The goal of Southern Shorts Awards (SSA) is to recognize filmmakers whose short films demonstrate their ability to produce well crafted motion pictures.


Southern Shorts Awards is a seasonal competition in which each entry is judged on its’ own merits. Every film will be screened by three judges using a 10 point scale and you will receive the scores of all three judges whether you win an award or not.

At the end of each season, we screen the top three films of each genre scoring 75 or higher. These are one-day festivals held at the Aurora Cineplex in Roswell, Georgia.

Films are shown in genre blocks with a Q&A at the end of each film (whose filmmakers attend) and the evening ends with a spectacular Awards Presentation.


Your composite score will show where you excelled, as well as the areas in which you could do better. This is vitally important information because how can you improve if you don't know what needs improving? SSA offers a level playing ground for filmmakers to have their work judged by a panel of industry professionals.

Most festivals only offer two categories for short films, narrative or documentary. SSA has 11 categories, so your film can be judged within its' specific genre.

Southern Shorts Awards may also serve as a first-entry test for filmmakers who intend to enter their film into multiple festivals. Receiving an award from SSA does not guarantee that a another festival will accept your entry, but those films which do not receive any award from us may be less likely to find success in the festival circuit.

Awards & Prizes

• All films are scored and may receive an award for the film, and/or individual awards for the cast and/or crew.

• As a one-day festival, we have limited time to screen our award-winning films. So your film may receive an award although it is not shown at the festival. The minimum score for screening eligibility is now 75, although all films are shown at our discretion based on available time.

• Laurels are only awarded to those films which are shown at the festival.

Awards of Merit are given to shorts which show basic filmmaking competence, Awards of Excellence are given to films which exhibit higher levels of creativity and ability, Awards of Distinction are given to films of professional quality, and the Orson Award is given to those rare films which show true genius.

Southern Shorts Awards is also unique in that we score individual achievements at no additional cost. All major cast and crew members are graded on the same 10 point scale by each judge, and it is possible for an individual to receive an award even if the film doesn’t.

All award winners will receive a PDF of their Award Certificate. Optionally, they may order a printed Award Certificate for $20, a wall plaque for $50, or a trophy for $100. Every entry will be judged and receive a copy of their composite judges scoring sheet and judges comments whether they win an award or not.

There are two levels of awards:

1. Scoring Awards are PDF Certificates which are included with the filmmaker's scoresheet and judges comments on the scoring notification day. These are non-competitive and are based on the scores of three judges who screen and rate each film as well as cast and crew individual achievements.

2. Festival Awards are competitive and are based on the judges scores. The top 3 award-winning films of each genre are then nominated as the best of that genre. This means your film must score at least 70 out of 100 points to be nominated. For example, in the Drama genre, the highest scoring film wins Best Drama of that season, the second highest wins Best Drama Award of Excellence, and the third the Best Drama Award of Merit.

All festival awards are given out at the Awards Presentation at the end of the screenings. This is a black-tie optional event with a host who will show shorts clips from each nominee, then open the envelope and announce the winners. The entire event is recorded and available on our website the following week and each filmmaker present is provided with the specific clip of their acceptance speech.

We also give Best Of Show trophies for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Cinematographer, Best Editor, Best Sound Design and Best Soundtrack.

Rules & Terms

Preferred: An H264 or MP4 file compressed from the original 1080p or 720P master.
Minimum Acceptable: An H264 or MP4 file at 480i. Do not rip from a DVD unless you have no other option.
• We prefer Vimeo to YouTube as the hosting platform.
• Do NOT enable ads on your film or it will be immediately disqualified without refund.
• Do NOT put logo bugs or any other overlays on the film.
• Try to keep end credits to 60 seconds or less. (All film festivals hate long end credits BTW, so it's best to make a separate version for festivals.)
• We do NOT accept dance films, music videos, commercials, PSA's, trailers, experimental, pornographic, or hate films or films with specific religious or political agendas.

In order to accommodate those films which do not fit into our stated genres, we offer the option of choosing the REVIEW ONLY category. These films will be scored and receive judges comments, but will NOT be eligible for awards or festival participation. We reserve the right to move films incorrectly submitted into the Review Only category at our discretion.

• We do not grant fee waivers, but may consider giving a discount..
• All films must earn the privilege of being screened at our festival. We do not choose or 'curate' our films, they are selected by score alone. In addition to scoring as one of the top three in their genre, all films must score a minimum of 75 to be included in the festival. Films scoring 80 or higher will be shown even if they are not in the top three of their genre. Top three films scoring 70-74 will be considered for screening at the discretion of the festival director.
• We do not pay screening fees.


1. This is a seasonal short film competition with the running time limited to 30 minutes, including titles and credits. Entries with a run time longer than 30 minutes will be disqualified.

2. Non-English speaking films must be sub-titled to be accepted. Subtitles must be readable! It is the filmmaker's responsibility to ensure that the subtitles on their films are legible. They may look fine on your final edit, but once you have uploaded them to a site such as Vimeo, their recompression may cause them to become indistinct, especially against light backgrounds. Our preference is to use a font such as Helvetica in white with a black outline to make sure that it can be seen on any background.
Also, all credits MUST be in ENGLISH in order for award certificates to have the winners' name. Otherwise we will just list the category. For example, if we can't tell who was the editor because the credits aren't in English, the award will just be for editing and will not list the editor's name.

3. All works must be submitted digitally online directly to FilmFreeway using a platform such as Vimeo or YouTube. Do NOT use Dropbox, We Transfer or any similar file-sharing service.

4. We have no ‘completion by’ deadlines. We will accept any short film regardless of when it was produced.

5. Works in progress will NOT be accepted for submission.

6. Make sure you are submitting the final version as you cannot change the link to your film once it's been submitted.

7. You must own the rights to all of the material within your film, including all video, audio, and music tracks. The only exception to this are parody or fan films.

8. Films receiving low scores may be resubmitted in future competitions IF they have been re-edited. Resubmissions are not discounted as they go through the same judging process.

9. We do NOT accept dance films , music videos, PSA's, trailers, experimental, pornographic, or hate films or films with specific religious or political agendas.

Terms & Conditions

I. Southern Shorts Awards is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted for promotional purposes.

II. Southern Shorts Awards is hereby granted the right to share your contact information in specific instances when someone inquires about your production and is trying to make contact with you.

III. The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to submit the film for consideration, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations.

IV. The entrant shall indemnify and hold harmless Southern Shorts Awards from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the videos submitted.

10 Reviews

Overall Rating
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    Recognition and appreciation is so important to the artist...and we got a boatload of it from the Southern Shorts crew. Thanks for letting us participate!

    April 2017
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    Erik Carlson

    A growing festival that's definitely worth your time. One that gives you varied and well detailed feedback whether you're accepted or not, gracious, warm welcoming hosts that are dedicated to showing projects of quality that are usually overlooked by the quantity oriented festivals,, Q and As after your film is completed, and a program and networking opportunity filled with films and filmmakers around the world. Not to mention that it pulls in good sized crowds and is seasonal rather than yearly. Definitely check it out!

    April 2017
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    Cyrus Neshvad

    just one word to say : GREAT !

    March 2017
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    Robin Shieh

    Due to traveling budget, we wasn't able to attend the festival. However, SSA is so kind that they actually uploaded the whole award ceremony online! How Awesome is that!

    It's really an amazing thing to see our short film appear on a screen of a foreign country far away. Thank you so very much, SSA :) !

    January 2017
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    Randy Field

    SSA, although a new festival, understands and appreciates how to judge and award short films on merit, not in competition with each other. Being able to see the comments from the judging panel was really great. There need to be more festivals structured like SSA!

    January 2017
    Ssa fblogo2
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Randy!