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 International Short Film (certificate of achievement)
Best of the Fest short Film! (Trophy and first look deal with ShortsTV)

Only shorts with a TRT of 30 minutes or LESS are eligible for submission. We have seven categories: Animation, Documentary Short Subject, Drama, Comedy, Thriller/Horror, TV pilots and Web Series. 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 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 if an in-person event..

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
  • Jennie Fahn

    This festival was a really nice surprise! Not only were the other films that screened during our block really high quality, but the screenings were on a shorts channel that played and replayed the block in major markets where people could actually watch them! Which was great during COVID! Not only that, the hosts of the festival had a lovely little viewing party for those of us who were locals - they were gracious and warm hosts. A great experience with really good communication throughout.

    November 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Jennie! We enjoyed your film JERRY very much. We especially liked Michael Shepperd's performance. It was great timing that we could host a small screening for the local filmmakers, like yourself, whose film was airing on ShortsTV the same day. We love meeting talented filmmakers.

  • John McDermott

    Rock the Shorts festival was a great experience! Their work with Shorts Tv allowed me to easily view all the entries. They also responded to any questions I had promptly and with great care. Totally recommend this wonderful festival!

    September 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thanks John. TWISTED PERSPECTIVE was a hoot. We all loved it.

  • Patrick T. Gehlen

    It was an honor to have my film, Requiem for a Crab, win Best Comedy at Rock the Shorts 2021 !!! Despite covid and having to go online, the folks running the festival were very engaged and communicative, and their pandemic solution of running the festival on ShortsTV, seemed like the best possible option given the circumstances.

    August 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Patrick. REQUIEM FOR A CRAB was funny with heartwarming story. We were proud to give it the "Best Comedy" award. The film festival aired in the US and Europe on the ShortsTV channel. We missed having an in-person event of course, but we were honored that the biggest network airing short films partnered with Rock the Shorts. Here are some press highlights:

  • P. Patrick Hogan

    Great festival, wonderful staff. Really enjoyed it!

    August 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Patrick. KILLING TIME killed! What an incredible thriller. What an honor to present you with the "Best Thriller" award. We also thank you for taking the time for a sit down interview with the folks at ShortsTV. It's nice to hear about what happens behind the scenes. We all loved your film.

  • Thanks for the Honorable Mention for my short film, Losing Heaven - What Kind of Planet Will We Come Back to Next Life?

    July 2021