59th Annual

Rochester International Film Festival

April 20, 2017 to April 22, 2017

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PO Box 17746
Rochester NY 14617
Phone: 585-234-7411

CLOSED FOR THE SEASON • Information may be outdated. Add this event to your Watch List and set a Remind-Me if you want to be notified when the next Call For Entries is posted.

Short Films
Short films up to 30 minutes, all genres.


Movies on a Shoestring, Inc. is formed to foster and encourage the study and production of motion pictures as a medium of artistic expression, to educate its members and the public in the art and technique of motion picture photography, and to provide a venue for independent filmmakers to present their cinematic creations annually.


Movies on a Shoestring was founded in 1959 by a group of Rochester-area movie enthusiasts to provide a venue for independent filmmakers to present their cinematic creations. The name was a double entendre: most amateur filmmakers shot on 8mm back then, and the narrowness of the stock led its detractors to call it "the shoestring gauge."

We held our first public exhibition at the Rochester Public Library. It consisted of 16 films made by people from the Rochester area. During the second year a film from Toronto, Canada was included, and in a modest sense Movies on a Shoestring became an international festival. That was also the year we moved the show to the Dryden Theatre through the courtesy of George Eastman House. Three hundred people attended the performance.

1964 was our first truly international year. We received films from all over the United States as well as five foreign countries. This international activity prompted us in 1965 to identify our shows as The Rochester International Movie Film Festival and to become a charter member of the International Association of Amateur Film Festivals, a world-wide organization dedicated to establishing standards and consistency among festivals of this type.

By 1971 Movies on a Shoestring Inc. had firmly established itself among the world's leading amateur festivals, so we modified our name to The Rochester International Amateur Film Festival. In 1983 we accepted our first video entries. The worldwide growth of film schools and of the film industry in general has led to a great increase in the number of professional quality short films being produced and competing for spots in our festival, so in 1996 we dropped the word "amateur" from our name and became The Rochester International Film Festival.

To provide independent filmmakers even greater public exposure, beginning in 1972, selected films from each year's festival have been assembled into a traveling show called The Best of the Fest. We have made it possible to loan the traveling show, free of charge, to organizations around the state.


Al Figler; Brian Moffitt (webmaster); Dan Reardon (Financial Contact); Josephine Perini


Our selection process has two stages. Each entry is first viewed in its entirety by MOAS members, who discuss the film and vote whether to keep it for final judging. Every filmmaker receives a critique letter summarizing viewers' comments about his or her entry. When preliminary judging is completed, final judges view all the entries that were kept and make the final festival selections. Each entry chosen for the festival receives our distinctive Shoestring Trophy. We also offer home accommodations and local transportation for filmmakers whose works are screened at the festival.

The festival is open to films in all genres. DVD's must be in NTSC format.

Maximum length of entries is 30 minutes.

Each entry must stand alone as a self-contained work. Episodes of a series, video components of a multimedia installation, or other fragments of larger works will not be accepted.

Entries must be submitted on DVD for preview.

Multiple entries on a single tape or disc are not permitted.

A completed entry online and entry must accompany each entry. Make checks payable to Movies on a Shoestring, Inc. International entries must be paid in international money orders payable in U.S. funds.

Entries must be postmarked no later than the deadline date.

Entries must be sent by regular mail: UPS, FedEx, and other delivery services cannot deliver packages to P.O. Boxes.

All possible care will be taken in handling of entries; however, Movies on a Shoestring, Inc. cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage to entries.


Rochester International Film Festival is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes.

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 and regulations.

The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless Rochester International Film Festival from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.