How much it costs for a short film to enter festivals

In this article, we decided to leave speculation aside and prepared a calculator to estimate how much it will cost to promote a short film at festivals in 2024.

Let’s imagine that we are captured by an ambitious goal and submit a movie with the hope of entering the film market. To do so, we must submit film to festivals, the selection and winning of which makes a case for distribution.

But let’s be realistic. The distribution system is mainly designed for a full-length movie. Accordingly, this will most likely be an intermediate stage in our film career.

Submitting a film to qualified festivals

The first step is the selection of our film for one of the qualifying festivals. We are talking about film festivals accredited by the International Federation of Films Producers Associations (FIAPF), the American Film Academy (Oscar list). The thing is that the list of festivals of the American Film Academy, as a rule, also includes FIAPF, BAFTA, European Film Award festivals. The list is updated and includes more than 160 festivals. Participation in the programs of the Academy festivals gives you the opportunity to qualify for the Oscars.

The topic of “The Best” arises with the issue of choice in the context of supply and demand. What does “the best” mean in the rich palette of film festivals today? Let’s break down what the criteria might be in the ranking. What types and kinds of film festivals play this game. This article targets filmmakers, festival organizers, and agents. (THE BEST FILM FESTIVALS’ CINEMASCOPE Read more…)

We are going to the website of International Federation of Films Producers Associations. One of the conditions of accreditation in the federation is the participation of festival programs in the film market. Currently, 24 festivals with short film programs are accredited there.

We have made a table of available FIAPF festivals that accept short films in international sections, as well as the entry fee. The point is that promoting a short film may involve applying to dozens of festivals, if not hundreds. In this case, the cost of promotion becomes a significant part of the film’s budget. The variability in submission fees of one festival is due to early or late deadlines, different categories and sections for short films.

Festival de Cannes free
Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival free
International Short Film Festival Oberhausen free
Zinebi (Bilbao) free
Mar del Plata International Film Festival free
Cinema Jove free
Festival de Cine Global Dominicano free
Fajr International Film Festival free
Busan International Film Festival 8-11 eur
Tampere Film Festival 10-14 eur
Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival 12 eur
Warsaw Film Festival 15-20 eur
Krakow International Film Festival 15-30 eur
Molodist – Kyiv International Film Festival 15-30 eur
Sydney Film Festival 36-55 usd
Locarno Film Festival 35-75 chf
Rome Film Fest 60-100 eur
Toronto International Film Festival 65-95 usd
San Sebastian International Film Festival 70 eur
Berlin International Film Festival 75 eur

As you can see, the budget for promoting a short film at the above FIAPF festivals alone will be 400-600 usd. We did not take into account specialized festivals, such as animation, documentary or thematic films. For example, Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalunya (45 eur) or Kitzbühel Film Festival (27-90 eur) for young directors.

Of course, this is by no means the entire list of major festivals. For example, Sundance is not on the FIAPF list, but it is on the list of the American Film Academy, which includes the widest range of festivals, including FIAPF or BAFTA.

We analyzed the submission fees for accredited festivals. To do so, we used Filmfreeway’s search filter for 202 qualified festivals and over 13,000 non-qualified festivals with both open and closed entries. For submission fees, we used $5 increments scale: 0-5, 6-10, 11-15, etc. We ended up with a chart like this. It is not 100% accurate, but reflects a general picture.

budget to promote short film

For instance, if our budget for promotion at qualified festivals is $800, we can submit to 20% of those festivals (41 qualified festivals on Filmfreeway) with a submission fee of $20. But in that case we won’t be able to try our luck at Sundance, where it costs between $45 and $85 to submit a short film.

The most expensive submission fee for a short film we recorded at British Urban Film Festival (120 GBP) and Cleveland International Film Festival (150 USD).

Very often, the question arises about the average budget for a short film. What is its cost, if we are talking about indie filmmaking? To answer this question, we used about 1.5 thousand short films from all over the world… AVERAGE BUDGET FOR SHORT FILM Read more…)

The cost of applying to all qualified festivals can exceed the average budget of a short film several times over. At the same time, the likelihood of selection to the most prestigious film festivals is often comparable to hitting the lottery. Thousands and thousands of films are submitted to such festivals, and the programs are often compiled of films not submitted through open call. The total program list of accredited festivals includes hundreds of short films, but hundreds of thousands of works are filmed each year. At the same time, most often authors do not have the financial resources to actively promote themselves at major festivals.

Because of this, participation in non-qualifying festivals remains an important part of a film’s life. We take into account the much lower cost and much greater likelihood of a film being selected for programs. We should highlight non-qualifying festivals that provide short films quality screening at movie theaters. Such festivals may be popular in their region, so you won’t see empty seats. A large number of participating filmmakers come to them. The organizers, volunteers love their work and create a real celebration of cinema.



How many films do film festivals accept out of the total number of movies submitted? To answer this question, we sampled 150 Academy Qualified/FIAPF/ BAFTA and 300 other festivals on the Filmfreeway. We found film festivals that shared information about the number of films submitted and the number of selected films. Then we summarized this information. At the end of this article, you will find a list of these festivals with the numbers listed. (Read more…)


In this article, we have compiled the main reasons why films are rejected by festivals, and prepared tips and recommendations to help optimize your promotion strategy and save time and money.

(Read more…)