Top UK Short Film Festivals and Winners 2019

Have you just spent the last few months (or years) creating a short film but are unsure where to take it now that it’s finished?

Below you’ll find a list of the UK’s top short film festivals and their most critically-acclaimed winners of 2019 to offer some inspiration. If you manage to get selected – or even better, win awards – at any of these festivals it could be the perfect springboard for your filmmaking career.

Aesthetica Short Film Festival – The festival, founded in 2011, takes place annually in York, UK, at the beginning of November. It a celebration of independent film from around the world, and an outlet for supporting and championing filmmaking. Aesthetica Short Film Festival is also BAFTA-qualifying.

Encounters Film Festival – This is the UK’s leading short film festival. At the heart of the festival lies the Encounters International Competition – one of the world’s leading international competitions for short film, animation and virtual reality, and also an official gateway to the world’s most prestigious awards; the Academy AwardsBAFTAs and the European Film Awards.

Glasgow Short Film Festival – This is the largest competitive short film festival in Scotland and champions new film talent by providing an annual showcase and meeting point for new and established Scottish and international filmmakers. Three programmes of work produced by Scotland-based filmmakers compete for the Scottish Short Film Award and the Scottish Audience Award, and carry a cash prize.

Iris Prize Cardiff – The Iris Prize is the largest short film prize in the world, awarding £30,000 to the best LGBTQIA+ short film. If you have made a film in the LGBTQIA+ genre this festival should undoubtedly be on your submission list. As well as prodigious prizes the festival also has industry talks, networking events and parties every night.

London Short Film Festival – A platform for independent short filmmaking and the eclecticism of its many forms and voices, each year London Short Film Festival curates over 500 short works from across the world. The Best British Short Film award champions stimulating filmmaking in the UK with the winner receiving a £1500 grant towards their next project and the opportunity to screen their work through.

Black Hat (2019)

Director: Sarah Smith

Winner: Iris Prize for Best International LGBT+ Short Film 2019

Black Hat is a film about a closeted gay man living in Los Angeles’s Hasidic Jewish community. It tells a story about loneliness and the feeling of being trapped between two worlds.

Kofi and Lartey (2019)

Director: Sasha Rainbow

Winner: Best of Fest Award at Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2019

Agbogbloshie has been dubbed one of the most toxic places on earth, but dig a little deeper and it’s filled with wonderful people and their beautiful stories. Meet Kofi and Lartey, two inseparable young boys who when given the tools to tell their own stories begin to dream of a life beyond the electronic waste dump.

Liminality & Communitas (2019)

Director: Laura Rantanen

Winner: Bill Douglas Award at Glasgow Short Film Festival 2019

After the sunset, a man wanders between the edges of highways and freeways gathering edible dead animals hit by a car.

Mothering (2019)

Director: Lucy Bridger

Winner: Best UK Short at London Short Film festival 2019

Mothering tells the story of a young girl, Mia, arriving at her new foster home. When her first period unexpectedly appears in the early hours, help comes in the form of her foster parent’s elderly mother, Pauline.

The Tent (2019)

Director: Rebecca Figenschau

Winner: Brief Encounters Grand Prix at Encounters Short Film Festival 2019

A dysfunctional family is struggling to put up a complicated tent. The tension is forcing an underlying conflict to the surface.