RapidLion - The South African International Film Festival, awards the RapidLion to winning entrants. This award is fated to be the most coveted film prize outside Europe and North America.

To be held in Johannesburg, the city with the biggest man-made forest in the world, boasting the richest square mile in Africa, with the largest diversity of creative and friendly people than most metropolises in the world, the greatest city in Africa, The South African International Film Festival, RapidLion, is where all filmmakers from Africa, the African diaspora and BRICS countries will showcase their best work.

You will enjoy some of the best after-parties ever hosted in the film fraternity, meet some of the best filmmakers that ever lived, learn from them if you participate, and leave the festival a better, more determined filmmaker than ever before.

At RapidLion, the experienced will converge with the upcoming and together find ways to lead each other towards the creation of even more magical cinema.

The RapidLion Award, whose design is a fusion of the Andinkra symbol of excellence and a lioness in full flight is platinum-plated. At 265mm tall, the award is 35mm shorter than the revered Oscar, but a lot more intricate in design. Weighing in at 5.2kg, 1.35kg heavier than the Oscar. It is also manufactured by the Chicago-based R.S. Owens & Company, which has been making the Oscar and Emmy awards since 1983, and has been producing some of the world's most prestigious awards for over 73 years. On completing the final models, the company said of the RapidLion: “This award is one of the nicest pieces we’ve made. Just as beautiful as the Oscar”.

The RapidLion is designed and manufactured to represent the pinnacle achievement of any filmmaker from Africa, the BRICS countries and the African diaspora. It aims to remind RapidLion film entrants that excellence comes through hard work and ferocious focus, and that these qualities can lead to greatness.

A RapidLion will be awarded in the following categories:

- Best Student Film South Africa
- Best Student Film BRICS
- Best International Short Film
- Best Soundtrack
- Music (Best Song)
- Film Editing
- Cinematography
- Best Actor in a Leading Role
- Best Actress in a Leading Role
- Best Humanitarian Film
- Best Documentary Feature
- Best Screenplay
- Directing
- Best of South Africa
- Best of Africa and the African diaspora
- Best of BRICS
- Best Film Overall
- The Lionel Ngakane Lifetime Achievement award.


We encourage you to read through these Terms and Conditions in full.

TermS & Conditions for Submitting Films Through FilmFreeway.

I. Application of These Terms & Conditions

(1) The following terms and conditions (the “Terms”) govern the submission of a film (the “Film”) to The South African International Film Festival (RapidLion), through FilmFreeway.com (FilmFreeway) and any other form of entry for consideration for RapidLion (the “Festival”). To the extent that this document is inconsistent with any other document prepared by RapidLion or anyone else, this document will take precedence. Any questions about these Terms should be directed to submissions@rapidlion.co.za.

II. Submission Agreement

1. (1) By submitting a Film to RapidLion for Festival consideration, the submitter (the “Applicant”) represents that he or she has obtained consent from any and all owners, creators, writers, producers and/or other authorized representatives of the Film whose consent is required to submit the Film to RapidLion (the “Film Owners”) and screen the Film at the Festival, and has read, understood and agreed to the Terms.
2. (2) RapidLion may disqualify or reject, but is not required to do so, any submission that it determines in its sole discretion, is not in compliance, in whole or in part, with these Terms and Conditions, and may do so without refunding any or all submission fees paid by the Applicant or returning the Applicant’s screener.

III. Submissions Categories and Eligibility

1. (1) Films submitted to RapidLion for consideration under these Terms must be submitted in one of the categories set out below.
2. (2) Films that do not meet the eligibility requirements for any of the below categories should not be submitted and will not be considered by RapidLion.
3. (3) For the purpose of the below categories: a. “South African” films are Films that were directed by a South African citizen or permanent resident of South Africa AND list South Africa as one of the countries of production. b. African films are films made by persons who were born in Africa or are members of the African diaspora. c. BRICS films are Films that were directed by a citizen or permanent resident of one of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) AND list ANY of the BRICS countries as one of the countries of production. d. BRICS - Plus films are Films that were directed by a citizen or permanent resident of one of the BRICS - Plus countries (countries other than Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa that are allowed to be part of the BRICS block of countries) AND list ANY of the BRICS - Plus countries as one of the countries of production.

4. (4) Submission categories:

Category Eligibility requirements
South African Features: South African feature films with runtimes of 60 minutes or longer.
African & African Diaspora Features: Feature films made by people born on the African continent or permanently resident in any African country and by members of the African diaspora with runtimes of 60 minutes or longer.
BRICS Features: Feature films by filmmakers from South Africa, Russia, China, India and Brazil with runtimes of 60 minutes or longer.
BRICS - Plus Features: Feature films by filmmakers from BRICS -Plus countries with runtimes of 60 minutes or longer.
Documentary Features: Documentary feature films by filmmakers from any part of the world with runtimes of 60 minutes or longer.
Student Shorts: Films with runtimes of 59 minutes or less made by film students from Africa, the African Diaspora, BRICS and BRICS - Plus countries studying in any film school in the world.
International Shorts: Films with runtimes of 59 minutes or less made by film practiotioners from all parts of the world.

5. (5) RapidLion is organised into a series of programmes, which are subject to change from year to year but might include, for example: In-Competition, Finalists, In-The-Spotlight, BRICS, etc. RapidLion may slot selected films into programmes at its sole and absolute discretion.
6. (6) RapidLion prefers that all short and feature films presented are, at minimum, African premieres. We will accept submissions that have already premiered in Africa, but the film’s premiere status will be taken into consideration when final programming decisions are made.
7. (7) A Film will not be eligible for consideration and should not be submitted if:
1. the Film was completed prior to January 1 of the year that precedes a RapidLion festival edition. For example RapidLion 2019 will not accept films made prior to 1 January 2018.
8. (8) All Feature, documentary snd short films must be submitted via FilmFreeway as per the FilmFreeway guidelines.
9. (9) For maximum copyright protection, all selected films must be available for final screening atRapidLion as per the specifications of the festival in its communication with the Applicant.

IV. Submissions Process

Submission Procedure

1. (1) All Films submitted under these Terms must be submitted in accordance with the procedure outlined herein. RapidLion may, but is not required to, disqualify or reject any Film that is not submitted in this way.

2. (2) To submit a Film for Festival consideration, an Applicant must:

(a) complete the registration process on FilmFreeway and pay the required fee as outlined in article V.2 below and (b) provide RapidLion with an online screener via FilmFreeway for review by RapidLion programming staff. RapidLion does not accept submissions in any other manner or format, including: content burned to Read/Write (RW) discs, Blu-ray discs or trailers.
(b) Submitted films must;
i. be in one version only, in the original language of production, with English subtitles if the original language is not English.
ii. be labeled with the following:
(1) Film title
(2) Film length In hours, minutes and seconds
(3) Country of origin
(4) Production Company
(5) Sender’s Name, Phone Number Physical Address and Email Address
(6) Director’s Name, and
(7) FilmFreeway Tracking Number.
iii. have the following marketing materials submitted with the film on FilmFreeway
(1) A trailer
(2) Two film posters in the following sizes: Poster 1. A6 300dpi or 1240 pixels by 1748
pixels RGB 72dpi and, Poster 2. 88.19mm (Height) 79.38mm (width), (3) Film synopsis
(250 words or less), and (4) Director's Biography (100 words or less).
iv. once accepted for the festival, be screened at RapidLion using the format specified by tRapidLion in its communication with the Applicant.

3. (3) Accepted films must have screeners as per III. 4.(4). and IV. 2. (2). (b). iv. above.

4. (4) Applicants with accepted films should test their festival screeners thoroughly before forwarding them to RapidLion. The Applicant has sole responsibility for ensuring that the submitted screener plays in its entirety and at the required standard. If RapidLion is unable to view the screener, RapidLion will attempt, but is under no obligation, to contact the Applicant in order to obtain a replacement screener.

5. (5) RapidLion will not review multiple versions of a submitted Film. Only one version of the Film may be submitted. If multiple versions are submitted, RapidLion will view only the version that was received first.

6. (6) Festival screeners will not be returned.

7. (7) RapidLion is under no obligation to contact the submitting party and/or refund the submission fee should The Applicant not have adhered to rules, set out in Terms and Conditions 2. (2).

Shipping Instructions for festival Screeners where shipment is required:

8. (8) All shipments must be sent by way of prepaid shipping. RapidLion will not accept collect/cash-on-delivery shipments.

9. (9) RapidLion is not responsible for and will not accept shipments incurring expenses for terminal charges, duties, taxes or customs brokerage. Applicants should clearly indicate on all waybills that transportation and customs charges are to be billed to the sender. Any shipping charges incurred by RapidLion will be billed back to the Applicant.

10. (10) Shipments should not be shipped in excessive packaging or with any materials other than those requested by RapidLion. There is no programming value for screener submissions arriving in unusual and/or unorthodox containers.

11. (11) RapidLion is not responsible and bears no liability with respect to clearance of shipments through South African customs. However, RapidLion recommends that Applicants sending submissions from outside of South Africa take the following steps to increase the chance of successful review by South African customs:

1. Include three copies of a commercial invoice (declaration of contents) containing the following:

i. Sender’s name, address and telephone number
ii. Recipient’s address
iii. Title of film and format
iv. Length of film
v. Fair market value (standard is ZAR100)
vi. Country of manufacture
vii. Declaration “Goods on loan for Festival purposes only. No commercial value. Non-
viii. Sender’s signature

2. The commercial invoice should be included with the courier waybill. Applicants shipping via international post should affix a customs declaration label to the outside of the package.

12. (12) RapidLion does not confirm receipt of shipment, and is not responsible for lost or misdirected packages. It is the Applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the submission procedure is complete, and that the shipment has been received by RapidLion.

V. Submission Deadlines & Fees


In order to be eligible for consideration, submissions must be made online via FilmFreeway, FilmFreeway registration completed, and all fees paid, by the deadlines outlined on FilmFreeway for each edition of RapidLion.

1. (1) Submission fees for are classified as follows:

Regular Deadline Submissions & Fees
South African Features: Regular deadline.
African & African Diaspora Features: Regular deadline.
BRICS and BRICS p Plus Features: Regular deadline.
Documentary Features: Regular deadline.
International Shorts: Regular deadline.
student Shorts: Regular deadline.

NOTE: Please note that all fees will be denoted in South African rands.

RapidLion may accept late submissions in its sole and absolute discretion, but an additional submission fee may apply (see V.2).


RapidLion will consider for inclusion in the Festival all eligible films that have been submitted by the specified deadlines and in accordance with these Terms and Conditions. RapidLion reserves the right to consider for inclusion in the Festival, and include in the Festival, films received at any time and through any means, channel or process, including means, channels or processes other than those outlined in these Terms and Conditions. Nothing in these Terms and Conditions or otherwise requires RapidLion to select for Festival inclusion any of the Films submitted through the process outlined in these Terms and Conditions.

2. (2) All selection decisions are at the sole and absolute discretion of RapidLion, and are final and cannot and will not be reviewed. RapidLion is not required to provide any feedback, comments or reasons, or any other information, regarding the selection or non-selection of any submitted Film or the process by which Films are or have been selected. RapidLion is not responsible or liable for its selection decisions; for the contents of any internal comments or feedback regarding the Film that are or may be obtained from the Applicant or anyone else; for any communications by any representative of RapidLion relating to the Film or the Festival selection process; for the manner in which the Film shall be, is or was considered and reviewed; or for any failure on the part of the Festival to provide the Applicant or anyone else with information concerning RapidLion’s consideration and/or review of the Film.

3. (3) RapidLion will notify by a stipulated time indicated on FilmFreeway all Applicants who have been selected to participate in the Festival. Rapidlion will contact Applicants using the contact information provided in the FilmFreeway registration form. Applicants are responsible for providing correct and functional contact information. RapidLion is not responsible for any failed attempts to contact Applicants using the contact information provided.

VI. Intellectual Property, Legal Claims & Indemnities

1. (1) By submitting the film to RapidLion, the Applicant and Film Owners (the “Submitting Parties”) hereby warrant and represent that: (i) the Film is wholly original and is not copied from and does not include any other work that is the subject of copyright or other protection, unless such work is in the public domain or the Submitting Parties have obtained any and all consents, releases, licenses, and other authorisations or waivers of any kind necessary for the inclusion or reproduction of any person, character, location, thing, trade-mark, sound recording, musical composition or other work in the film; (ii) the Film does not defame any person or violate the common law or statutory rights, including, without limitation, the rights of privacy and publicity or any other right of any person; (iii) the Film is not the subject of litigation; (iv) there are no agreements, nor will there be any agreements made subsequent to the date of this Film submission that would or could have the effect of impairing the Submitting Parties’ ability to provide the Film as contemplated herein, or otherwise conflict with any provision of these Terms; and (v) the Submitting Parties have the full right, power and authority to submit the Film to RapidLion for Festival consideration, and to grant all of the rights granted hereunder and in the FilmFreeway registration form, and there is no obligation or disability which would in any way impair, restrict or impede the Submitting Parties from fully performing all obligations pursuant to the submission and these Terms.

2. (2) The Submitting Parties agree to indemnify and hold harmless RapidLion, its licensees, successors and assigns, and its and their members, officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, associates and affiliates (each, a “Releasee”), from any claim, suit, action or other proceeding brought against a Releasee and from any losses, costs, or damages, including the Releasee’s full legal fees and costs, which it may have suffered or incurred or may suffer or incur, directly or indirectly based on, in connection with, or arising from the use and exhibition of the Film submitted by the Applicant or the breach or alleged breach of any representation, warranty or other agreement made by the Applicant in these Terms, or in the Applicant’s FilmFreeway registration form.

3. (3) RapidLion takes all reasonable anti-piracy precautions. While in RapidLion’s possession, all Films are securely stored and regularly inventoried. Access to Films is limited to RapidLion staff who require access in order to screen and consider submissions. No duplication and loaning of Films is permitted. By submitting a Film to RapidLion, the Submitting Parties hereby release the Releasees from any and all liability in the event of theft, unauthorized access or copying, or any breach of copyright of the submitted Film while it is in RapidLion’s possession.

4. (4) By submitting the film to RapidLion, the submitting parties agree to the screening of the submitted film at any edition of RapidLion that could take place anywhere in the world within two years of the original edition of the festival for which the film was entered.

VII. Other

(1) RapidLion reserves the right to rule, in its sole discretion, on cases and situations not foreseen by these Terms and Conditions.
(2) RapidLion does not pay screening fees.

Overall Rating
  • Richard Gregory

    There is no good reason to submit to this festival. Marketing was virtually non-existent, communication poor, and no notification about the decision to not award ANY films with the statuette that they are so proud of until I enquired - to be given a reply that the films submitted were "good enough to screen, but not of a high enough quality for competition." A waste of entry fee. I'd really like to be supportive of this festival, but they really need to take a step back and rebuild it from the ground up before making extravagant promises.

    December 2023
  • Kevin Harris

    Regrettably disappointing. Great venue - accessible & conducive quality screening facility. Host & support staff most hospitable. Great quality selection of films making up the programme. Sadly seemingly no advertising / publicity campaign - audience comprising handful of our own invited guests. The venue was on a university campus - why no strategic publicity to interest students / young adults in attending screenings? Why no special invites to schools? We need to grow audiences and stimulate interest in alternative films local & international. Absolutely no communication during festival or post-screening. Absolutely no notification or explanation that there would not be a closing / awards evening as advertised. Massive over-promise on pre-submission FilmFreeway website as to local & international profile & integrity of RapidLion Festival & the status attached to recognition of quality films by RapidLion through their comprehensive list of some 18 prestigious awards to be presented. Without any explanation or notification this did not happen.

    March 2023
  • Joachim Lang

    What a wonderful festival. Thank you very much to include our short film "Uncle Bill". We will submit more films to this festival in the future

    March 2023
  • john shelley

    Fantastic festival, I had a wonderful time in Johannesburg. The film programmes were excellent, the venue superb and the atmosphere amazing. Friendly, knowledgable festival staff and met some fine film people. Top event!

    March 2023
  • Great festival!
    We were very honored to have participated.

    March 2023