We’re excited to present a COVID TIMES virtual festival. A film community built and designed to showcase outstanding short films made on Covid Times budgets and inspired by the rugged film landscape felt by the pandemic.

Virtual Cinema Festival is a film community created by filmmakers for filmmakers. In honor of the “movie going experience” the spring 2021 program kicks-off with a slate of films, director interviews and a future of cinema talkbacks from Central Cinema, a Seattle art house movie theater.

We celebrate groundbreaking and innovative storytellers who are creating within their own powers during this disruptive era. The pandemic has stripped life down to it’s bare essentials and some Guerrilla filmmakers are seeing the crisis as opportunity and are not waiting idly for the cavalry to come and fund their next project. Instead, they are tenaciously taking it to the streets, inventing new ways to develop stories, grabbing their cameras, and building movies by any means necessary.

Virtual Cinema Festival (VCF) is a seasonal roadshow festival that streams its program and conducts workshops and talkbacks from independently-owned movie palaces from all around the country. We will continue working to bring the disenfranchised film world together by connecting the film community in a new way that builds a strong future for the industry by creating spaces for dialogue and collaboration.

Virtual Cinema Festival will support and develop new and upcoming talent by showcasing short films and TV pilots that have pulled off the magic trick of not only telling a great story, but of work produced on a minimal budget.

In addition to short films and TV pilots, VCF seeks to showcase independently produced transmedia projects. A single story or story experience told across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies, allowing for even more flexibility and innovation than any other Cinema festival can offer.

Covid has stripped us down to the essentials. Now, more than ever, is our moment to showcase how collaboration and agility can set us up for a better future for film in a post pandemic world.

All finalists and winners will be invited to participate in a virtual Q&A talk back to share the story behind how their film came to be.

Spring 2021

Vintage Camera Award for Best Guerilla Film Gang (sperate category entry)

Short Cuts (under $500)
2 Semi-Finalist Awards.
2 Finalist Awards
1 Red Reel Award for Best Short Film

No-Budget Short Films ( Under $1,000)
2 Semi-Finalist Awards.
2 Finalist Awards
1 Red Reel Award for Best Short Film

Mini-budget Short Film ($1 - $10,000
2 Semi-Finalist Awards.
2 Finalist Awards
1 Red Reel Award for Best Short Film

No Budget TV Pilots (under $1,000)
1 Finalist Award
1 Red Reel for Best Short FIlm

Micro-Budget TV Pilots (under $75,000)
1 Finalist Award
1 Red Reel for Best Short Film

Transmedia Project
1 Finalist Award
1 Red Reel for Best Short Film

Awards for each of the above categories

Red Reel Award for Best Story
Red Reel Award for Best Cast
Red Reel Award for Producer
Red Reel Award for Director
Red Reel Award for Original Music

Types of Films

Spring 2021

Short Cuts
Under $500 budget
Under 10 Minutes

No-Budget Short Films
Under $1,000 Budget
Under 20 Minutes in Length

Mini-budget Short Film
Under $10,000 budget
Under 30 Minutes in Length

No Budget TV Pilots
Under $1,000. Budget
Under 30 Minutes

Micro Budget TV Pilots
Under $25,000 budget
Under 60 Minutes.

Transmedia Project
1 Reel Finalist Award
1 Red Reel for Best Short FIlm

General Eligibility

Submissions must be accompanied by the applicable submission fee PER ENTRY and a completed online entry form. All films must be in English or have English subtitles at the time submitted.

Films must be submitted as an online streaming video via a participating submission platform (FilmFreeway), a password-protected streaming URL formatting only (please test before sending).

Virtual Cinema Festival (VCF) is a virtual film festival and does NOT screen films on Blu-Ray, HD-CAM, or DCP. If you are unable or unwilling to provide us your film as a digital file for the exhibition, DO NOT SUBMIT your film.

Films must have been completed after Jan 1, 2019.

VCF reserves the right in its sole discretion to reject or disqualify any ineligible entries, without a refund.

Films that are selected to stream at the Festival are considered one of the short film official selections.

Originality and Permissions; INDEMNITY

Films must be the original work of the applicants.

Applicants are solely responsible for obtaining all necessary rights and permissions for third-party materials included in their films, including but not limited to music, trademarks, logos, copyrights, and other intellectual property rights. VCF expressly disclaims all liability or responsibility for any violations of the foregoing.

Additional Information

We strongly encourage filmmakers to submit their film only after it is fully finished and will judge each submission as a completed work, whether it is or not. Once a film is entered, we will not update the submission with a more recent cut. That said, because VCF’s focus is on story, minor technical changes will not affect the final decision of any film. Should the film be accepted to play, the filmmaker will have the opportunity to supply the Festival with their most recent version.

VCF reserves the right to switch the entry category or otherwise assign a category to fit programming needs and interests, and films will not be penalized for the original submission selection.

Once an entry payment has been received we cannot provide a refund. If a payment is disputed by an entrant for any reason, the entrant may be subject to any transaction fees or similar amounts incurred by VCF in connection with the dispute.

You MUST include your physical address either in your entry or in your cover letter. Please do not submit a film without giving us your address, which we need for our records.

Selected Films and Winners

VCF has no obligation (other than as stated in these rules or on our website) to disclose any of the following information: i) identities of screeners or judges; ii) notes, feedback, or information relating to the submitted project; and/or iii) details regarding the submission review or selection process.

VCF explicitly disclaims any liability or responsibility for any comments, notes, or opinions expressed about a submission, whether by VCF or by its volunteers.

The judges’ decision is final. Winners receiving cash prizes are solely responsible for payment of all applicable local, state, and federal taxes.

When you submit your short film to VCF for consideration and if your film is among the selected to virtually stream at the festival, it’s considered an official selection and you grant full permission for the film to stream on virtualcinema.tv and/or its subsidiary web platforms for 18 months, free and clear, when the award is endowed.

Red Reel Awards both a certificate and actual physical award of a vintage Goldberg Bros. 35mm film reel. The certificate is available upon request at no cost. The physical reel award is a limited, one-of-a-kind, hand-assembled trophy and it's available for purchase $250. USD + shipping. The Vintage Camera Award is a limited, one of a kind, hand-assembled trophy, and it's available for purchase $350. USD plus shipping.

DVDs and/or press materials will not be returned under any circumstances. Include a self-addressed, stamped postcard for each submission if you wish acknowledgment of the receipt of your entry.



I/We have read all of the rules, understand, and have complied with these rules.
I/We warrant the submission of my/our original work and that there are no disputes regarding the ownership of the submission.

I/We also warrant the submitted material does not defame or invade the rights of any person living or dead.

To the best of my/our knowledge, all the statements herein are true and correct.
I/We understand that failure to adhere to the competition rules and regulations will result in disqualification and forfeiture of entry fee.

I/We acknowledge that once an entry payment has been processed, VCF will not provide a refund.

No revisions of materials will be accepted once entry has been submitted.


Overall Rating
  • This festival is a real wonder:) Thank you so much for you profetionalism, creativity and so much dedication. And for selecting my film, of course. Highly recommended! <3

    July 2021
  • Marina Landia

    My film was selected for this festival, but I did not get any farther information. Therefore I sent an email, but did not receive any answer. Might still be a good festival, but I could not find out.

    June 2021
  • We are glad to be SELECTED FOR AWARD CONSIDERATION / SEMI-FINALIST with our "Nuovo Cinema Para-Virus" in your super festival! thank you so much!

    June 2021
  • Amazing festival! Submit your work and you won’t regret it. Very professional showcase of indie films. Having been interviewed as a finalist (Etch), you realize the time and attention dedicated to this festival. Kudos to festivals such as VCF. They cater to both small and large in helping network your hard work and creativity. Will submit again for my next film!

    June 2021