The fourth annual Shot In The Dark Mysteries' mystery film festival is here! Tell us a mystery in 15 minutes or less!

Welcome to the Fourth Annual film contest and festival from Shot In The Dark Mysteries, focused solely on mystery, thriller and murder mystery films! Are you inspired by Hitchcock? Long to create Film Noir? Want to get hearts pounding with a compelling and to-the-point who-dun-it? Love the thrill of delivering a twist that makes your viewers gasp? You're in the right place.

As an all around company for mystery lovers worldwide, the mission of the Shot In The Dark Mysteries Film Festival is to shine a light (old-school interrogation style, perhaps?) on the work of those in the film community who specialize in a great thriller, who-dun-it or Film Noir. For the first of our annual Mystery Film Festivals, we are focusing on short films 10 minutes or less.

2023 will have us back in Toronto, focusing on highlighting mystery film makers and films with the short film competition, but also the International Mystery Film Festival! This year we will be changing up the live event a bit - while showcasing short films from this current year as well as previous years favourites, screening and announcing the winners of the contest, we will also be showing a feature length film during the evening portion!

Best Short Film: $500 Cash Prize and Award and Feature at the Festival (As Covid-19 Restrictions allow)

Second Place: Award and Feature at the Festival

Third Place: Award and Feature at the Festival

Fourth through Tenth Place: Feature at the Festival

A FIRST FOR 2022! Audience Favourite! All of the selected films that didn't get featured live because of Covid Restrictions will be screened at our 2022 festival, and all will have the chance to receive the award for Audience Favourite, regardless of the year the film was submitted!

Eligible films must be no longer than fifteen (15) minutes in length.

Any submissions not applicable to the mystery genre (including mystery, murder mystery, who-dun-it, thriller) will be immediately disqualified. Horror films are also not eligible.

This is a juried event and official selections will be publicly screened either as part of an online showcase (in the event that Covid-19 restrictions do not lift before the end of the submission period) or in a physical location, as guidelines set forth by the Government of Ontario, Canada, allow.

Prizes will be awarded as outlined in the “Awards” section found below.

Entries must be submitted in digital format (MOV, AVI, MPEG, MP4).

All filmmakers submitting a short film for consideration must guarantee that they own all rights associated with their entry including the rights/permissions for use of accompanying music. Please ensure that you have all necessary releases.

Entries must have been completed after June 15th, 2020 and must not exceed ten (10) minutes in length.

Non-English films must have English subtitles embedded into the video.

Films that have been previously submitted to the Shot In The Dark Mysteries Mystery Film Festival are not eligible. Withdrawn submissions will not be refunded the entry fee.

Submissions received by the closing date of competition will be reviewed by a jury and will be judged based on: Production (directing, writing, originality and acting), Cinematography (camerawork, lighting, composition), Sound (music, dialog, effects, mixing), and Post-production (cutting/editing, transitions, pacing). The decisions of the jury are final and the results will be communicated to the entrants via supplied e-mail. Dependant on the lifting of restrictions due to COVID-19, select prizes will be awarded in an awards ceremony.

A brief description/synopsis is also required.

Please Note
Entering the competition gives Shot In The Dark Mysteries the right to use the work for public presentation, promotion and education. For the purposes of promotion and education, all entries will be identified as follows: “Provided courtesy of the filmmaker and Shot In The Dark Mysteries”. Shot In The Dark Mysteries reserves the right to disqualify any entry that violates the guidelines of the Mystery Shorts Film Competition as stated. Entries selected for presentation will be kept by Shot In The Dark Mysteries and archived for controlled use as reference material.

Overall Rating
  • Napon Anakew

    Such a fun festival! So glad to be part with :)

    September 2022
  • Svend Ploug Johansen

    Very great festival! Awesome! A fantastic window for short films in the mystery genre. The feedback and communication are extremely good, and the crew is both very kind and professional. They are very engaged, and you really feel that the films are judged by the right people. I can strongly recommend this festival!

    November 2020
  • Troubadour Films

    Such a cool opportunity to work with a mystery theater for a film festival can’t wait to potentially do it again!

    November 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thanks so much for submitting - we can't wait to see what you come up with for the next one!