Join us the last weekend in April for the annual West Chester Film Festival. We show short films, up to 30 minutes in length, submitted by independent filmmakers from around the world. Submissions are juried by a panel of industry professionals and winners are chosen according to content, innovation and technical execution. We anticipate attendance of 1,000 film lovers this year.

Awards are presented in 9 different categories:
Best Drama
Best Comedy
Best Documentary
Best Animation
Best Art/Experimental
Best Student Film
Best Pennsylvania Filmmaker
The H. Paul Fitzpatrick People's Choice Award
The above categories each receive a custom-made, hand-blown statuette.

The winner of the Best Female Filmmaker award is selected by the Regional Center for Women in the Arts. There is a prize provided by that organization.

2020 Film Competition:

PLEASE INCLUDE FILM TITLE AND ENTRY NUMBER WITH ALL CORRESPONDENCE, INCLUDING ALL EMAIL.

1. A screening committee determines which films shall be exhibited, submissions are not guaranteed to be shown. All decisions of the committee are final. Except for the audience award, separate juries select festival winners.

2. The Award Categories are: Best Animation, Best Comedy, Best Documentary, Best Drama, Best Art/Experimental Film, Best Student Film, H. Paul Fitzpatrick Audience Choice Award, Pennsylvania Filmmaker, and Best Film by a Woman Filmmaker. Each award is an original glass statuette, except for the Best Film by a Woman Filmmaker which will be a prize donated by the Regional Center for Woman in the Arts. An awards ceremony will be held Sunday, April 26, 2020.

3. Total running time must be 30 minutes or less, including credits. Do not include a header or countdown on any submissions.

4. There is no limitation on when or where the short was produced.

5. Films previously submitted to the Festival will not be accepted.

6. Include a self addressed and stamped postcard if you wish to receive entry receipt notification. However, we prefer tracking through FilmFreeway.

7. We will not accept films with graphic violence, excessive foul language, or graphically explicit sexual encounters.

8. Do not submit works in progress. Incomplete films submitted with a script and a promise to be completed by the festival date will not be considered under any circumstances.

9. Commercial, industrial, instructional, or promotional films will not be accepted.

10. Foreign language films must have English subtitles, or contain minimal dialog not necessary for understanding the film.

11. Entries can be submitted digitally through the FilmFreeway system, or via DVD. If submitting a DVD, it must be in NTSC format on DVD Region 0 or 1. A DVD or digital copy may be requested for internal use. Entries must be labeled with the title, entry number, and total running time. Student entries should be marked "Student."

12. Student entries must include a copy of the Filmmaker's student ID card. A photocopy can be mailed with a DVD submission. If submitting online, a scan of the ID can be emailed to films@westchesterfilmfestival.com, or a photocopy snail-mailed to our address. ALWAYS include the name of your film and entry number on all correspondence.

13. To qualify for a Pennsylvania Filmmaker Award, the film entered must have been directed by a Pennsylvania resident. Proof of residency must be submitted with the film (copy of drivers license). If submitting using online, a scan of the license can be emailed to films@westchesterfilmfestival.com, or a photocopy snail-mailed to our address. ALWAYS include the name of your film and entry number on all correspondence.

14. International entrants not paying through FilmFreeway must use international money orders paid in US dollars through a US affiliated bank.

15. Submissions are NON-RETURNABLE. We cannot be held liable for materials which are lost or damaged. Please do not send original materials.

16. Entry fees are non-refundable.

17. Screening fees are not available.

18. Travel fees, hotel fees, and food vouchers are not available. The filmmaker liaison will be in contact regarding possible discounts to local establishments.

19. The number, dates, times, and locations of screenings of accepted films are at the discretion of the West Chester Film Festival. Children's films and films produced by youths may only be shown once. Other films may be shown more than once.

20. Please select only one category in which to submit your work. An entry's category may be changed at the discretion of the West Chester Film Festival.

21. Additional opportunities for screening accepted films may be available outside the scheduled Festival dates and venues without notification.

22. Applicants who do not follow the guidelines will not be accepted.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Vijay Varman

    Excellent festival with great communication. Highly recommended.

    June 2019
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Vijay! We try hard to make our filmmakers feel welcome - whether they can come to West Chester or not! Thanks for the great review.

  • Kori Feener

    While I was unable to attend the festival, I was very much impressed with their communication. In preparation for my short film to screen, the subject of the film who is in a wheelchair wanted to attend. The festival was welcoming and had accessible facilities. Something that may seem minor, but truly isn't. I hope to attend a festival in the future!

    May 2019
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Kori, for the kind review. I hope that you are able to attend a future season of WCFF - hopefully as a filmmaker, but you're certainly welcome as an audience member, too!

  • David Block

    The West Chester Film Festival this year made me realize that my film, which they accepted and screened, Who Said You Can't Dance, was better than I had thought. I began this film as nothing more than a student video, but then it unfolded into a documentary. Although it did not win any awards at West Chester, the fact that it was nominated for Best Pennsylvania Filmmaker, alongside high quality films, was a real eye opener for me. I am legally blind. Until the festival, I was also blind to how good my film must have been, otherwise it would not have been in contention. David Block www.blindfilmmaker.com

    May 2019
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    Response from festival:

    Your film was very good, David, and we were happy to screen it as part of WCFF this year. Thank you for submitting a great review.

  • Jon Rehr

    One of the best organized film festivals I've attended. Venue is awesome and the staff was very kind. The theater was packed for our screening! Unfortunately I was unable to take advantage of all of the workshops that were going on simultaneously. Next time.

    April 2019
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your great reveiw, Jon. I'm glad that you had a good time at WCFF, and hope to see you (and any future films you work with) in the future!

  • Elise Sievert

    What an amazing festival! The passion with which the staff approach indie filmmaking is contagious. They really go above and beyond to make their filmmakers feel welcome.

    June 2018
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for your kind words, Elise! We love filmmakers as much as we love the films they come up with.
    Hope to see you again soon!