The INDIE short FILM FESTIVAL may sound familiar to many filmmakers, and for a good reason. Its founder launched the Indie short Film Series in 2019 in the beautiful and hip city of Charlottesville, Virginia. Due to the Series' growth in national popularity, it attracted filmmakers throughout the globe to submit their films for screening, and filmmakers traveled from coast to coast to be present in-person and speak on a panel.

The founder decided to provide filmmakers, screenwriters, and film enthusiasts with something bigger, a 3 DAY FILM FESTIVAL in March 2024, which included: up to 75 short film screenings, screenwriting competition, table reads, panel discussions, brunch award event, and a launch party w/ live performances. The success of the festival has pushed us into the early planning of the 2025 Indie short Film Festival on March 21-23.

The purpose of this festival is to provide independent filmmakers with a platform to share their stories and their process of making short films.

Top Notch filmmakers have signed on to join the festival as programmers, including a Multi-Emmy award winning documentarian, award winning producers and actors, and overall highly celebrated filmmakers. 20% of the films screened at the 2024 festival were previously screened at Sundance and other major film festivals.

What does Charlottesville has to offer? Why Charlottesville?

Charlottesville's beautiful landscape serves as the perfect backdrop for a film event. Besides serving as the home of the Virginia Film Festival and the Indie Short Film Series, it is also the home of Academy Award Winner, Sissy Spacek, John Grisham, Dave Matthews Band, football legend Howie Long and Chris Long, and many others. The event is in good company while providing an opportunity for independent filmmakers to have their storytelling presented to a live audience and to share the intimate details of their journey during moderated panel discussions.

Filmmaking Competition

Categories include best narrative, best documentary, best animation, and best of fest. Winners will win crystal awards, cash, and filmmaking equipment. It’s planned to have 100 short films to be in competition.

Screenwriting Competition - How do screenwriters fit into the film festival?

We are looking for creative writing that commands attention in a limited period of time. Genre is not important, but willingness to communicate human relationships through style, mood, pacing, and overall vision are critically important. Three monetary prizes will be awarded: 1st Place $500 - 2nd Place $300 - 3rd Place $200

Too often we hear from screenwriters that they do not feel represented at film festivals, as the spotlight shines on the films and not on un-produced scripts. Our response to help settle that concern comes by way of table reads for the top three screenplays. The table reads will be read by local actors. Screenwriters do not have to be present to win the cash prizes but they must be present to be awarded a table read. If an award winning writer cannot be present then we will offer the table read to a writer who may. We may provide video telecommunication as an option of attending. Either way, it does not negatively impact their award if they are unable to attend the event.

All Access Packages, launch party tickets, and the Sunday Brunch Award tickets go on sale mid January and individual screening blocks go on sale mid February. Be the first to know of festival updates, sign up now online: www.indieshortfilmfestival.com

The Break Down of the Festival (Times May Change Slightly):

Friday, March 21
Screening Blocks Each with a Q&A - Violet Crown Theater 1p-9p
Launch Party - Common House 9p-12:30a

Saturday, March 22

Screening Blocks Each with a Q&A - Violet Crown Theater 9a-5p
Panel Discussions - Common House 10a-4p
Screening Blocks Each with a Q&A - Vinegar Hill Theatre 12p-9p

Sunday, March 23
Table Read of Three Top Screenplays - The Vault 9:30a-11:30a
The Sunday Brunch Award - The Vault/Bradbury 11:30a-1p
Screening Blocks Each with a Q&A - Vinegar Hill Theatre 1p-7p

Press Articles About the Film Series Prior to the Spinoff to the Festival.

March 2024 Newspaper Article:
https://dailyprogress.com/news/local/inaugural-indie-short-film-festival-in-charlottesville-is-selling-out-of-tickets-fast/article_6bc92798-e66b-11ee-8a8d-23ced15b8f1c.html

September 2023 Newspaper Article:
https://dailyprogress.com/life-entertainment/local/movies-tv/indie-short-film-series-concludes-season-with-saturday-screening/article_5dc2907c-58e4-11ee-87bb-ff134fc8b6ae.html

August 2023 Newspaper Article:
https://dailyprogress.com/life-entertainment/local/movies-tv/indie-short-film-series-at-vinegar-hill-theatre-explores-different-expressions-of-love/article_c1a5c492-3c4c-11ee-bf02-4bb7d24e7cab.html

July 2023 Newspaper Article:
https://dailyprogress.com/life-entertainment/local/freedom-house-ambulance-shares-stories-of-black-emergency-personnel/article_4b008010-178b-11ee-911c-c7d0615caf0f.html

April 2023 Newspaper Article:
https://dailyprogress.com/entertainment/movies/comedian-director-brings-fat-stripper-to-indie-short-film-series/article_a3dcda40-d7de-11ed-9959-dfbb1cb1e697.html

December 2022 Newspaper Article:
https://dailyprogress.com/entertainment/movies/uva-alumna-joins-women-in-film-screening-discussion/article_1a23fe44-7101-11ed-93a5-cf637783c7f8.html

September 2022 Newspaper Article: https://dailyprogress.com/entertainment/movies/indie-short-film-series-turns-lens-on-womens-projects-processes/article_69b29654-3ab1-11ed-9e59-fff69bc527c6.html

June 2022 Newspaper Article:
https://dailyprogress.com/entertainment/movies/indie-short-film-series-explores-two-lives-on-a-long-night/article_c7cbe458-e5e2-11ec-925c-a7201378e7b8.html

The organizers of the Indie short Film Festival (IsFF) has visited many festivals and although we shy away from criticizing other festivals, we do believe that tangible awards should always be up for grabs for a filmmaker in competition.

All Categories will have an Audience Choice Award Without a Separate Entry Fee. This is courtesy on us. Audience Choice Winner will Receive a Crystal Award.

Awards & Prizes:

Cash Prizes
Crystal/Glass Awards
Camera Package/Film Equipment

Screenwriting Awards:

1st Place - $500
2nd Place - $300
3rd Place - $200

All film submissions must have a total running time less than 30 minutes.
All screenplay submissions must not exceed 25 pages. (Rules for Script Submissions are at the end of this section)

Submissions must not be X-Rated.
Filmmakers must have the cleared rights of all materials appearing in the film such as: talent (actors), music, art, etc and hold the Indie Short Film Series and its organizers and sponsor affiliates harmless of any liability associated with showing the film publicly.

BELOW IS THE LONG FORM:

Terms and Conditions:

I, the authorized representative of the project being submitted (hereafter called the "Project") to INDIE SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (hereafter called the “ISFF” or "INDIE SHORT FILM FESTIVAL") for consideration for the INDIE SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (hereafter called the “Festival”), hereby acknowledge the following:

1. I represent and warrant to the ISFF that: (a) I am duly authorized, on my own behalf and on behalf of all other persons or entities who have any ownership rights or interests (including, without limitation, intellectual property rights) in or relating to the Project (hereafter called the “Project’s Owners”), to exhibit this Project at the Festival, (b) exhibition of the Project at the Festival will not violate any law or any right or consent of any person or entity; and (c) the Project is not subject to any litigation, arbitration, or other adversarial claim or proceeding, nor is the Project the subject of any threat of litigation, arbitration, or other adverse claim or proceeding.

2. I further represent and warrant, on behalf of myself and the Project’s Owners, that the exhibition of the Project at the Festival will not violate or infringe any copyright, patent, privacy right, publicity right, trademark, service mark or any other personal or property right of any person or entity, and that the Project does not constitute or include a defamation of any person or entity. I have paid and will pay in full all license fees, clearance fees, and other obligations, of any kind, arising from or associated with the exhibition of the Project at or in connection with the Festival.

3. In the event that the Project is accepted by the ISFF for inclusion in the Festival, I acknowledge, on behalf of myself and the Project’s Owners, that the ISFF’ exhibition or presentation of the Project at the Festival does not and will not create any confidential or fiduciary relationship between the ISFF on the one hand and myself and/or the Project’s Owners on the other. I further acknowledge, on behalf of myself and the Project’s Owners, that I and we understand that neither I nor any of the Project’s Owners will receive any compensation for such exploitation, although some prizes at the Festival may include cash awards. I acknowledge that no obligation of any kind is assumed by, or may be implied against, the ISFF or the Festival in the event of, by virtue of, or as a result of the ISFF' selection of the Project for the Festival. I and the Project’s Owners understand and acknowledge that the selection of the Project for inclusion in the Festival does not and will not in any way constitute an express or implied endorsement or approval by the ISFF or the Festival of the content of the Project or any opinion expressed therein.

4. I agree, on behalf of myself and each of the Project’s Owners, to indemnify and hold harmless the ISFF and the Festival, together with each of their parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors, employees, attorneys, creative advisors, agents and representatives (collectively, “ISFF Related Parties”), from and against any and all claims, losses, liabilities, damages, fees and expenses (including, but not limited to, reasonable attorneys’ fees and other costs) that may be asserted by any person or entity, or may be incurred by the Institute, the Festival, or any ISFF Related Parties, at any time in connection with the Project or the ISFF' use, handling, consideration or exhibition thereof, and/or arising from any breach or alleged breach of any representation made by me to the ISFS, the Festival or any ISFF Related Parties, including, without limitation, any express or implied representation in these Terms and Conditions.

5. I warrant and agree, on behalf of myself and each of the Project’s Owners, that the Project is being submitted to the ISFF voluntarily and without promise or inducement, and that the submission of the Project neither imposes nor creates any obligation or responsibility on the part of the ISFF, the Festival, or any ISFF Related Parties to accept the Project for inclusion in the Festival, to exhibit the Project at the Festival, to acknowledge the submission of the Project, or to return the Project to me or others. I further agree, on my own behalf and on behalf of the Project’s Owners, that I and the Project’s Owners, and any other representative or person affiliated with the Project, in submitting the Project for consideration, are waiving, forfeiting, forgoing and relinquishing any right that I or we might otherwise have to assert any claim or commence any proceeding in any forum or tribunal against the ISFF, the Festival, or any ISFF Related Parties, based upon, arising out of or otherwise relating to the submission, exhibition or failure to exhibit the Project (including, without limitation, claims relating to any failure or refusal to exhibit the Project at the Festival, the exhibition or marketing of the Project at or in connection with the Festival, alleged oral or written representations by the Festival or its representatives relating to the submission or exhibition of the Project, and any other matters arising from or relating to the submission of the Project), whether such claims may be based on theories of contract, implied contract, tort, statute, or other legal theory (hereinafter, “Claim”). In the event that any Claim is asserted, or any action, arbitration or other proceeding is brought or commenced, in violation of the agreement set forth in the immediately preceding sentence, I agree, on my own behalf and on behalf of each of the Project’s Owners, to indemnify the ISFF and the Festival from any and all Claims, losses, liabilities, damages, fees and expenses (including, but not limited to, reasonable attorneys’ fees and other costs) that are incurred by the ISFF, the Festival and any ISFF Related Parties as a result of or in connection with any such Claim or any action, arbitration or other proceeding brought in violation of the representations and agreements set forth in this paragraph.

6. Without in any way limiting the provisions or scope of the agreements set forth in paragraph 5 above and paragraph 10 below, I further agree and accept that, in the event that any Claim is asserted, or any action, arbitration or other proceeding is brought or commenced, by me, any of the Project’s Owners, or any other representative of or person affiliated with the Project, in violation of the agreements set forth in paragraph 5 above, and in the further event that an arbitrator or other tribunal should permit such Claim to proceed despite the waiver language set forth in paragraph 5 above, the sole and maximum remedy that could be awarded to me or any other person or entity asserting any Claim shall be a refund of the submission fee paid in connection with the submission of the Project to the ISFF for consideration for the Festival. Under no circumstances shall any other remedy, including without limitation actual, expectancy, reliance, consequential, special, punitive or exemplary damages, or any other damages, or injunctive, declaratory, provisional or other relief, be available to me, the Project’s Owners, or any other person or entity representing or affiliated with the Project.

7. In the event that the Project is accepted by the ISFF for inclusion in and exhibition at the Festival, I hereby grant, on behalf of myself and each of the Project’s Owners, each of the following rights to the ISFF, the Festival, and any ISFF Related Parties without reservations, conditions or qualifications: (a) the right to use footage, stills and/or titles, and information from or relating to the Project for promotional purposes; and (b) the right to issue and authorize publicity concerning the filmmakers and the Project and to use all associated names, likenesses and biographical information. I also agree to provide up-to-date contact information pertaining to the director(s) and producer(s) of the Project, and to grant the ISFS and the Festival, at their sole and absolute discretion, the right to provide this information to film industry organizations that sponsor Festival events.

8. In the event that the Project is accepted by the ISFF for inclusion in and exhibition at the Festival, and I or the Project’s Owners have contractual obligations to any producers, distributors, creators, cast or crew regarding "festival benefits" (which may include but are not limited to production credits, screening tickets, Festival credentials or monetary compensation), I agree and accept that those “festival benefits” must be administered and distributed by myself and/or the Project’s Owners, and do not impact the nature or quantity of benefits provided by ISFF.

9. I warrant and agree, on behalf of myself and each of the Project’s Owners, that the ISFF has made no claims, representations or guarantees, and has provided no assurances, in relation to the internal process utilized by the Institute with respect to selection of projects for inclusion in the Festival, and that the submission of the Project neither imposes nor creates any obligation or responsibility on the part of the ISFF, the Festival, or any ISFF Related Parties to provide me, the Project’s Owners, or my or their related parties with comments, feedback or other information pertaining to the viewing or consideration of the Project by the ISFF for possible inclusion in the Festival.

10. I warrant and agree, on behalf of myself and each of the Project’s Owners, that by submitting the Project to the Indie Short Film Festival, I hereby grant the ISFF and all persons employed by, contracted by, or otherwise directly associated with ISFF the irrevocable right to view and/or download all digital assets associated with the Project, including, but not limited to, any representation of the Project in the form of video files, still images, assets streamed via the Internet, and/or all other assets and information provided by the Applicant on the application. All digital assets referenced above shall remain active and accessible by the ISFF until the conclusion of the Festival. Any dissemination of these materials, incidental or otherwise, shall not be the responsibility of the ISFF or any ISFF Related Parties.

11. I represent that I am 18 years of age or older, or that, if I am younger than the legal age to enter into contracts in my state, I have provided the Indie Short Film Series with signed, written consent from my parent or legal guardian.

12. Without in any way limiting the provisions or scope of the agreements set forth in paragraph 5 above, I further agree, on behalf of myself and each of the Project’s Owners, that any claim, dispute or controversy arising out of, in connection with, or otherwise related to the Project, the Festival, or these Terms and Conditions, including, without limitation, any Claim (as this term is defined above) and any other claim or cause of action of any nature arising from the actual or alleged breach, termination, enforcement, interpretation or validity of these Terms and Conditions, as well as the determination of the scope or applicability of this agreement to arbitrate, will be governed by the internal, substantive laws of the State of Virginia and will be subject to and submitted to exclusive, binding arbitration before a single arbitrator in Charlottesville, Virginia, which shall be the sole and exclusive forum for determination of such claim, dispute or controversy. The arbitrator shall issue a written award and, subject to the terms of paragraph 6 hereof, shall have the right to award monetary relief. I specifically agree and acknowledge, however, that the arbitrator shall not have the power to award punitive or exemplary damages, nor shall the arbitrator have the power to order the Institute to include the Project in the Festival or to award other injunctive or non-monetary relief. The arbitrator shall have the power to award, and shall be required to award, to the substantially prevailing party in any such arbitration, its reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses incurred in connection with the arbitration (including, without limitation, reimbursement of that party’s share of the arbitrator’s fees and administrative charges). The arbitrator’s award shall be final, binding and non-appealable. Judgment on the arbitrator’s award may be entered in any federal or state court of competent jurisdiction in the United States. In agreeing to this exclusive arbitration provision, I hereby waive, forfeit and relinquish, on behalf of myself and each of the Project’s Owners, any right or entitlement that I or the Project’s Owners might otherwise have had to bring or litigate any claim or claims encompassed by this paragraph in any federal or state court against the Institute, the Festival, or any Indie Short Film Series Related Party, and further waive, forfeit and relinquish any right to a trial by jury with respect to such claim or claims.

13. I hereby acknowledge that I have the right to consult with an attorney of my own choosing with respect to these Terms and Conditions and with respect to the Rules and Regulations for submitting a project to the Festival. By completing my submission application for the Indie short Film Festival's consideration, I agree that I am doing so after having consulted with an attorney or after I freely or voluntarily elected not to do so without coercion or duress.

14. I hereby acknowledge that I have read and understood the Rules and Regulations for submitting a project to the Festival, and that the information contained in said Rules and Regulations does and shall supersede any information obtained elsewhere, including, but not limited to, information contained in any current Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) documents and/or rules and regulations documents from prior years.

15. By completing my submission application for INDIE SHORT FILM FESTIVAL consideration via FilmFreeway, I freely and voluntarily give and express my full and complete acceptance of all of the terms and provisions set forth in these Terms and Conditions. I acknowledge that no oral representations, inducements, promises or assurances of any kind, and no representations, inducements, promises or assurances not set forth in these Terms and Conditions, have been made to me or the Project’s Owners by the Festival, or any INDIE SHORT FILM FESTIVAL Related Parties.

Script/Screenplay Rules:

1) The cover page should include the title and contact information (name, email address, etc.). Logline and genre on the cover page is preferred, but not required.
2) Co-writers are allowed. Only one name permitted as the entrant. Prizes will be awarded to the entrant of the script.
3) PDF document submission required. Material should be submitted in proper format, font, spacing, and margins.
4) Script should be no more than 25 pages in length. All genres are allowed.
5) Professional writers who have earned more than $20,000 in the previous year with their script writing are not eligible.
6) No limit on the number of entries. Each entry is a separate fee.
7) All rights to the material remain with the entrant, whether they place as a finalist or not.
8) Submitted scripts must be the original work of the entrant and shall not infringe on any copyrights or other rights of third parties.
9) The script entered must not have been produced in its full form.
10) Must be at least eighteen (18) years of age at time of entry.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • This was my second visit to Charlottesville with a movie. Last year as part of the Indie Short Film Series of April 2023 and this year at the Indie Short Film Festival with my animated short "It Was Only a Dream". My film was screened in the Violet Crown theater and I was very pleased with the image and sound quality. It would have been nice if other animated filmmakers had been present for the Q&A, but they came from far and wide and I was the only local.

    It was stimulating to engage with filmgoers and other filmmakers, something that you only get at a live festival. It is impressive what Ty Cooper accomplished organizing the first edition of this festival and I'm sure future ones will only get better.

    April 2024
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    Response from festival:

    Job, you are an amazing animator. You are correct, I believe all of the other animators were from overseas and some of them came to the states to be present at Sundance, so returning again was a tall order but we were happy that you were present for the Q&A after your screening.

  • This festival was excellent and I will definitely attend/submit again! Ty Cooper and his team did an amazing job showcasing a wide range of eclectic programming - from all levels of technical experience ( from first year filmmakers all the way to selections from Sundance and Cannes!), and all facets of life. The networking events were excellent too. The theaters were within 3 minutes walking distance of each other on the downtown mall, which meant I would constantly run into filmmakers and festival goers! The festival has high quality taste with a cultural hometown warmth.

    April 2024
  • Mary Emily Deal

    It was a wonderful festival with wonderful people! I made some great connections. I truly enjoyed it and it was such a pleasure to receive a reading of my script. It helped tremendously in making the needed changes before production.

    April 2024
  • David Schroeder

    Honored to be selected as the winner for Best Screenplay and to receive a fantastic table read from nearly a dozen local actors. Great opportunities to engage with producers, directors, sponsors, etc, all of whom were enthusiastic and engaged. My only regret is that due to prior engagements, I was only able to attend the reading and awards brunch. I would have loved to have seen the movie submissions.

    April 2024
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    Response from festival:

    We really appreciated reading your script. You have a great skill in storytelling so we applaud you. I hope to see this screenplay in production sooner than later.

  • Had a great time at this festival and really appreciated the fact they were willing to fit our 30 minute short into their programming! It’s hard out here for those with longer projects but our team felt welcome and were so happy to be included in the screenings! Was also very happy to be alongside so many other talented filmmakers from Virginia and beyond.

    March 2024