For the last 25 years, we have come together under the Palm Springs sun to celebrate the world of short films, the filmmakers who work in the form, and the industry and audience who support them. It is a highlight in our organization's year, an event we look forward to mounting again as soon as it wraps up.

As we face these challenging and unprecedented times caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, our organization is fully committed to doing our part in flattening the curve by following the law and guidelines set by the CDC, State of California, Riverside County and the City of Palm Springs. Based on this, we will not host an in-person festival this June.

So much of the ShortFest experience is rooted in physically coming together and it is painful that we will not have a chance to do so this year. But that doesn't mean we can't come together to recognize the amazing film submissions we received for the festival. We firmly believe that the world needs art, and that we can and should provide a space to stay connected.

ShortFest 2020 will look different from previous editions. Here's what we have planned:
- In early June, we will announce an Official Selection, curated from the more than 6,000 submissions received this season. A selection of these films will be available for screening on our website for free from June 16-22, 2020 (the original dates of the festival).
- Virtual classes and panels with industry guests will be available from June 16-22, 2020 as part of the ShortFest Forum.
- In late June, we will announce the winners from our curated line-up presenting them with awards and cash prizes worth $25,000 including five Academy Award® qualifying awards.
- We have returned all submission fees to FilmFreeway who will issue full refunds or credit to filmmakers.

While it may look different, ShortFest remains dedicated to providing a space to facilitate connections between creators, industry, and our amazing audience. We look forward to engaging with you more in June.

First-place winners in the Non-student Animation, Non-student Documentary and Non-student Live-Action categories, as well as the Best of the Festival Award winner will automatically become eligible to submit their shorts to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscars consideration.

Oscar® Qualifying Awards:
Best of the Festival Award
Best Animated Short
Best Documentary Short
Best Live-Action Short Over 15 Minutes
Best Live-Action Short 15 Minutes and Under

Special Jury Awards:
Best International Short
Best U.S. Short
Bridging the Borders Award
Local Jury Award
Vimeo Award
Young Cineastes Award
Best Comedy Short
Best LGBTQ+ Short
Best Midnight Short

Student Short Awards:
Best Student Animated Short
Best Student Documentary Short
Best Student International Short
Best Student U.S. Short

- Completed entry on FilmFreeway
- Digital screener – Vimeo link (preferred) or Secure Online Screener
- Submissions must be uploaded and submitted no later than the deadline date to qualify for the respective submission fees
- Submission fee paid

- Shorts must have been completed in 2019 or 2020.
- Shorts must be no more than 40 minutes in length, credits included.
- All non-English-language shorts must have English subtitles.

Q: Are student shorts eligible for non-student awards?
A: Yes, student shorts are eligible for all awards, with the single exception of the Future Filmmaker Award.

Q: Do you accept works-in-progress?
A: ShortFest accepts work-in-progress cuts that are picture locked and include an opening slate listing what still needs to be completed (color-correction, sound mix, special effects, etc.). Please note that we will only review one cut.

Q: Do you accept shorts that are already available online?
A: Yes! ShortFest does not require a premiere status, so online shorts are eligible.

Q: If my short could fit into two categories, such as could a documentary pilot or an animated music video, how do I choose which category to submit to?
A: Submit to the category that you feel best represents your short. If accepted into the Official Selection, it is likely that the short will be included in all the applicable categories.

For a more detailed FAQ, please visit our website:

Overall Rating
  • Georgina French

    I was unable to attend the festival, but we were so thrilled that ‘Nothing Important’ was selected for this wonderful festival! Thanks very much for having us!

    September 2019
  • An amazing festival, everyone working there couldn't have been more welcoming and friendly. The volunteers were so lovely and everything ran like clock work. The forums were fantastic and the quality of films was super inspiring. And not forgetting the awesome parties and the new filmmaking friends I made. If you get the opportunity to go, do it you won't regret it!

    September 2019
  • rolf brönnimann

    Palm Springs was a wonderful experience, lots of great films, perfectly organized. The film makers are treated very kindly. There was great enthusiasm for our work.

    August 2019
  • Rebecca McCutcheon

    Our Director and AP had a wonderful time attending this festival.

    July 2019
  • Patrick Moser

    Superb in every way, a wonderful festival experience

    July 2019