The Discover Film Festival 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 and red carpet events.
This festival has one of the largest short film cash prize funds of $35,000 (£28,000) with the prestigious Craghoppers Film Prize, which is judged by an independent jury of over 200 leading industry experts including TV & film directors, producers, actors, writers, journalists and film financiers. Over the past 6 years over £175,000 ($220,000) has been awarded to filmmakers and winning films have gone on to win at the BAFTAs and Oscars.
The Discover Film Festival is consistently voted by filmmakers in the top film festivals globally. Spread over 5 days in September 2024, the festival involves public cinema screenings at the iconic 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” - and we agree.
The festival 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 genre of short film are welcome to enter. Films screening receive 4 complimentary VIP passes to all festival events (worth £600). All films must be under 45 minutes.
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 assistance from senior commercial film and business executives. The festival also introduces filmmakers to funding sources and offers publicity across a wide range of media (print and social) so enter today!
£12,000 ($15,000) - First prize for best short film from any genre
£6,000 ($7,500) - Second prize, again any genre
£4,000 ($5,000) - Best social impact short
£4,000 ($5,000) - Best short documentary
£1,000 ($1,250) - Best UK student short film (any genre)
£1,000 ($1,250) - Best international student short film (any genre)
These six prizes are awarded at the closing ceremony of the Discover Film Festival. All films entered in the year are in competition for these prizes. Cash prizes are actual payments rather than in kind prizes.
There are also paid for distribution opportunities, free annual membership of the Female Film Club worth £175 ($220) and complimentary VIP passes for screened films and Craghoppers’ gift vouchers for all award winners.
Best Romantic Comedy
Best Low Budget
Best International (various awards)
Best Foreign Language (various awards)
Best Micro (under 5 minutes - various awards)
Best Music Video
Best Director Without Borders
Films must be 45 minutes or under to enter the competition. There is no lower limit on run time.
Shortlisted films will be shown to our independent panel of over 200 industry experts. For an updated list of judges see the Discover Film website.
At the Discover Film Festival, we fully embrace diversity and inclusion as foundational to our festival. We believe cinema can break cultural barriers, amplify marginalised voices, and foster understanding among diverse communities. By celebrating various perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences, we aim to create an inclusive platform reflecting the richness of human storytelling. Our commitment extends to filmmakers, storytellers, and creatives contributing to the global cinematic landscape. Championing films authentically capturing the human experience, we strive to create an environment where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued. We welcome submissions from filmmakers with disabilities, neurodiversity and from all countries and backgrounds. For assistance with forms or Filmfreeway submissions, contact emma at emma @ discover.film.
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 if any taxation is due under local tax laws on funds received.
To qualify for student awards the film needs to have been made whilst the Director was a student. There are no age restrictions.
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.
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 45 seconds 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 notification date. 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 Festival 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!