USIA Shorts (under 20 minutes)


Short film submissions totaling 5 minutes to 20 minutes. In addition to the general guidelines that qualify all artists and submissions, category-specific guidelines shall also apply. Submission details for each category are listed below.

Note: Multiple artists may collaborate to produce an entry and there are no limits on the number of artists collaborating for any submission.


Each film is categorized by its duration (running time) starting with 5 minutes to up to 20 minutes. Times are calculated starting from the first frame (audio or visual) up to the last frame (end of the film). Total film duration includes the duration of credits.


For accessibility to all audience members, closed captioning / subtitles must be burned into the film in English. Closed captions may also be provided in the original language in addition to English. For films with no dialogue, closed captions are also required to describe significant audio cues.

Stock Footage

Stock footage is permitted when it is justified. Stock footage should adequately portray the film and its narrative and help convey the creative ideas of the filmmaker. Filmmakers shall demonstrate that they hold properly acquired licences for each stock footage in their film.

File Format

Video: MP4, MOV, QuickTime, DCP (Unencrypted only)
Audio: .MP3, .AAC, .WAV, .PCM
Highest Quality movie file possible (e.g. Apple ProRes LT 82-102 Mbps, PCM 48 kHz 24-bit audio, .mov wrapper)

If a film advances to the International Programme, filmmakers may be additionally asked to submit their film at a higher quality if the original submission has too much compression for theatrical projection or online exhibition.

Digital Specifications

Frame Rate: progressive only: 23.98fps, 24fps, 25fps, 29.97fps, 30fps.
Resolution: Full HD (1920×1080), 2K (2048×1080), or 4K (3840×2160)
Color Space / gamma: Rec 709 / 2.2
Aspect Ratio: 1:2.35 (Cinemascope), 16:9 (Widescreen), or 4:3 (Square)