Important note on COVID-19: Although currently postponed, all of the screenings and Q&As will be scheduled for the first safe opportunity, merged in extended events. Until then, ISA has also optional streaming opportunities for who wants to join, namely VOD or monthly subscription via ISA TV channel.
This means that our event dates designate, at this temporary stage, the day for the announcement of the award winners of each season. The respective live events will take place as soon as possible.
Everything else is working as usual.

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 every August.
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 are eligible for the nominations for the 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 Screendance 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 59 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.
5. You cannot withdraw your submission after the official selection announcement of each round.

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 - 2020 © All Rights Reserved

Overall Rating
  • Nickel Road Productions

    This was our first year to experience ISA, and it was absolutely wonderful! Very organized and ran top notch with every aspect...from communicating with the filmmaker, to networking and working social media! Would definitely return and highly recommend other filmmakers to submit. Thank you for having us be a part of Independent Shorts Awards! Best wishes!

    August 2020
  • Jennifer Plotzke

    Great festival offering lots of opportunities to filmmakers. Wonderful communication and organization. Looking forward to more screenings in the future!

    August 2020
  • Jesse Gasca Garcia

    Great film festival. I am very proud that I was part of this festival experience. I really enjoyed it.

    August 2020
  • Jim Norman

    Very worthwhile festival with excellent communication. I will be submitting my next project.

    August 2020
  • Independent Shorts Awards have been excellent in every way! We have thoroughly enjoyed our warm welcome and are honored to have been selected as finalists for "Baby in the Basement!" Thank you for the amazing experience for our first film ISA! We will be back!

    August 2020