1. 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 works to a large audience. The festival is a hub where our visionary team organizes 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 2023 will be held in Beijing at different festival venues from December 2nd to 10th, 2023. For more information about BISFF, please visit www.bisff.co, and WeChat platform ID: bisffest
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 themselves, 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 changes. 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 transboundary 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.
The Festival is composed of competitive sections and non-competitive sections. The corresponding requirements for films are as follows:
Eligible for the competitive sections of BISFF 2023 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 presents a stimulating panorama of the contemporary short film landscape, which reflects our aim to cross and blur boundaries and encourage conversions.
Chinese Language Competition presents films that meet at least one of the following conditions: The primary production country are Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan; the main film language is Chinese; the director(s) of the film is(are) Chinese. This section opens up various perspectives on Sino-phone cinema, showcasing various genres, styles, and subject matters.
* The primary production country is the one with more than 50% of the funding for the submitted film, and the secondary producing country is the one with less than 50%. If the above conditions cannot be met, the festival organisers reserve the right to redeploy the selection to the competition.
Nova Competition is a thematic competition that spans across different countries and aims to showcase short film creations under the theme of “coming-of-age“, the films participating in this competition are not restricted by regions and languages.
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, all of which have received critical acclaim and/or awards at other international festivals.
Other ad hoc sections and special screenings.
3. 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, 2022.
Films selected for International Competitions must not have been previously released or shown, commercially released, or broadcasted in the Chinese mainland before the Festival (this includes festival selection, theatrical release, TV broadcast, and VoD release). 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 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.
4 Submission of Films
All films sent to the festival must be submitted by completing the online form, via platforms:
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, and hard drives if the submitters choose physical storage medium that ought to be sent to the address assigned by the festival, please email to email@example.com (international films), or firstname.lastname@example.org (Chinese films) for more 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 30 days after the festival, and will only return the viewing material upon formal request by the sender.
Films completed between June 1st, 2022 and June 1st, 2023: Online submission should be completed and viewing material be sent with a postmark on September 29th, 2023 at the latest.
Films completed from June 2nd, 2023 onwards: Online submission should be completed and viewing material be sent with a postmark on October 27th, 2023 at the latest.
* There is no guarantee that films registered or sent and postmarked after the above-mentioned deadlines will be previewed.
6 Selection of Films
Invitations for the films to participate in the festival are extended by each section’s curators before November 13th, 2023 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 the announcement, and not to screen or broadcast the films in the Chinese mainland 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 are encouraged to make mention in their publicity and advertising materials (posters, press kits, trailers, website, social media, 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 festival logos should be the official version approved by the Festival.
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 catalogs, flyers, websites, or other social media). This material may be translated, corrected, or edited for publication purposes.
By participating in BISFF, participants understand that they may be interviewed, filmed, or recorded during the event. Participants give the Festival free permission to use these images, videos, 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.
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 reserve the right to 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 (the organizer does not accept digital file carriers including DVD (R), Blu-ray Disc) and 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.
* For More details for Subtitles and versions please turn to BISFF Technical Guidelines (provided by the festival after selection).
9 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 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.
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.
Nova Competition Award
All films selected in the Nova Competition are eligible to compete for two equal best film awards.
The decisions of the Jury and the Festival Directorship are final.
Outstanding Art Exploration Award
BISFF Festival Directorship will award one each Outstanding Art Exploration Award, for International Competition and Chinese Language Competition respectively, celebrating films that excel at certain artistic aspects including acting, cinematography, set design, editing, and music among others.
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 are encouraged 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 featuring the festival logos should be the official version approved by the Festival.
The producers and distributors of award-winning films also are encouraged 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 case of any unforeseen eventualities, the decision of the Festival Directorship is final.
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Beijing International Short Film Festival
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