The LJMU MA Short Film Festival was first held in April 2021, originally as an online-only festival. Since 2023, it has grown to include a selection of in-person screenings and a live awards ceremony. The festival is curated, promoted and organised by students as part of the MA Film at Liverpool John Moores University, guided by LJMU staff. We are a global celebration of the student short film: fiction, documentary and animation.

In addition to our online screenings and live events, we offer featured filmmakers the opportunity to network and promote their films to our audience across the world, via Q&A sessions which are live-streamed on our YouTube channel. Our extensive promotional and marketing campaign also ensures visibility across all of the major social media outlets, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter/X.

Submissions are open to students and alumni from ANY INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION and/or FILM SCHOOL provided their submission was made as part of their student work and completed after JANUARY 2021.

We are proud to present the Paper Bird Award in the following four categories:

-The Red Paper Bird for Best Fiction Film
-The Yellow Paper Bird for Best Animation
-The Purple Paper Bird for Best Documentary
-The Grey Paper Bird for Best Experimental Film

We also award a fifth Paper Bird: The White Paper Bird Audience Award, which goes to the film that receives the most votes from our audience across the duration of the festival.

Films must have been completed after January 1, 2021.

The festival welcomes student fiction, student documentary and student animation films with a maximum length of 20 minutes, from the UK, Europe and beyond.

A maximum of three film submissions per filmmaker is permitted. Exceeding this amount will result in disqualification.

All films not in the English language must include English subtitles.

The films do not need to be premieres.

Submissions are open to students and alumni from any Higher Education Institute and/or Film School.

The LJMU MA Short Film Festival can use parts of your film (including trailer/teaser/film poster) for promotional purposes.

You own the rights to the film.

If your film is selected for the programme, we will contact you separately to receive your permission to make the film available for viewing for the duration of the festival.

You must ensure that there are no outstanding copyright or licensing issues with any of the material or soundtrack in your film.

Overall Rating
  • Tanja Ploner

    Very cool, there was a Q & A that was live streamed on YouTube as well as an Award Show. The communication was great and everyone involved seemed so passionated about it.

    April 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Tanja! We are proud to have had your film at our festival.

  • Ramon Faria

    It was a pleasure be part of LJMU MA Short Film Festival with my short and also participate on the live meeting.
    Lars and Lydia made ir amazing.

    May 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much Ramon!

  • Gordon Moore

    I was honored to win a Paper Bird Award from the LJMU MA Short Film Festival with my film "Rain Pot."
    This was one of my best festival experiences. Lars and Lydia made the festival feel intimate despite the virtual format. Was a pleasure watching the other films and navigating their website. This festival went above and beyond with the small details, like the actual Paper Bird award that was handmade by an LJMU student, and the great jury panel of faculty and students alike.

    May 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your kind words, Gordon!! So glad you enjoyed the films

  • Pınar Yıldırım Karaman

    First of all, I am very happy to be a member of the LJMU MA Short Film Festival family.
    Thank you for everything.

    May 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Pinar!

  • Leila Ahang

    That was very well planned and organized, In the time of with pandemic it was a great effort. Thanks to the team of LJMU Short film Festival

    May 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Leila!!