Strata of forgotten items discovered in any lost-and-found box present a certain history, be it plastic jewelry from the ‘90s, handwritten notes, or photographs. Each item tells a story of its former owner, while collectively, the mélange of abandoned objects provides a perspective of entangled histories. Such recollection – contact with the past – need not be merely object-based, but also, ephemeral, sensorial, and imaginative. The magic of moving images such as film is also a vehicle into the past through which we revisit familiar spaces and recontextualize certain events through the lens of time. Understanding this power of cinema, experimental filmmakers such as Matthias Müller and Sarah Appleton have worked with ‘found footage,’ or preexisting films made in another context, to craft new stories, breathing life into the forgotten, unveiling their unfulfilled potentiality.

Inspired by such found-footage films, this year, the Lights Dance Festival invites our screendance community to meaningfully engage with their histories, whether they are autobiographical journeys explored through home movies or more conceptual experimentations with digital materials found online. These stories can be told through a mix of found footage (family archives, YouTube videos, news footage, etc.) and newly filmed choreographies or animation – wherever your inspiration guides you. Whichever dance materials you unearth and experiment with, we hope that our 2022 theme of Remnants allows you to retrace your history and uncover new meanings in the process.

When we lean into the past and weave it into the present, what can we see that was once imperceptible? To where will our trail of white pebbles or bread crumbs eventually lead us?

Lights Dance Audience Choice Award

All films selected for our festival programming are eligible for the Audience Choice Award. The winning short will be announced during the festival.

General Rules

1. All dance films of 10 minutes or less will be considered. If your film is less than 50% dance as a core narrative component, it may not qualify as a dance film.

2. Films must have been completed after January 1st, 2019. Works in progress are not accepted.

3. Submissions accepted through FilmFreeway only. Please do not send DVD’s or Blu-rays.

4. Please keep links to your films private until after the closing of the festival.

5. Documentaries and live performance recordings are not accepted at this point.

6. If your film is selected, we will request film stills or clips from your film for use in promoting the Lights Dance Festival.

7. All commercial/private property including all trademark/copyrighted materials shown or recorded on the project is the responsibility of the filmmaker. Lights Dance Festival will not take responsibility for any infringement of copywritten materials.

8. No film may be withdrawn from the festival program after its participation has been publicized. Festival does not offer any refund through withdrawal.

Selected films will be requested in their native frame rate in QuickTime format using one of the following codecs: ProRes, ProRes HQ, or ProRes 4444. The digital file should be less than 10GB.

Overall Rating
  • Laida Aldaz

    Great to take a part in such a fantastic film festival, staff were very helpful and communication was great. Thanks for having and selected us!

    June 2022
  • Wish I could have been there! The whole communication was incredibly nice and supportive. A big thank you to the wonderful team of Lights Dance Festival! x**

    October 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for gracing our festival with your beautiful film, Rebecca!

  • Eric Oberdorff

    Wish I was there! Wonderful festival & team, so important to have an organization carrying such strong themes challenging our society. Thank you for your commitment!

    July 2020
  • John Graham

    An excellent festival with a great team of organizers! I highly recommend participating in Lights Dance Festival

    July 2020
  • Lorna Nickson Brown

    Wonderful, supportive festival. We were delighted to be a part of it. Thank you!

    August 2018