The Spirit of Independence film festival is a unique celebration of raw, passionate independent films made from all corners of the world. We want to put a spotlight on brave and bold filmmaking regardless of genre, country of origin, theme or budget.

We have five categories - each representative of a filmmakers journey, from script development, through micro-budget films through to international features and shorts.

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. At our 2022 event we were delighted to welcome Bernard Rose, legendary director of 'Candyman' to open the festival with the European premiere of his latest film, 'Traveling Light'.

The event also features several industry-based talks, networking events, Q and As and panel discussions.

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 team's 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 2023. The finished short will also be guaranteed a screening at the Spirit of Independence film festival on 30th September 2023. Last year's winner 'Dead Skin' is currently doing the festival circuit.

The Spirit of Independence Film Festival is an IMDb qualifying festival and is a member of BFI Audience Network.

Rising Spirit award: Best achievement for a micro-budget feature film award (budget under £150k)

Rising Spirit award: Best achievement for a micro-budget short film award (budget under £3k)

Independent Spirit award: Best achievement for feature film award (budget over £150k)

Independent Spirit award: Best achievement for a short film (budget over £3k)

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
- Free CGI effect work
- Free post-production sound engineering
- Mentorship by a member of the BFI Network

Feature and Short Film Submission

1. Feature films for our purposes are determined by a running time of 60 minutes or more. Independent Spirit micro-budget submissions must have a production budget of £150k or less.

2. Short films for our purposes are determined by a running time of under 30 minutes. Independent Spirit micro-budget submissions must have a production budget of £3k or less.

3. All films must be made available by a digital download or a physical drive for DCPs, DCP and standard video files are accepted

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

5. 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. The winner is permitted to add additional funds to the production budget as per the

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. 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

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

Overall Rating
  • It's my 4th year in this festival and I love being part of it. It's truly been an honor to be a part of the festival's growth. From the beginning, the selected films have been stellar and the online festivals during Covid were my personal faves (I wish they could keep that going). This is a warm and friendly crew and I very much recommend submitting.

    October 2022

    Excelent!! Very Good Festival. Recomendado.

    October 2022
  • Jennifer Bulcock

    Fantastic northern festival supported by Enon films and South Yorkshire Filmmakers Network- a great place to get connected and network, and an honour for our film to be selected for the 2nd year running. A respected festival and one to watch as I’m sure it will continue to grow over the coming years.

    October 2022
  • Christopher Rucinski

    Amazing communication from Ben and the team! Our Northern Shade team unfortunately couldn't make the trip to Sheffield, but the selective lineup of features was stellar, all high production value and huge accomplishments for such micro-budgets.

    October 2022
  • Huge props to Ben and the rest of the team behind Spirit of Independence. I recently attended due to our film "Kate & Jake" being included in the selection and was blown away by warm and welcoming atmosphere in and around the festival. It presents a wonderful space for you to network and meet other creatives, whilst also being able to experience new and exciting work in the cinema (lovely cinema too).

    Also, the communication was nothing less than perfect. Always consistent, polite and helpful.

    Genuinely couldn't recommend this festival enough to people considering submitting.

    October 2022