We accept film submissions on FilmFreeway. Please do not submit films to us directly. If you are   new to FilmFreeway, getting started is pretty easy. Your first step will be to create an account and then to create a “project” for your submission. Please refer to the following page for more information on how to create a project and submit to festivals: https://filmfreeway.com/help

When you make your submission to FilmFreeway, it is important to check your email address frequently.  If there is an issue with your submission and we are unable to get in touch with anyone by our final submission deadline, we will be forced to disqualify your submission (without refund of submission fees).

How many films can I submit?
You can submit as many films as you would like. You pay a separate submission fee for each submission. 

 When are your deadlines?

You can find a full list of deadlines under the “Dates & Deadlines” section of our FilmFreeway.

We have three deadlines throughout our submission process:

Early Bird Entry– January 8, 2023

Early Bird Deadline – March 8, 2023

Regular Entry– March 9, 2023

Regular Entry Deadline – May 08, 2023

Late Entry – May 09, 2023

Late Entry Deadline – June 08, 2023

After late Entry deadline June 08, 2023, the submissions are closed. Please keep track of deadlines closely if you plan on submitting within a certain submission window. All deadlines are set for 11:59pm EST.

What are your submission fees?
$20 for each submission. Submission fees are nonrefundable.

What screener formats do you accept?

All FilmFreeway submissions must include a streamable online screener of the full film. We do NOT accept DVDs, Blu-Rays, or files that must be downloaded, or trailers.

Are you accepting Virtual Reality films this year?

No. In the future they will be accepted.


 Do you offer student discounts?
No. The entry fee takes into consideration student filmmakers.

Do you offer discounts for eastern/northeastern NC and NC filmmakers in general?
No. The entry fee takes into consideration all filmmakers.


 How do I know you received my submission?
In your FilmFreeway account, under the “Submissions” tab, you can locate your submission to our festival. As long as the Submission Status is listed as “In Consideration”, your film has satisfied all of our requirements and is ready to be reviewed by our screeners.

I want to withdraw my film, can I get a refund?
Once a project is listed “In Consideration” on FilmFreeway, we are unable to offer refunds.

When will filmmakers be notified of the final decisions for the festival?
Notifications are scheduled to take place no later than August 08, 2023. 

How will we be notified?
Accepted films will receive an invitation letter by email. Please make sure the email address associated with your submission remains active throughout the submission process. Your status of Accepted/Not Accepted will also be reflected in FilmFreeway under “Submissions” by the end of day on August 08, 2023.

Notification dates are subject to change. We strive to notify all submitters via email when a change will be made.

If my film is programmed, am I guaranteed a theater screening?
All accepted films will screen at least once during the festival.

APP Short-Film Festival PROGRAM
How long can films be?
1. Short Shorts Cut off runtimes are 5-10 minutes with credits

2. Shorts 11-25minutes with credits

3. Long Feature Shorts run time of 40 minutes no less than 26 minutes with credits

Do you have any ratings limitations? Must films be PG or PG-13? Do you program films with strong content and language?
We do have ratings limitations on films submitted. We will program films with a variety of content, from kid friendly to work that is APPROPRIATE WITHOUT content and language such as profanity and NO nudity. Our mission is to program great films that elevate, celebrate, and inspire great stories.

Do you have a category for local films or films with local or state connections?
As a first-year festival host, we advocate for local/regional talent and filmmakers. We are proud to showcase homegrown talent- films with local ties, and films made by those with roots in eastern/northeastern NC.  However, being from eastern/northeastern NC does not guarantee acceptance and all NC films have to stand alongside other films submitted.

How many films are put in competition?
The number of competition films have not been determined. 

Do you screen films out of competition?
Yes. This year we will have a Community Choice Award for short and short -short films (voted on by the community after each screening).

How do you program short films?
Shorts are programmed in blocks around similar themes. We look to see what blocks can be built from themes present in the submissions we wish to program. 

Do you program international films?
No international films this year.

Do you prefer films with celebrities?
We prefer great and interesting stories. If a star is in a film great!


 Who are your screeners?
Our screening committee is comprised of volunteer screeners which include some filmmakers, producers, directors, academics and some screen for other festivals.

Can someone who submitted a film or worked on a submitted film also be a screener?
Yes, but screeners who were involved in the production of a submitted film will be restricted from judging films in the same category they submitted in.

How are films scored?
Each film is watched by members of our screening committee and evaluated across several different criteria. Screeners are asked a series of questions about each film, working to determine whether the film is a good fit for the festival. Every film is ultimately judged and decided by a programmer. 

Are films selected solely on screener feedback?
No. We strive to revisit as many films as possible to make sure we create the strongest lineup.

Can I find out how my film is doing once I’ve submitted?
You will be notified of any changes to your submission status. Please do not call or email us asking for updates on your film. As long as your FilmFreeway Submission Status is listed as “In Consideration”, it is still a contender. The submission review process takes a while and typically doesn’t firm up until very close to our notification date.


 Best Feature Short, Best Documentary Short, Best Comedic Short, Best Family Short, Best Music Video, Best Animated Short, Best Episodic Content Short, Best Student Short. Preference is that your submission has not been screened online to the general public.

1. Best Feature Short – A complete story with developed characters.  movie with inspiring storytelling, a compelling storyline with a runtime of 40 minutes or less but not under 5 minutes including credits.

2. Best Documentary Short A nonfiction film in the US with a run time of 40 minutes or less including credits.

3. Best Comedic Short – Light-hearted drama created to amuse, entertain, and inspire enjoyment. No profanity.

4. Best Student Short – Must be the original work of an individual student or a collaborative of other students from concept to production.

5. Best Family Short – Beautifully crafted stories of hope and triumph over adversity.

6. Best Music Video – A video showcasing creativity, originality sound and picture quality.

7. Best Animated Short -Telling stories and sharing ideas in a unique and creative way.

8. Episodic Content – Any live-action, documentary/nonfiction, or animation project presented with the intention of having multiple episodes with a run time of 15 minutes no less than 5 including credits.

Paul & Ethel Rankins Short Film Awards

(2 Categories)

1. Best Homegrown Short – 50% of film shot in  eastern/northeastern NC 

2. NC Filmmaker Award 50% of film shot in NC

Community Hope Short Film Awards

1. Emerging Filmmaker Award (supporting early careers)

2. Honors filmmakers who demonstrate their creativity and commitment to telling great stories despite the challenge of limited resources. Their grit and determination to produce great stories is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate some of the most talented emerging filmmakers.

2. Community Choice Award – A one-of-a-kind award where local communities choose.

3. The Inaugural Hybrid and Project Innovation Award – An award given for projects in collaboration with a young filmmaker and an adult filmmaker that elevates the film with faith and hope and possibility. Creatively using #addaprayer is not mandatory but recommended.

How do I know if my film is in competition?
The Programming team will select and notify all competition titles after the full program has been confirmed. An invitation to the festival does not guarantee that a film will play in competition.