The World’s Best Smartphone Film Festivals

June 14, 2019|In Festival|By Simon Horrocks The World’s Best Smartphone Film Festivals

Tangerine director Sean Baker says he will never shoot a film on a digital camera. Except that Tangerine was shot on an iPhone. That’s because he sees smartphone filmmaking as a medium separate to other forms of digital shooting.

He could be onto something, as there are more and more film festivals dedicated to films shot on smartphones. Meanwhile (as far as I know), there aren’t too many festivals specifically for DSLR-shot films, for example. In the last 10 years, a whole community has grown up around this genre of filmmaking.

Getting your film shown on a cinema screen isn’t easy for any new filmmaker. But smartphone filmmaking festivals are here to make that happen for those with the least resources as filmmakers. They also encourage, support and help new filmmakers get exposure and make the first steps towards becoming a professional filmmaker.

One thing to bear in mind: pretty much all smartphone film festivals are run by passionate volunteers who have resources on a similar level to the filmmakers. Like you the filmmakers, most of us are doing this for the love of it, with minimal industry or financial support.

Each festival has slightly different qualifying rules, so make sure to check exactly what is allowed for submission.

So, if you’ve been making short (or long form) films on your iPhone or smartphone, you will probably be interested in knowing which festivals are looking for your work. Here I will list all the smartphone film festivals I can find. But I will highlight some of the bigger ones.

Mobile Motion Film Festival

If you write a list of smartphone film festivals, you’re allowed to put your own festival at the top. Thems are the rules! So our number one recommended smartphone film festival is us – the Mobile Motion Film Festival (or MoMo).

Set up in 2015 using Kickstarter we are based in Zürich, Switzerland and we’re now taking submissions for our 6th festival.

MoMo ranks as one of the Top 100 Best Reviewed Festivals on FilmFreeway and BBC World News called it “One of the most interesting and exciting events from around the world.”

The festival provides a level playing field for filmmakers where talent, creativity and hard work counts more than budget and industry connections. Believing that anybody with a thought-provoking concept or a touching story can make a great film, the festival will showcase new talent using a tool so simple and readily available that it’s often overlooked: the mobile phone.

In the past we’ve had prizes from Moondog Labs, Sennheiser, Samsung, Beastgrip and more.

Awards are given for 9 categories:

  • Grand Jury Prize
  • Audience Choice
  • Young Talent
  • Best Swiss Film
  • Best Documentary / MoJo
  • Best Fiction
  • Best Music Video
  • Best Travel Video
  • Best Screenplay

We accept films of all durations. Screenplays must be no longer than 10 pages (correctly formatted).

Cinephone

One of the founding fathers of the smartphone-shot film movement, the Cinephone International Short Film Festival is located in Spain but has an international reach. Now in their 8th year, they say they’re “betting on a democratization of film, giving support to the use of smartphones as an alternative way of getting quality ideas and scripts onto the big screen.”

Now in it’s 8th year, Cinephone run a great, well organised festival. The winner of the first prize gets direct access as a finalist of the 2020 edition of the Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente de Elche (FICIE) in its category smartphone film category.

Films must not exceed 15 minutes, credits included.

Apart from the main award of 1st and 2nd overall winner, they also give prizes to 4 categories:

  • Best Script
  • Best Photography
  • Best Soundtrack
  • Best Interpretation

They also run a 48-Hour Film Challenge (this year to be held on June 20-22).

Cinephone has 3 submission deadlines, costing $5 – $10 – $15. This year’s final submission date is August 5, 2019.

www.cinephone.es

Toronto Smartphone Film Festival (TSFF)

The largest smartphone film festival in Canada, TSFF has also been running for 8 years. They are a well organised and popular festival who communicate well with filmmakers.

TSFF say they are “the fastest growing innovative mobile film festival in North America encouraging filmmakers to share their stories shot on smartphones and tablets.”

Films must not exceed 10 minutes in length (with credits).

Awards are given to these categories:

  • Best Canadian Film
  • Best International Film
  • Best Emerging Film
  • Best Women in Film
  • Audience Choice

There are 4 submission deadlines. The first deadline is free. After that submission costs $10 – $15 – $20. This year final submission was on April 7, 2019.

www.smartphonefilm.ca

Mobile Film Festival (MFF)

One of the biggest festivals dedicated to smartphone films, MFF have been going for 14 years. The festival focuses on distributing filmmakers work via YouTube. Based in France, MFF are possibly unique in having strong financial support and big prizes for winners.

Their website is not too informative when it comes to dates and method of submission. But by Googling we found a last year’s submission page to give you some idea of how their festival works. Submission (at least in previous years) is via their official website only. They are on filmfreeway, but only to redirect you to submit via their website.

Last year, they had two €20,000 prizes as a grant to produce a film for YouTube Creators for Change. There was also a €20,000 prize as a filmmaker grant from the EU. Other prizes included two €3,000 grants for screenwriting.

Films must not exceed 1 minute in length (with credits).

As far as we know, submission was and still is free. Last years final date of submission was October 11, 2018. Last year’s award ceremony was in Paris in December.

www.mobilefilmfestival.com

Smartphone Flick Fest (SF3)

The Smartphone Flick Fest (SF3) is based in Australia and screen winning films at their well-attended Gala Night. SF3 say they provide “a platform for budding, emerging and professional filmmakers to bring their ideas to life and have their films seen by a global audience, without the need for lots of fancy equipment or a big budget.”

Another well supported festival, this year SF3 have over $40,000 worth of prizes to share with their winners. Last year, their awards took place at the world famous Sydney Opera House. They even roll out their red carpet for the event.

SF3 has 5 categories:

  • Best Film (films 20 mins and under)
  • Best Feature Film (min 60 minutes)
  • Kids (for filmmakers 16 and under)
  • Luma Touch Finished on Mobile Award (must be shot AND edited on a mobile device or tablet)
  • SF360 Award (360 and VR videos)

SF3 has 3 deadlines, with submission fees ranging from (standard) $15-$20. This year’s final submission is on August 1, 2019.

www.sf3.com.au

Mobile Innovation Network and Association (MINA)

In its 9th edition MINA, the Mobile Innovation Network and Association, will present a public screening of smartphone, mobile and pocket films in China, New Zealand and Australia (Venue TBC in the end of April 2019).

Founded by Max Schleser, the festival is supported by Goethe-Institut New Zealand and say they create “connections between filmmakers, communities and the creative industries.”

“Collaborative and co-creative film-making practices empower communities around the world to express themselves.” MINA

Films must not exceed 8 minutes in length (with credits).

The festival has 5 categories:

  • Mobile, Smartphone and Pocket Film
  • New Voices : Next Gen smartphone filmmakers
  • Mobile Cinematic VR & 360° Video Production: The Future is Now
  • MoJo, Mobile Storytelling, Micro-movies & Micro-formats
  • Nucleus: Focus on ecology, sustainable smartphone filmmaking, travel films & eco-tourism

The first 4 categories have a standard submission fee starting at $15, going up to $25 for the last deadline. The 5th category is free to submit to.

mina.pro/

International Mobile Film Festival

This San Diego, USA based festival was founded by Susan Botello. The IMFF has now been running for over 10 years, launching in the spring of 2009. In that time the festival has become one of the best smartphone film festivals, with Susan working constantly to improve the event, year upon year. The event is loved by filmmakers and film watchers alike.

IMFF say that the festival “showcases mobile films on big screens and has an awards ceremony with a red carpet “walk” with the filmmakers and actors. Participants also enjoy networking with industry professionals and other filmmakers.”

The festival contains much more, with a regular podcast and mobile film workshops too.

There are 2 categories for submission: Short and Feature.

Short films must not exceed 5 minutes in length (with credits), while features must be between 40-90 minutes.

Standard submission fees are $15 for shorts and $40 for features.

The final submission date is October 19, 2019 for features and November 19, 2019 for shorts.

The 9th annual International Mobil Film Festival in San Diego takes place the last weekend of April 25 & April 26, 2020.

International Mobile Film Festival

Dhaka International Mobile Film Festival

Dhaka International Mobile Film Festival (DIMFF) launched in 2015, and was then known as Cinemascope Mobile Film Competition (CMFC). Based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, DIMFF say the “festival upholds and promotes the motto ‘New Generation, New Tools, New Communication’.”

The is one of the few remaining festivals to to have free submission. There is a fee of $5 or $10 for late submissions, depending on the category.

The festival has 3 categories for submission:

  • Screening
  • Competition
  • One Minute

The screening category is free for all smartphone filmmakers, while the Competition category is for current students of any university at undergraduate or graduate level. DIMFF say the “One Minute Film category is restricted to Grade 1 – 12 students”.

The final submission date is October 31, 2019. The event will be held on February 28-29, 2020.

www.dimff.net

Dublin Smartphone Film Festival

Based in Dublin, Ireland, DUBSMARTFF are relatively new but have already shown themselves to be one of the best festivals for films shot on smartphones. A festival created and run by smartphone filmmakers, this year they will also be running a “Live Short Challenge”.

Now in their 3rd year, DUBSMARTFF say “the festival was created with the goal of encouraging these filmmakers to share the stories they have captured on mobile devices. We also aim to provide a platform to exhibit these stories to a wider audience. It is also a chance to reward storytellers, who are using these devices to push the boundaries of narrative and style.”

Films must not exceed 15 minutes in length (with credits).

DUBSMARTFF has 7 categories:

  • 360/VR Film
  • Irish Film
  • Animation
  • Fiction
  • Music Video​
  • Documentary
  • Kids

The festival takes place in January, with the final submission deadline being December 1, 2019. Standard submission fee for all films is $12.

www.dublinsmartphonefilmfestival.com

African Smartphone International Film Festival (ASIFF)

Relatively new, ASIFF are not shy about staking their claim to be “the most prestigious smartphone festival in Africa”. They’ve only been going 3 years but are already popular with smartphone filmmakers.

The festival was founded by Nigerian filmmaker, Michael Osheku. ASIFF say they provide “an international platform to showcase ideas, talents and creativity irrespective of the budget. Encouraging professionals, amateurs and aspiring filmmakers to share their stories shot on a smartphones, tablets, and webcams to be screen on the big screen.”

ASIFF has a long list of award categories:

  • Best Nigerian film
  • Best African film
  • Best International film
  • Best Documentary
  • Best music video
  • Best Animation
  • Best screenplay
  • Best Photo
  • Best cinematographer
  • Best director
  • Best sound
  • Best use of soundtrack
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Female leading role
  • Best Male leading role

Submissions run from January to the final deadline of September 25, 2019. Fees start at $5 and go up to $10 for the final deadline.

africansmartphonefestival.com

Super 9 Mobile Film Fest

The Super 9 Mobile Film Fest has been running for 5 years and is based in Portugal. They say the festival is “dedicated exclusively to the works filmed on smartphones with open competition for the entire international community.”

Films must not exceed 15 minutes in length (with credits).

They award prizes in the following categories:

  • Best Fiction
  • Best Documentary
  • Best Animation
  • Best Music Video
  • Best Experimental
  • Best Portuguese Film
  • Audience Award

Entries are currently closed and there is no available information on future festivals, submission fees or dates.

super9mobile.com

iPhone Film Festival

Although the iPhone film festival was set up to accept only iPhone-shot films, their filmfreeway page says they now accept films from all models of smartphone. The festival has been running for many years (filmfreeway says 8) and was set up by filmmaker Ruben Kazantsev. The iPhone FF say their “mission is to showcase your film to the world. Awards & Prizes maybe offered from our sponsors but we have no control over that.”

Although based in California, USA, their filmfreeway page lists their venue as in the Netherlands.

The iPhone FF has 5 categories:

  • Film
  • Music Video
  • Cinematography
  • Documentary
  • Student Film

The deadline for submission to iPhone FF is July 31, 2019. Fees for standard submission are $29.95. The festival organisers are open about having virtually no communication with filmmakers, saying they will not contact you even if you are one of the main winners. Their stated only reason for contacting filmmakers of selected films is to get their address to send prizes (if there are any).

www.iPhoneff.com

See also www.mozimotion.com

Last Frame Smartphone Fest

A new festival based in London, UK. The event was set up by the team behind Cheap Cuts Documentary Film Festival. They say the festival is “to showcase smartphone filmmaking and the innovative ways filmmakers are using accessible equipment to tell stories”.

There are 6 submission categories:

  • London based filmmaker
  • Fiction
  • Animation
  • Documentary
  • Music
  • Experimental

Films can be submitted at varying lengths, depending on the category. Standard submission fees are only $3 going up to $5 for last submission dates. London based filmmakers can submit for a token $1 going up to $3.

The final submission date is September 1, 2019.

www.lastframeclub.com

The SmartPhilm Festival

This new festival started in 2017. The festival says their goal is to “provide a platform to the global artistic and film-loving community to document and produce their own stories in the most accessible way. The festival is open to aspiring and professional filmmakers of all ages. Selected films will be screened at during a one day program at the third annual SmartPhilm Festival on June 2, 2019 at Maker Faire NoVa in Fairfax, VA. We will also have satellite screenings in New Orleans and Addis Ababa.”

The festival awards prizes for the following categories:

  • Grand Jury “Hall of Phame” Prize
  • Smart Mobilewood Prize
  • Smart Documentary Award
  • Smart Fiction Award
  • Smart Music Video Award
  • Smart Emerging Talent Award
  • Smart Experimental Award
  • Smart Horror Award

Films must not exceed 15 minutes in length (with credits).

Currently the festival is listed as closed for submissions. In their first year, submissions started on Sept 1. So maybe one to keep an eye on.

www.smartphilm.com

MoJo Italia

Another new festival, this one dedicated to the art of mobile journalism. MoJo Italia say they “welcome everyone who wants to know more about mobile journalism, who wants to understand how to use in a professional way such an ubiquitous device as a smartphone.”

Prizes are from their sponsors, which have previously included Joby, Manfrotto, Dreamgrip, instamic, OnePlus, ShoulderPod, iOgrapher and others.

They have 4 categories:

  • NEWS LONG – press report lasting up to 15 minutes
  • NEWS SHORT – press report lasting up to 5 minutes
  • VIDEO STORYTELLING LONG – journalistic stories lasting up to 15 minutes
  • VIDEO STORYTELLING SHORT – journalistic stories lasting up to 5 minutes

The fee for an submission is just under $8. Submissions open on June 16 and end on September 3, 2019.

www.mojoitalia.it

Milan Mobile Film Festival

In their 2nd year, MiMo say their “first edition of the MiMo Milano Mobile Film Festival was attended by 1472 authors from 105 countries from around the world”. They accept videos and photos made exclusively with mobile devices: smartphones, tablets, action cameras and drones.

They have no strict length limit for films, although they ask for them to be “preferably below 10 min”. Last year they charged no submission fee for entry.

Check their filmfreeway page for more information.

www.mimofilmfestival.it

New York Mobile Film Festival

In their 2nd year, NYMFF “has been created to showcase, nurture, and support the emerging creative filmmaker that uses the latest technology available from a mobile device (Smartphone or iPad) to create stories in a cinematic way.”

They say they “want to show to the world that now more than ever, filmmakers are in control of their own stories and the new mobile technology catapults the filmmaker from concept to completion without waiting for a major investor or a network to approve their work.”

Films must not exceed 10 minutes in length (with credits).

They accept submission in the following categories:

  • Short Film
  • New Media
  • Music Video
  • Student

Standard submission fees start at $45 and go up to $55 for late deadline submissions. The 2nd NY Mobile FF will take place on July 11, 2019.

newyorkmobilefilmfestival.com

Big D Mobile Phone Fest

The Dallas Mobile Phone Film Festival has been running for 5 years. They say their goal is to “provide a forum to the artistic community to write, shoot, edit and screen their own stories. The festival is open to students, amateur and professional filmmakers of all ages.”

Films must not exceed 7 minutes in length (with credits).

They only have one submission category, which covers all films. They say the short can be in any genre with no thematic restrictions.

The final submission deadline is on November 17th, 2019. Standard submission fees start at $7 for early submissions and go up to $15 for late submissions.

The next Big D Mobile Phone Fest will be held on February 8-10, 2020.

filmfreeway.com/BigDMobilePhoneFest

Mobile Filmmaker’s International Fest

This is a new festival based in Moscow, Russia who have recently had their first event (I was honoured to be in the jury). They say that smartphone filmmaking “is not just about replacing a large industrial cinema standard camera with a small mobile phone one. The main purpose of existence of mobile film and other types of mobile content is the ability to research a new modern visual language, new stories, personalities, events, which are simply impossible to capture with large cameras. Therefore, we will highly value works that fit into and develop this very approach to mobile film.”

Films must not exceed 60 minutes in length (with credits).

They give awards in 3 categories:

  • Best Mobile Filmmaker – Movie
  • Best Mobile Filmmaker – MoJo & Blog
  • Best Mobile Filmmaker – Promo

Entries are currently closed and there is no available information on future festivals, submission fees or dates.

www.mobilefilmmaker.org

Article source https://momofilmfest.com/best-smartphone-film-festivals/

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