IWM Short Film Festival

IWM’s Short Film Festival is a showcase of imaginative and challenging films inspired by our collections and our role - to explore the causes, course, and consequences of war and conflict, and its impact on people’s lives.

Call for entries

Submissions to the 2016 IWM Short Film Festival are now closed. Shortlisting is currently taking place and the successful filmmakers will be informed by 1 December 2015.

All shortlisted films will be screened at IWM London.

Festival screenings

Screenings will take place in the cinema at IWM London every day between Friday 26 February to Monday 7 March 2016. The programme will be announced after shortlisting.


Awards will be presented in the following categories:

  • Best documentary
  • Best creative response
  • Best use of IWM archive material
  • Best student film
  • Winner of the audience vote

View past Film Festival winners on our IWM Short Film Festival Vimeo channel

Interested in submitting to the next IWM Short Film Festival?

We’re working out details for future IWM Short Film Festivals. Read the 2016 FAQs for information on how to submit.

Our judging criteria

General points

Production values, while important, are not the most important consideration when judging the films, we welcome films from first time, student and amateur filmmakers.

Originality of subject matter - the Judges will be looking out for less well known content and stories.

Submissions should use IWM collections or should be based on our subject matter in its broadest sense (doesn’t need to be about IWM subject matter if it uses IWM collections and vice versa). IWM tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since 1914. We challenge people to look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives.

The Judges will consider how the films:

  • Use archive material ethically
  • Tackle the subject matter objectively
  • Make historically accurate use of source material
  • Make sensitive treatment of material and subject matter


The Judges will be looking for:

  • A factual approach or using factual accounts
  • Historical accuracy
  • Balanced approach to the subject matter
  • Challenging or imaginative approach to the subject matter
  • Films don’t have to be in a standard documentary format
  • Coherence

Creative Response

The Judges will be looking for:

  • Artistic merit
  • Challenging more formal ideas of filmmaking in content and structure
  • Compelling ideas and conceits
  • Clever or imaginative use of archive material
  • Quality of script and plot

Best use of IWM archive material

Film must contain collections held by the IWM, such as: film, photographs, sound, art, exhibits. The Judges will be looking for:

  • Historically accurate use of archive material
  • Innovative and creative use of archive material
  • Employment of rare or unusual archive material
  • Intelligent and sensitive use of archive material
  • Archive material is key to the success of the film
  • Does the film broaden or deepen are understanding of the subject?

Additional information

There will also be awards for:

  • The best film made by a student. All films indicated on the entry form as being made by students, in full or part-time education, will be entered into this award. Films must be made whilst the filmmaker was a member of an educational institution.
  • The winner of the audience vote

More questions? Consult our FAQs.


For more information, please check out our FAQs.

Past winners

View past Film Festival winners on our IWM Short Film Festival Vimeo channel.

Submission form

Submit your film using the following form.