2020 Short Film Competition

About the Competition

Welcome to 2020 Carnegie Mellon International “Faces” Film Festival Student Short Film Competition!

The CMU International Film Festival’s Short Film Competition (SFC) is an annual competition that aims to gather cinematic perspectives from around the world on a current social issue or idea. Our annual competition event unites local filmmakers with professionals and with in-house audiences; all the eyes a filmmaker could ask for under one roof. The SFC invites and encourages independent local filmmakers to submit a short film of their making that presents a unique vision, creates poignant conversation, and passionately and creatively captures the festival’s particular Faces theme. The 2020 festival theme is FACES OF HOME.

“Home” has many meanings. It can be a place, a group of people, or a feeling. The place can be a dwelling, a town, a city, or a country. It can be where we currently live, where we grew up, or a setting that we’re still trying to find. The relevant groups can consist of family members, friends, or fellow nationals. And although we often associate these places and groups with security and warmth, they may also invoke feelings such as anxiety and fear. Indeed, “home” is generally a mix of many of these elements, a focal point of jostling associations and desires.

For more info about this year’s Short Film Competition, please download our “Guidelines” document.


Films will be judged by a panel of industry professionals and local scholars and the top three films will be awarded prizes:

Grand Prize: $1,000
Second Prize: $500
Third Prize: $250



Filmmakers should be officially registered students in accredited educational institutions in Pittsburgh and must be present at the screening event in order to be receive the prize.

Film must not include copyrighted images, video or music.

Number of Submissions

Each director can submit a maximum of 2 short films. Film must not have been submitted to CMU International Film Festival Short Film Competition before.

Other Festival Submissions and/or Awards

If the film has been submitted to other festivals and/or received any awards, please list them with submission.


Film must have been made between 2018-2020.


Films should be anywhere between 5 - 15 minutes in length.


Film must include but is not strictly limited to the Faces of Home theme. The theme is open for creative interpretation.


If in a language other than English, and/or if audio is in any way muffled, subtitles are required.


1. MP4 or MOV formats
2. Use H.264 codec
3. Code Rate: 5M per second
4. Video size: 720P (1280x720)


The deadline for submission is 11:59 pm on March 10, 2020. Failure to submit prior to the due date may result in rejection from admittance.

Submission Process

Submissions for this year's short film competition are FREE and will all be made through FilmFreeway.

Please include Pittsburgh, United States within the address.

Screening Event

This year’s festival will take place between March 19 and April 5, 2020. One night during the festival will be dedicated to screening selected short films and announcing the awards. Each student whose work has been chosen gains the dual benefit of reactions from a live audience and feedback from industry professionals.

The date will be announced through our website, social media channels, and e-mail.

Selected films may also be shown at other festival events and will be posted on the CMU Faces Official YouTube Channel.


Please email cmusfc@gmail.com or Jolanta Lion at jola@cmu.edu for other payment methods, submission details, or any other questions concerning the Short Film Competition.