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2021 BISFF Film Submission Rules and Regulations

2021 Beijing International Short Film Festival

Film Submission Rules and Regulations

北京国际短片联展 2021 作品报名章程及规则

The Festival · Vision · Mission


Entry conditions

Submission of Films


Selected Films



Awards and Jury

The Festival

The Beijing International Short Film Festival (BISFF) is a beloved short film festival in China. During ten festival days, hundreds of filmmakers and artists present their work to a large audience. The festival is a hub where our visionary team organises and stimulates film-related activities to accompany a quality program—robust, eclectic, adventurous—and where emerging talent meets prestigious guests. This is what makes BISFF unique: every year it attracts distinct personalities from the field, who rediscover the magic of cinema at the heart of one of the world’s most dynamic cities.

BISFF 2021 will be held in Beijing at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Goethe-Institut China and other venues from November 19th to 29th, 2021. For more information about BISFF, please visit

At BISFF, we represent the strength and impact of short films, filmmakers and film-related art, contributing to a culture built on foundations of mutual respect and dignity. BISFF aspires to create an environment where everyone has the freedom to express him or herself, without fear of harassment, intimidation, discrimination, sexism, or other disrespectful behaviors.


BISFF embraces short films, a vibrant film category that deserves more attention both from the industry and the audience in China. We believe in the power of short films to encourage meaningful conversations and infuse positive social change. We welcome and motivate both emerging talents and established filmmakers from all backgrounds in their artistic endeavors. We collectively strive to expand the creative space for film citizenship and celebrate the diverse forms of cinema. We accept challenges head-on.


We aim to provide a showcase for various genres of short films around the world every year and promote independent filmmaking of artistic merits, acknowledging and appreciating new perspectives and expressions, creating a space for inspiration to spark, a platform that stimulates cross-border conversations with contemporary art and technology worlds. Our programming tackles issues of contemporary social and aesthetic relevance, representing the strength and impact of independent cinema.

1. Program

The Festival is composed of variant screening sections, consisting of respective requests for submission films.

Competitive Sections (open to online submissions):

Eligible for the competitive sections of BISFF 2021 are fiction (with evident narrative-driven structures and intention of portraying figures or events), non-fiction (depicting non-indirectly reality and beyond), and experimental (hybrid and limitless, representing the most up-to-date and daring in cinematic creativity), in live action, animation and/or any other forms which explore innovative film languages. The Competitions embrace all genres, styles and subject matters that stretch the boundaries and lay down new tracks in the vast field of cinematic possibilities.

The maximum length of submission is 45 minutes (including credits).

International Competition

Reflecting the Festival’s aim to cross and blur boundaries and encourage conversions, the International Competition presents a stimulating panorama of contemporary short film landscape.

Selected films compete for three equal International Short Film Awards.

Chinese Language Competition

Dedicated to Chinese-language filmmakers from Chinese speaking regions, this section opens up various perspectives on the Sino-phone cinema, showcasing various genres, styles and subject matters.

Selected films compete for two equal Chinese Language Short Film Awards.

Non-Competitive Sections :

Echo is dedicated to the development process of moving-image. It offers works from historical filmmakers to whom the Festival pays special tributes, presents newly restored works in film history, and also explores untraditional representation and multiplex context.

Astro is a selection of highlight works of one major filmmaker or group. This section is designed to honor auteurs who achieve heuristic influence on the modern moving-image, to enable the audience to (re)discover an important auteur and inspire academic discussion.

Neutron is a special program reserved for medium-length films from 46 minutes to 75 minutes (including credits). All genres are eligible. This section is dedicated to recent outstanding films, not yet released in China, all of which have received critical acclaim and/or awards at other international festivals.

Other ad hoc sections and special screenings.

2. Entry conditions

A Selection Committee made up of film experts will assist the Artistic Directorship in the scouting and selection of works for the Festival.

The selected films of competitive sections must have been completed after June 1st, 2020.

Films selected for International Competitions must not have been previously released or shown in other film festivals, or commercially released or broadcasted in China mainland before the Festival (this includes festival selection, theatrical release, National TV broadcasting and VoD release) in mainland China. World/International/Asia premieres are favored. For any previously planned screenings of selected films, please contact the programming team with a written explanation.

Films submitted for previous editions of the Festival may not be submitted again, not even in a new version.

Participants declare that they hold all of the copyrights, intellectual property rights or the authorizations required, for the film to participate in the Festival. Consequently, participants guarantee the Festival and its representatives against any and all claims, demands, suits, and actions taken against it by third parties on any grounds whatsoever.

  • The Festival reminds that participants without holding the rights and authorizations required for the film to participate in the festival, may result in the application of criminal and civil penalties as provided by the law.

3. Submission of Films

All films sent to the festival must be submitted by completing the online form, via platforms:

FilmFreeway, Festhome

ZOOMOV (website language: Chinese only)

* Please do not submit the same project on more than one platform.

Submission is subject to a registration fee to be paid during the online submission process. Films must be uploaded during the submission process.

The submission form can only be filled with English or Chinese.

All films must be submitted in their original language with English or Chinese subtitles.

Screeners can be private (password-protected) downloadable links (Vimeo, YouTube, etc.) or DVDs (-R if possible), Blu-ray discs, USBs, hard drives (please reach out to for mailing details).

The festival keeps the viewing material for the sole purposes of documentation, promotion and viewing by professionals on its premises for a maximum period of one month after the festival, and will only return the viewing material upon formal request by the sender.

4. Deadlines

Films completed between June 1st, 2020 and June 1st, 2021: Online submission should be completed and viewing material be sent with a postmark on September 3rd, 2021 at the latest.

Films completed from June 2nd, 2021 onwards: Online submission should be completed and viewing material be sent with a postmark on October 1st, 2021 at the latest.

* There is no guarantee that films registered or sent and postmarked after the above-mentioned deadlines will be previewed.

5. Selected Films

Invitations for the films to participate in the festival are extended by each section’s curators before November 1st, 2021 when the official selection is announced on the Festival website.

Out of curatorial or practical concerns, the submitted projects may be assigned to a different competitive/non-competitive section. Films entered for the competition might be selected for other non-competitive sections that are part of the festival’s official selection. The Selection Committee will seek the opinions and approval of the filmmakers and/or producers and distributors before making such adjustments.

The filmmakers and/or producers and distributors of the selected films agree not to withdraw the films from the Festival program after it has been announced, and not to screen or broadcast the film in China before the end of the Festival, with the exception of press or professional screenings they may organize.

The filmmakers and/or producers and distributors of all films selected undertake to make mention in their publicity and advertising materials (posters, press-kits, trailers, website, etc.) of the selection of the film for the Beijing International Short Film Festival, by featuring the official logo which will be supplied by the Festival. The logo must not under any circumstances be modified or altered without the prior permission of the Festival. Any publication featuring the logo must be approved by the Festival.

6. Autorisation

Participants agree all the data, images and texts transferred via submission will be used as material and reference in online and offline bilingual publications (including festival catalogue, flyers, websites, WeChat Platform, or other social media). This material may be translated, corrected, or edited for publication purposes.

By participating at BISFF, participants understand that their photograph may be taken, video or interviews recorded during the event for non-commercial purposes. Participants give the Festival free permission to use these images, video, or sound recordings for non-commercial purposes.

Participants give the Festival free permission to reproduce and broadcast clips of the selected films (limited to 10% of the total duration of any film and will not exceed 3 minutes) presented in the BISFF on terrestrial, digital, satellite, online TV and internet sites. They can only be used for presenting the Festival programs and interviews and/or trailers or advertising for the Festival's current or future editions. Permission for using these clips is granted for one year, starting on the date of submission of the film. It is renewable by tacit agreement until the participants withdraw the authorization.

7. Screenings

Films in the competitive sections may have up to three public screenings during the Festival, and in non-competitive sections, up to two public screenings. For the awarded film, the Festival will add an extra screening at the end of the festival period after announcing the award results. If there are more screenings beyond the above, the Festival will inform and ask for permission in advance.

The accepted screening formats include: Digital files (contact festival staff for details). The organizer does not accept digital file carriers including DVD (R), Blu-ray Disc.

The Festival only accepts physical media such as 8mm, 16mm, 35mm film and VHS video tapes for special display purposes.

The Festival prefers the original exhibition format of the completed work. Only quality prints or digital copies will be accepted. The Festival reserves the right to refuse to allow the participation of any film that fails to meet the technical requirements for a public screening of good quality.

The participant is liable for all costs of transportation and customs clearance for both outward and return shipment. If the return shipment of the selected films entails costs, these will be billed to the participant before the end of the year. The Festival reserves the right to refuse any shipments entailing additional costs.

As far as possible, the Festival will respect the wishes of participants concerning return shipment of their films. The Festival accepts no liability for any forwarding errors that may result from a lack of instructions, or from erroneous information provided by the participant. As a rule, films will not be returned before the end of the Festival. Films will be returned to participants within the one weeks following the end of the Festival.

*More details for Subtitles and versions please turn to BISFF 2021 Technical Guidelines.

8. Awards and Jury

The Jury will be invited by the Director of the Festival. To ensure the fairness and impartiality of the awards, persons directly associated with the production or exploitation of a film in competition may not serve as jurors. A Jury composed of five personalities from the world of cinema, art and culture will award the following prizes:

International Short Film Award

All films selected in the International Competition are eligible to compete for three equal International Short Film Awards. The Jury may also award a maximum of two special mentions.

Chinese Language Short Film Award

All films selected in the Chinese Language Competition are eligible to compete for two equal Chinese Language Short Film Awards. The Jury may also award a maximum of two special mentions.

The decisions of the Jury and the Festival Directorship are final.

Outstanding Artistic Contribution Award

BISFF Festival Directorship will award two Outstanding Artistic Contribution Awards, for International Competition and Chinese Language Competition respectively, celebrating films that excel at acting, cinematography, set design, editing, music and other artistic aspects.

Partnership Awards

Separate sets of rules and regulations will be determined for different partnership awards. Independent juries might be involved in some cases. For further information, please follow the official announcements on BISFF website and social media accounts.

The producers and distributors and the buyers and sellers of rights to awarded films undertake to make mention in their publicity and advertising materials (posters, flyers, press-kits, trailers, website, etc.) of the winning of an award at the Beijing International Short Film Festival. The official logos of the various awards will be supplied by the Festival. The logo must not under any circumstances be modified or altered without the prior permission of the Festival. Any publication of a logo must be approved for press by the Festival.

The producers and distributors of award-winning films also undertake to add to the start of all prints released for distribution the official award logo, provided by the Festival, in the context of a theatrical release or a presentation at other festivals.

* The submission and participation of a film in the Beijing International Short Film Festival imply acceptance of the Rules and Regulations for submission. In any unforeseen eventuality, the decision of the Festival Directorship is final.

Copyright @Beijing International Short Film Festival

Beijing International Short Film Festival

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