Submissions FAQs

Why do I have to pay to submit my film to GSFF?

GSFF operates on an extremely modest budget, and receives increasing numbers of submissions each year. The fees we charge cover the cost of submissions administration and the submission viewers' modest wages, as well as resources such as the Videotheque, where industry delegates attending the festival can view new work. We aim to keep submission fees as low as possible.

What kind of films are you looking for?

It’s very hard to define what makes a ‘GSFF film’. We programme fiction, documentary, animation and artists’ moving image work. We’re not too concerned about high production values or technical flawlessness (although bad sound is a turnoff). Above all we’re looking for sincerity of purpose and originality of ideas. We’re particularly drawn towards filmmakers who seek to engage, experiment with or rethink the short film form. That doesn’t mean we’ll automatically reject a stylish little heist thriller or romcom. But we’re not interested in pilots for feature projects.

Can I send you my film to see whether you think it's suitable for submission?

No, please don't. That's like having a meeting to decide when you're having a meeting. We just don't have time or resources to pre-preview work. Take a look at our previous selections to get a better sense of the sort of films we show if you're really unsure whether your film is suitable for GSFF. But our tastes are pretty wide-ranging.

What is the right length for a short film?

Every festival seems to have a different answer to this question. We’ve set a limit of 50 minutes, as we’re potentially interested in anything which doesn’t fit the usual commercial feature mould. However, films of 30 minutes or more are taking up a lot of space in the competition, so we’ll be reluctant to select many of them. The way we see it, a short film should be as long as it needs to be… but the most common criticism we have when watching submissions is of films being too long. So be brutally honest with yourself in your edit.

My film has already screened publicly in Scotland or elsewhere in the UK - does that disqualify it from screening at GSFF?

Absolutely not. As long as it has been completed since 30 September 2018 it’s eligible.

My film is available online - does that disqualify it from screening at GSFF?

Absolutely not. As long as it has been completed since 30 September 2018 it’s eligible.

You rejected my film last year, can I submit it again this year?

No, we will not consider previously submitted work. However, if you have created an entirely new work from previously used material, it may be possible to submit it - please contact us at with details of the project.

Why must I submit my film online?

We’re trying to streamline the submissions process and help save the planet. DVDs are a nightmare - they often look poor, they scratch easily, or don’t work at all, and we’re left with a big pile of landfill at the end of the festival. Our submissions viewers are spread across the country, and online submission allows them to view work with the same ease. It also saves you the additional cost of burning and sending us a DVD. If you are unable to upload your film, one or more of the submissions platforms may do this for you for a small fee.

Who do I contact if I experience problems submitting my film?

In the first instance, contact the submissions platform, or try submitting via a different platform - we are using three this year. If you continue to experience problems, or prefer not to use a different platform, please contact us at It may be that we have to pass your query on to the relevant submission platform, so please bear with us if you don’t hear back immediately.

Will I receive confirmation of receipt of my submission?

The submission platform you use will confirm your submission. Please don’t contact GSFF directly for confirmation - if we have any issues we’ll be in touch, otherwise you can safely assume we have received the submission without any problem.

Where should I send my promotional materials?

Please don’t send any promotional materials other than those requested in the submission form. If your film is selected for competition then we will provide more information on what other promotional materials we need or can accept.

Who watches my film?

Your film will be viewed by two or more members of our selection team. The team is comprised of programmers, exhibitors and filmmakers. The team regularly meet to view films together and discuss their merits. Once all submissions have been viewed and a shortlist is drawn up, the team view the shortlisted films as a group. The final programme is decided by the GSFF Director in consultation with the other viewers.

When can I expect to hear whether my film has been selected for GSFF?

We will contact all submitters via email by the end of January 2020.

Is it possible to get feedback on your decision?

We won’t provide specific reasons for any decision, however once the festival is over we’ll be happy to provide general feedback on any individual film - you’re welcome to email us in April and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Can I include my film in the GSFF Videotheque even if it wasn’t selected for competition?

We currently only include selected films in the Videotheque for viewing by festival programmers, sales agents and other international delegates attending GSFF. In future we may extend this service to all films submitted to GSFF.

What on earth does this rule mean?!

34. If selected for the festival, the submitter authorises GSFF to file their film in the festival archive, where it may be made available for further screenings or events promoted by the festival itself, solely for cultural and not for commercial purposes (unless otherwise specified on accepting an invitation to screen at the festival). The festival will always request permission and give reasonable notice before proceeding with any further screening. The festival will never allow any third party access to the film without the submitter's permission.

Fair question. GSFF often has the opportunity to curate showcase programmes drawn from our selection at other festivals or venues, both in the UK and internationally. Therefore we would like to retain a copy of all the films we select for the festival on a hard drive. These screenings are almost always provided to the exhibitor festival or venue free of charge, and so we ask that filmmakers allow us to include their work at no charge. If we are offered payment for the screening, we will negotiate screening fees with all the participating filmmakers.

We will always check with you first, and aim to do so at least one month before the proposed screening. And all this only applies to GSFF showcase screenings - we will never freely give away your film to other exhibitors without your permission. Finally, showcase screenings are distinct from thematic programmes specially curated by the GSFF team, involving work which may or may not have screened at GSFF. For this type of curation, we will request a fee, and we will aim to pay the filmmakers.

Hope that clears up that one? If you're not happy with us retaining a copy of your film, simply let us know at the time of accepting our invitation to screen at GSFF. It will not affect your participation in the festival.

If you have any other questions, please refer to our Rules & Regulations, or email us at

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