The Real Film Festival (RFF) is a three-day film event held in Newcastle, Port Stephens, Lake Macquarie and Maitland, NSW, Australia.

The Real Film Festival is the Hunter region’s leading documentary film festival offering audiences the newest documentaries and independent short and feature length films from around the globe for the whole community to enjoy. The festival program includes professional development opportunities for young and emerging film makers from diverse backgrounds to create content, build skills and connect with industry professionals through workshops, activities, film screenings, short film presentation opportunities and community events. In 2019 the Real Film Festival will build on its success of the past seven years extending the program with pop-up festivals across the Hunter region.

We are on the lookout for fearless filmmakers prepared to tell their untold stories. We invite submissions from independent filmmakers of the newest documentaries and short and feature length films based on real events from around the globe. Successful films will be screened at the Real Film Festival in the Hunter region between November until December 2019. Screenings will complement a full program of screen industry development programs supporting young, emerging and established filmmakers of the Hunter region.

The Real Film Festival supports independent filmmaking talent, engages diverse communities and stimulates social conscious audiences through a series of programs reaching across the Hunter region. In 2019, the festival will celebrate the inclusion of diverse voices and local stories.

The festival is a celebration of storytelling through film.

Filmmakers are invited to submit short or feature length films for consideration in the Film Screening category, and short films only can be submitted into the Short Film Competition. A panel of industry professionals select films to be screened at the festival and the the winners of the short film competition.

We encourage submissions from filmmakers living with disability, First Nations, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse, LGBTQI and female filmmakers.

Produced by Screen Hunter, the Real Film Festival began in Newcastle, NSW Australia and has served as stimuli for discussion around social justice, environmental and human rights issues and celebrated diversity in film behind the camera and on screen for seven years.

2 categories
$6,000 Australia Dollars in prize money, Mentorships and prizes for each category

Competition requirements.

The Real Film Festival (RFF) is on the lookout for fearless filmmakers prepared to tell their untold stories.

In order to tell their/others 'real' life story, each short film competition category must take inspiration from one of the below criteria:

Take a look around. Where you live, your families, your friends. Find what inspires you?

The RFF’s most popular short film competition invites filmmakers of all levels to find inspiration and tell your story through film. We will select a range of films celebrating real people, real places and real stories.

This year we have six categories. Each short film must take inspiration from one of the following criteria:
1. Raise topics around social justice, environmental and human rights issues
2. Celebrate the inclusion of diversity
3. Stories from the Hunter Region
4. Cut!Waste

The competition will be judged by some of Australia’s most experienced industry professionals who will provide feedback on all films, giving you the opportunity to hone in on your strengths and overcome your weaknesses.
CLOSING DATE for non-competition entries is Friday, September 5, 2019. Entries for screening only (non-competition) can run up to 90 minutes. NO LATE ENTRIES will be accepted for non-competition entries.
CLOSING DATE for competition entries is Friday, October 4, 2019. Entries for competitions can run up to 12 minutes including titles & credits.

You are required to state if you are entering your film for public screening or for the competition.

Awards & Prizes
Yet to be announced. Please see for awards and prizes as they are announced.
Conditions of Entry
The following conditions apply to all submissions.

1. Your film must be based on a true story to comply!
2. All entries must be submitted for judging and screening without a menu.
3. Mark what category you are entering on the entry form.
4. All films entering the non-competitive screening must not be available for download online.
5. Each submission has a fee of $35.00. Concession $25.00
6. A late entry in the competition categories has a fee of $50.00. Concession $40.00
7. All entries must be accompanied with a completed registration form.
8. All footage and special effects MUST be original.
9. Any music accompanying a film must be copyright free or original. Any other music MUST be covered by a currently licensed agreement.
10. Please include:
• Title of production.
• Creative team listing
• Runtime
• Music statement (royalty free, original or under the licensing agreement).
• The production shall have a 2-second black leader.
11. The productions together with their copyright will remain the property of the owners, however, the competition committee reserves the right to screen any entry more than once and to make a copy in part or full for publicity of the festival only.
12. All entries will be handled with extreme care, but no responsibility for loss or damage will be accepted.
13. All entries received will be acknowledged by email.
14. Entrant productions will be retained with the exception by the competition committee until after the public screening.
15. Entries will NOT be returned unless mail cost is included.
16. Awards will be made to the best entry in each of the categories as listed on the entry form.
17. A copy of the judges’ comment sheet will be provided by email to the nominated team/ individual contact after the completion of the 2019 Real Film Festival.
18. All decisions of the judging panel are final and no correspondence will be entered into.
19. No entrant shall be present during the judging of his/her production.
20. We look forward to receiving your submission!
21. Have fun!!

Overall Rating
  • Jason van Genderen

    One of my all-time favourite festivals. Inclusive, in-depth and so well programmed... well worth putting this one on your festival map!

    February 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Jas. We truly love and value all that you bring to the festival each year.

  • Scott Berry

    Very empowering of young filmmakers :)

    December 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Scott! We look forward to seeing you again at the future festivals.

  • Michelle Crocker

    It was a pleasure to be selected and screened at the Real Film Festival. While I was unable to attend due to distance the festival organisers communication via telephone reassured me that they valued our film and would treat it with due care. As this organiser utilised the information already uploaded to Filmfreeway it was a breeze to meet the requirements for the festival. Thank you very much for your care and support.

    November 2016
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Michelle, We hope to hear from you again in future years.