ownership rights or interests (including, without limitation, intellectual property rights) in or relating to the film, to exhibit the film at the Festival.

Independent Shorts Awards 2018-2023 © All Rights Reserved

Overall Rating
  • Dũng Quang

    Pleasantly surprised to have our film "Bottom of the Pits" won Best Foreign Short & Best Female Student Director despite only submitting for Best Female Student Director. Highly recommended!

    May 2023
  • Thank you so much for all of the recognitions and awards and I will absolutely come back again with my new work in the future.

    May 2023
  • Nik Perring

    Excellent all round. Efficient. Brilliant communication. Full marks.

    May 2023
  • Damián Apunte

    My team and I are honored to have been able to be a part of the Independent Shorts Awards and doubly honored to have been considered worthy of an award. We hope to continue to create the same caliber of films of which we can continue to share with the fest and your audiences. Thank you ISA!

    May 2023
  • Sylvie Zaidman

    Absolutely thrilled with all our awards for our movie tRuth at such a great festival. Excellent and regular communication and hopefully we will be coming to LA for the screening. Many thanks!!!

    May 2023