Leiden Shorts is taking a break
Leiden Shorts is more than a festival. It is a platform to explore the newest developments in film; it is a window on society in all its facets, an arena to develop as a festival and as a professional in it; and it is a home to many expats, trying to build a life in the Netherlands and a career in film.

As every good arena, we are constantly on the move, working to better ourselves and the world around us. This is why we decided that things needed to change after our last edition. We decided to rethink our business model. This year we will not open submissions, instead, we will host a retrospective year in May and concentrate our efforts on becoming a more livable festival, closer to our audience and to the industry.

More updates will follow soon via our official channels. Stay tuned!


Leiden Shorts is the short film festival for worldwide films in the Netherlands. Over the last 15 years, it has grown into a broad and high-quality festival. Every year, Leiden Shorts receives over 1200 submissions from over 70 countries around the world. We curate different side events - such as lectures, workshops and events - and thematic programs every year alongside our selection of short films from any genre.

We believe in cinema as a tool for social change, and we want to become an outspoken figure in both Leiden and Netherlands’ cultural scene. We fully embrace diversity and inclusivity, not only in culture but also in discipline, medium and expression.

International Competition (€1000)
Student Competition (€500)
National Competition (€500)
Audience Award (€500)

1. Eligibility

Films that have premiered after the 1st January 2021 are eligible. We accept films of any genre (fiction, animation, documentary, experimental, etc) with a maximum duration of 30 minutes.

Films that are freely available online for viewers in The Netherlands are not eligible. Films that have had a limited online festival screening are still eligible. Leiden Shorts may make an exception in specific cases.

Films that have previously been submitted and rejected are not eligible to be considered for the festival again.

Works in progress are accepted, as long as they are submitted before the deadline, and the expectation is to have a finished film by approximately March 2022.

2. Submission

You can submit your film via https://www.filmfreeway.com/LeidenShorts. No other form of submission will be accepted. Please provide us with complete credits and promotional material (stills, trailer) via the platform.

3. Competitions & Prizes

Leiden Shorts awards four prizes: three competition prizes chosen by professional juries, and one Audience Award. In our three competitions, International, National and Student, films from all genres are eligible. Student films only can be selected for our Student Competition. Dutch-majority productions can only be selected for our National Competition. All other films can be selected for our International Competition. All selected films automatically run for the Audience Award in addition to any other competition they might be selected for.

The awards come with a money prize:
International Competition (€1000)
Student Competition (€500)
National Competition (€500)
Audience Award (€500)

4. Deadlines and fees

Early bird deadline: 8th of October 2021 (€9,50 submission fee)
Regular deadline: 5th of December 2021 (€12,50 submission fee)
Last chance deadline: 31st of December 2021 (€20 submission fee)

The above mentioned fees are our regular submissions fees. We offer a student discount, with fees of respectively €6, €9 and €16,50. Please upload your student card as attachment on FilmFreeway when using this discount.

5. Screening files & promotional material

Leiden Shorts requires a digital file (ProRes or H264) with embedded English subtitles or with subtitles in a separate .srt file. The festival will make the DCP of the films on location. All films need to be available for an English-speaking audience (either spoken language or subtitles need to be in English). Films with strong dialects may require English subtitles, even though the film is English spoken. The selected films will be stored in the archive of the festival but will not be screened again unless agreed upon with the rightsholder of the film.

The data and pictures provided during the registration on filmfreeway.com will be used for diverse publications (programme, trailers, website, social media). By submitting your data you agree to their usage by Leiden Shorts for the promotional purposes only. In case no promotional material is provided, we can use excerpts from the film for promotional purposes.

6. Pledge of Solidarity

For the past few years we have been providing waivers to directors from all over the world who cannot afford our submission fee. This has been done in order to support short filmmakers around the world as well as trying to have a diverse and inclusive programme. We frequently grant waivers or discounts to filmmakers from underrepresented countries who cannot afford our submission fee due to the lack of funding opportunities. For this, send an email directly at submissions@leidenshorts.nl providing as much information about your project as possible.

7. Agreement Terms & Conditions

By submitting a film to Leiden Shorts the submitter accepts the terms and conditions. Leiden Shorts has the right to cancel the submission if the film does not conform to the rules. Once the film is submitted, there will be no refund of the submission fee.

If you have any questions regarding submissions, you can send an email to: submissions@leidenshorts.nl.

Overall Rating
  • Juan Lossada

    Leiden has been an endearing experience. A festival that takes care of the films, that accompanies them, that generates spaces for debate and reflection, that understands the importance of documentaries and offers avenues for their dissemination. We are very grateful to have been part of its official selection 2022!

    June 2022
  • Gisela Chicolino

    A festival like it is really a necessary one. Please keep working on generating this exquisite programming for the audiences.

    September 2021
  • We from ECHO had a very warm welcome from the Leiden Shorts team. Located in a central spot in beautiful Leiden. It was really great to be able to see our own film with an audience, it was our first live screening in the Netherlands because of COVID.
    Thank you for screening our film! Love, the ECHO team

    September 2021

    A lovely festival with strong films carefully selected. Totally Recommended

    June 2019
  • Thomas Ash

    Beautifully curated films, warm festival staff and volunteers, great venues, and welcoming hospitality all in a charming city! The communication with the festival was amazing and many filmmakers were in attendance from all over the world which provided great networking opportunities and fascinating post-screening discussions. It was an honour to screen at LISFE, and I look forward to attending a future edition!

    May 2019