How do I submit?

Please read the information on our How to Enter page, then fill out the submission form on IWM Film Festival’s FilmFreeway page.

Who can enter?

Anyone can enter. We especially encourage submissions from student and amateur filmmakers.

What’s the maximum film length?

30 minutes. Films submitted which are longer than 30 minutes will not be considered for the Festival.

How recently do films need to have been made?

Films should have been completed after 1 January 2013. Films completed before this date will not be considered for the Festival. Films which have been previously submitted to IWM Short Film Festival will not be considered for re-submission.

Does my film have to be about war?

No, the film must be inspired by IWM and its collections, but our collections are incredibly varied. In the past we've had films submitted that have used black out film from the Second World War to explore the theme of astronomy, film covering the history of lidos and how rockets were developed.

Do I have to use IWM collections in the film?

No, but the film must be inspired by IWM and its collections. We do, however, encourage filmmakers to use our collections, which include an extensive film archive. There will be a special award for the film that makes best use of IWM archive material.

How do I access IWM collections?

You can explore a catalogue of around 800,000 items by using our collections search. There are a huge range of items, big and small, from aircraft down to shoes, photographs and films. Over 130,000 of them have digitised images, sound or video. If you are looking for film specifically, please explore the IWM Film Sales site.

Is there a special rate for obtaining IWM Archive material to use in the film?

This year filmmakers entering the Short Film Festival are eligible to use up to five films, five photographs and three audio recordings from IWM collections free of charge. All material must be already digitised. Any material that falls outside of this offer will be subject to a charge. Additional terms and conditions apply.

To take advantage of this offer, search IWM’s collections, make a note of the IWM catalogue number(s), and then email FilmFestival@iwm.org.uk to discuss the process and arrange the transfer.

What is the special category award?

The IWM Short Film Festival special award category changes each year to link with IWM’s exhibition seasons. The focus for 2018 is Making a New World, a new IWM exhibition season coming up in 2018. The festival therefore actively encourages creative responses that explore how the First World War has shaped the society we live in today.

My film is anti-war, can I still enter?

Yes, we welcome varied submissions inspired by IWM and its collections.

For more information see our judging criteria.



When is the submission deadline?

The deadline for submissions is midnight on Friday 27 April 2018. Films should be uploaded to FilmFreeway, and submission must be received through FilmFreeway by that date. IWM will contact all shortlisted entrants by Friday 27 July 2018. Unfortunately, IWM is not able to contact unsuccessful entrants. If you do not hear from us by 27 July 2018, please assume that your entry has not been selected. Shortlisted entries will be required to submit a screening copy via memory stick by Friday 17 August 2018.

How much does it cost?

Due to a substantial increase in submissions over the past few years, IWM Short Film Festival has introduced a small submission fee to cover administrative costs. Filmmakers can benefit from early bird prices: from 4 December 2017 until 30 March 2018 students can submit their films for $7*, and all other filmmakers for $13*. From 31 March 2018 to 27 April 2018, students will pay $13*, whilst other filmmakers will pay $20* standard.

*FilmFreeway is a Canadian company which charges for submissions in US Dollars. The total amount in British Pounds will vary on the day due to the exchange rate. Filmmakers will also need to cover any bank charges incurred when making payment to FilmFreeway.

Can I submit more than one film?

Yes, but you must complete a separate submission form and provide separate versions of the required materials for each film.

What are the categories for submission?

Films should be submitted under one of the following categories:

  • Documentary
  • Creative response

There will be four additional awards:

  • IWM Special Category: Making a New World*
  • Best Student Film
  • Best Use of IWM Archive
  • Audience Vote Award**


*This special category encourages creative responses exploring how the First World War has shaped the society we live in today.

**All shortlisted films will be eligible for the Audience Vote Award.


I work at or am involved with a university/college/school/film society and need to submit a large batch of films, what do I do?

Email us at filmfestival@iwm.org.uk and we'll discuss the best plan.


Festival screenings

When and where will the films be screened?

The exact dates and location of IWM Short Film Festival haven’t been announced yet. Only shortlisted films will feature in the Festival. Shortlisted entrants will be contacted by Friday 27 July 2018. A more detailed festival programme will be announced in autumn 2018.

How many films get submitted and how many of these are normally screened?

For the Festival in 2017 we had 681 entries of which 37 were shortlisted and screened.

Do you show films that aren’t part of the competition?

All films that are submitted will be part of the Festival competition. Filmmakers will need to decide which category – Documentary or Creative Response – they are entering when they complete their submission form.

When will the winners be announced?

There will be awards in the following categories:

  • The Annie Dodds Award for Best Documentary
  • Best Creative Response
  • IWM Special Category: Making a New World
  • Best Student Film
  • Best Use of IWM Archive
  • Audience Vote Award


Winners in the five judged categories will be announced at an awards ceremony held at the start of the festival. The ceremony will be attended by the festival organisers and sponsors, the festival judging panel, professionals from across the film industry, shortlisted filmmakers, members of the press and other special invited guests. The winner of the Audience Vote Award will be announced after the end of the screenings through IWM's digital channels.

More information

Can I view the films by the previous winners?

View some of the previous winners online.

I would like to be kept in the loop about updates.

Sign up to the Short Film Festival mailing list to receive festival updates.