The Three Rivers Film Festival is the longest-running festival in Pennsylvania, and the premier yearly event presented by the media arts center Pittsburgh Filmmakers (founded in 1971)/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. The festival has traditionally brought American independent and international narrative and documentaries to our audience, as well as a competitive shorts program and special events.

This year, the 3RFF explores the relationship between cinema and reality. Any image made with a camera is by nature grounded in the world we live in. But a human and technological transformation occurs in bringing that image to the screen. You can't truly bring reality to the screen! Instead, we hope, our films will achieve what has been called a cinematic truth, or cinema verité—a change into something else that rings true. The 2017 Festival aims to present brilliant examples of those many transformations.

Three types of films will be presented:
* Films that represent real life by using real life as raw material, a.k.a. documentaries.
* Films that re-create real stories, a.k.a. docufiction.
* Films that emulate real life in the telling of fictional stories, a.k.a. realist fiction.

Two films will be awarded prizes in the Competitive Shorts Program:
* The Jury Award (US$400)
* The Audience Award (US$200)

NOTE: The regular deadline for this festival has passed. The Sept 9 deadline has been set up only for entries who have contacted us previously. Thank you.

Date: Films produced in 2015 or later are eligible for entry.
Language: If the soundtrack is not English, the film must have English subtitles.
Running Time: 20 minutes or less

See “Selection Criteria” below for statement on theme and genre in 2017.

Submit your film via the FilmFreeway site. If you are unable to submit in this way, write us at for instructions on alternate methods.

Film must be a Pittsburgh premiere.

If accepted, the presentation copy of the film must be in the following format:
a) Quicktime .mov (ProRes 422 preferred) or .mp4 file
b) Resolution of 1920 x 1080 (square pixels) minimum
c) Two-channel stereo, 5.1, or 7.1 Dolby audio
We also require at least 1 high-resolution images representing the film (.tiff or .jpeg). Frame grabs at 2K resolution are the minimum resolution that is useful to us. Each file must be named with the film title, plus a number or other relevant information.

Selected films will be notified via email and if necessary by telephone. Subsequent email will include 3RFF laurels image, suitable for print and/or web usage.

Jury Award and Audience Award winners will be announced at the festival screening. Winners will receive checks in person or by mail. Winners will also receive special digital 3RFF laurels.

PLEASE READ THE FESTIVAL DESCRIPTION before submitting a film; basically, we are interested in short films that are interested in real life! If your film takes the form of a documentary, or it’s a scripted work based on a true story, or it’s a scripted work that aims to reflect or reveal the real world, then we probably want to see it. If not, save yourself some money and don't submit! In addition, we seek films of the highest quality in terms of technical proficiency, originality, entertainment value, and artistic vision.

Four professionals in the field of media production, distribution and studies will compose Jury, and will be given wide discretion in their Jury Award decision-making.

We reserve the right to request proof of copyright and permissions for all contents of the film, including talent releases, and licenses for music, footage, images, and locations.

Promotion Rights: Producers or distributors who enter the festival grant permission for their entries to be presented at any festival screening or event unless we are otherwise notified at the time of entry.

Publicity: Images, trailers, and reproducible still images may be used in festival programs and publicity materials, including for use by media.

Liability: Although every possible care will be taken with your entry materials while in our possession, we cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage. Do not send any original materials.

Entrant has read and agrees to abide by all festival rules.