Submissions FAQs

Updated May 2020

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, and this year have reduced our fees to reflect the economic impact of COVID-19 internationally.

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 - see the next question.

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.

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.

Do you accept works-in-progress?

Yes, we will accept picture-locked works-in-progress as submissions, as long as you provide details with your screener, ideally on screen, of what work is still to be done. We would prefer not to receive a submission of your work-in-progress if you do not have the finance in place to complete the film, or if you are unlikely to complete it by the end of January 2021. Once you have completed the film, please send a new screener link to submissions@glasgowshort.org, or update the file at the existing screener link and drop us a line to confirm you have done so.

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 31 March 2019 it’s eligible.

My film is currently or has been available online - does that disqualify it from screening at GSFF?

Absolutely not. As long as it has been completed since 31 March 2019 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 submissions@glasgowshort.org with details of the project.

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

If you are submitting via a third party submissions platform - Short Film Depot or FilmFreeway - please contact them in the first instance. If you are submitting directly to our portal, please contact us at submissions@glasgowshort.org. Please bear with us if you don’t hear back immediately.

Will I receive confirmation of receipt of my submission?

You will receive an automatic confirmation either from our portal or from the third party submission platform you use. If we have any issues we’ll be in touch, otherwise you can safely assume we have received the submission without any problem. If submitting directly to us, please don't forget to pay the submission fee, as payment is taken after you receive the confirmation notification, and until we receive payment we will not view your film.

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 and Co-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 5 February 2021.

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 video library even if it wasn’t selected for competition?

We currently only include selected films in the video library, and a wider range of new Scottish films, for viewing by festival programmers, sales agents and other international delegates attending GSFF.

What happens in the event of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic preventing the festival from going ahead?

It'll never happen... Okay, so it did happen. In 2020 we postponed the 13th edition until August, when we took it exclusively online. If there is another wave and another lockdown in early 2021, we will keep to our original dates but take the festival online with the following criteria: films will be screened on a password-protected VoD hub for a period of no more than 48 hours, geo-blocked to the UK for public access, but available for all accredited international industry attendees. If a selected filmmaker does not wish to take part in the online festival they will have the opportunity to withdraw their film, but we will not reimburse their submission fee.

What on earth does this rule mean?!

36. 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, whether theatrical or online. The festival will never allow any third party access to the film without the submitter's permission.

Fair question. GSFF sometimes 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. When 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. Showcase screenings are distinct from thematic programmes specially curated by the GSFF team, involving work which may or may not have screened at GSFF. 

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 submissions@glasgowshort.org.

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