Sydney Film Festival

SFF // Sydney Film Festival

67th edition

Jun 03 - Jun 14, 2021
Sydney, Australia

Open Call Open to Public Competitive Market Special Fees

Festival type Real Venue Festival
Types of films Animation, Children, Docu-feature, Documentary, Experimental, Hybrids, Narrative fiction
Film length Full length, Mid-length, Short
Genre Action, Adventure, Alternative, Art, Avantgarde, B-Movie, Biography, Burlesque, Classics, Comedy, Comedy drama, Crime, Culture, Dance, Dark comedy, Drama, Dramedy, Environmental, Family, Fantastic, Fantasy, Film noir, Foreign, Health, Hip Hop, History, Horror, Human rights, Independent, Kids, LGBT, Live Action, Melodrama, Mockumentary, Music, Musical, Mystery, Parody, Post modern, Realism, Reality, Road Trip, Romance, Romantic comedy, Satire, Science, Science fiction, Social issues, Spiritual, Surreal, Thriller, Transgender, Underground, Urban, War, Western

Mission / description For 67 years, the Sydney Film Festival has been bringing the best new films from around the world to audiences in Australia. As well as new features from over 60 countries, SFF screens documentaries, short films and retrospective titles. The festival hosts a number of awards to recognise excellence in filmmaking, including the Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films, (which are Academy Award eligible), the Documentary Australia Foundation Award (also Academy Award eligible) and the International Official Competition, which celebrates 'courageous and audacious fiction filmmaking'. full text less text

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Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films

Description The Sydney Film Festival has been showcasing the best local short film productions in its Australian short film awards since 1970. The Live Action Short Award, sponsored by Dendy Cinemas, provides a $7,000 cash prize while the Yoram Gross Animation Award, sponsored by Yoram and Sandra Gross carries a $5,000 cash prize. Both awards are Academy Award® eligible. The Rouben Mamoulian Award, named after the Hollywood director who presented the first award in 1974 and also sponsored by Dendy Cinemas, carries a cash prize of $7,000 and will be presented to the best director from the 10 films in the Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films. A jury of film industry representatives will select one film from among the Australian short fiction films screening in the 2020 Festival to be awarded the Event Cinemas Australian Short Screenplay Award, a cash prize of $5,000.
Dates Open call: Oct 31, 2019

Regular deadline: Feb 28, 2020
Late deadline: Feb 28, 2020

Notification date: May 04, 2020
Plan OFF
Plan ON
All lengths
Early bird deadline    43.99 AUD    40.00 AUD
Regular deadline    43.99 AUD    40.00 AUD
Latest deadline    43.99 AUD    40.00 AUD
Plan OFF prices include the FFL service fee; this is why a fee applies even for festivals without fees.
Plan ON prices guarantee the cheapest price among platforms.
Submitting with a Film Plan on FFL is cheaper than submitting 'for free' on other platforms.
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Restrictions Film mustn't have been finished before Feb 28, 2019
Premiere status is not required


1. The aim of the competition is to publicise and promote Australian short films (for the purposes of this competition, the term 'film' refers to works completed on film or digitally).

2. Entries must be Australian productions, with a maximum running time of 40 minutes at 25 frames per second, completed since 28 February 2019.

3. Entries must be in English or with English subtitles.

4. Films produced by TV stations or made for a television series are ineligible. This does not exclude films commissioned by TV stations from independent producers which, in the opinion of the judges, are not episodes in a series with a continuing narrative.

5. All entrants must pay a flat fee of $40.00 (includes GST) per film entered. There is no additional charge for films which qualify for the supplementary categories (Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Director, or Best Screenplay). The fee cannot be waived.

6. Entries may have been previously screened on television, festivals, websites or commercially in theatres. This is no bar to entry.

7. Films which have previously screened in the Sydney Film Festival, in or out of competition, are not eligible for this competition.

8. Entrants must make clear on the official entry form which of the two categories they wish to enter: Best Live Action Short [fiction only] or Yoram Gross Animation Award (see point 12 for category definitions). Each film is eligible for only one category.

9. The last date for entries is 28 February 2020. The festival reserves the right to accept late entries, subject to the jury's progress and programming deadlines. Under no circumstances will an entry be presented to the judges if it is not the final finished work, including title credits, final sound and image.

10. Finalists' works will be exhibited to the public at the Sydney Film Festival on DCP. The cost of freighting finalists' drive/s to the festival must be borne by the entrant. Finalists' works will be returned at the festival's expense. The festival will insure drives while they are in its possession.

11. Uploaded film files will be used for the sole purpose of considering the suitability of the film for the festival program and will not be used for any other purpose, including marketing or festival screenings, without the permission of the rights holder.

12. There will be one award in each category. Therefore, under no circumstances, will a prize in any category be split between more than one film.

13. The categories are defined as follows:
13.1 BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT Dramatic films whose substance is invented by the imagination;
13.2 YORAM GROSS ANIMATION AWARD Films are eligible for the Yoram Gross Animation Award if a substantial part of the film is animated. Entrants for this award should detail in the space provided whether the film is totally animated or contains a substantial proportion of animated sequences (other than in its title sequences).
13.3 THE ROUBEN MAMOULIAN AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR: A jury of film industry representatives will select one film from the 10 finalists to be awarded the overall prize for Best Director, The Rouben Mamoulian Award.

13.4 EVENT CINEMAS AUSTRALIAN SHORT SCREENPLAY AWARD: A jury of film industry representatives will select one film from among the Australian short fiction films screening in the 2020 Festival to be awarded the Event Cinemas Australian Short Screenplay Award, a cash prize of $5,000.

14. PRE-SELECTION AND JUDGING: Entries to the Best Live Action Short and Yoram Gross Animation Award categories will be viewed by separate pre-selection panels. A total of 10 finalists will be nominated by mid-April 2020 and announced prior to the festival (around early May). A jury of film industry representatives will select one film from the 10 finalists to be awarded the Best Live Action Short award, which carries a cash prize of $7,000; one film to be awarded the Yoram Gross Animation Award, which carries a cash prize of $5,000; and one film to be awarded The Rouben Mamoulian Award, which carries a cash prize of $7,000. The winners will be announced at the festival's award ceremony. The director(s), or his/her nominee(s), of the winning film(s) will receive the relevant cash prize.

15. Once a film has been selected as a finalist in the 2020 Sydney Film Festival's Short Film Awards, the entrant must forward to the SFF office the following materials by 8 April 2020:
15.1 At least four high resolution stills (by email) from the selected film;
15.1 A one paragraph synopsis and a one-page synopsis (in English);
15.2 A director's statement about the film;
15.3 The director's photo, biography and filmography;
15.4 An online copy of the film; as well as any other documentation that might contribute to the promotion of the work.
15.5 Two sets of at least four different excerpts of maximum 2 minutes in length, the film's trailer and an electronic press kit with scene clips and interviews. Excerpts must be provided in broadcast quality full resolution Quicktime file (preferably ProRes).

16. By submitting the SFF Entry Form and the above materials, the entrant(s) grant to SFF a non-exclusive licence to publicly screen the selected film at the Sydney Film Festival in theatres used by the festival and during its period of time (3 to 14 June 2020).

17. By submitting the SFF Entry Form and the above materials, the entrant(s) grant to SFF a non-exclusive licence throughout the world to:
17.1 publicly screen any submitted excerpts - or any selected excerpts as specified under the rights holder's agreement in the SFF Entry Form - from the submitted film on screen (cinema screen and monitors);
17.2 use stills from the submitted materials and descriptive material about the selected film in the marketing and promotion of the 2020 Sydney Film Festival, the official festival program and on the official festival website;
17.3 make information extracted from the submitted materials available to the press.

18. By submitting the SFF Entry Form the entrant accepts the Rules and Regulations for participation.
18.1 The entrant may not withdraw the film from the SFF once it has been selected for participation.
18.2 By entering in the SFF the entrant warrants that the rights to their films are cleared to allow the SFF to use the film for the purposes specified in paragraphs 18 and 19.

19. For each film selected as a finalist, the person nominated as the film's contact person will receive six complimentary tickets to the public screening of their film and 10 general tickets to be used for other festival screenings. These tickets are to be shared between the film's producer(s) and director(s). An invitation to the awards presentation will be extended to the director(s) and producer(s).

20. The judges' decision will be final.

21. Films in any way connected with Dendy Cinemas, Yoram Gross Film Studios, Event Cinemas, or their associated companies or made by board members or full-time staff of the Sydney Film Festival or their families are ineligible.

22. All correspondence shall be addressed to: Head of Programs, Sydney Film Festival Programs, Sydney Film Festival, PO Box 96, Strawberry Hills NSW 2012. No correspondence or discussions will be entered into after the judging has taken place.

23. The Sydney Film Festival reserves the right to alter the regulations and/or terms and conditions without notice.

Submissions for this category are closed.