PWFF-Philadelphia, is an off-shoot of the Playhouse West Film Festival in Los Angeles, established in 1997. In 2012, long-time Artistic Director/Instructor, and PWFF Director, Tony Savant, moved to Philadelphia and founded a branch of the world-renown school, Playhouse West-Philadelphia. The following year, in 2013, the school hosted it's first annual film festival in the City of Brotherly Love and plans to continue this event annually, just like it's been held on Los Angeles, where he was the director for 19 years.

The Playhouse West Film Festival screens films which involve their current or former members. All films must either have a Playhouse West member in a leading or primary supporting acting role, or as the director, writer or producer.

The Playhouse West Film Festival-Philadelphia is sponsored by the Playhouse West Arts Foundation, a 501(c)3 Non-Profit organization dedicated to the inspiration, education and development of motion picture and theater artists of independent vision, and to the exhibition of their work. By sponsoring programs such as the Playhouse West Film Festival, we can also educate the public about the art of filmmaking, and introduce them to the work of aspiring new film artists of the future.

The Playhouse West Film Festival is well-known as one of the most positive, filmmaker-friendly festivals in the country. Each year we hear more and more from filmmakers that our festival has been their favorite. From our well organized, run-on-time format, to our unique Q&A’s after each screening block, giving filmmakers a platform to discuss their films at length with our audience, we take great pride in making our festival a fantastic experience for filmmakers.

As an institution, Playhouse West leads the way in encouraging young filmmakers. Playhouse West members from Los Angeles, Philadelphia produce over 250 films per year, many which go one to be accepted and win awards at film festivals around the country and world.

Grand Jury Awards / Both Feature and Short Film Categories
Best Supporting Actress & Actor
Best Screenplay
Best Director
Best Actress & Actor
Best Picture / Film

Special Annual Award
Edward William Wasser Award for Most Promising New Filmmaker

Audience Choice Awards
Best Actress & Actor in a Feature Film
Best Picture (Feature)

Best Actress & Actor in a Short Film Comedy
Best Actress & Actor in a Short Film Drama
Best Short Film Comedy
Best Short Film Drama


1. ALL ENTRIES MUST SUBMIT A COVER LETTER. In the cover letter YOU MUST LIST THE FULL NAMES OF THE PLAYHOUSE WEST MEMBERS, current or alumni, involved in the production, i.e., actor, director, writer, producer. Acting roles should list the character names played, and if the member was a leading or supporting role.

2. We only screen films where at least one Playhouse West member, current of alumni, is involved in the production of the film (actor, writer, director, producer, D.P., editor, etc.)

Any entry without a cover letter will not be in consideration for the film festival.


1. For Submissions: We only accept Secure Online Submissions or Vimeo link via the FilmFreeway website.

Our committee will pre-screen rough cuts of films, but only if they are picture-locked with the precise run time, including all end credits. When submitting a rough cut please include in the cover letter precisely what is unfinished and when your final edit will be completed. The committee may require an updated version before making final selections. We do not screen un-completed films at our festival.

2. For Accepted Films: Exhibition copies must be delivered as an MP4 digital video files, exported H.264, 1920x1080, highest quality settings and codecs. The exact specs will be emailed out upon acceptance. Final screening copies must be received via our Dropbox account two weeks prior to festival dates. A link to this account will be supplied upon acceptance.

3. Entries must be in English, or be subtitled in English.

4. Our festival only accepts/screens narrative, live-action films, any genre. Please note: we do not screen documentaries, animated films, web series, experimental films or music videos.

5. We only accept films which have been produced and completed within three (2) years of our festival dates.

6. Our festival has no distribution restrictions.

7. All entrants agree, if accepted, to permit the Playhouse West Film Festival - Philadelphia, sponsored by the Playhouse West Arts Foundation, Inc., to exhibit their film entry at our 2023 Film Festival event, August 18-20, 2023. Entrants permit the PWFF - Philadelphia organization to use their film's titles, as well as filmmaker, cast, and other main production team names and photos on any or all promotional material, including posters, trailers & promo videos, flyers, website and other media outlets.

Overall Rating
  • Tony Savant and team are absolutely stellar! Excellent community of creatives!

    October 2022
  • Nia Bullock

    This is an awesome festival, so happy to be a part of it and share the film we worked so hard on!

    August 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Nia! We really appreciate it, and we are so happy to have been able to share your film at our festival. Can't wait to see what's next for you.

  • Ed Wasser

    Great people and a great experience.

    September 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Ed. You are always a joy to be around and we appreciate the support for our festival.

  • Herve REMION

    This is a small festival but an awesome festival if you want to meet talented people who are working hard to create good and relevant content. Also the Festival Director has many years experience teaching acting and with film festivals and he is organized and puts on a great little fun festival. Thank you for having us Philly

    September 2021
  • This festival was amazing! I was so happy to be able to attend in-person this year. The line-up was wonderful and the moderator during the Q&A portion was excellent. Thanks again for including my film!

    September 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Lauren! So happy to hear you enjoyed your experience!