Filmmakers love our volunteer-run 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Est. 1959, Movies On A Shoestring, Inc., produces and presents the Rochester Int'l. Film Festival annually. It's one of the longest running, continually held Short Film festivals in the world! No wonder we're oft voted "BEST Local Film Festival" despite stiff competition.

Selected entries appear at George Eastman Museum's Dryden Theatre (Rochester, NY). We foster a love of motion pictures by screening short films from around the globe which are rich in artistic expression. We also educate viewers in art and technique. This results in an eager reception for your cinematic creations.

Rochester Int'l. Film Festival may not offer cash prizes but it delivers hospitality and recognition galore! We host filmmaker outings (private tours, trips, parties, etc.). We issue Certificates of Merit to films not screened but of notable technical or thematic quality and we list Honorable Mentions on our website.


• Distinctive Shoestring Trophy (films screened at the fest)
• Certificates of Merit (for films not screened but notable)
• Commemorative program (films screened at the fest)
• Accommodations assistance (films screened at the fest)
• Special lunches, dinners, tours, etc. (films screened)
• Filmmaker swag bags (films screened)
• Local press coverage (films screened)
• Critique Letter (EACH film submitted)


+ Entries: 30 min. MAX
+ Genres: Open to most all genres
+ Payee: "Movies On A Shoestring, Inc."
+ Payment (USD only): PayPal, Check, International Money Order
+ Preview format: Online stream, digital download or DVD (NTSC, Region 1, Region Free)

When mailing correspondence or submitting films, include a copy of your Entry Form and ONLY use the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). We use a P.O. Box and CANNOT accept deliveries initated through any other courier.

- NO fee waivers availble (we're a nonprofit)
- NO episodes: Stand alone, self-contained works
- NO video components or fragments of larger works
- NO tapes or discs containing multiple entries (submit separately)
- NO late entries accepted (must be postmarked by stated deadline)

While your entry is handled with care, we DO NOT accept responsibility for lost, stolen or damaged entries.


Our selection process unfolds in (2) stages. First, each entry is viewed in its entirety by Screening Committee Members who discuss the film's merits and vote whether to advance it to Final Judging. Whatever the outcome, each filmmaker receives a detailed Critique Letter that sums up viewer impressions (with direct quotes).

After Preliminary Judging ends, a select panel of Final Judges views the advanced entries in their entirety again. Among those, official festival selections are identified. Each entry selected to screen at the fest receives our distinctive Shoestring Trophy. Selected filmmakers get assistance with lodging, meals and local transportation.

Because we DO NOT charge admission, our festival attracts large and enthusiastic crowds of film lovers. What little revenue we generate via submission fees, grants and/or donations defers costs associated with running, promoting and holding our annual event to give your film the absolute best chance for widespread exposure.

Films screen at the Dryden Theatre at George Eastman Museum in (4) distinct screenings over the course of three days each Spring. MOAS covers the cost of theatre rental and related insurance. Filmmakers submit their films time and again because of the special support and attention we give their work. Join them!


• $35 Entry fee applies if postmarked before December 1, 2021
• $50 Entry fee applies December 1, 2021 to February 1, 2022
• Entries MUST be postmarked by February 1, 2022
• Our fest is open to films/videos of ALL genres.
• Entries CANNOT exceed 30 minutes in length.
• DVD entries: Region 1 or Region Free ONLY.
• Submit (1) entry per disc/digital download.
• Mail via USPS (vs. FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc.)


Your official festival screening copy MUST be received 14 days prior to the fest.

The suggested postmark date is April 1. If the indicated format is not provided, your entry may not be shown so follow all guidelines and contact us with questions. To verify that we received your entry, submit a self-addressed, stamped postcard or request a confirmation e-mail. Thanks. We look forward to your submission!


Movies On A Shoetring, Inc.
ATTN: Submissions
PO Box 17746
Rochester, NY 14617


Voicemail: (585) 210-8153

Overall Rating
  • One of the most special things is that even if you are not accepted into the festival you receive truly thoughtful, specific feedback from their screeners who are all passionate film lovers. A filmmaker friend recommended Rochester as a festival that really spoils filmmakers, and that was 100% the case. Bill and the whole team bent over backwards to take care of everyone. The tours, the filmmaker events and the screenings were all top notch. We made bonds with other filmmakers who we're continuing to see on the festival circuit which makes for an expansive community feeling. Our team is very grateful and honored Rochester selected "Between Two Worlds" for the 2022 festival. Thank you!!

    October 2022
  • Tom Festo

    Rochester proved to be quite a hidden gem! Really enjoyed our time at the Rochester International Film Festival. Bill was very communicative and helpful throughout the leadup and the festival itself. Got to see a very strong selection of films from around the world. Bill also set up the filmmakers in attendance with a tour of Kodak, which in and of itself would have been worth the trip! Overall a great experience.

    September 2022
  • Thank you for choosing my movie "PAY PHONE" to show.
    I couldn't go to the site this time, but next time I want to actually participate in the film festival there.
    thank you!

    September 2022
  • Mitchell Greenberg

    Incredible festival and experience - it's truly an international festival, with a diverse lineup of films from around the world. And the festival programmers and volunteers treat the filmmakers with such warmth, respect, kindness, and hospitality. I can't recommend this festival enough - they care about film, and they care deeply about filmmakers. I'd give this a 6 star review if I could.

    May 2022
  • It's great festival!!

    My film "AIM POINT" wasn't screened, however my film was officially selected to be awarded a "Certificate of Merit".

    And, They send me the Certificate Card of "Certificate of Merit" and the Official Program Book by international airmail.

    I am very happy.

    Thanks Rochester International Film Festival Team!!

    September 2021