11th Annual

Lancaster International Short Film Festival

November 08, 2018 to November 10, 2018

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237 North Prince Street
Suite 304
Lancaster PA 17603
Phone: 7172241273

OPEN CALL FOR ENTRIES • Select a Category of Entry to continue.

Should be funny, either directly or indirectly.
Should be moving and dramatic.
Should be significantly animated. Live action, special-effects heavy pieces qualify.
Should be fear-invoking and/or terrifically suspenseful.
Should be non-fiction, intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record. Mockumentaries qualify but might be better suited for Comedy.


The Lancaster International Short Film Festival supports the independent digital film community by offering a competitive film festival in Lancaster, Pennsylvania --an annual destination for short film aficionados to experience the best of the contemporary art form.

We are fans of film. We love the stories, we love the people, we love the festival.
Our aim is to bring the eclectic voices of the world to our corner of the planet in an intimate venue to share our love with you.



The Lancaster International Short Film Festival illuminates downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania one weekend a year. It happens in the City of Lancaster with a backdrop of charming colonial brick buildings bursting with art, surrounded by miles of farmland. It is the longest, continuously running film festival in Central Pennsylvania and only a short distance from NYC, Philadelphia, and the Baltimore-Washington area.

In the past, the film festival was presented at Penn Cinema (2008: Lititz, PA), the Stahr Performing Arts Center (2009, 2010, 2011: Lancaster, PA), Tellus360 (2011: Lancaster, PA), The Ware Center | Milllersville University Downtown Campus (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015), Franklin & Marshall College's The Green Room Theater (2014), Zoetropolis Film & Art (2014, 2015), and the Lancaster Elks Lodge #134 (2015. 2016 & 2017). The 2018 Festival will enjoy its eleventh (11th) season from 1-3 November 2018 in beautiful downtown Lancaster.

Each year an increasing number of actors, filmmakers and producers attend and are on hand for Q & A. As we learn more about the Official Selections we will be developing Special Events for the film festival (e.g., panels, special presentations, after-parties with musical acts, etc.) around them.

The film festival is directed by its founder, Michael Hoober –a native of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. For the past eleven years he has pushed this idea forward with various teams. This year’s executive team includes Mike Lombardo of Reel Splatter Productions, Crescentia Volz, Bryan Schaefer, Mark Pennell, & David J. Ramsay. Together we hope to bring you an engaging community event surrounding the best of contemporary short film.


This year, we seek short films from five (5) broadly-defined categories: Comedy, Drama, Animation, Horror and Documentary. Submissions should not exceed 30 minutes.

Filmmakers of all levels are encouraged to submit to the film festival. Previous award-winners have included students, hobbyists, and professionals. Our Selection Committee is keen on promoting lower-budget shorts for accolades, an engaging story and clever editing can best a high budget submission.

All submissions will be reviewed by the Selection Committee. This panel will shose the Official Selections and the “Best Of” each category. Then, a second round will determine (from the six category winners) the recipient of the Grand Prize. There will be two other special awards: The Home Grown Award —bestowed upon the best short film created by a Lancaster County Team or Theme and a Best Actor Award. All of these will be announced and presented at the Awards Ceremony at the close of the film festival on 3 November 2018. ) Each year, the physical awards have been works of art and the cash prizes are not too shabby.

The 2018 LISFF Official Selections will be screened from 1-3 November 2018 with special events leading up to it. Following the Final Due Date for Submissions, we will begin constructing the dynamics of the film festival and announce the venues. We expect to have this complete and online on/around 15 September 2018.

Early Bird Passes will go on sale on/around 1 September 2018 and will be available until 1 October 2018—when we announce the Official Selections and schedule. We will place medleys (various categories) of short films, into 90- to 100-minute blocks and spread them over eight to ten screenings. General Admission tickets will be available for individual screenings, as well as both Day passes and Full Festival passes. (All Official Selections receive two VIP passes—some travel stipends may be available for Official Selections attending from afar.)



Crescentia Mello; Michael Hoober (Creative Director)


The Lancaster International Short Film Festival presents an annual Open-Call Short Film Competition with Cash Prizes. The outcome of the competition will be determined by a Selection Committee composed of faculty, filmmakers, actors, media professionals and other community representatives from Lancaster County (and beyond.)

Basic Submission Info.
The submission/entry may not exceed 30 minutes. You may choose one of 6 categories: Comedy, Drama, Animation, Horror, Music Video & Documentary. The Selection Committee will consider your Entry from the category’s general perspective. Entries may be in more than one category; however, an entirely new submission is required for each category.

Submissions should not exceed a traditional R-rating. The film festival will be presented in clusters of age-appropriate ratings. Thus, the higher the rating (G, PG, R --applied by LISFF) the more restricted the audience may be. The LISFF rating system bears a common sense resemblance to the MPAA system. (Horror entries may approach NC-17.)

The Lancaster International Short Film Festival (LISFF) will include all Official Selections from each category. Awards will be announced at the closing of the Festival on 3 November 2018. Winners who are unable to attend will receive their award via UPS/USMail shortly thereafter.

Submissions designated as Official Selections for the 2018 Film Festival will receive 2 VIP Passes, if they are able to attend, and will have the opportunity to apply for small stipends (if available) to attend the film festival.

Best Comedy = $100; Best Drama = $100; Best Animation = $100; Best Horror = $100; Best Documentary = $100 From the above winners, a Grand Prize will be identified and received a total of $1000. There are two Special Awards: The Home Grown Award ($100), to be bestowed on the best short of any category with a Lancaster (PA) based team or theme; and, the Best Actor ($100), to be determined by attendees of the film festival. (The Best Actor will be delivered to the individual actor.)

By default, the awards will be given/delivered to the individual who completed the submission (or Best Actor). In most cases this is the director, writer, and/or producer; however, this should all be clear between all involved the submitter, the director/producer(s), and Best Actor.

Review of Important Stuff and More Info.
* Complete all sections of the Entry Forms and read/endorse the Release/Agreement. (If you are under 18, you will need your parents to read/endorse as well.)

* For 2018 there are 6 categories: Drama, Comedy, Animation, Horror, Music Video and Documentary. While a single film could be entered in more than one category, a separate entry form and fee is required for each submission. Also, a film can only win in one category—the one in which it places the highest.

* No member of the Selection Committee or anyone directly affiliated with the 2018 Lancaster International Short Film Festival executive team may enter the competition.

* Submitted materials will not be returned unless otherwise arranged.

* Foreign language submissions must have English subtitles.

* Entries may be excerpted or played in full for TV, website, and/or other promotional purposes as connected to the Lancaster International Short Film Festival present and future. Please notify (in writing) any press restrictions within your entry package.

* LISFF accepts no responsibility for loss or damage of entries during shipment via snail mail. Please inquire if you have not received a confirmation of receipt within seven (7) days of sending the film.

* LISFF accepts no responsibility for the use of copyrighted or appropriated image/sound in submitted works. The filmmaker(s) accept(s) full responsibility in securing permission and/or properly crediting copyrighted images and sound. If a submission does not demonstrate proper permissions, LISFF will contact the filmmaker and it will need to be fixed promptly or the entry may be disqualified (without refund).

* A category must have more than two entries to win the Best of Category designation. If, following the close of the submission process, there are two or fewer entries in any category, LISFF will contact the filmmakers/directors and discuss options with the possibility of a refund. (This has never happened, thus far, but has been in these rules since the beginning.)

* Filmmakers/directors/entrants are encouraged to use Withoutabox's Secure Online Screener. Please make sure you add/upload a few eye-catching stills in your Submission.

>>>VERY IMPORTANT: We will announce the 2018 Official Selections on/around 1 October 2018 . If your submission is selected for presentation as an Official Selection in the film festival, a hard copy in an acceptable file format will need to be delivered online or via the post within 14 days. (One popular method includes transfer via Vimeo download.) This is crucial. If we do not have a quality copy before the day we send the program guide to the printers, your film may not be presented in the film festival (unless we are reasonably assured by you that it will arrive in time).

* The availability of Entry Fee Waivers will be announced following the Regular Deadline. Terms of the Waivers will be identified if/when they are granted. Apply for an Entry Fee Waiver by contacting the email address provided.

* Entering a film/video indicates acceptance of The Lancaster International Short Film Festival submission General Rules & Terms And Conditions. (See below.)

If you have any further questions, please contact us via the LISFF website.



I, the undersigned and submitter, acknowledge and agree as follows:

1) I have read and understand the General Rules and comply with all eligibility requirements for this film’s submission.

2) To the best of my knowledge, all of the statements in the online documents required for the submission process and the statements below are true.

3) This film/entry is not subject to litigation nor is threatened by litigation.

4) I am authorized to submit this film/entry to the Competition.

5) I understand that it is a violation of certain State and Federal Laws, including Federal Copyright Laws, to use the original works of others without permission.

6) I have secured all necessary rights and permissions for the film/entry to be exhibited in the Feature Presentation, including, but not limited to, releases for music, talent, photographs, and images (including those photos/images provided to the Competition to be used for publicity purposes), as well as any other rights/permissions to use the work of another party.

7) I agree to indemnify and hold harmless the Lancaster International Short Film Festival (LISFF) and its agents from claims, damages or loss that may result from my failure to secure any necessary rights/permissions, including claims of copyright infringement and unauthorized use.

8) By submitting my film to the Competition, I agree to allow the LISFF both presentation rights of the Submission, as a product within the Film Festival (i.e. to show at screenings) and limited distribution rights (i.e. to be featured on eventual LISFF collections on DVD, digital downloads, and/or television broadcasts/streams). Filmmakers/submitter will be notified if/when these limited distribution rights are activated and should contact us, in writing/via email, about any restrictions.

9) I release and hold harmless The Lancaster International Short Film Festival and its agents from damage to or loss of the print/entry en route to the submission address.

10) I will abide by the decisions of 2018 Lancaster International Short Film Festival programmers and judges.

11) I understand that violations noticed regarding any of the above may result in disqualification from the Competition without refund.

I have read and agree to all of the 2018 Lancaster International Short Film Festival Submission Guidelines, Rules, and Regulations, certify that I am over 18 years of age, and I am authorized to submit this film entry to the film festival.