IMDb qualifier Indie Short Fest (ISF-LA) is an LA-based international film competition with monthly live screenings in Burbank and Glendale, CA.

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 month, the submitted 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. The monthly award-winning projects are automatically admitted to being screened and competing in the respective categories at the annual event. Some of them, selected by the programmers of ISF-LA, are publicly screened in Los Angeles at the end of each round.

Before submitting, please read carefully the following:

Every submission can add numerous additional judging categories increasing the chance to become a multi-award-winning. In these cases, the name(s) to be credited should be included in the cover letter.

Notice 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 entry can be more suitable to and have more chances to be a good competitor. 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 with no exception are promoted through our social media and website with a dedicated page and highlights at the homepage. 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 are listed in the festival's website and receive the Indie Short Fest official laurel and the customized certificate of achievement according to their final status in the competition. As underlined above, some of them are publicly screened in Los Angeles.

All award winners in each round 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.

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 LGBT Short
Best Web Series/TV Pilot
Best Web and New Media
Best Microfilm
Best Music Video
Best Mobile Short
Best Drone 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 Story
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

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 parts of the film (including trailer/teaser/film poster) for promotional purpose.
2. Entry fees are non-refundable.
3. The submitter owns all the rights to the film.
4. The information about the entries can be disclosed to ISF-LA associated film festivals, namely the upcoming other cities-based ISF.

Indie Short Fest does not accept the following:
1. Extremist or propaganda content from religious or political organizations.
2. Films which are made before 2016.
3. Films with a poor production standard (bad sound, lack of subtitles/captions for non-English films, or video resolution less than 720p HD).

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).

Indie Short Fest 2018 © All Rights Reserved

Overall Rating
  • I am very honored to be nominated in Indie Shorts Fest. This is a very helpful and welcoming festival for young filmmakers like me.

    March 2019
  • 20 Steps Productions

    Thank you a lot for selecting my film "Bad People", it's a big honor for me and my team to be awarded as a best action short of February. We are happy to be a part of such marvelous event. We wish you a big success and hope to meet you soon. With warmest regards. Giorgi

    March 2019
  • Razid Season

    I have received a laurel in February, and I am notified that my film has received an official selection until I contact with them at the end of January! Official Selection email & the digital Laurel with a certificate indicating that the selection was for the Month of February 2019. But the festival authority forgot that they have emailed me back in the first week of December 2018 stating that my film got an official selection for the month of December! I doubt if they have even viewed my film! When I have submitted my film, I emailed them, and was also notified that the submission should be considered for their 'Annual' version of the festival, (not the monthly competition) but later, I see they left the submission on the monthly competition, and the email in regard official selection was totally confusing. And after my email in late January, they sent me a certificate of achievement that states that it was a February selection! I hope, this festival will really on the mandate of a festival, other than making some money in the name of the festival. A Festival should have that standard when they gather huge money from the submitters. Best of Luck!

    March 2019
  • Kim Fabienne Hertinger

    Thank you Indie Short Fest for selecting our film "Sea at Night" for multiple awards! It is an honor for me and my team! Thank you also for the nice and fast communication!

    February 2019
  • Pilar Eguez

    I had never done a film before, entering the distribution process with a blindfold around my eyes. I have been overwhelmed by the quality and professionalism of the staff, the incredible work of networking you do on Twitter got me to submit to a festival I wouldn’t have even thought of. I have been delightfully shocked to have been guided through the process in such an impeccable way. Honored beyond words to have been included and nominated, this has had an incredible impact on the course my film is taking—I recommend everybody to submit your film to Indie Short Fest, especially if you are new to the industry. Thank you for taking us seriously, for being so professional, for believing in projects made with passion and love, for being a channel to tell stories that will change peoples lives,
    especially the most vulnerable! Way to go Indie Short Fest! Thank you for the amazing work you are doing!!

    February 2019