Proudly presented and produced by the City of Port Phillip, the St Kilda Film Festival supports the Australian film industry by showcasing the best short films. These films, made by emerging and accomplished industry professionals are in with a chance to share in a massive prize pool, with the Festival also an Academy Awards qualifying event (award-winning films from the Festival are eligible for consideration in the Short Film Awards and Documentary Short sections of the Oscars®).

St Kilda Film Festival provides the most comprehensive overview of the national short film industry, screening the top short film entries alongside a rich program of special events, international screenings and a free filmmaker development program.

Submissions for ‘Under the Radar’ (St Kilda Film Festival's youth competition for filmmakers under the age of 21) will soon be opening via

A message from Festival Director, Richard Sowada:
The St Kilda Film Festival is Australia’s oldest short film event and represents a key annual event on the national screen culture calendar.

Each year, the festival receives hundreds of entries from around the country, and it’s this diversity that makes the film festival one of the most dynamic and vital celebrations of the short form in the country.

The virtual 2020 St Kilda Film Festival reached national audiences for our online fest. For 2021, we ran in both the physical and virtual worlds to great success, reaching 34,000 in Melbourne and around the country. For 2022, we ran a hybrid event and for 2023 we’ll continue to integrate online elements but primarily live in the real world with physical screenings, exhibitions, moving image art, professional development and creative collaborations across the City of Port Phillip. There’ll be a sackful of surprises and we’d love to see your film in the mix.

Your film will be assessed by a panel and then a jury of festival alumni and industry experts, so even though we may (or may not) meet in the flesh, your film will make connections with filmmakers and industry in ways you may not think.

The beachside suburb of St Kilda is nationally renowned for its vibrancy, energy and creative adventure. Was that a hint? We look forward to seeing your creations.

The Short Film Competition has a huge prize pool of cash and in-kind craft awards, including a $10,000 prize for Best Short Film. Other awards include Best Director, Best Achievement in Screenplay, Best Documentary and Best Achievement in Cinematography.

St Kilda Film Festival Terms and Conditions

1. The St Kilda Film Festival short film competition only accepts Australian-made short film entries.
The Festival also accepts Australian co-productions where:
- a significant proportion of key crew are Australian, OR
- significant pre and postproduction occurred in Australia, OR
- the film received significant funding from Australia

Australian co-production eligibility details must be detailed at the time of submission and the Festival has final decisions on eligibility. If you are unsure of eligibility, please contact the Festival office at

2. St Kilda Film Festival accepts all fiction and non-fiction film genres.

3. Films submitted must be no longer than 40 minutes, inclusive of credits.

4. The submitter grants St Kilda Film Festival the rights to:

(a) Although the 2023 festival is designed to take place in a physical form, should it be impacted by situations as experienced in COVID-19 lockdown or significant social distancing restrictions or similar, the festival may exhibit the film online for the duration of the Festival, in a programmed session available ‘on-demand’ from the St Kilda Film Festival website via the approved streaming platform.

(b) Screen to a physical audience in a programmed session (dependent on public health restrictions). Screening locations are to be determined but are likely to include both traditional and non-traditional screening venues. The 2023 St Kilda Film Festival will continue to be a hybrid event with some special programs outside of those selected in this process being screened online.

(c) Utilise a portion of the entered film for promotional purposes such as the festival trailer.

(d) For selected films, exhibit the film for an extended period (the week following Closing Night) available for streaming in the Encore Showcase, which may be paywalled.

Please note: all of the above opportunities may not apply / are not guaranteed to all selected films.

5. The Producer warrants to the St Kilda Film Festival that they have obtained all the necessary permissions to enter this film and that the film does not infringe the rights, including copyright, of any third party. This includes use of music and literary material.

6. All productions screened at 2023 St Kilda Film Festival must have been completed within 2 years of the entry closing date.

7. Entries cannot be withdrawn after Wednesday 1 March 2023. By submitting your film to the St Kilda Film Festival for consideration, you acknowledge this condition of entry and waive your right to withdraw your film from the Festival after this date.

8. If your film is selected for the Festival, you will be sent an email confirmation by Friday 31 March 2023.

9. The Festival strongly requests that selected films are removed from public viewing on other platforms for the duration of the Festival campaign. This does not apply to existing agreements with other Festivals and streaming platforms.

10. As part of any online presentation of the event, the St Kilda Film Festival will be expanding its reach to a national audience via some online programs. We do advise that all online Festival content streams will be geo-blocked to viewers from outside Australia, and password protected so only available to online viewers within the context of the Festival.

11. The St Kilda Film Festival has a commitment to ensuring equitable participation and inclusion. The Festival offers film submission waivers for films where the Director and/or Producer identify as being:
• First Peoples
• A person with disability
If this applies to your submission please email to receive your waiver code prior to completing your submission.

12. Selected films will be required to provide sidecar closed caption files (usually .srt files) for their film (i.e. not embedded/burnt in) prior to screening. (Filmmakers can generate these files automatically via Adobe Premiere Pro Speech to Text or Vimeo).

13. The festival also requires that if selected, films should be supplied as both hi-resolution MPG4 (or pro-res or similar) and DCP for physical screenings.

14. Selection for screening: All submitted films will be assessed by an independent panel of eleven industry professionals, including alumni from previous iterations of the Festival and the Festival Director. This panel will shortlist the Top Short Films, which will be screened at the 2023 St Kilda Film Festival.

15. Award selection: Shortlisted, award-eligible films will be judged, nominated, and awarded by a jury of three screen industry professionals independent of the Festival (the Festival Director is not included on the jury). Nominations will be publicly announced during the Festival, and Award Winners will be announced on Closing Night.

Overall Rating
  • Ross Dwyer

    Fantastic Festival. An awesome event for filmmakers of all levels, great for networking and celebrating Australian work!

    September 2022
  • What a fantastic festival. The Astor is such a good venue. Art deco. Big screen. And a good selection of films. What a privilege to take part in it.

    June 2022
  • Megan Cullen

    This was one of the best festival experience's I've ever had - and I wasn't even able to attend!

    Richard and Laura worked so hard to champion the filmmakers and their films. From networking to professional development opportunities to screening in front of a huge audience and the awards ceremony - this festival is one of the top in Australia and it was an honour to have our film, Miss Underwater as a part of the lineup.

    June 2022
  • Always one of the best, most comprehensive, well-recognised interesting showcase of Australian shorts. Very filmmaker focussed and filmmaker friendly. Oscar qualifying for some of the awards and with very generous in-kind and cash prizes.

    June 2022
  • Jeremy Artis

    It was a great experience. Thank you

    June 2022