17 - 25 NOVEMBER 2020

PÖFF Shorts is the biggest short film and animation festival in the Baltics, an integral part of the FIAPF-accredited Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF).

The festival’s mission is to showcase the best animated and live action short films of all genres from cutting edge talents and bold visionaries across the world.

PÖFF Shorts hosts three internationally recognised competition programmes: the international competitions for live action and animation with their respective student competitions called New Talents, as well as the PÖFF Shorts National Competition designed to provide a platform for Estonian filmmakers and animators.

Alongside the competitions the festival presents an array of astonishing, thought provoking, inspiring and challenging out of competition short film programmes.

PÖFF Shorts is a member of the European Film Academy (EFA) and an Academy Award and BAFTA-qualifying festival.

Check out our other festivals:

Black Nights Film Festival

Just Film Youth and Kids Film Festival

Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival


International Live-Action Competition
Jury prize for Best Film
Jury prize for Best Student Film (New Talents)

International Animation Competition
Jury prize for Best Film
Jury prize for Best Student Film (New Talents)
Jury prize for Best Children's Film

National Competition
Jury prize for Best Film

Jury prize: EFA awards Short Film Candidate

PÖFF Shorts presents films in the following programmes:

International Competition programmes of short films and animation
International Competition programmes of short films and animation for students
National Competition programme for short films and animation
Non-competitive programmes, retrospectives and special presentations

Applicants for Competitive and Non-Competitive Programmes are requested to submit through FilmFreeway or any other submitting platform indicated by the festival team.

Entry applications submitted by post, e-mail or any other form except the online submission form are not considered eligible for selection.

The submission deadline for competitive and non-competitive programmes of PÖFF Shorts is 17th of August 2020.


– Be short or half-length films (up to 45 minutes): fiction, documentary, experimental; live-action or animation.
– Completed after the 1st of January 2019 (regarding competitive programmes). Preferable Estonian premiere.
– Be presented in a HD video screening format (minimum 1920x1080px, Prores, DNxHD), DCP.
– Have English subtitles if they are not in English.
– Films submitted to the student film competitions must be directed by a film, animation or media student.

Films produced in Estonia or are Estonian-co-productions are also eligible.

The festival reserves the right to evaluate eligible films for the competition and assign the programme section for the film on a case-by-case basis.

Applicants for competitive and non-competitive programmes are requested to submit the film and required supplementary materials only via the indicated online submissions page.

Entries submitted by post, e-mail or any other form except the online submission form are not considered eligible for selection.
The festival reserves the right to refuse late submissions.

Submission fees are to be paid by secure online payment with a credit or debit card. Submission fees are non-refundable.

For a successful submission via the submission platform the applicant is required to:
1) Fill in all fields possible and submit the entry form.
2) Provide a non-expiring screening link – with English subtitles and a password if necessary.
3) Upload high quality stills from the film (jpg).
Format: landscape, .jpg (.png)
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Size: 1920 x 1020 px,1600 x 900 px or 1280 x 720 px (minimum)
4) Provide the film trailer as a non-expiring link or HD-resolution file.
5) Upload a photo of the Director (jpg).
Format: portrait, .jpg (.png)
Size: 214 x 317 px (IMDB's format)
6) Upload a poster of the film (jpg) (if it exists).
Format: portrait, .jpg (.png)
Aspect ratio: 1,45
Size: 555 x 800 px


Upon confirmation of the film, the Festival will inform the applicant no later than the 15th of October 2020.

Upon confirmation of the film to the Festival’s Competitive or Non Competitive Sections the applicant agrees to:
– Confirm participation of the film in the Festival.
– Provide all necessary information and materials (see 1. Film submission).
– Provide all missing information and materials from the original submission in the way indicated by the festival team.
– Provide the required screening copy (see 3. Technical requirements for screening copies) in the way indicated by the Festival team.
– Grant permission to include the screener in the festival’s video library, reserved for jury and accredited industry members only (restricted access).
– Authorize to screen the film and/or promotional materials (stills, trailer) at the Festival and at any presentation of the Festival programmes, side and promotional events in any location if organised by/or participated in and authorized by the Festival organisation.

Confirmed titles may not be withdrawn from the festival programme after its participation has been officially confirmed and the producer or producer’s authorised representative has verified confirmation of the film to the programme.
If, for exceptional reasons, the film has to be withdrawn three weeks or less before the opening of the festival, the applicant agrees to reimburse all costs to the festival related to confirmation and programming of the film including screening fee (when applicable), print delivery and handling costs as well as associated travel costs for the film delegation.

Please note that the Festival cannot guarantee the use of missing promotional materials in the Festival communications that are delivered after the deadline set by the Festival team upon confirmation of the film in the Festival.

The invoices for the film rights or print loans should be issued and delivered for payment no later than two months from the end of the festival. The festival does not accept or reimburse invoices issued after that date.


To ensure the highest quality and presentation of confirmed films, all screening copies must be in high-quality High Definition video (minimum 1920x1080px) in a low compressed format (Prores, DNxHD etc.), DCP and with English subtitles.

Damaged or dubbed copies, non-compatible DCP’s and files on broken hard drives are refused.

Requirements for video files:
• Preferred file formats: Prores, DNxHD, h264
• Minimum resolution: FullHD 1920x1080px
• Framerate: 24 or 25fps;
• Field order: None/Progressive;
• Pixel Aspect Ratio: Square
• Sound: Mono, Stereo, 5.1 surround
• Sample rate: 48kHz
• Bitrate: 16 or 24bit
• Subtitles: Hardcoded (if needed). If hardcoded subtitles are present, they must be on the active picture area! That means on the picture area, not on the letterbox area (if present).

Requirements for DCPs:
DCP’s have to be provided either as Interop or SMPTE with subtitle tracks of a clearly stated DCP format, aspect ratio, subtitle and soundtrack information marked on the casing and drive (or accompanying tech sheet). If physical copies are being sent, DCP’s have to be provided and shipped on industry standard and protected hard drives.
Damaged or dubbed copies, non-compatible DCP’s and files on broken hard drives are refused and the festival has the right to demand new copies (as well as KDMs) free of charge for damaged and non-working DCP packages.

Please note that:
• The Festival supports 2K and 4K content in all screens. However, not all screens have a 4K projector. The Festival cannot guarantee that a 4K film will be screened in a 4K resolution.
• All screens support both Flat and Scope content.
• The Festival requires all DCP’s to be in XYZ color space encoded in JPEG2000.
• Countdown / start leaders must not be included.
• Surround content should be submitted in 6 discrete channels in the DCP.
• Hard drives must be formatted in EXT2, EXT3.

The filmmaker or film representative has to provide appropriate KDM’s for the original language soundtrack and English subtitle tracks at least 72 hours prior to screenings. If the festival is provided with broken or wrongly assigned KDM’s, appropriate new KDM’s must be provided free of charge by the film submitter or representative to meet the minimum Festival requirements.

The festival reserves the right to demand screening copies of competition films free of charge including alternative keys to DCP copies or new DCP packages if quality standards are not being met. These include missing subtitles or wrong soundtracks. Thus, the festival has the right to refuse and withdraw the screening of a film in the competitions if the above-mentioned guidelines are not being followed.
All other formats must be confirmed by the festival technical team.


Screening copies should be delivered electronically via indicated means by the festival team upon confirmation.

Festival accepts films uploaded to film distributors upload environment or can provide its own upload environment. All technical questions and information regarding file formats, DCP’s and upload should be sent to dcinema@poff.ee.

As of 2019, the festival does not accept physical copies for films less than 50GB in file size.
Details about the delivery of physical copies will be given by the festival team.


The Festival may invite members of the crew of any film in any section providing either travel, accommodation and/or festival accreditation.


The awards and juries will be announced by the Festival Director no later than during the opening press conference of the Festival. No jury member can be involved in the production or promotion of any film in the competition.

PÖFF Shorts festival appoints three separate juries with three members each – for the Animation Competitions, Live-Action competitions and for the National Competition.


Overall Rating
  • Aljona Surzhikova

    It was great festival and super time there.

    February 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, we're glad you enjoyed it! Hope to see you soon!

  • Alan King

    My short film WILD WILL was selected but sadly I was unable to make it to the festival. The festival staff were all very friendly, helpful and responsive and the communication was excellent. I feel very fortunate to have my film included alongside such an incredible line up of films at this year’s festival!!

    January 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much! We hope you'll be able to come and be part of it all tho!

  • Samuel Tebandeke

    My short film, Ten O'clock was selected for the festival and I was impressed by the swift communication of the festival team. I was not able to attend this time but the social media updates made me feel that I almost didn't miss a thing. Thank you so much and I look forward to the next edition.

    December 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for the kind words! We hope to see you here soon!

  • Keith Gomes

    my short was selected in the non competitive section at this fabuloves festival. I have heard so many good things about POFF, was hoping to go but could not. Hopefully another time.

    December 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for the kind words, we hope you can be here soon to be part of it yourself!

  • Martin Rehak

    I had a great time! Very diverse films from all over with a well organised schedule. Multiple accessible venues and lots of organised events for guests. I really hope to come back some day and do more networking. Thank you very much!

    December 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for the feedback! Hope to see you back here soon!