IMDb qualifier Indie Short Fest (ISF-LA) is an LA-based international film competition with red carpet live screenings and Q&A at the Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, CA, every month.

ISF-LA 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, all submitted projects are featured in ISF-LA site and social media (with the publication of synopsis, stills and a trailer/teaser) as part of a general promotional action of indie production. Submitter has the option of decline any public highlight, as long as notified ISF-LA, keeping however his project(s) under consideration. These projects are judged by a random team of invited experts from academia and film industry from Los Angeles area, against a high standard of merit. From the pool of official selection, which has a very competitive acceptance rate, ISF-LA chose the nominees and award winners of the season. All of them can add their projects to IMDb. Some of the award-winning projects, selected by the programmers of ISF-LA, are publicly screened in Los Angeles at the end of each round.

Important note on COVID-19: Although currently postponed, but about to be resumed, all of the Indie Short Fest live screenings and Q&As will be rescheduled for the first safe opportunity, merged in extended events. Until then, ISF-LA has also optional streaming opportunities for who wants to join via our 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.

Before submitting, please read carefully the following:

Every submission can add additional judging categories. The name(s) to be credited per category should be included in the cover letter.

Note that any entry is judged only according to the nature of the submitted category or categories. After the preliminary evaluation, ISF-LA can email the submitter with recommendations to other categories in which the project can fit better and have more chances to be a good contender. Still, the decision to submit to other categories, and the payment of the associated fees, belong exclusively to the submitter and does not guarantee any award or the official selection.

All entries are promoted through our social media and website, with a featured page of each project, unless submitter prefers not to. For this purpose, we recommend that projects must be fully entered on FilmFreeway, including synopsis, and downloadable poster and trailer.

All projects officially selected in each round receive the Indie Short Fest official laurel and the custom certificate of achievement according to their final status in the competition.

Some of the award winners are invited for an interview or to provide the festival with a BTS or award acceptance video statement to be published in the ISF-LA website.

At least 3 different judges score the quality and creativity of each entry on a performance scale defined in 9 parameters (from originality to technical aspects as pace, structure, lighting and sound design). The highest rated entries are nominated for the awards of the respective categories and finally are choose the winners.

Besides the Major Award for each category, it can be given also Outstanding Achievement Awards (for the runner-ups) and Honorable Mentions.

Also, for each round, Indie Short Fest (ISF-LA) decides and award two overall winners (chosen from all categories) as Best Short (spoken in English) and Best Foreign-Language Short, plus special jury mentions (Awards of Excellence).

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

All genres are accepted with a maximum length of 60 minutes.

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

By submitting the film, the submitter agrees that:
1. Indie Short Fest can use trailer/teaser/film poster/stills or BTS for promotional purpose (but do not release, under any form or circumstances, the full film)
2. Entry fees are non-refundable.
3. The submitter owns all the rights to the film.
4. The submitter cannot withdraw the submission after the official selection announcement.
5. The information about the entries can be disclosed to ISF-LA associate film festivals.

For student fees, it is mandatory the student status evidence (e.g copy of student card included in the project).

Indie Short Fest 2018-2021 © All Rights Reserved

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Diego Munoz

    Great communication and a big thanks for the semi finalist position!

    September 2021
  • RObert McDavid

    Thanks to ISF for including THREE DAYS HOME. Seems like a cool and helpful organization.

    September 2021
  • Shimmy Yang

    Indie Short Fest was a great monthly festival that was a delight to participate. It was great to see all the filmmakers from different countries and I was very happy that my film got nominated.
    One thing that I was unsure though was that they charged quite a lot of money to purchase the trophy for people who got awards or were nominated. I'm not sure if this is a normal thing with film festival but I found that part odd and of course did not purchase the trophy.

    September 2021
  • Tamara Cook

    It was a great honor and very encouraging for our short MAENAD FEVER to win Outstanding Achievement Award (Fantasy Short). The communication was good, and the updates were prompt and clear. A shame that with the current global situation, there is no possibility of travel! Great festival, highly recommend indie filmmakers to enter.

    September 2021
  • It was an honor to be a part of Indie Short Fest. My team and I are ecstatic about the awards given! Thank you so very much!

    September 2021