General Information

Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) 2021 will run from Thursday 5 to Sunday 22 August 2021.

9am (AEDT) Tuesday 10 November 2020.

5pm (AEDT) Tuesday 16 March 2021.

Yes, but only for short films – we do not have a competition for feature films. See here for more information about our Academy Awards®, BAFTA and AACTA Awards accredited short film competition.

Submitting a Film

We accept feature films, short films and XR (inclusive of VR, MR and AR) works across animation, documentary, experimental and fiction/narrative categories.

We look for great stories, unique artistic visions and different points of view – things we’ve never seen before! Our ultimate goal is to present a rich and inclusive program from a range of filmmakers. For a deep dive into our previous programs, we recommend looking at the MIFF Festival Archive, which goes all the way back to our first festival in 1952.

We only accept completed films during the submissions period. Films at picture-lock may only be submitted during the last submissions period (in March).

We do not accept scripts for programming consideration into the festival; however, if you are an Australian filmmaker, you may consider submitting your feature script or feature documentary outline (as part of a fully developed proposal) to the MIFF Premiere Fund here

Films must not have been (or will not be) exhibited in the state of Victoria, Australia, in any form – including television broadcasting – prior to Monday 23 August 2021. The only exceptions to this requirement are for private screenings held for cast, crew or investors, and film-school graduation screenings.

Additional notes:

  • We do not accept submissions that have already been released for home entertainment (i.e. available on Blu-ray or DVD).
  • Online broadcasting/streaming/VOD will be tolerated as long as access is geoblocked so as to exclude Australian viewers (i.e. not accessible to Australian IP addresses), or is available only for a limited time through an Australian film festival.

In saying this, we do take premiere status into consideration in the final selection process and give preference to submissions with ‘Victorian premiere’ or ‘Australian premiere’ status.

Please also be aware that any films eligible for our Shorts Awards are required to have ‘Victorian premiere’ status. Any short film selected for MIFF that screens as part of an online offering in an Australian film festival prior to Monday 23 August 2021 will play out of competition.

Yes, but you must ensure English subtitles are either embedded or can be turned on in the screener if the original language/s is/are not English.

All film submissions to MIFF must be made via FilmFreeway – films sent via any other means, including by post or email, will not be considered. To create a FilmFreeway account and submit your film to MIFF, please head here.

For your submission to be placed under consideration, you must:

  • complete the online submission form via FilmFreeway
  • select the appropriate film category
  • upload a working screener
  • pay the entry fee as required.

Failure to do any one of the above will result in your film not being considered for the festival. As we consider a vast number of films each festival, it is your responsibility to ensure that all submission requirements have been met.

We don’t have a preference for screeners, but many filmmakers use Vimeo as it allows flexibility – the film can be submitted for consideration elsewhere (through other platforms) without needing to upload it every time. Should you choose Vimeo, please ensure that any screener submitted is password-protected and that it remains active and accessible until the end of June 2021, as our programming team will continue to consider films ahead of the outcome date. If you change the password for whatever reason, you must inform us immediately by emailing submissions(at)miff.com.au with the Tracking Number in the subject line; films that are not accessible to us run the risk of being disqualified.

Please see here for more information on XR screeners. 

The following categories are available to choose from:

Feature-length films

If your film has a runtime of 41 minutes (rounded up from 40 minutes and 30 seconds) or more, you must select one of the four feature film categories:

  • Feature – Australian Narrative
  • Feature – Australian Documentary
  • Feature – International Narrative
  • Feature – International Documentary

Short films

If your film has a runtime of 40 minutes (rounded down from 40 minutes and 29 seconds) or less, you must select one of the eight short film categories:

  • Short – Australian Fiction
  • Short – Australian Animation
  • Short – Australian Documentary
  • Short – Australian Experimental
  • Short – International Fiction
  • Short – International Animation
  • Short – International Documentary
  • Short – International Experimental

Episodic

If your episodic work includes television, a mini-series, a web series or another serial format, you must select one of the two episodic categories:

  • Episodic – Australian
  • Episodic – International

XR works

If your experience includes immersive, interactive or live performance elements, you must select one of the two XR categories:

  • XR – Australian
  • XR – International

We recommend that you check how we define our various categories here prior to submission.

In short, yes, but Australia must be listed as a valid country of production (alongside any others) on your submission; otherwise, it will be disqualified from consideration, and any and all fees paid will be forfeited. We recommend that you check how we define ‘Australian’ here prior to submission.

We use the Academy definition, which is: a film that is 40 minutes (rounded down from 40 minutes and 29 seconds) or less.

When submitting, you must ensure you select the correct category on FilmFreeway. Otherwise:

  • The film may not be appropriately considered.
  • The film may be disqualified.
  • You may be liable for fee increases.

Once your online submission form on FilmFreeway has been completed, you will be prompted to make a payment. Please note: FilmFreeway only accepts payments via Visa, Mastercard, American Express, JCB, Discover, Diners Club, UnionPay or PayPal.

You must contact FilmFreeway directly, as they administer all payment processing.

To maintain a fair and equal submissions process for all filmmakers, MIFF does not offer fee waivers.

You may submit as many films as you like, providing each film meets all eligibility criteria/requirements and each film is submitted as a separate submission under the correct category. We do not offer a discount for multiple submissions. Each submission into either of the two episodic categories must only have one screener with all relevant episodes for consideration contained within (i.e. back-to-back in the intended order of viewing).

MIFF does accept WIPs, but only if the following conditions have been met:

  • The film must be at least at picture-lock stage.
  • The submission is made during the March submissions period ONLY. If a WIP is submitted during any other submissions period without any prior discussion with the submissions team, MIFF will disqualify the submission and submission fees will not be refunded.
  • The submitter accepts that the rough cut is the ONLY VERSION that can be submitted. MIFF will not accept further cuts of the film as they are completed, even in future years. For this reason, we recommend that you think very carefully about whether or not you should submit the film as a WIP.

Please ensure you clearly mark on the screener as well as in your FilmFreeway submission that the work is a WIP and include all relevant information about what will change or what is missing (e.g. missing credits, interstitial to be replaced, temporary soundtrack, etc.).

No. If a film has previously been submitted to MIFF, it is not eligible for resubmission to any future edition of MIFF. This also applies to WIPs that have previously been submitted, even with significant changes.

We ask for demographic information about a director/s for the purposes of tracking diversity in submissions and identifying the groups whose voices and stories we are receiving. The answers do not affect the likelihood of a submission being successful or unsuccessful, and you are welcome to decline to answer any or all questions in this section. Please note: this data may be used in our reporting requirements; however, the data will be de-identified and the director/s will not be associated with these responses. 

A cover letter is not required, but any information about your intention, experience or background, and the experiences of cast and crew when making the film, that will contribute to our understanding of a film will support your application. Whatever you write, we do recommend that you keep it short and to the point.

After Submitting a Film

Once you have successfully entered your film via our FilmFreeway page, please take note of your submission’s unique Tracking Number. If you need to contact the festival at any point about your submission, you will need to include this Tracking Number in the subject line of your email. If you need help with your FilmFreeway submission, please contact FilmFreeway directly.

Please immediately email submissions(at)miff.com.au with the film title, director’s name, Tracking Number and the correction/s to be made, and we will update our records.

We are not in a position to offer reviews of updated cuts, including for submitted WIPs. Once you have made your submission and uploaded the screener, we will not accept further copies of the film for consideration.

All relevant information needs to be submitted or uploaded via FilmFreeway only, including publicity materials like electronic press kits (EPKs) and posters. Please do not send via email any publicity materials unless your film is selected and we expressly ask for them.

The Accelerator Lab is not open for applications. Once you submit your short film via FilmFreeway, you may send through your CV and a short write-up on your upcoming project/s as an expression of interest to submissions(at)miff.com.au. If your film is selected, you will also be notified whether or not you qualify for the Accelerator Lab. Please see here for information on eligibility and selection for the Accelerator Lab.

The submissions fees cover our administrative costs and, very often, we have already viewed your work for consideration. You may wish to purchase Submission Protection from FilmFreeway, which is wholly administered by the platform; for more information, please contact FilmFreeway directly.

You may post trailers in full, but clips or scenes must not be more than 10% of the film’s total runtime.

We will email the main contact of the submission no later than the end of June 2021. Because we administer a vast number of submissions, we ask that you please be patient with us.

We are not responsible for incorrect or outdated contact information, so if your main contact details change during the submissions period, please inform us immediately via submissions(at)miff.com.au so we can update our records. We also recommend that you add the miff.com.au domain to your email provider’s ‘safe senders’ list to ensure you receive all correspondence from us.

No. Due to the volume of submissions we receive, we are unfortunately unable to correspond with individual applicants about these matters.

Please see here for a list of accepted formats for exhibition.

No, we do not have the facilities to organise screen tests. If you are concerned about the exhibition copy of your film, please check it prior to sending it to the festival.

XR

We will consider VR, MR, AR and any other XR works created for a variety of platforms, including 180-degree or 360-degree (and anywhere in between) cinema, interactive VR, mixed-media installations, custom digital platforms, live performance in the cinema space, and other inventive works of animation, documentary and fiction. Specifically regarding VR platforms, we support works intended for exhibition using Oculus, HTC VIVE, 360 Gear VR and Samsung Gear VR with controller. If you have any questions about whether a work would be accepted prior to submitting, please contact us via submissions(at)miff.com.au.

No, there is no runtime or duration limit imposed on XR works.

After you complete your submission via FilmFreeway, you can email a downloadable link of the experience to submissions(at)miff.com.au with the Tracking Number in the subject line. Please also ensure you provide documentation that outlines all logistical and equipment requirements for both the preview and exhibition of your experience. As with all other film submissions, we ask that you ensure any download link/s submitted remain/s active and accessible until the end of June 2021, as our programming team will continue to consider films ahead of the outcome date.

Yes. If you have any questions about submitting an XR experience as a WIP, or if your experience requires specialised equipment, please contact us via submissions(at)miff.com.au.

More Information

If you haven’t already read through our submissions regulations, you can view them here.