The Discover Film Awards is one of the biggest short film festivals in the world with over 5,000 annual submissions from 100+ countries. There are global premiers in London's Leicester square with packed cinema audiences, filmmaker parties, red carpet events and script-pitching round tables with funding available for new projects. This festival has one of the largest short film cash prize funds of over $50,000, 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 October 2021, 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”. There is also an accompanying festival in Virtual Reality in a 360 custom built cinema for anybody unable to physically attend the event.
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 outdoor clothing brand, which awards The Craghoppers Film Prize, one of the largest cash prizes for short films. The prize is awarded annually to the best films from the April and October Discover Film Awards. The first prize is £20,000 ($26,000) in cash with a second prize of £5,000 ($6,500) awarded at the October event. There are awards of £5,000 ($6,500) for the best social impact film and £1,000 ($1,300) each for the best UK and international student films. 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!
Best overall short film in 2021 - £20,000 ($26,000)
Runner up overall in 2021 - £5,000 ($6,500)
Best social impact film 2021 - £5,000 ($6,500)
Best student films - £1,000 ($1,300) for best UK & £1,000 ($1,300) for best international.
These five prizes are awarded at the October prize ceremony - all films entered in March and October are in competition for these prizes.
There are also pitching competitions to investors with additional cash prizes to fund films and paid for distribution opportunities.
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
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 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!