Underwire is the UK’s only film festival celebrating female filmmaking talent across the crafts.

Founded in 2010 with the aim to change the face of the industry from the inside out, the festival has awarded training and mentoring opportunities to a decade of filmmakers and has screened over 800 films. Underwire is now a BAFTA recognised film festival.

The Underwire Awards are given in recognition of the teamwork and skill necessary to produce a film, and aims to acknowledge the artistry and vision required in the key production roles.

These awards are open to films with women working in each specific category, and we accept a mix of genres: drama, animation, documentary, music video and artist film.

The festival recognises talent across Directing, Producing, Screenwriting, Editing, Cinematography, Sound Design, Composing, Production Design and Animation, and any short film that has a woman in one of those roles is eligible. With women making up only 21.8% of a typical feature film crew it is clear that these talents must be showcased early, to propel the women filmmakers of the future into their feature film careers.

With a clear objective to improve the statistics in front and behind camera, there are also awards for female crew members Under 25, actors, and for onscreen representation with the XX Award that is open to all films that foreground female characters and stories from filmmakers of any gender.

Underwire continues to promote collaboration and nurture new talent throughout the year, bringing its community of female filmmakers together through panel discussions, expert presentations and practical guidance that look at the craft and business of filmmaking, demystify the skills and provide insight into new opportunities on the horizon.

The Underwire Awards are given in recognition of the teamwork and skill necessary to produce a quality short film, and aims to acknowledge the artistry and vision required in the key production roles in short film.

These awards are open to short films with women working in the specific category, and we accept a mix of genres: drama, animation, documentary, music video and artist film.

• Best Director
• Best Producer
• Best Writer
• Best Editor
• Best Cinematographer
• Best Composer
• Best Sound Designer
• Best Actor
• Best Production Designer
• Best Animator
• Under 25: for outstanding work by a female practitioner aged 15-25
• XX Award: for the best onscreen female protagonist

• Underwire looks to showcase all kinds of film. We accept drama, animation, documentary, music video and artists' film of all production techniques, forms and budgets.

• Short films directed by men are eligible for submission, so long as there is a female head of department in any of the Awards categories and/or there is a female protagonist onscreen.

• The primary contact completing the submission process must be authorised to submit the film for consideration. This includes permission from a distributor or sales agent representing the film and the applicant must have obtained necessary permissions for the inclusion of any copyrighted music and/or images used within the film. With this submission, the applicant confirms that they possess all rights necessary for the screening of the submitted film at Underwire Festival.

All short film entries must be:
• Up to 25 minutes long including credits (25 minutes must be the maximum length of the short)

• Films must have been completed after September 2019 to be eligible.

• The film must be a UK or Republic of Ireland production, including student/graduation films.

• We accept short films via FilmFreeway only. Only entries received through FilmFreeway will be considered. Speculative submissions sent via email will NOT be watched.

• Films that do not fall within our criteria will NOT be watched.

Here’s an example of what is eligible:
- If the film is directed by a man and produced by a woman, then the film is eligible in the producing category but will not be considered in the directing category.
- If the film is being entered into a category where the entrant shares a credit with a man, it is not eligible for that category.
- Please let us know who on your crew is female so we can consider everyone that is eligible for an award. You do not have to pay the submission fee for each category, just once for the film.


• Underwire Festival does not require any premiere status.

• Each Underwire Award category is eligible to female heads of department. For example, a film where all the crew is male but the production designer is female would be eligible for the Production Design Award.

• The nominees for each award category will be determined by the Underwire selection panel.

• The winner for each award category will be determined by the award partner or a judge of their choosing.

• The XX Award is eligible for both male and female directors. The Award is for onscreen representation of women, for films which put interesting female characters at their centre.

• Apart from the XX Award, films are only eligible for the category that they have a female creative for. For example: if your film was directed by a man, but has a female production designer, you can submit and be eligible for that category; if your film has an all-female crew, your film is eligible for all the categories.

• There is a submission fee to enter your film. All submissions are final and there are no refunds. Underwire Festival is a non-profit organisation and submission fees help us with festival costs.

• You may enter as many films as you wish. Each entry requires a separate submission form, fee and separate upload.

• If the original language of any dialogue or text featured in the film is not English, the preview and screening copy must be subtitled in English, unless this is at variance with the filmmaker’s intention.

• All submitted films are viewed by two or more members of the selection team.

• All programming selections are at the discretion of the Festival Director and the team of pre-selectors and programmers. Each film is carefully viewed, considered and curated.

• All submitted films will be notified of the Underwire Festival’s selection in advance of the festival via email.

• Full delivery instructions will be provided on notification of selection.


• If selected, there are no fees for participating in the festival. Filmmakers are not entitled to claim rental or other fees for the screenings of their films at the festival.

• Films screened at Underwire Festival may also be included in other public programmes, subject to the submitter’s permission.

• All filmmakers are asked to indicate on submission if they require geoblocking should their film be selected for online exhibition.

• Submitting a film gives us permission to use publicity stills provided and up to 1minute of footage for use in all Underwire Festival marketing and publicity.

• If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at underwire@underwirefestival.com

Overall Rating
  • Annette Westwood

    Honoured to have our film's world premiere at Underwire Festival 2022. A film festival dedicated to showcasing the cinematic talents of women. Truly sensational festival in every respect!

    October 2022
  • Hayley Reeve

    My favourite film festival by a mile!! The level of passionate and enthusiasm from the Underwire team is undeniable. Thank you for supporting female filmmakers. I will definitely be submitting again with my next film, and without a doubt watching as a viewer.

    September 2022
  • Louise Nesbitt

    Really terrific program of shorts.

    May 2022
  • Celia Willis

    Great festival - warm, welcoming and beautiful programme . Would recommend!

    March 2022
  • Fay Lomas

    Fantastic festival to be part of! Thank you so much to the team.

    March 2022