The founders of Rock the Shorts Film Festival are both filmmakers and huge fans of short films. Short films can pack an emotional punch and take us on a wonderful ride in 40 minutes or less. The creators of such entertainment deserve recognition and encouragement.

When your film is an "Official Selection" and celebrated at a well-organized film festival it is the most gratifying experience. This is what we want to bring to you. Our goal is to further inspire you to keep creating...keep writing...keep directing...keep producing...keep acting...keep telling stories...keep making short films! Short films Rock!

Many actors, directors and writers have launched their careers by making short films. Many continue to make short movies to tell their stories, their own way.

Actor and author Michael McMillian will screen THE ARRIVAL.  A dark comedy written and directed by Jocelyn Deboer & Dawn Luebbe and produced by Natalie Metzger. McMillian stars opposite Deboer and Luebbe as a husband who magically has two wives after his son wishes for a "new mommy." McMillian is best known for his TV roles on TRUE BLOOD, CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND and SILICON VALLEY.

Best Animation Short Film (certificate of achievement)
Best Comedy Short Film (certificate of achievement)
Best Documentary Short Subject (certificate of achievement)
Best Drama Short Film (certificate of achievement)
Best Thriller/Horror Short Film (certificate of achievement)
Best of the Fest short Film! (trophy)

Only shorts with a TRT of 40 minutes or LESS are eligible for submission. We have five categories: Animation, Documentary Short Subject, Drama, Comedy and Thriller/Horror. There will be five 60-90 minute film blocks with a Q&A with the filmmakers to follow. Each category will have an award winner and an overall "Best of the Fest" winner will be announced at the close of the festival.

We will hold our selections to a high standard as we will be making great efforts to attain the honor of being an Academy Qualifying Festival in the future. Therefore, we will strive to match our guidelines to that of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Presently, the academy has three short film categories: Animation, Documentary Short Subject and Live Action. In the case of Live Action, we have created three additional categories: Drama, Comedy and Thriller/Horror. We want to personally acknowledge these genres in separate categories.

We appreciate and respect the hard work you put into your film. We won't skim over it as many larger festivals will do with thousands of submissions waiting to be viewed. We look forward to watching and we wish you good luck!


Exhibition materials:
Will only be returned upon request and at the expense of the filmmaker.
Arrangements with self address, pre-paid envelopes must be made PRIOR to the festival. Posters and Collateral must be picked up by the close of the festival.
Exhibition Formats: DCP only.

By agreeing to the terms and conditions on the entry form for Rock the Shorts Film Festival, the person or entity (the Applicant) submitting an entry (the Short) to Rock the Shorts Film Festival (RTS) acknowledges that s/he has read, understood and agrees to the following rules and guidelines:

1. The Applicant is legally authorized to enter the Short in RTS, and the Short is not subject to any claims or litigation and is not threatened by any claims or litigation.

2. Entries must be 40 minutes or under in length and submitted in one of the following categories: Animation, Comedy, Documentary, Drama or Thriller/Horror..

3. Non-English language shorts must be subtitled in English.

4. RTS can only accept, consider and notify entries submitted with valid entry form and non-refundable entry fee. To be considered for RTS, the Applicant must fill out the entry form on FilmFreeway. Applicant must submit a Secure Online Screener. Entry Fee payment must be made online through FilmFreeway.

5. Late Entries: For Late entry request please contact RTS at

6. To verify RTS has received your entry, we advise that you check the FilmFreeway status before emailing us with further questions.

7. All films will be notified of their status by late January or early February. If your contact information or premiere status changes between entry submission and our notification date, please update your information on FilmFreeway and email any changes.

8. It is the sole responsibility of the Applicant to secure clearance from the copyright holders of any copyrighted materials in the Short. The Applicant releases and discharges RTS, its employees and agents from any and all claims, demands or causes of actions related to misappropriation or infringement of copyright or violation of any other right arising out of or relating to this Short.

9. In the event that the Short is accepted as a Finalist by RTS, the Applicant hereby agrees to the following rights and requests and grants to RTS without reservations, conditions or qualifications:

10. RTS reserves the right to screen an exhibition-quality digital file of the Short (see guidelines for accepted formats).

11. RTS reserves the right to use excerpted clips, still images and/or titles, and information from or relating to the Short for promotional purposes in all media including Rock the Shorts Film Festival website.

12. RTS reserves the right to issue and authorize publicity concerning the filmmakers and the Short and to use all associated names, likenesses and biographical information.

13. RTS reserves the right to provide contact information for the director and producer(s) of the Short and to grant RTS the right to provide this information to film industry organizations sponsoring Festival events at its discretion.

14. RTS reserves the right to disqualify, without refund of any or all submission fees, any entry which is in violation of the guidelines and participation agreement.

Overall Rating
  • Hamish McCollester

    The festival directors and crew at Rock the Shorts did an amazing job making every filmmaker feel welcomed and appreciated, while offering a great, seamless experience for the audience members who came out to support these great short films.

    I have attended well-established festivals that weren't run nearly as smoothly as this one, so the fact that this was the inaugural edition really speaks well for its future. The fest was held at LA's Downtown Independent Theatre, which is an A-plus destination for indie film screenings. It was scheduled and curated perfectly, ran on time, and allowed for great Q&A sessions and networking opportunities for the filmmakers.

    Overall, I was extremely impressed with what they pulled off and I hope to have the honor to be a part of it again someday. Thank you, Rock the Shorts!

    March 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Hamish:) MOVIE NIGHT was creatively written and directed with a stellar cast. We were lucky to have your film as part of our festival. Your attendance and participation in the Q&A helped make the festival an even bigger success. We look forward to your future projects. :) Rox & Josef

  • We had a great time at Rock the Shorts and can only imagine how fantastic this festival will be as it grows over the years. Hoping we'll have something ready to submit for next year! Hats off to Roxanne and Josef for putting together a solid festival.

    March 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for sharing THE CHANGE with us. It’s a terrific film with a terrific young cast. It was a wonderful addition to the film festival. We see big things for all involved in the future. Best, Roxanne & Josef.

  • Mellinda Hensley

    Excellent festival — would love to be considered again next year. Roxanne and Josef are fantastic and the venue was great!

    March 2020
    Response from festival:

    You rock Mellinda! We loved APEULOGY! Thank you for joining our Q&A after the screening. We look forward to your next project. Rox & Josef

  • I am proud that my film was shown at the festival.
    Thank you for your excellent communication and kindness🙏🏽⚘❤

    March 2020
    Response from festival:

    It was our privilege to show your film RAHEEL at our festival. Thank you Ayat. I will keep in touch. Best, Roxanne