A Code of Ethics for Short Film Festivals

The Short Film Conference’s Code of Ethics offers guidelines for short film festivals to follow. It is hoped that these guidelines will be followed by festivals for the benefit of filmmakers, audiences & the entire short film industry.


  • We acknowledge the difference between short film festivals and short film events.
  • A festival is considered a cultural event which considers cinema and video as an art form and a film or a video as a work of art.
  • A festival’s primary role is to present unreleased or rare films, its programming can include recent works, repertory films or films which are rarely distributed.
  • A festival gives the opportunity to view films from an artistic, sociological, historical point of view and thus incorporates tributes, panoramas, retrospectives, …
  • A festival defines its own precise and original artistic line, promotes its choices and displays its own identity and consistency.
  • A festival is respectful of the filmmakers’ work and will do its best to screen the work in its original version, format and technical requirements.
  • We encourage co-operation amongst short film festivals.
  • A festival’s role is also to arouse and to stimulate the audience’s curiosity. It provides the means and promotes information and education.



  1. An international festival should try to be as international as possible:
    1. English should be the lingua franca of the festival, this should be reflected in an English (bilingual) catalogue, the official festival documents (like theentry- and selection sheet) should be available in English
    2. The international nature should also be reflected in the variety of films selected, especially for the competitive programs.
  2. The main objective for a festival must be to attain the largest possible participation of both professionals and general audience. The festival is invited to keep a precise count of admissions.
  3. Festival dates are determined in terms of the regional, national and international festival calendar.
  4. Any festival must define its conditions of participation in a written document including main awards, invitations, dates of registration, how submitters are notified of (non-)selection.
  5. The festival must have insurance covering any risks or possible damages of the prints and/or digital containers between receipt and return delivery within reasonable considerations.
  6. The festival should notify within four weeks the relevant contact in case of selection and at least two weeks in case of non-selection before the beginning of the event.
  7. The festival should respect the copyright of the selected as well as the submitted films.
    1. Right holders should be informed about which program(s) the film is in and when, where and how many times these programs are screening.
    2. Other screenings, especially those not within the duration of the festival, need to be arranged and agreed upon beforehand.
  8. The festival should provide a press service.
  9. Festival should provide a print and/or online catalogue. This should (at least) include:
    1. Relevant contact information of the right holder(s) of the film.
    2. A presentation of the members of the jury and their careers.
    3. A list of awards, specifying the benefactor(s) and the prize amount or description of awarded services.
    4. Contact information of the organizers of the festival.
  10. The festival should invite the directors (or other representatives) of the short films and facilitate the presence of guests such as journalists and professionals (producers, distributors, buyers, programmers, festival organizers). Directors or other representatives of selected short films should not have to pay to attend regular screenings.
  11. The festival should provide the professionals with a list of all professionals in attendance.
  12. All films and directors of films selected for competition should be treated equally in terms of number, quality and conditions of screenings.
  13. A jury of competitive programs should exist out of at least 3 members, the majority of which should be film professionals or –artists. For an international festival, it is encouraged that at least half of them are foreign.
  14. Awards can consist out of cash and/or services. Cash prizes ought to be awarded within two weeks after the end of the festival. The festival must specify to whom the prizes are donated.
  15. Prints and data containers are to be returned during the two weeks following the end of the festival. In case of tour screenings after the festival, a special agreement must be made with the rights-holder. Participation in a festival does not imply screenings after the festival, even for awarded films. A festival must not forward prints to another festival without the rights- holder’s written authorization.
  16. Festivals are encouraged to build up their own archives: files, photos, posters…