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.

2019 Film Competition:


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 29, 2018.

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, 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, 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. The number, dates, times, and locations of screenings 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.

18. 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.

19. Additional opportunities for screening accepted films may be available outside the scheduled Festival dates and venues.

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

Overall Rating
  • 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
    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!