The Highland Square Film Festival is an annual celebration of Akron’s film talent along with select shorts from around the world. Established in 2017, the festival aims to bring together a wide and diverse local film scene one weekend a year. Film making workshops, panel discussions, artist spotlights and more are all part of the event which culminates in a short film showcase featuring amateur filmmakers and seasoned pros alike.

Films from Ohio based filmmakers will be given preference to others but all are welcome to submit for consideration.

Best Narrative Short
Best Documentary Short
Best Music Video
Best Experimental Short
Best Animated Short
Best Student Short Film (18 or under)
Best Trailer for a Feature Length Film


The following is an explanation of the Rules and Guidelines governing film submissions to the 2023 Highland Square Film Festival. Compliance with these Rules and Guidelines is necessary in order to participate in the Film Festival. Submission of a film implies unconditional acceptance of the Rules & Guidelines, therefore, please carefully read through the Rules prior to submitting your film. If you have any questions, please contact the Highland Square Film Festival:

1. The Highland Square Film Festival is ONLY accepting SHORT FILM submissions (under 10 minutes) for films in the following categories:

(Must be under 10 minutes): Narrative, Animated, Documentary, Experimental, Music Video, Trailers for Features, LGBTQ and Student (18 and under).

2. The Entrant/s submitting the film must hold all legal rights for the submission, as well as all necessary clearances for public exhibition.

3. The Filmmakers retain all submission and intellectual property rights.

5. Films may be submitted electronically via FilmFreeway.

6. The Filmmaker is responsible for making sure all submission materials are submitted by the submission deadline indicated. If your film does not arrive or is not uploaded by the deadline for which you have registered, you may be required to pay the higher submission fee or withdrawn.

7. Subtitles must be in English.

8. Please keep screener links and passwords up-to-date and notify the SFiFF office promptly with any changes.

9. Filmmakers are allowed to submit more than one film for the Festival provided that each film is submitted separately.

10. A student submitting a film must provide a photocopy of a current and valid student ID or a letter from his/her school verifying enrollment.

11. Filmmakers submitting through FilmFreeway can check their status through the website.

12. All personal contact information is to remain confidential and not to be shared with any third parties.

13. The Highland Square Film Festival reserves the right to use images from films selected in the Festival for marketing purposes.

14. All decisions regarding award winners are considered final and incontestable.

15. Applicants acknowledge that The Highland Square Film Festival reserves the right to change the nature of screenings and events due to circumstances related to public health and welfare or at the direction of local, state, or federal authorities. In such cases, no submission refunds shall be issued.

Overall Rating
  • Awesome Staff and Great Communication.

    May 2023
  • Joe Baker

    I had a great time at the festival! Everyone was really nice and it was easy to understand the layout and the schedule.

    May 2022
  • Angela Xayavong

    Had an amazing time at the High Square Film Festival! It is one of my favorite film festivals so far because of how personable it was. I loved how there were different vendors set up on the street, so you get to see what Highland Square is all about. I am honored to be part of the festival, can't wait for next year!

    May 2022