By Mya Dredge
A list of affordable and inclusive British film festivals with submission dates to help in your decision for where to show off your work.
London Film Festival
The London Film Festival is the largest film festival in the UK. Showing over 300 films from around 50 countries. Since 1953, the festival has been held every second half of October, showing films from internally established and emerging film makers. The 4 awards presented at the London film festival are: the Best film award, granted to the most original, imaginative, and creative motion picture; Best British Newcomer Award, presented to emerging film makers; The Sutherland Trophy, awarded to the most original film; The Grierson Award, presented to the best documentary. Furthermore, some years the title of the BFI Fellowship is awarded for the achievement and work of prominent individuals, multiple of these are given out. The deadline for submitting a moving picture is June and there are no submission fees.
Aesthetica Short Film Festival
specific dates updated annually on https://filmfreeway.com/asffestival
Founded in 2011, Aesthetica Short Film Festival is held in York, UK, in the beginning of November taking in films internationally allowing 12 genres, narrative documentaries, VR projects and 360 films. Furthermore, this festival is BAFTA-Qualifying meaning that if your film s accepted by two or more film festivals it could be eligible for a BAFTA. In terms for submissions: the entries open in December; the regular submission deadline is in May with feature films costing £40, short films £25 and 360, VR and immersive £35 to submit; and the late submission deadline is June with feature films costing £55, short films £35 and 360, VR and immersive films £45 to submit. The awards for the Aesthetica Short Film Festival are: the Best of Festival Award; Best in Category, one in this award for each short, feature and VR genre strands; BAFTA Eligibility; People’s Choice Award, voted takes place during the festival; Special Awards, for Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Editing & Best Screenplay; Hijack Visionary Award, winning a post-production package from hijack for a unique and exceptional directive vision.
UK film festival
specific dates updated annually on https://filmfreeway.com/UKFilmFestival
Established in 2011, the UK Film Festival have promoted films which have gone on to be nominated and win Oscars along with connections to British broadcasters such as Channel 4. The categories for awards in this festival are: Best Animation, Best British Short Film, Best Documentary, Best Feature Film, Best Music Video, Best Short Film, Best Student Film, Special Awards for Excellence, Best Script. The festival is held in late November and the deadlines for submission range from March-£20(early bird), July-£35(regular deadline), September-£55(extended deadline) to October-£75(fast track late submission), the specific dates are updated annually on the website.
British Urban Film Festival
specific dates updated annually on https://filmfreeway.com/BritishUrbanFilmFestival
founded in 2005 by Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe MBE, the British Urban Film Festival aims to destigmatise the negative connotations of the word urban and give British people of colour and people from the LGBTQIA+ community a platform to express their stories and creativity, usually submerged by the wider film industry. This festival is BAFTA, BIFA and AMAA qualifying and is the longest standing black-owned film festival in the UK, accepting a wide variety of media such as: feature films, documentaries, short films, music videos, scripts, screenplays, and webisodes. The British Urban Film Festival varies in its event dates, though usually towards the end of the year, however in 2022. The submission dates and fees are: opening date in September, early bird in December costing £69 but £39 for students, regular deadline in March costing £99 but £56 for students, late deadline in June costing £109 but £66 for students. The rules for entering include: a script must be between 20-120 pages, feature length films must be between 44-120minutes, short films must be 3-44 minutes and all Music, Spoken Word, Dance & Moving Image videos must be no less than 3 minutes.
UK Jewish Film Festival
specific dates updated annually on https://filmfreeway.com/UKJewishFilmFestival
The UK Jewish Film Festival was curated in 1997 by Judy Ironside. This BAFTA and BIFA qualifying festival aimed to unite cultures and give people of Jewish heritage a voice which has been lost over history. Furthermore, the UK Jewish Film’s work encourages the younger Jewish population to feel proud of their heritage while promoting understanding and awareness towards the rich culture and history of this ethnoreligion. 150 screenings of 90 international films at 20 cinemas in November. The early bird submission deadline is May, costing £30 for a feature film and documentary, and £25 for a short film to submit. The regular deadline is July, costing £40 for a feature film and documentary, and £30 for a short film. The awards presented at the UK Jewish Film Festival are: the Pears Short Film Fund, which offers two grants up to £13500 for the production of a short film, animation or factual; UK Jewish Film Short Doc Fund, which rewards £1000; Dorfman Best Film Award; Best Debut Feature Award; Best Documentary Award. For all the last three mentioned awards, six films will be selected for competition with a high-profile jury drawn from the film industry.
London Short Film Festival
specific dates updated annually on https://filmfreeway.com/LondonShortFilmFestival
Established in 2003, the London Short Festival is a BAFTA-qualifying, internally regarded independent film festival. This festival is held in January for 10 days presenting 250-300 British and international films and for this reason the films can be no longer than 45 minutes. The deadlines range from April-£18(early bird), June-£25(regular deadline), August-£32(late deadline). the awards consist of; Best UK Short Film winning a £1000 grant towards your next project and a choice of financial support to travel to an international festival or training and development opportunity, plus a £1000 cash prize from the festival itself. and a £500 grant for runner up, Best International Short Film winning a £1000 grant and the runner up will win a £500 grant towards your next project, The TAASH Award for Comedy in Film, Best Lo-Budget Short Film being awarded £500.
Festival of Fantastic films
specific dates updated annually on https://filmfreeway.com/FestivalofFantasticFilmsManchester
Established in 1990, the Festival of Fantastic Films has curated a creative and eclectic environment for talent of all ages and walks of life to show off their work due to the no submission fees. The festival seeks short films of the science fiction, horror, and fantasy genres. The opening date is in mid-February with the early bird deadline being late February, the regular deadline being in June, and the late deadline being in July for the event date in October. The awards are DELTA awards given to the best science fiction, horror and fantasy short film and the best film overall will receive the Norman J Warren Trophy.
Leeds Queer Film Festival
specific dates updated annually on https://filmfreeway.com/LeedsQueerFilmFestival
Leeds Queer Film Festival, since its creation in 2005, has worked to prioritise and elevate the marginalised voices in the LGBTQ+ community. The only rule is that the films must be captioned to ensure accessibility for all people watching. Regular deadline – June, Late deadline – August. The award for LQFF is an Audience Award Cash Prize.