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
  • Joana Vogdt

    We celebrated the world premiere of our short film at Palm Springs International Short Fest, that due to corona had to take place online.
    I was amazed about how well the festival handeled the extraordinary situation. They created online possibilities to network, that were incredibel. All over one of the most pleasant and best organised festival that I've been to. Thanks for all that!

    July 2020
  • Ria Pavia

    Enormous kudos to these folks who were somehow able to provide an intimate, celebratory, creative environment for a festival newbie like myself ... virtually! After collectively mourning the fact that we couldn't gather in person (due to the pesky pandemic), we were provided dozens of exciting opportunities to learn and connect - forums, social media groups and my personal favorite - Happy Half-Hours. Getting to "see" filmmakers from all over the globe was inspiring. We shared stories, lifted each other up and made plans to gather when it's safe to do so again. We saw some incredible work and were eager to discuss and applaud our fellow filmmakers. We were all so sad when the week wound down and are grateful to have been provided contact information for the other selected filmmakers, as well as recordings of many of the forums. We "pinkie promised" to convene at the festival next year and are grateful to be invited by the organizers. I truly think being forced into this virtual platform was a blessing in many ways.

    July 2020
  • Ellie Wen

    An absolutely wonderful experience, despite it being virtual this year. The festival did an incredible job creating a sense of community among the filmmakers and providing us with a forum filled with fantastic speakers. Everything was very professionally run and the communication was great. Thank you for a wonderful experience!!

    July 2020
  • Natasha Ngaiza

    What a weird year for a film festival! I was so disappointed about not being able to go to Palm Springs in person, but the programmers/organizers made the Virtual Fest a great experience. With the regular virtual happy hours and the closed Facebook group, I felt like I got to "know" some filmmakers, and really felt a part of the community. It was easy to access the films and I had a great time watching them. Thank you!

    July 2020
  • This was an outstanding experience. I'm very grateful ShortFest was quick to adapt to a virtual format. I've experienced the biggest sense of community from fellow filmmakers and industry persons alike through this festival - I have new filmmaker friends! This festival is an incredible gift and a resource. I'm so honored to have been invited.

    July 2020