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Film festivals with student film awards and categories

A recent email from a filmmaker asked what festivals out there specifically have awards and categories for student filmmakers. Seems there are students out there who are tired of seeing their early efforts compete against shorts with Hollywood stars and major budgets. Who can blame them?

I should caution student filmmakers looking for a break from festivals with student categories that there are film schools who supply their enrollees with high-end equipment and access to "real" actors, so you may find yourself competing with films of a higher production value regardless. But if you think you'll have a better time of it at festivals with student-specific awards and categories, here's a list that I came up with after a quick search on Withoutabox and the web. I didn't include links to the festival web sites, you'll have to do the hard work of Googling them yourself.

  • Action/Cut Short Film Competition
  • Angelus Student Film Festival
  • Ashland Independent FF
  • Austin Film Festival
  • Big Apple FF
  • Blue Plum Animation FF
  • Chicago International FF
  • Columbus Intl Film & Video Fest
  • Dam Short FF
  • Daytona Beach FF
  • deadCENTER FF
  • Delta Moon Student FF
  • Feel Good FF
  • Firstglance FF
  • Florence Intl FF
  • Independents' FF
  • Intl FF Egypt
  • Intl FF South Africa
  • Jackson Hole FF
  • Kansas City FF
  • Mexico FF
  • New Hampshire FF
  • NYC Short FF
  • Nextframe: UFVA's Touring Festival of Intl Student Film
  • Palm Springs Intl Shortfest
  • Red Rock FF of Zion Canyon
  • Redemptive FF
  • Rincon IFF
  • RiverRun International Film Festival
  • Sacramento Film & Music Fest
  • San Fernando Vally IFF
  • San Francisco Frozen Film Fest
  • Santa Cruz FF
  • Seattle Intl FF
  • Skidmore Intl Student FF
  • Student Films Across America (see also Door County Student FF)
  • Swansea Bay FF
  • Take-2 Student IFF
  • End of the Pier IFF
  • European IFF
  • Women's IFF South Florida
  • Zion IFF and Movie Camp
  • Toronto Film Festival
  • Santa Clarita
  • Santa Barbara
  • Paso Robles Digital Film Fest

Update: SxSW has a Texas High School Filmmaker contest. Thanks to Jarod Neece for the update.

(If you're a festival director and you'd like your film included on this list, please email me with a link to your web site so I can confirm that you have a student award or category.)

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