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Submissions for the 2020 Pittsburgh Shorts & Script Competition are now closed.

The 2019 festival featured 116 films from 34 countries and included nine films that went on to be shortlisted, six that became nominees and one that won an Oscar®.

In addition to film screenings, the 2020 event will host a script competition in partnership with Carnegie Screenwriters. Up to three scripts will be selected for seated readings by professional actors to be held during the November 2020 festival in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Our hope is to present Pittsburgh Shorts in theaters with in-person Q&As and networking opportunities and we continue to plan for that. However, we are mindful that social distancing restrictions may keep us from doing so. Please know that we are considering our options, which include either an in-person festival that includes some virtual streaming screenings and events or a completely virtual festival to be held online. Either way, rest assured the show will go on!


Three Juror’s prizes of $1,000 will be awarded to Best Narrative, Best Documentary, and Best Animated films. A $500 grand prize and a $250 runner-up prize will be awarded to the top two scripts. Up to three scripts will have seated readings by professional actors to be held during the festival.

Audience Awards are voted on for Best Narrative, Best Documentary, Best Animation, Best Comedy, and Best Student film and announced at Closing Night of the festival. 

Pittsburgh Shorts offers travel assistance to accepted filmmakers on a first-come, first-served basis.


Pittsburgh Shorts is open to all independent filmmakers, including college and graduate level film students, as well as professionals in the field.

Eligible films must adhere to the following criteria:

  • Must be a Pittsburgh premiere (no prior public Pittsburgh screening or TV broadcast)
  • Films completed in 2018 or later
  • Foreign language films must have English subtitles
  • Length: forty (40) minutes or less
  • Single episodes of Web Series ARE eligible
  • Films that are available online ARE eligible (must meet above criteria)

Eligible scripts must adhere to the following criteria:

  • Screenplay submissions must be in English and be 15 pages or fewer
  • Entrant(s) must hold the right to perform, reproduce, display and distribute their work to enter the competition
  • The work must not have been previously optioned, sold or produced

All applicants must submit via FilmFreeway. Entrants may submit more than one film. Each entry requires a separate entry form and fee.

The following info should be included as part of the FilmFreeway submission.

  • Film synopsis (50 word maximum)
  • Country of origin
  • Language(s) spoken in film
  • Type of film
  • Length of film
  • Screening and broadcast history
  • Honors and awards
  • Filmmaker’s contact information
  • Short director's biography (100 word maximum)
  • Short personal statement (100 word maximum)

Please submit online via FilmFreeway. Vimeo links are strongly preferred.


Deadline: Entries are due by August 31, 2020.


By June 30: $20
By July 31: $30
After July 31: $40

Payments must be made online with a credit card or mailed in the form of a U.S. bank check or money order. Personal checks from outside the U.S. are not accepted. Do not send cash.


Filmmakers will be notified of their selection status by September 30, 2020.


Selected films will need to be submitted as follows:

Preferred format: ProResHQ 422 QuickTime File

Also acceptable:
H264 QuickTime File (must be a maximum quality – 30mb/s or higher)
MP4 (must be a maximum quality MP4 – 30mb/s or higher)

  • 1920 x 1080 Pixels
  • 24 Frames Per Second (23.98fps is also accepted)
  • 5.1 Audio (Stereo is also accepted)

The above-mentioned specs are preferred. If your project settings do not match, a master quality file of your project in its native framerate and resolution is acceptable.

Questions? Please email