Submissions have now closed for the 2019 festival.

Welcome to Watersprite International Student Film Festival! In our 10th year, Watersprite is looking for the best short films in fiction, documentary and animation from all over the world. Over the years, Watersprite has received entries from 95 countries and provided a creative, inclusive space for the filmmakers of the next generation.

All filmmakers nominated for a Watersprite award will be flown to Cambridge free of charge to experience all that the festival has to offer. Across several technical and genre categories, there is a wide array of really exciting awards which, going beyond one-off cash prizes, aim to provide long term career support, offering unique opportunities, such as working with respected industry professionals and getting access to the best equipment available.

The festival, to take place between 7-10 March 2019, will have a diverse offering of industry events, panel discussions, Q&A's, workshops and screenings, all of which will be completely free of charge! Our previous keynote speakers have included Academy Award and BAFTA winners, including Bill Nighy, David Yates, Olivia Coleman, Richard Curtis, Biyi Bandele, Finola Dwyer and Eddie Redmayne.

If you aren't eligible to submit a film, please sign up to be an online judge and have the chance to watch the best short student films from around the world!

Technical awards:

Production Design
Screenplay (please submit both your film and your screenplay to the relevant genre category if you wish to be considered for this award)
Original Film Music (please submit your film into this category as well as the genre category to be considered for this award)
Sound Design

Genre Awards:


Special Awards:

Watersprite Impact Award
Film of the Year

Submissions Guidelines for 2019 Festival:


- All films must have a total running time of 20 minutes or less.
- All films must either be in English, or submitted with English subtitles. Any non-English language films with dialogue which have been submitted without English subtitles will not be considered.
- All films must have completed production no earlier than April 2017. Resubmissions are not permitted. You may, however, enter an additional film for consideration. We will not accept more than two films from one entrant per year.
- All entrants must be at least 18 years of age.
- In order for a film to be eligible for a Watersprite technical award, the person responsible for that particular technical aspect of the film must have been a student at the time of the film’s production, with the exception of ‘Best Acting Performance’, for which the actor must be an amateur in a student-directed film. 'Student' is taken to mean those in, or having spent no more than a year as a graduate from, education. - Proof of enrolment will be required at the submissions stage. Please see the Awards section below. Please note that if your film is nominated it is expected that a member of your team attend the Awards Ceremony on 9 March 2019. Travel bursaries will be offered to all nominees from around the world. We will also do our best to assist with visas and find free or affordable accommodation for all nominees, although we are not under any obligation to do so. The chance to meet a host of international filmmakers, from newcomers to Oscar-winning professionals is, we believe, the best way to reward filmmakers for their work and talents.
- It is essential that you read through the following guidelines and recommendations carefully before submitting your film to Watersprite. If you still have any questions once you have read the information on this page, please do not hesitate to contact us

- Submissions open on 9 July 2018 and will remain open until 23:59 GMT on 17 September 2018
- We reserve the right to close the submission platform at an earlier date. We therefore recommend submitting your film as early as possible to avoid disappointment.
- The filmmakers themselves must submit their films, and not agents acting on their behalf. This is to avoid large numbers of bulk entries which can affect the entry distribution and judging process.

Online Upload

- Submissions should be made by via online upload on FilmFreeway. If this is a problem for you, please contact us.
- Films should be uploaded onto Watersprite’s FilmFreeway page with all the required information.
- All entrants must specify the year in which their film was made.
- Entrants will be asked to upload a copy of the film’s poster onto the project page on FilmFreeway, if available. This will be used by the festival for marketing purposes.
- For a film to be eligible for a technical award, the director, writer and producer must upload some form of photographic proof that they were a student at the time of the film’s production. Student ID, a copy of a student finance bill or a letter from the university/institution are all valid forms of proof.
- Please ensure you have read the section 'Recommended Video Settings’ further down this page and that your film is submitted in the correct format. Any films received that do not correspond to the required format will not be considered.
- Your video file may not exceed 10GB.
- NB: You are not required to provide a screening quality copy of your film at this stage, as films will initially be judged online. You are, of course, welcome to submit films at the maximum of 10GB.


- All films must be entered for a genre award. Every genre will automatically be considered for the Watersprite Film of the Year and the Watersprite Impact Award
- On the festival’s FilmFreeway page, entrants must enter their film into a genre category, choosing from one of the following:


- Technical aspects of the film worked on by students will automatically be considered for an award during the judging process.

- Watersprite awards the following technical categories:

Production Design
Original Film Music
Sound Design

- Please note, however, that some genre films cannot be considered for certain technical awards: Documentaries cannot enter the Best Acting Performance or Screenplay categories; Animations cannot enter the Best Acting Performance category.

- If a film’s screenplay was worked on by a student, you will be asked to upload a copy of the film’s screenplay in English when you upload your film for judging purposes. If you neither have a copy of your screenplay in English nor want your film to be considered for this category, you will have the opportunity to opt out of doing so.
- For a film to be eligible for the Original Film Music category, the film’s entire score must be a piece of original work. For a film to be considered for this category it must be submitted both in the appropriate genre category and the Original Film Music category on FilmFreeway.
- The Watersprite Impact Award category is awarded to a film with a clear humanitarian subject matter, which can range from the local to the global and from the social to the environmental. The film should critically engage audiences, raise awareness of an issue and allow viewers to reflect on the importance and social impact of the topic that is presented, serving either as a call for change or a way of highlighting the details of a current problem.This prize consists of sponsorship from IEFTA for the winning filmmaker to partake in IEFTA’s Mentorship Programme and the Producers’ Workshop of the Marché du Film at the Cannes Film Festival.

Recommended video settings:

- Below are the recommended settings for online upload. By accepting Watersprite's terms and conditions on the Online Submissions form, entrants agree to provide a screening-quality DVD if they are nominated.


- Codec: H.264
 A codec is the format in which your video will be encoded. Different codecs have different features and varying quality. For best results, we recommend using H.264 (sometimes referred to as MP4)
- Frame Rate: 24, 25 or 30 FPS 
If you know at which frame rate you shot, it is best to encode at that same frame rate. If you are uncertain at which frame rate you shot, please set to either "Current" or 25 FPS. If there is an option for keyframes, use the same value as you used for the frame rate.
- Data Rate: 2000 Kbps (SD), 10,000-20,000 Kbps Kbps (HD )
This setting controls both the visual quality of the video and the file size. In most video editors, this is done in terms of kilobits per second (Kbps). Use 2000 Kbps for standard definition or 5000 Kbps for high definition.
- Resolution: 720x576 (SD), 1280x720 (HD), 1920x1080 (HD)
720x576 for 4:3 SD video, and 1280x720 or 1920x1080 for HD
If you have the option to control the pixel aspect ratio (not the display aspect ratio) make sure it is set to "1:1" or "1.00", sometimes referred to as "square pixels".

Field Order

- If you are shooting on an older camera, enable this option.
- Otherwise, you may get bizarre horizontal lines appearing in your video. With newer camera models this will not matter, so this option can be left unchecked. (Use progressive).


Codec: AAC (Advanced Audio Codec)
Data Rate: 256 Kbps
Sample rate: 44.1 kHz

Recommended free converters: MPEG Streamclip (Mac & PC), Handbrake (Mac & PC)

Overall Rating
  • Elaine Wong

    Loved everything about this festival. The communication, the film selection, and the organization. The festival is put together by a student committee, and they treat their filmmakers so well. I enjoyed my stay at Cambridge, all of the insightful panels(one with David Yates!), the screenings, and the lovely award ceremony. Watersprite is truly one of the best film festivals to attend!

    April 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for taking the time to write a review, Elaine! We work hard to make sure that our filmmakers know how valuable they are at Watersprite, so it's so great to hear that you felt welcomed and appreciated at the festival. All the best to you!

  • Lukas von Berg

    The organisation was brilliant, the Q&A's were very professional and the Atmosphere was very warm. It is a very special festival to visit!

    April 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Lukas! It was great to have you with us and we hope to see you back at Watersprite in future years.

  • Leonardo Martinelli

    For sure one of the best festivals I've been. Amazing films, and such warm people (both festival crew and the filmmakers from all over the world). And full of other great events together with the screenings. A festival that will last for very long.
    Very gratefull for the chance of been a part of it in it's 10th edition.
    All best!

    March 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for such kind words Leonardo! We're really thrilled that you enjoyed the festival and it was a real pleasure to have you at Watersprite. It's so important to us that there's a warm atmosphere among the filmmakers and festival committee alike, and it's wonderful to hear that we managed to achieve that this year. Wishing you all the very best and hope to see you again in the future!

  • Hanna Mironenko

    I am an agent. Films I tace care about participated in Watersprite twice. I can recommend the festival with no doubts

    March 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your support Hanna! It is much appreciated by Watersprite!

  • Tania Cattebeke

    Amazing experience with very warm people.

    March 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Tania! We owe the warm atmosphere to the wonderful filmmakers like you who come to Watersprite. All best wishes