The Spirit of Independence film festival is a unique celebration of raw, passionate filmmakers who make films on a micro-budget. Our remit is that we only screen feature films made for under £150k (short films made for under £1k) providing a platform for fresh talent who work with small budgets to screen and celebrate their films.

Doesn't micro-budget mean it will look amateurish? Well no - if you look at some of the biggest talent working in Hollywood today they all started working with films made for less than £100k - Christopher Nolan's Following, Kevin Smith's Clerks and Darren Aronofsky's Pi to name a few.

Our goal is simple - to provide a platform for these films to get out there and to inspire filmmakers of the future to see what can be accomplished with little money.

Held at the beautifully independent Showroom Cinema, host to other fantastic festivals such as DocFest and ShAFF, the Spirit of Independence Film Festival forms part of the ever expanding cultural calendar in the city.

We have since expanded the festival into a second screen where we take on a more industry based focus holding talks on the film industry, have networking events and screening locally made films.

This year we have also launched a further strand of the festival - the Emerging Spirit Script to Screen competition, a screenplay competition designed to make a filmmaking teams' short film idea, a reality. Together with our partners, we will provide the competition winner with a package of resources that will support them to turn their script into a short film during 2022. Their finished short will also be guaranteed a screening at the Spirit of Independence film festival on 1st October 2022.

It Cost How Much?? Best achievement for a feature film award

That looks awesome! Best achievement for a short film award

Emerging Spirit Script to Screen Competition:

- £500 cash
- Free equipment hire from South Yorkshire Filmmakers’ Network
- Free use of post-production facilities at The Kurious
- Mentorship by a member of the BFI Network

Feature and Short Film Submission

1. All feature films must have a budget of £150,000 or less - for films made in other currencies a reasonable exchange rate must be applied to demonstrate it is equivalent to £150K GBP e.g. $195K USD or € 175K EUR

2. All short films must have a budget if £1,000 or less - for films made in other currencies a reasonable exchange rate must be applied to demonstrate it is equivalent to £1000 GBP e.g. $1300 USD or €1200 EUR

3. Feature films for our purposes are determined by a running time of 60 minutes or more

4. Short films for our purposes are determined by a running time of under 10 minutes

5. All films must be made available by a digital download, DCP files are not required

6. All work must solely be that of the submitter or related party

7. All films not in the English language must have English subtitles provided

Script Submission

PLEASE NOTE: This competition is only open for films that are set/shot in the Yorkshire region, UK. Please do not submit if you are based outside of the UK.

1. The selected script must be made in the Yorkshire region

2. Scripts should be submitted in traditional script format as a PDF

3. Scripts must be no longer than 12 pages in length

4. You are permitted to add £500 to the £500 prize fund for a maximum budget of £1000, in keeping with the festival short film criteria

5. The festival directors and the award sponsor must be credited as Executive Producers
Logos of the festival and the award sponsor must be displayed at the beginning of the film

6. Every entrant will be entitled to a two-for-the-price-of-one festival pass for the Spirit of Independence film festival on the 8th October 2022

7. Projects need to have a writer, director and producer attached before an application can be made. Teams need to have a minimum of two individuals across the three creative roles, e.g. separate individuals who are a writer-director and producer respectively, or a director working with a writer-producer. Director-producers are not eligible to apply

8. Examples of previous work and/or budget breakdown may be requested to help with the shortlisting process

Overall Rating
  • Alexandra Wain

    So grateful to be a part of such a wonderful festival! Thanks to Ben, Matt, and Simon!

    October 2021
  • elizaveta stishova

    This is an amazing experience. The absence of boundaries, the warmth of human communication. The team's real enthusiasm and perfectionism and Ben Wilkinson's attention and support from the first to the last minute.
    I could not come to the event, but I have the full feeling that I was there. My gratitude and all the best wishes to everyone who is doing this noble deed, bringing people together and giving optimism to the authors and audience.

    October 2021
  • Ben was Incredible to work with! I really loved being a part of this festival. I wish I had had more time to have been able to see all the films myself, what I was able to see was great! We had to go all Digital due to Covid restrictions and whatnot, but everything was put together really well considering the state of the world when the festival went live. Communication was super clear, and the variety of films represented here was pretty great. Because everything was all digital, being able to network with people in person was out of the question (Not their fault obviously...Covid stuff), but overall I'd say this was a pretty great experience. Thank you Spirit for letting our project be a part of this festival!

    November 2020
  • David Walton Smith

    Thrilled to have been a part of this year’s festival.

    November 2020
  • Chris McElroy

    This festival was an incredible experience. It went online due to the pandemic and Ben went above and beyond in making it an incredible experience for all the film makers and viewers. The website was beautiful, showcased all of the films wonderfully, and was simple to navigate. With all the care put into putting this festival on, I have to say that you MUST submit your film if you're a micro-budget film maker.

    October 2020