Frequently Asked Questions

Why short films?

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences defines a short film as “an original motion picture that has a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all credits”.

Short films are often starting points for filmmakers and are made by both amateur and professional filmmakers. Independent filmmakers often use short films to gain funding for future feature length films.

When films began at the beginning of the 20th century, both long and short films could be found. By the 1920s, a movie ticket often included a feature length film and a variety of short films including animation and newsreels. Short comedies commonly were done as series such as Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp character or the “Our Gang” movies.

When the Great Depression hit, studios turned to more feature length films rather than continuing short films due to the costs. It was cheaper to show a feature-length films than multiple shorts so shorts started to go by the wayside. By this time, audiences were also demanding more from films and wanting longer ones to watch.

Today, short films have to rely on film festivals or the internet to get shown. Pixar and DreamWorks have managed to continue creating and showing shorts with their feature-length films. The Academy Award nominated short films get screenings.

Shorts have managed to continue being a success among visual artists. They have come a long way since the late 1800s when Thomas Edison’s Kinetoscope allowed the public to view a short film.

The McMinnville Short Film Festival invites entries that are no longer than 20 minutes, and we will see many that are as short as one minute.

Who can enter the Short Film Festival?

Any amateur or professional filmmaker is welcome to enter.

Is there an age limit for participants?

No, all ages are welcome, but at this time there are no age-specific categories.

What is the deadline for entry?

The final deadline for late entries for the 2019 Short Film Festival is Sunday January 6th 2019, although films submitted by December 1st 2018 receive the discounted early-bird entry fee, and films submitted by December 31st 2018 pay only the regular entry fee. See the Film Submission page for details.

What is your definition of a “short” film?

Our definition of a short film is 20 minutes or less. We have had films from 1-2 minutes up to the full 20 minute maximum.

May I submit more than one film?

Yes, as long as each film has its own application form and entry fee.

Is there an entry fee?

Yes, there are staggered entry fees based on different entry categories and deadlines throughout the year. Filmmakers who have previously submitted a film receive an additional $5 off for either of those fees (email to get discount code to enter on FilmFreeway). Yamhill County filmmakers and Chemeketa Community College and Linfield College receive a waived membership (email for code). The entry fees are used to help offset costs to hold the festival. See the Film Submission page for details.

What are my entry fees used for?

Entry fees make up a small percentage of our annual operating budget, but are a vital part of paying for the costs of holding the festival every year.

Do I have to obtain rights clearance for music or other copyrighted material in my film?

By submitting the entry form, the applicant (a) certifies that the exhibition of the submitted entry will in no way violate any copyright laws or any other rights of any person, film, or corporation and (b) accepts all responsibility relating to – and indemnifies and holds harmless all McMinnville Short Film Festival sponsors, and their representatives, from – any and all disputes and liabilities arising from any such claims by a third party.

Is my film eligible if it has played online or has already been released on DVD?

Yes. As long as the film meets the festival’s rules and regulations, they can be previously-released films.

Do you present awards?

Yes! Awards are given for official selections and winners in each category. See the Film Submission page for details.

Will my film be used in promotional marketing for the festival?

If needed, the McMinnville Short Film Festival may wish to use your promotional materials for your film, in part or in their entirety, in promotional materials related to the festival in print, electronic, or digital form at any time, before, during and after the contest. By submitting the application, you are granting rights to the Short Film Festival to do so.

What if I can’t attend the awards ceremony?

Entrants who cannot attend but are awarded a prize will be notified after the festival. The festival will work with them to get their prize to them.

My film was not accepted last year. Can I submit my film again?

Yes, but only if it has changed significantly. We would prefer not to see the same version again. Please send us an email before submitting and describe the circumstances.

Do I have to obtain rights clearance for music or other copyrighted material in my film?

From a legal standpoint, you must clear all copyrighted material included in your film before you can publicly screen it. However, we do not check to make sure that you have cleared these materials, nor will we be held responsible for the inclusion of un-cleared materials in your film. It is your responsibility to do so!

Why should I participate in the McMinnville Short Film Festival?

Because we LOVE filmmakers and providing an outlet for filmmakers to network and for film buffs to see up-and-coming filmmakers’ work. If you’re an amateur filmmaker it’s an opportunity to share your hard work with others outside of friends and family and get that vital impartial feedback that you need in order to grow. And if you’re an aspiring professional filmmaker, you already know that getting noticed and accepted at film festivals is a critical part of building your career – those “Official Selection” laurels placed on your promotional materials make a world of difference! Also, take a look at the Filmmaker Reviews from past entrants!

History of the McMinnville Short Film Festival

In early 2011, a call went out to local businesses asking how they could get involved in the annual UFO Festival. Movietime Video, a locally-owned independent video store, volunteered to sponsor a UFO Film Festival where filmmakers could enter a 15-minute film with a UFO/Sci-Fi/Alien theme to it. The response was overwhelming which led to Movietime Video offering a Short Film Festival about 6 months later.

The first annual McMinnville Short Film Festival was held on October 25, 2011. The success of the first Short Film Festival was so great that an official steering committee was put together to help plan and organize future festivals.

Today, the MSFF is part of the non-profit group McMinnville Film Festival Foundation, created in 2015 to direct the continued growth of the festival. Changes continue to be made and the festival continues to expand and improve year after year. It has grown from the original few films from only local filmmakers to films coming in from around the world.