The Discover Film Awards is one of the biggest short film festivals in the world with over 3,000 annual submissions from 100+ countries. There are global premiers in London's Leicester square with packed cinema audiences, filmmaker parties, red carpet events with funding available for new projects. This festival has one of the largest short film cash prize funds of over £30,000, including the prestigious Craghoppers Film Prize.

The Discover Film Awards is consistently voted by filmmakers in the top film festivals in the world. Spread over 5 days in September 2023, the festival involves public cinema screenings at the Prince Charles cinema in Leicester Square. Quentin Tarantino describes it as his favourite cinema in London saying it is "everything an independent movie theatre should be”.

Discover Film looks for the best short films: stories that share a glimpse of the lives of filmmakers. This could be what bothers them or makes them laugh, of injustices, of unsung heroes, of the serious, the bizarre, the funny or just where filmmakers' imaginations take them. All types of short film are welcome to enter with awards for: action, animation, drama, experimental, sci-fi, fantasy, documentary, horror, comedy, and everything in between. A full list of award categories is provided, below. All films must be under 45 minutes.

A major supporting partner of the festival is Craghoppers, the global clothing brand, which awards The Craghoppers Film Prize, one of the largest cash prizes for short films. The prize is awarded annually, with awards winners selected from winners of the Discover Film Awards by a panel of 80 independent industry judges. The first prize is £15,000 in cash (for best film from any genre) with a second prize of £7,000 awarded at the closing ceremony of the festival. There are awards of £5,000 for the best social impact film, £5,000 for best documentary and £1,000 each for the best UK and international student short films (any genre). In addition, there are various in-kind awards from sponsors.

Selected films get the option of various paid distribution opportunities including international TV, video on demand, major trains, hotels and airlines. Distribution is optional and entirely up to the filmmaker.

As well as cash prizes, winners can get help with future film projects in the form of discounted rates from partner firms (such as production houses) and mentoring from senior commercial film and business executives. The festival also introduces filmmakers to funding sources for future projects and offers publicity across a wide range of media (print and social) so enter today!

Cash Prizes:

Best overall short film - £15,000 (any genre)
Runner up - £7,000 (any genre)
Best social impact film - £5,000 (any genre)
Best environmental documentary - £5,000
Best student films - £1,000 for best UK & £1,000 for best international (any genre)

These six prizes are awarded at the closing ceremony of the Discover Film Awards. All films entered in the year are in competition for these prizes.

There are also paid for distribution opportunities.

Physical Awards:

Audience Award
Jury Award
Best Director
Best Actor
Best Screenplay
Best Editor
Best Cinematography
Best Action
Best Animation
Best Adaptation
Best Comedy
Best Cross-Over
Best Debut
Best Documentary
Best Drama
Best Experimental
Best Fantasy
Best Horror
Best Virtual Reality
Best Low Budget
Best International (various awards)
Best Foreign Language (various awards)
Best Micro (under 5 minutes - various awards)
Best Music Video (with a story)
Best Non-Narrative
Best Sci-Fi
Best Student

Films must be 45 minutes or under to enter the competition. There is no lower limit on run time.

Films will be shown to our independent panel of judges, including genre experts. For an updated list of judges see the Discover Film website.

All films will be screened via DCP files. If filmmakers selected for the festival do not have a DCP, we we will produce one for them free of charge. We will also require .mov, mp4, or equivalent as a backup.

For cash prizes, unless we are informed otherwise, cash awards will be made to the Director of the film. The Director will be responsible for deciding how, if at all, the cash prize is distributed to stakeholders in the film. To receive a cash award, the filmmaker must have a means of receiving funds by electronic transfer. Filmmakers will be responsible for any taxation due on funds received.

Discover Film will not be responsible for any custom duties or charges on physical submission. Please be sure to include "temporary import/cultural exchange" and "no commercial value" on any paperwork.

The festival handles submitted physical screening files with the utmost of care and provides insurance of loss or damage to a maximum value of US$100.00 (or cost of replacement, whichever is less). The festival will return any physically submitted screening files at the festival's expense.

Permission for the festival to use images and excerpts of each submitted film, not to exceed 1 minute for promotional purposes is considered granted upon acceptance into the physical screenings at the festival - including trailers/clips on the festival's media channels. If you would rather opt out from this please contact the festival organisers within 5 working days of your notification of acceptance into the festival. For selected films, Discover Film reserves the right to complete any information not supplied by the filmmaker from whatever source available and/or re-write material to fit our marketing requirement.

By submitting your film to the festival you agree that if your film is selected for inclusion in our screenings, we have permission to screen it in a cinema during the dates of the events listed. If you do not want your film included for any reason you must inform us within 5 working days of the final submission deadline. Films can only be withdrawn after this number of days with agreement from the festival organisers as we invest in print materials and trailers for the festival, which cannot be changed in the immediate run up to the event.

Submission of films and participation in The Discover Film Awards implies understanding and acceptance of the above regulations and requirements for this submission. If in doubt about any of the above, please contact emma @ discover.film and ask questions before submitting. Thank you for reading this far!

Overall Rating
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  • Cleo Handler

    i had the best time at this festival. excellent films at an amazing venue, very engaging q&as, super cool, welcoming, and supportive programmers, and amazing parties! the awards ceremony was such an epic night and i had such a blast. overall, just great people running a fantastic event and celebration of really high-caliber short films - i loved my experience there and would highly recommend applying - and attending in person!!!

    October 2022
  • Grant Taylor

    What can I saw, an awesome awesome festival and awards on every single level. We were so proud to be selected out of nearly 3000 films and beyond happy to win an award. The film screenings were programmed perfectly with films placed in order that kept your emotions in the right state to engage the audience as much as humanly possible. And then what can I say about the awards night... without doubt THE BEST awards night I've ever been too, with entertainment, brilliant presenters and it just felt all round classy. To screen your film at the best film lovers cinema in London and to celebrate the hard fought journey that went into making our film at an incredible awards night was all round perfect. I will enter this film festival every time I possibly can! Viva Discover!

    October 2022
  • Wow - what a wonderful festival! What an honour that our documentary WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE won 2 Awards: Best International Documentary and grand prize Best Documentary. . I saw fantastic international films, met wonderful filmmakers, made new friends, and had a ton of fun at all of the events. They know how to throw a quality festival and a great party. I also want to acknowledge Craghoppers for their generous support (and awards). I highly recommend you submit and attend.

    October 2022
  • I'm very excited that my project was officially selected at Discover Film Awards for its screening in Prince Charles Cinema at Soho, a legendary venue in London, and awarded in the stunning red carpet ceremony. The projects in the competition were of a high standard. The experience at the festival was delightful. I had the chance of meeting artists from different parts of the world in a four consecutive-day short film festival. Thanks to all the Discover Film Crew for your hospitality, and the magical and welcoming atmosphere that you made. I highly recommend this festival as one of the most prestigious in London.

    October 2022
  • Nicky Machado

    Coming from the US, I wasn't sure what to expect. This was an overwhelmingly positive experience run by genuine film enthusiasts & wonderful people. What a truly supportive creative environment. The caliber of many of the films I saw were impressive & even awesome. I became friends with innovative filmmakers from all over the world & I left the festival feeling inspired. This was well worth the trip!

    October 2022