The Edinburgh International Film Festival wants you to rip up that rulebook


The Short Film Challenge runs as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival this summer (15 to 26 June) and it’s not too early to get involved. The submission date for the short film competition is 24 June and the theme set to inspire the next Tim Burton or Catherine Hardwicke is ‘70’, marking the 70th anniversary of the festival. Celebrations for the anniversary are already underway, with St Andrews student and former Great British Bake Off contestant, Flora Shedden, creating a cake for the Programme of Events Launch earlier this month.

Flora Shedden presenting her cake to Festival Artistic Director, Mark Adams
Flora Shedden cutting her cake with Festival Artistic Director, Mark Adams | Pako Mera Photography

The theme is challengingly vague but also excitingly broad, leaving plenty of room for interpretation by any filmmaker. The short film can be any genre, filmed in any style and on any device. Creativity and unique interpretation are key and well rewarded, with one of the long-standing awards given for The Most Innovative Use of the Theme.

Additionally, an award is given for Best Film and, for the first time this year, to the Most Promising Filmmaker. For this final award, the judging panel are looking for someone who expresses “a unique vision and voice,” and whose work suggests that they have great potential for the future. Filmmakers will be given the opportunity to show their work during the Edinburgh Fringe festival, and finalists will have their films screened at a special event in Filmhouse in Edinburgh. Incredible prizes include support and funding for future film projects, the opportunity to attend Encounters Short Film and Animation, and GoPro Hero cameras.

Last years Best Film winner 'Sunrise' directed by Bill Walsh
Last years Best Film winner ‘Sunrise’ directed by Bill Walsh

The most exciting part of this challenge is that no previous filmmaking experience is needed. The competition aims to encourage new voices, new ideas, and offers filmmakers the chance to create the kind of films that they feel are missing from the big screen. More than ever, Hollywood filmmaking has been under scrutiny for their lack of diversity in casting, production and has also faced criticism over script originality. This call for greater diversity is particularly relevant in the wake of the ‘#oscarssowhite’ controversy and recent reports of whitewashing of Asian characters such as Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell and Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange. Open to all, competitions like these have the potential to create films, which defy these previously held prejudices or limitations.

Given the success of this year’s Sixty Hour Film Blitz, which saw St Andrews students team up to create a film inspired by a painting in just one weekend, it’s clear that our student cohort would have plenty to offer in this competition.

The deadline is only a few weeks away! So, if you’re planning on revolutionising the film industry one short film at a time, you should probably get started. Look no further for inspiration than the short films available via The Film House Player, or simply browse this year’s programme of events.

Good luck!


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