The 2018 festival featured 93 films from 24 countries and included 8 films that went on to be shortlisted, four that became nominees and one that won an Oscar®.

In addition to film screenings, the 2019 event will host a script competition in partnership with Carnegie Screenwriters. Up to three scripts will be selected for seated readings by professional actors to be held during the November 2019 festival in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Three Juror’s prizes of $1,000 will be awarded to Best Narrative, Best Documentary, and Best Animated films. A $500 grand prize and a $250 runner-up prize will be awarded to the top two scripts. Up to three scripts will have seated readings by professional actors to be held during the festival.

Audience Awards are voted on for Best Narrative, Best Documentary, Best Animation, Best Comedy, and Best Student film and announced at Closing Night of the festival.

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.

Eligible films must adhere to the following criteria:
• Must be a Pittsburgh premiere (no prior public Pittsburgh screening or TV broadcast)
• Films completed in 2017 or later
• Foreign language films must have English subtitles
• Length: forty (40) minutes or less

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

All applicants must submit via FilmFreeway. Entrants may submit more than one film. Each entry requires a separate entry form and fee.

The following info should be included as part of the FilmFreeway submission.

Film synopsis (50 word maximum), country of origin, languages spoken in film, type of film, length of film, screening and broadcast history, honors and awards, filmmaker’s contact information, biography (100 word maximum), and personal statement (100 word maximum).

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

Entries are due by August 15, 2019

By June 15: $20
By July 15: $30
After July 15: $40

Payments must be made online with a credit card or mailed in the form of a U.S. bank check or money order. Personal checks from outside the U.S. are not accepted. Do not send cash.

Filmmakers will be notified of their selection status by September 13, 2019.

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.


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. By entering this festival, the entrant certifies that they have the legal right to submit and exhibit the film. 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 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 for the purpose of press or promotion, unless otherwise noted. Additionally, entry constitutes permission to use winners’ name, likeness, and voice for advertising and publicity purposes without additional compensation. Void where prohibited.

Overall Rating
  • I had one of the best experiences of my entire festival circuit at Pittsburgh Shorts. Not only was the caliber of films extraordinary (both US and international), but the execution of the festival itself: screenings, networking, parties, etc. Only 2 years old, this was more organized than a festival I went to that has existed for 20 years. The staff is also extremely communicative and accommodating- any time I had a question my email would be responded to immediately, before, during and after the festival. I have Kathryn Spitz Cohan and Paul Sloop to thank for that. They are not just festival organizers and programmers, but cheerleaders of the filmmakers themselves. Paul and Kathryn are so passIonate about what they do, their enthusiasm was contagious. Each night of the festival there was some sort of gathering at a bar for filmmakers so we could get to know each another. I can't speak highly enough of Pittsburgh Shorts - super worth submitting to and attending!

    June 2019
  • Sarah de Chabaneix

    I did not get the chance to travel from Paris (France) and participate to the Festival this year, but I was extremely proud and happy with this selection. The whole team was great and supportive through our various exchanges and I will not miss the chance to participate if the opportunity arises again!

    June 2019
  • Cy Dodson

    This is a highly curated festival and if you’re invited or selected for Pittsburgh Shorts, you will be screening with the best of the best. I knew several of the filmmakers already and was introduced to many other great films and filmmakers. If you have a have a great short, submit! And if you’re selected, go!

    June 2019
  • Rust Belt New Americans

    Very well organized and the communication was great. The films that were curated were top notch including several Oscar Nominees and an Oscar Winner. We also enjoyed the extra activities and networking opportunities. I highly recommend applying and/or attending.

    May 2019
  • Genevieve Clay-Smith

    I love how the Pittsburgh team are committed to showcasing films about inclusion and diversity. It was an incredible festival to be a part of!

    May 2019