Submission Rules & Terms

Rules & Terms


The Lancaster International Short Film Festival presents an annual Open-Call Short Film Competition with Cash Prizes. The outcome of the competition will be determined by a Selection Committee composed of faculty, filmmakers, actors, media professionals and other community representatives from Lancaster County and beyond.

Basic Submission Info

The submission/entry may not exceed 30 minutes. You may choose one of 5 categories: Comedy, Drama, Animation, Horror & Documentary. The Selection Committee will consider your Entry from the category’s general perspective. Entries may be in more than one category; however, an entirely new submission is required for each category.

Submissions should not exceed a traditional R-rating. The film festival will be presented in clusters of age-appropriate ratings. Thus, the higher the rating (G, PG, R –applied by LISFF) the more restricted the audience may be. The LISFF rating system bears a common sense resemblance to the MPAA system. (Horror entries may approach NC-17, but this will further limit your potential audience.)

The Lancaster International Short Film Festival (LISFF) will include all Official Selections from each category. Awards will be announced at the closing of the Festival on 11 November 2017. Winners who are unable to attend will receive their award via UPS/USMail shortly thereafter.

Submissions designated as Official Selections for the 2017 Film Festival will receive 2 VIP Passes, if they are able to attend, and will have the opportunity to apply for small stipends (if available) to attend the film festival.


Best Comedy = $100; Best Drama = $100; Best Animation = $100; Best Horror = $100; Best Documentary = $100 From the above winners, a Grand Prize will be identified and received a total of $1000. There are two Special Awards: the Home Grown Award ($100), to be bestowed on the best short of any category with a Lancaster (PA) based team or theme; and, the Best Actor ($100), to be determined by attendees of the film festival. (The Best Actor will be delivered to the individual actor.)

By default, the awards will be given/delivered to the individual who completed the submission (or Best Actor). In most cases this is the director, writer, and/or producer; however, this should all be clear between all involved the submitter, the director/producer(s), and Best Actor.

Review of Important Stuff and More Info

  • Complete all sections of the Entry Forms and read/endorse the Release/Agreement. (If you are under 18, you will need your parents to read/endorse as well.)
  • For 2017 there are 5 categories: Drama, Comedy, Animation, Horror, and Documentary. While a single film could be entered in more than one category, a separate entry form and fee is required for each submission. Also, a film can only win in one category—the one in which it places the highest.
  • No member of the Selection Committee or anyone directly affiliated with the 2017 Lancaster International Short Film Festival executive team may enter the competition.
  • Submitted materials will not be returned unless otherwise arranged.
  • Foreign language submissions must have English subtitles.
  • Entries may be excerpted or played in full for TV, website, and/or other promotional purposes as connected to the Lancaster International Short Film Festival present and future. Please notify (in writing) any press restrictions within your entry package.
  • LISFF accepts no responsibility for loss or damage of entries during shipment via snail mail. Please inquire if you have not received a confirmation of receipt within seven (7) days of sending the film.
  • LISFF accepts no responsibility for the use of copyrighted or appropriated image/sound in submitted works. The filmmaker(s) accept(s) full responsibility in securing permission and/or properly crediting copyrighted images and sound. If a submission does not demonstrate proper permissions, LISFF will contact the filmmaker and it will need to be fixed promptly or the entry may be disqualified (without refund).
  • A category must have more than two entries to win the Best of Category designation. If, following the close of the submission process, there are two or fewer entries in any category, LISFF will contact the filmmakers/directors and discuss options with the possibility of a refund. (This has never happened, thus far.)
  • Filmmakers/directors/entrants are encouraged to use Without-A-Box’s Secure Online Screener. Please make sure you add/upload a few eye-catching stills in your Submission.
  • VERY IMPORTANT: We will announce the 2017 Official Selections on/around October 1, 2017. If your submission is selected for presentation as an Official Selection in the film festival, a hard copy in an acceptable file format will need to be delivered digitally, online or via the post within 14 days. (One popular method includes transfer via Vimeo download.) This is crucial. If we do not have a quality copy before the day we send the program guide to the printers, your film may not be presented in the film festival (unless we are reasonably assured by you that it will arrive in time).
  • The availability of Entry Fee Waivers will be announced following the Regular Deadline. Terms of the Waivers will be identified if/when they are granted. Apply for an Entry Fee Waiver by contacting the email address provided in Without-A-Box.
  • Entering a film/video indicates acceptance of The Lancaster International Short Film Festival submission General Rules & Terms And Conditions. (See below.)

If you have any further questions, please contact us via the LISFF website,



I, the undersigned and submitter, acknowledge and agree as follows:

  1. I have read and understand the General Rules and comply with all eligibility requirements for this film’s submission.
  2. To the best of my knowledge, all of the statements in the online documents required for the submission process and the statements below are true.
  3. This film/entry is not subject to litigation nor is threatened by litigation.
  4. I am authorized to submit this film/entry to the Competition.
  5. I understand that it is a violation of certain State and Federal Laws, including Federal Copyright Laws, to use the original works of others without permission.
  6. I have secured all necessary rights and permissions for the film/entry to be exhibited in the Feature Presentation, including, but not limited to, releases for music, talent, photographs, and images (including those photos/images provided to the Competition to be used for publicity purposes), as well as any other rights/permissions to use the work of another party.
  7. I agree to indemnify and hold harmless the Lancaster International Short Film Festival (LISFF) and its agents from claims, damages or loss that may result from my failure to secure any necessary rights/permissions, including claims of copyright infringement and unauthorized use.
  8. By submitting my film to the Competition, I agree to allow the LISFF both presentation rights of the Submission, as a product within the Film Festival (i.e. to show at screenings) and limited distribution rights (i.e. to be featured on eventual LISFF collections on DVD, digital downloads, and/or television broadcasts/streams). Filmmakers/submitter will be notified if/when these limited distribution rights are activated and should contact us, in writing/via email, about any restrictions.
  9. I release and hold harmless The Lancaster International Short Film Festival and its agents from damage to or loss of the print/entry en route to the submission address.
  10. I will abide by the decisions of 2017 Lancaster International Short Film Festival programmers and judges.
  11. I understand that violations noticed regarding any of the above may result in disqualification from the Competition without refund.

I have read and agree to all of the 2017 Lancaster International Short Film Festival Submission Guidelines, Rules, and Regulations, certify that I am over 18 years of age, and am authorized to submit this film entry to the film festival.