Festival Description

Moscow Shorts ISFF is an international short film competition, with monthly live screenings and an annual awards event in Moscow.

In Russia, as in many countries, folklore is a part of the people’s tradition and culture. Tales of grandeur and fallen heroes, as well as stories to promote good morals, have been passed down through generations. One mythic character that is found in the country’s folklore, and various versions are found across the world, is the Firebird, or Zhar-Ptitsa.

The typical role of the Firebird in fairy tales is as an object of a difficult quest. The quest is usually initiated by finding a lost tail feather. We like to think that Moscow Shorts (International Short Film Festival) is like a fairytale where hero filmmakers from all over the world should find the lost Firebird’s feather by winning the monthly competition. At this point the filmmaker hero sets out to find and capture the annual bird trophy.

In other words, each month, the submitted projects are privately screened and judged by a team of experts from both russian and international film industry. The monthly winners are automatically qualified to compete and be screened at Moscow Shorts annual event.

We wish you good luck!

Here are the steps of Moscow Shorts selections, awards and screenings process:
– Every month we choose and announce the Official Selections (from the previous month), which enter the competition for the monthly awards.
– In maximum one week after the Official Selection we announce the Monthly Winners for each category.
– At the end of each month we screen in one Moscow Cinema Theatre (Moskino) a selection of 90 minutes from awarded films. (For example in June we screen the winners from February).
– All monthly winners enter the competition for the Annual Awards.
– February 2019 winners will be the last who take part in 2019 Annual Awards event. The competition started with March 2018 winners.
– March 2019 – February 2020 winners will take part in the next year competition and so on.
– The jury will choose winners of the year in each category.
– The Ceremony and Screenings of winners of the year will take place in Summer of 2020.

Join our filmmakers and film lovers community to find more news about the festival and its events here: facebook.com/moscowshorts, instagram.com/MoscowShortsFilmFestival, vk.com/moscowshorts, twitter.com/MoscowShortsFF.

The Moscow Shorts International Short Film Festival is dedicated to promoting the short film genre, bringing exposure to the world’s best independent up-and-coming filmmakers. Moscow Shorts is an organization devoted to showcasing the best and brightest short films from around the globe, advancing the careers of filmmakers through screenings, networking events, and various panel and forums. The Moscow Shorts showcases short films produced 30 minutes or less. Categories include Short Narrative, Short Animation, Short Documentary, Music Video, Short Experimental and Student Shorts.

Moscow Shorts (ISFF) is an avid supporter of local and international filmmakers representing cinematic productions that embody the true spirit of the art. From classic or original scripts to new cinematography and film techniques, each and every piece is the result of true emotion and expression.

We’re glad you’re here! We can’t wait to discover the amazing videos you create and the global community that you build.

Awards and Prizes

All films will get privately screened and evaluated by a team of international filmmakers. All selected films will receive official selection laurels. All monthly winners will receive winner laurels.

Every month we screen a 90 minutes selection of awarded films. All shorts which will be screened in our monthly events will be translated by us in Russian language. So if you will need this translation you can request it by email. All monthly winners will compete at Moscow Shorts annual event. We will also screen the awarded short films in our annual event. The winners will receive the Moscow Shorts Trophy.

Our jury selects the winners of each category:

Best Short Film

Best Narrative
Best Student
Best Documentary
Best Experimental
Best Animation
Best Music Video

Best Director
Best Screenplay
Best Cinematography

Moscow Shorts official laurels are special. You can find more info about the idea and the meaning of our lucky Firebird feather (Жар-пти́ца, Zhar-ptitsa) here: http://www.moscowshorts.com/2018/03/02/the-short-story-of-our-official-laurels

Rules & Terms

Please read these Rules & Terms carefully before you submit your film. By submitting your film into competition in the Moscow Shorts (ISFF), you expressly acknowledge and agree that you shall be bound by the terms of these Rules & Terms.


1. We accept International short films.

2. Moscow Shorts categories include Short Narrative, Short Animation, Short Documentary, Music Video, Short Experimental and Student Shorts.

3. Each short film must be entered for one of the competitions named above. In some cases, though, the selection committees reserve the right to assign it to another competition or special programme.

4. Films in languages other than English will only be accepted with English subtitles.

5. All types of short films are accepted. Here are some examples: Absurdist, Action, Adaptation, Adventure, Advertising, Art-house, Biographical, Black Comedy, Classic, Children, Comedy, Crime, Dance, Detective, Drama, Cult, Epic, Family, Fantasy, Gangster, Horror, Independent, Indie, Noir, Historical, Kids, LGBT, Magical realism, Musical, Mystery, Melodrama, Road Movie, Philosophical, Romance, Satire, Science Fiction, Silent Films, Slice of Life, Social, Sports, Superhero, Supernatural, Surreal, Suspense, Thriller, Urban, Western, Zombie etc
6. The running time of films entered for the competitions should not exceed 30 minutes (we have no minimum length limit).

7. Films must have been completed after 1 January 2018.


All submissions will be viewed in their entirety by at least three judges. Submissions will be judged and scored based on criteria including: quality of screenplay (story, dialogues etc), acting, production quality, originality, technical proficiency, cinematography, sound design, editing, location/s used and set design. We support indie filmmaking and will award additional points to shorts produced on a micro budget and/or minimal crew. All monthly winners will compete at Moscow Shorts annual event. The Jury will choose annual winners from monthly awarded short films.


The directors of submitted films that are accepted will be notified via e-mail in the beginning of each month. There will be a list of accepted films on our website www.moscowshorts.com at the beginning of each month.


The selection and award classification will be posted on our website, and eventually our Archive section. Moscow Shorts (ISFF) works hard to recognize quality filmmaking and tends to offer Awards to 100+ short films per season.  Moscow Shorts will screen Monthly Awarded Films at our Annual Event. We may also screen some shorts outside these award placing that deeply impress our selection committee.


We work hard to keep our submission fees as low as possible – consequently we cannot provide fee waivers.


1. Moscow Shorts has no festival premiere eligibility requirements. Shorts that have screened at other festivals are still eligible.
2. Moscow Shorts has no public or internet broadcast eligibility requirements. If your short has screened on Vimeo etc, it is still eligible.
3. Changes to submitted films will only be accepted if accompanied by a new submission fee.
4. The decision of the selection committee is final.
5. Stills of selected films may also be shown on the Festival website and publicity/promo material including press releases, festival brochures and other materials.
6. All entry fees are non-refundable.
7. Entrants are responsible for securing all rights and permissions from copyright and other holders relating to their short.
8. Moscow Shorts reserves the right to update or modify these terms and policies without prior notice.
9. After selection, notification letters will be sent electronically.
10. Moscow Shorts does not accept trailers or rough assemblies but will accept work-in-progress cuts (picture lock with temp sound, color, etc.). Please be aware Moscow Shorts will not view multiple updates/versions of your film for programming consideration.
11. The Moscow Shorts (ISFF) is hereby granted the rights to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted for promotional purposes of the festival. The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements, rules and regulations.
12. The MOSCOW SHORTS (ISFF) reserves the right to refuse entries.


The person or institution submitting the film is responsible for clearing all rights to the content of the work relevant to the film’s use by the festival. By submitting, they state that they are authorized representatives thereof, i. e. that screening or other use of the film by the Festival does not infringe rights held by third parties (e. g. copyrights, personality or trademark rights), and that especially the rights to any material produced by others (music, film footage, photographs, text etc.) used in the film have been cleared. They furthermore shall indemnify the Moscow Shorts ISFF against all third-party claims in connection with screening/using the film in the course of the Festival. This includes covering any legal costs that might be incurred.