*Year 8 was meant to begin in June 2020 but we’re currently on hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about where we stand in 2021 and our future plans, see this blog post: http://www.congestedcat.com/blog/5h6rucbl9vaigdhzthy7xlhi9ycqzx.

IndieWorks is run by CongestedCat Productions, an NYC-based independent film production company. Through IndieWorks, we screen short films produced by emerging New York based filmmakers one Tuesday out of every month. It provides a platform for those filmmakers to showcase their work in front of an audience, network with other creators in the local community, and engage in thoughtful discussions about their creative intentions behind the work. We aim to create an inclusive and inspiring environment that will spark collaboration and support. *We only consider submissions from current NY Tristate Area filmmakers.*

We host a screening one Tuesday out of every month of approximately 5 short films, followed by thoughtful & personalized Q&A sessions with all the featured filmmakers. There's never an entry fee, so bring all your friends and film enthusiasts for watching and mingling over drinks and food.

Testimonial Reel: https://vimeo.com/336487267

Our annual season is June - March. April is our annual Best of Fest, which wraps up the year by re-screening the winning films of the season and creating an overall celebratory atmosphere. Year 7 began in June 2019.

Year 7 Screening Dates (2019-2020):
June 25th (Pride Month)
July 30th
August 20th
September 17th
October 29th (Halloween Special!)
November 19th
December 10th
January 14th
February 11th
March 10th
April 21st (7th Annual Best of Fest)

We judge films for acceptance by rating them from 1-10 in terms of 8 categories. The scored categories are: Story, Dialogue/Writing, Direction, Acting, Cinematography, Sound, Editing, and Production Value (with budget constraints considered- more in terms of art direction and those little touches that show pre-production efforts). That scoring system determines whether or not a film gets put in a definite yes, maybe, or definite no list. We try to notify the filmmakers asap, as we know what it's like to wait months and months just to hear disappointing news. The maybe's get held and discussed to see how they fit in with the thematic patterns we're finding for each month as we program the definite yes films. Originality, inclusion and representation play a large role in these discussions, as we are a series devoted to highlighting story and mission over flashy names and budgets. Each month, one film wins the Silver Whiskers Award, our version of the 'Best of Fest' award, and another wins the Audience Choice Award. The Silver Whiskers winner is selected by CongestedCat Productions team members through a combination of our scoring system and extensively nuanced discussion.

Audience Choice is voted upon by the audience in attendance at each series. If the planned Silver Whiskers winner also wins Audience Choice, the Audience Choice award will be given to the film that had the second highest audience votes. Both the Silver Whiskers & Audience Choice winning filmmakers will be interviewed and featured on the CongestedCat Productions site and through social media in our Insider Series. We want to help YOU reach an audience!

Each Silver Whiskers winner will go on to screen at our Best of Fest annual screening and be eligible for the Golden Whiskers Award & other Category Awards, which come along with monetary prizes from our sponsors.

*Films do not have to have been shot in New York, but MUST be by current New York State based filmmakers who can attend the event. If someone is Tristate area based and works frequently in NY or is looking to work with NY collaborators, then submissions is allowed if someone on the team is currently NY based.

*Filmmakers whose work is accepted must have someone integral to the film's production attend the event and participate in the Q&A.

*Films completed prior to 2009 are not eligible.

*All films must be in English or have English subtitles.

*Please note that submission does not guarantee acceptance. If your film is not accepted, it unfortunately does not mean just for the upcoming month. It is a hard no. Alternatively, if you have not heard back regarding acceptance for over a month, it could be that we are holding your film for a later month. In Year 6, we accepted approximately 29% of eligible submissions. Films will not be reconsidered for future seasons, unless they have changed drastically since initial submission.

*We typically only screen narrative films, though occasionally accept documentaries that have a New York City resonance. Music Videos and Experimental work are welcome as long as there's a clear story being told. Our rule about music videos is that the visuals must be able to function as a story without the music. 

*Films may not exceed 21 minutes in length, including credits. (The longest film we have ever screened was 23 minutes in Year 1 (when we were receiving far less submissions). That was the only one of that length. In the last 5 years, we've screened only 2 films that were 21 minutes, including their credits. 99% of our selections are under 16 minutes.)

*We're a series devoted to integrity and transparency. We never screen our own work. We do not screen work we helped produce in competition. (Work made by our sponsors can screen, but not in competition, and must still be submitted and go through the screening/programming process as all submissions.) We do not invite films ever. (We did in our first year when trying to get off the ground. Since Year 2, we exclusively program through submissions.) We do not offer any individual filmmakers waivers. We have offered waivers as a reward for support of our crowdfunding campaigns or to group initiatives supporting the local film community; but we do not provide waivers to any individual filmmakers that reach out. We keep our fees low for this reason. Every film goes through the same screening process and no one (not even a friend or past collaborator) is guaranteed acceptance, as we aim to create a fair and equal environment with programming we and our audience can be proud of each month regardless of names and connections. 

*We don't require any kind of premiere status, nor do we restrict films that are already online.

*As of Year 7, we no longer do a Web Series Special in September. We’ve found it harder to program over the last couple years, as filmmakers have largely stopped submitting webisodes and seem to be making more of actual pilots that exceed our runtime limit. If you have a webisode that could work as a standalone film, feel free to submit it as a short (as long as it meet all other requirements).

*We do not screen films that contain scenes of graphic hardcore sexual material, rape (unless shown tastefully through the survivor's POV), or simulated animal torture. If you choose to submit anything you think could be interpreted as any of those categories but you feel doesn't cross a line, please notify us as such on your submission listing. Certain jury members are sensitive to this content. It is better to forewarn us in advance so we can notify jury members rather than catch them off-guard.

*Submission fees are non-refundable. All films will be considered fairly. If a submitter failed to read the guidelines and is disqualified, even if they caught their error before we did, submission fees cannot be refunded because FilmFreeway does not refund their share.

*I, the undersigned, acknowledge and agree: I have read, understated and fully comply with all submission eligibility information, Submission Guidelines, Terms and Conditions of Entry and Entry Eligibility requirements. To the best of my knowledge, all of the statements in this submission are true. This film or video is not subject to any litigation nor is threatened by any litigation. I am duly authorized to submit this film to the festival. I hold CongestedCat Productions, LLC./IndieWorks harmless from any damage to the print(s) or media materials(s) en route or otherwise during the course of the festival’s possession of the film. I hold CongestedCat Productions, LLC./IndieWorks, its owners, management, juries, subsidiaries, agents, sponsors, affiliates, and etc. harmless from any and all claims of liability resulting from my entry. I certify that I have full rights to all aspects, including the use of the music, in the entered work. I understand that submission fee payments are non-refundable. I understand submission fees are for consideration, not acceptance. I give permission for CongestedCat Productions, LLC./IndieWorks to use stills, titles, copy, and/or information from the short for promotional purposes. I give permission for CongestedCat Productions, LLC./IndieWorks to download my submission file for private programming purposes before any status notification. I give permission for CongestedCat Productions, LLC./IndieWorks to screen the film at the series for which it was submitted and potentially again for the Best of Fest.

Overall Rating
  • Meredith Dobbs

    Christina and the team are lovely! I really felt my film was appreciated and valued by the team, who are all active filmmakers themselves, and it's a nice community event to attend each month if when your film is not in festival. The Q&As can be a bit awkward, but the atmosphere of the organizers, filmmakers, and attendees is always warm, friendly, and supportive. I'll definitely come back as an audience member and a submitting filmmaker.

    August 2020
  • This group of very talented and value-driven storytellers that make up Congested Cat understand that artists need encouragement, and put it into practice through their monthly IndieWorks​ screening series, celebrating and building the NY indie filmmaking community.

    They are kind, they are supportive, they are thoughtful, they are diverse, they are inclusive, they are authentic, and they are champions of filmmakers. I cannot recommend them highly enough.

    May 2020
  • Nathalie Frederick

    Indieworks was a beyond wonderful festival experience. As a filmmaker I felt so appreciated and well looked after. The Q&As are incredibly thoughtful and catered to each film and the evening was well curated - I thought the films were great across the board. I would absolutely submit again (and/or attend again as an audience member) and I recommend this fest to all!

    April 2020
  • Wonderful festival with a lot of heart and ambition! The Q&A's after each screening are an essential part of the festival and add to the overall quality of the monthly screening events. The enthusiastic audience is encouraged to mingle with the filmmakers in attendance. There are wins like the audience and Best of Fest awards that add a welcoming competitiveness to the event. I highly recommend this festival to cinephiles to check out well made and original films. And I encourage the local serious New York filmmakers to submit their films! I loved my experience with IndieWorks when my stop motion animated film screened last November and I look forward to submitting my next project.

    April 2018
  • Love this festival! Christina and the CongestedCat team are consistently able to foster an organic sense of community. We always feel welcome here and keep coming back! Definitely recommended for any film lovers in New York!

    April 2018