Shorts Challenge

Shorts Challenge Theme

As we embark on the next decade of the Annapolis Film Festival after celebrating our 10th Anniversary last year, the overall theme for this year’s festival is LOOKING BEYOND. And this hopeful mantra informs our Shorts Challenge this year, with the official theme of ENVISIONING TOMORROW.  

The theme can be interpreted in a literal sense or a metaphorical sense. Your project can be a personal story or a larger, societal story, using fiction or a documentary format. Your story can be as intimate as a character struggling to get through the day with hopes of a better tomorrow, or it can be as grand as documenting a positive solution for the future of a community, our country, or our planet. It can be as technical as the future of the film medium itself or it can be as philosophical as the future of storytelling. Your subject can be told through a comedic lens or a dramatic lens…science fiction or reality…but it should be an inspiring take on the future.

We hope this theme sparks your imagination. Please let us know how you are Envisioning Tomorrow.

How to Apply

Please submit the following:

1) A synopsis of your short film concept that meets this theme. No more than one page is advised. Both narrative and documentary concepts are accepted but no animation.
2) A photo deck of prospective film characters or subjects and/or a written description of the main ones. Video clips allowed, but not required.
3) A short preliminary budget
4) A personal bio/resume

Please email all of this to  no later than Friday, Feb. 17, 2023.

The Process

All proposals will be reviewed by a selected group of industry professionals. Five film projects will be chosen for a live pitch session during the Annapolis Film Festival, March 23 – 26, 2023, to be held in front of a festival audience. Filmmakers will have five to seven minutes to pitch their stories and show short clips (if available, not mandatory) of their concept to a panel of industry judges on the stage who will critique the pitches in front of the audience.  After all the pitches are completed, the audience will vote. The combined vote of the judges, curators, and audience will determine the award-winner, which will be announced at the Saturday Bash and again at the Best of Fest on Sunday

The Prize

The five finalists will be given one round-trip ticket to the festival, one hotel room for up to four nights, 2 All-Access passes and a chance to win the video, sound and post package which includes:

1) Sound design, foley, audio mix from Baltimore's Studio Unknown OR Sound Department located in Los Angeles, CA. (specific time and availability parameters apply)

2) A lighting package from Serious Grip and Electric (near Baltimore - Shipping & insurance costs covered by filmmaker, 7 days includes shipping)

3) A camera and sound rental package from a Baltimore or D.C. based company (7 day camera rental - Shipping & insurance costs covered by filmmaker, 7 days includes shipping)

4) Post-production online package near D.C. (specific time and availability parameters apply)

This is valued at approximately $30k in goods and services!

The Premiere

The short film will premiere at the Annapolis Film Festival in 2024. However, we will review the film as it is being made and it will have to meet our usual standards for final acceptance. If the film should be invited to screen at another festival first, the filmmaker should get permission from the Annapolis Film Festival. We will determine, on a case-by-case basis, if the film can screen at another festival first.

The submission deadline is Feb. 17, 2023. The notification date is Feb. 22, 2023.

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