Nitehawk Cinema’s annual NITEHAWK SHORTS FESTIVAL is a celebration of independent short filmmaking.

“There is a clear egalitarian outlook ingrained in the festival. [Caryn] Coleman’s programming stays away from the focus on stars, or the obsessive culture of selfies, photos ops and autographs. Nitehawk Shorts Festival shows instead a generosity of ideas that endeavors to spark a communal feeling and discourse.” – Patrick Devitt, Kinoscope

Since 2013, the mission of the Nitehawk Shorts Festival has been to highlight exceptional short-form film works by artists and filmmakers. The Festival’s main slate programming features a range of filmmakers, from emerging film school students to Academy Award nominees, in curated screenings that prioritize conversations between the films over categorical listings. Programs at the Nitehawk Shorts Festival consist of short films in all forms (animation, documentary, narrative, non-narrative, artist films, music videos, horror) by local, national, and international filmmakers.

Our priority is to embrace inclusion and support diverse voices as the Nitehawk Shorts Festival provides an inclusive platform for filmmakers that encourages engagement with larger audiences and to establish a dialogue with the New York film community.

Note: NSF2019 Sponsors and corresponding prizes will be announced in the spring!


1. Nitehawk Cinema’s Shorts Festival is open to all filmmakers (regional, national, international) in all genres and categories (documentary, animation, fiction, experimental).

2. Submitted works must have been completed between 2017-2019.

3. Submitted works must be under twenty minutes in length.

4. Entrants must comply with these “Rules and Regulations” including all deadlines, film length, entry material, and other requirements.

5. Non-English language works must have English subtitles.

6. Short films online or from other film festival accepted.

Works invited to participate in Nitehawk Shorts Festival will be shown in the section, series/program, day, and time determined most appropriate by Festival programmers, in their sole discretion.

Festival programmers select and invite all the films to be presented at Nitehawk Shorts Festival either from submissions or independent curatorial selections. Invited filmmakers will be notified via email (please make sure to update us with new contact information or status changes prior to the Festival). Nitehawk may rescind an invitation if a film’s eligibility status changes.

Works invited to participate in Nitehawk Shorts Festival will be shown in the section, series/program, day, and time determined most appropriate by Festival programmers, in their sole discretion.

If your work is selected you must fulfill the following requirements by the dates(s) designated by the Festival:

1) You/Filmmaker state you (i) accept responsibility for obtaining any and all clearances necessary to exhibit your film at Nitehawk Shorts Festival, (ii) warrant that you have the rights necessary to exhibit your film at Nitehawk’s Shorts Festival; and (iii) indemnify and hold harmless Nitehawk Cinema Brooklyn LLC, its affiliates, and subsidiaries and any of their respective directors, officers, employees, and representatives against any claim arising out of exhibition of your film at Nitehawk Cinema.

2) You must upload the file of the accepted work to the preferred technical specifications and location Nitehawk will supply you upon confirmation.

3) You must provide a properly completed and signed official Nitehawk Shorts Festival “Film Information Form” including all specified in the “Materials Checklist.”

4) You must provide via email still images of your film (1000 pixels, 72dpi and 300dpi) with permission for promotional purposes.

Overall Rating
  • Tannis Spencer

    Nitehawk Shorts Festival was amazing, the staff really went out of their way to make the event successful. They were great communicators and selected really engaging pieces. Great festival experience!

    December 2017
  • Jason Giampietro

    Great vibes and wonderful programming at this festival!

    November 2017
  • Jose Fernando Rodriguez

    Incredibly fun festival that always showcases top-notch programming! A true gem in Brooklyn.

    November 2017
  • Veena Rao

    Great festival that celebrates short films!

    November 2017
  • Amanda Brooke Avery

    Can't say enough positive things about my experience at Nitehawk. Everything was artfully curated, ran smoothly, and was just generally a great time. Yes yes yes!

    November 2017