The Yale Student Film Festival (YSFF) is an emerging student-run short film festival providing the opportunity for university-level filmmakers, both foreign and domestic, to exhibit their work. It will be held on Yale University’s campus April 18th – 20th 2019.

YSFF takes place annually at Yale University in New Haven, CT, and is now in its fifth year. In addition to the competitive student blocks, the three-day event will include an opening night feature screening, a panel discussion, and a masterclass, all led by Yale alumni in the entertainment industry.

Founded in 2015, the festival began as a collaboration between the Yale Film Alliance, Yale Film Study Center, Yale Film Studies Program, Films at the Whitney, and the Yale College Dean’s Office to highlight the small but growing community of filmmakers on Yale’s campus who create work outside of a traditional film school environment.

Continuing this theme, this year’s festival will celebrate emerging student work from those taking the first steps towards a professional career, and aims to provide a platform to encourage conversation and camaraderie across schools and experiences.

The festival features four separate student competitions: the narrative film competition; the documentary film competition; the experimental film competition; and the super shorts competition.

With broadly set categories, we hope to put together a program that encompasses of variety of genres, media, experiences, and cinematic journeys. We are especially on the lookout for films that challenge the ways in which we think about the world and each other and that engage with relevant issues effecting us today. From discussions of race and gender, to politics, to the evolving concept of the family, we are searching for work that can not only offer a cinematic escape but also deeper insight into contemporary society. That being said, all films are encouraged to submit work!

Awards & Prizes

Films entered in the competition category are eligible to compete for some of the following awards:

• Best Narrative Film
• Best Documentary Film
• Best Experimental Film
• Best Super Short
• Best Animated Short
• Best Cinematography
• Best Editing
• Best Director
• Best Comedy
• Best Drama


ALL entries must be from student currently enrolled in a university degree program. While we are accepting work from graduate students, work submitted by MFA candidates in directing, producing, etc. or professionals will not be accepted.

**STUDENT VERIFICATION WILL BE REQUIRED AND APPLICANTS ARE REQUIRED TO ATTACH A COPY OF THEIR STUDENT ID.** All other entries will be disqualified for entry into the festival.

Any student is eligible to submit a film, regardless of filmmaking experience or film classes taken.

Please see the various categories for more information on submitting to each of the sections. It is important that you determine your film’s category when you submit it, as that determines eligibility for awards (for any further questions about the categories, please email

Only films with a runtime (including credits) of 45 minutes or under will be considered.

NOTE: tighter restrictions on time apply to specific categories such as super short films, which should run five minutes or under.

Yale Student Film Festival reserves the right to not screen films that it finds overly offensive, obscene, or vulgar.

Films that have previously screened in other festivals or on Yale’s campus are still eligible.

There is no limit to the number of entries.


It is expected that filmmakers hold all of the respective rights required for their film before submitting. This includes all music, sound effects, product placement, actor/model release forms, etc. For music, there are a number of fair use soundtrack sites with music available online for free (we recommend reaching out to student musicians as well). Filmmakers without these rights will not be able to screen their films. YSFF will contact you if we believe there is a copyright problem with your submission. Any questions on copyright can be directed to


All foreign language entries must have English subtitles. Projects must be submitted through online screener (online screener is the preferred method; we recommend using Vimeo or YouTube and password-locking your film).

Works-in-progress are eligible for submission and have their own submission deadline and category.

You will receive a confirmation email upon successful submission. If you did not receive an email, please follow up at


Films must be submitted by January 1st, 2019.
This is a hard deadline.

You will be notified of acceptance no later than March 15th, 2019.

All entrants receive feedback cards from judges, and will be eligible to compete for category prizes.

We want to help you show off your film! If selected, please use the FilmFreeway press kit to submit productions stills, bios, trailers, etc. about your film.

By submitting to Yale Student Film Festival, you agree that upon acceptance, YSFF may use your film as part of promotion materials for the festival, in addition to your likeness in photos and video during the days of the event.

We encourage you to ask any more questions you might have by reaching out to us at

Overall Rating
  • I was really sad that I could not participate and come to the festival in person. But the overall communication was great. I really recommend this festival for student film projects. I am and so happy my short film Liberation won Best Cinematography 2018 at Yale Student Film Festival! Thanks once again

    July 2018
  • Owley Samter

    Unfortunately, I wasnt able to attend YSFF, but I was very happy with how smoothly they handled everything. Thanks a lot :-)

    May 2017
  • MingYu Lee

    Great festival! Would love to participate again next year!

    April 2017
  • Aron Horvath

    Great experiance!

    May 2016