IWM Short Film Festival

Open to all, IWM’s Short Film Festival 2014 is a showcase of imaginative and challenging films inspired by our collections and our role – to explore the causes of war and conflict, and its impact on people’s lives.

Submissions for 2014 are now closed. Check back for details about next year’s IWM Short Film Festival.

The award categories are Best Documentary and Best Creative Response. There will also be an award for the Audience Vote and a Special Award that will be presented to the film that best responds to the First World War.

The judging panel for the IWM Short Film Festival includes experts from different creative disciplines. Journalist, author and playwright Bonnie Greer and film producer Richard Melman, from Spring Films, will judge each category alongside IWM’s Short Film Festival Director Matt Lee and Founding Director Toby Haggith. Prizes include £10,000 worth of production time at Prime Focus and a paid 12-month internship with October Films.

We will be showing a shortlist of the films at IWM London from 23 October 2014 – 10 November, and the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony held at IWM London on 1 December 2014. Following the announcement, all winners and runners-up will be shown at IWM North.

Visit our FAQs for the latest information.

Find out more about 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

Best Documentary

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

Additional information

There will also be prizes awarded for:

  • The film which best tackles this year’s special theme, the First World War
  • The winner of the audience vote
  • More questions? Consult our FAQs.


Submission Form

Closing date for submissions of entries is midnight Thursday 31 July 2014.

Fill in the submission form

Past Winners

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

View the channel


Come along to our filmmaking masterclass on 15 May 2014 at IWM North in Manchester to learn tips and techniques.

More about our masterclass