Pittsburgh Shorts presents the best contemporary short films from around the world and around the corner. The festival has gained a reputation for curating an extremely high caliber of films, including those that have gone on to be Oscar nominees and winners. With a well-respected short script competition in partnership with Carnegie Screenwriters, Pittsburgh Shorts has become a destination festival for creators from around the world.

Pittsburgh Shorts includes well-attended screenings in a beautiful theater, thoughtful filmmaker Q&As, live script readings by professional actors, generous cash awards, and networking events including a well-stocked filmmakers’ lounge and super fun after parties!

This year’s festival includes a can’t-miss filmmaking conference with workshops and panel discussions led by industry pros.

Thanks to Covid-19, the 2020 festival was presented virtually as part of a combined Fall Festival. But we’re anxious to get back to normal and plan to present Pittsburgh Shorts in November 2021 in the theater if it’s safe to do so. If the festival must be presented virtually again, we will update this listing and contact filmmakers by October. Either way, the show will go on!

We hope you’ll submit your project and experience the festival other filmmakers have raved about. As a previous attendee said, "The Pittsburgh Shorts festival is one of the most professionally and thoughtfully run festivals I have had the pleasure of attending as a filmmaker and guest. Having had films in other festivals, including Sundance and Tribeca, I can confidently say that Pittsburgh Shorts is run as well as those, and with the character of Pittsburgh. The staff did an incredible job of attracting real talent to submit and attend this brand new festival. They kept the filmmakers networking all day and night, and we closed the bars with our after parties each night.”

You won’t want to miss it!

The festival culminates in an awards ceremony where three prizes of $1,000 each – along with beautifully designed trophies – will be awarded to Best Narrative, Best Documentary, and Best Animated films as determined by our diverse jury of industry experts. In addition, there will be a Programmer's Choice award that includes a $1,000 prize.

A $500 grand prize and a $250 second place prize will be awarded to the top two scripts. Judges reserve the right to award third and fourth places with cash prizes as warranted. Up to four scripts will have staged readings by professional actors during the festival.

Audience Awards are voted on for Best Narrative, Best Documentary, Best Animation, Best Comedy, and other categories and announced on closing night.

Pittsburgh Shorts offers travel assistance to accepted filmmakers on a first-come, first-served basis.

Pittsburgh Shorts is open to all independent filmmakers, including college and graduate level film students, as well as professionals in the field. Please note: Film Pittsburgh does not pay screening fees for short films.

Eligible films must adhere to the following criteria:
• Must be a Pittsburgh premiere (no prior public Pittsburgh screening)
• Films must have been completed in 2019 or later
• Foreign language films must have English subtitles
• Length: forty (40) minutes or less
• Single episodes of Web Series ARE eligible
• Films that are available online ARE eligible (must meet above criteria)

Eligible scripts must adhere to the following criteria:
• Screenplay submissions must be in English and be 15 pages or fewer
• Entrant(s) must hold all rights to perform, reproduce, display, and distribute their work
• The work must not have been previously optioned, sold, or produced

Entrants may submit more than one film or script. Each entry requires a separate submission and fee.

Please include the following as part of your submission:
• Film synopsis (50 word maximum)
• Country of Origin
• Languages spoken in the film
• Type of film (Live Action, Documentary, or Animation)
• Length of film
• Prior Festival Screenings and Broadcast History
• Honors and Awards
• Filmmaker contact information
• Short Director’s Bio (100 word maximum)
• Short Personal Statement (100 word maximum)

Please submit online via FilmFreeway. Vimeo links are strongly preferred.

Entries are due by August 31, 2021

Payments must be made via FilmFreeway at the time of submission.

Filmmakers will be notified of their selection status by October 10, 2021.

Selected films will need to be submitted as follows:

Preferred format: ProResHQ 422 QuickTime File

Also acceptable:
H264 QuickTime File (must be a maximum quality – 30mb/s or higher)
MP4 (must be a maximum quality MP4 – 30mb/s or higher)

• 1920 x 1080 Pixels
• 24 Frames Per Second (23.98fps is also accepted)
• 5.1 Audio (Stereo is also accepted)

The above-mentioned specs are preferred. If your project settings do not match, a master quality file of your project in its native frame-rate and resolution is acceptable.

Questions? Email us at: Info@FilmPittsburgh.org

Additional Terms and Conditions:
Film Pittsburgh is not responsible for late, lost, damaged or ineligible entries. Entrants will retain all ownership rights to their submitted films and scripts. By entering this festival, the entrant certifies that they have the legal right to submit and exhibit the film and/or script and acknowledge the understanding that Pittsburgh Shorts does NOT pay screening fees to films that are selected. The applicant is responsible and liable for any breach of rights or the law in the submission and exhibition process. Award winners will be required to sign an affidavit confirming that their short film or short script is original and that he/she holds all rights. Affidavits of winners under 18 years of age at time of award must be countersigned by parent or legal guardian. All federal, state, and local taxes, and customs fees, when applicable, are the sole responsibility of the winners. The undersigned assumes responsibility to ensure the submission payment information is complete and correct and agrees to reimburse Film Pittsburgh for any additional fees incurred by incorrect submission payments, submission disputes, and credit card chargebacks. The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless Film Pittsburgh for any and all fees, claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving submission payment disputes, copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the content submitted and/or screened. By entering the festival, the entrant grants the right to publish or transmit portions of the film or script for the purpose of press or promotion, unless otherwise noted. Additionally, entry constitutes permission to use winner's name, likeness, and voice for advertising and publicity purposes without additional compensation. Void where prohibited.

Overall Rating
  • Bongo Bill

    It was an honor to have our short selected to the Pittsburgh Shorts & Script Competition.

    November 2021
  • Molly Wexler

    I had the opportunity to attend Pittsburgh Shorts for the first time this year. What a warm and welcoming community! The films were top notch and the filmmaker conference provided valuable info and amazing connections. I would highly recommend this experience to others.

    November 2021
  • Jon Gann

    Wonderful experience, from submission to screening. Great audiences who were enthusiastic and asked good questions. Fun parties and filmmaker events. Fabulous host hotel a block from the screenings.

    November 2021
  • Ashley Brim

    Pittsburgh Shorts was AWESOME! Our screening was well-attended, the other shorts were really good, and a ton of filmmakers were in attendance. I am so grateful for the time I got to spend catching up with filmmakers and making new friends. I appreciated that nothing was programmed against each other - you could do the filmmaker conference events without missing any films - and the intimate parties they hosted for us each night.

    Kathryn, Paul and their team clearly love shorts and throw a fantastic festival!

    November 2021
  • My Linh Le Tran

    Excellent quality all around. I'm so glad I attended the festival in person!

    November 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much, Linh! We were thrilled that you were able to join us and it's so wonderful to know you had a great experience!