Umano Online Short Film Festival


We champion efforts to build empathy through storytelling. We strive to award quality shorts regardless of their budget.

We accept short films (20 minutes or less) across 4 categories twice a year:

  • Animation
  • Fiction
  • Non-Fiction
  • Student

* In order to qualify for the Student Film category, your short must have been completed while you were enrolled in full-time education. Please note: You will be required to upload a picture of your student ID if applying for the Student Film category.

The official selection of films will be viewable on the Umano website.

Umano Cinema Shorts seeks to support and champion short film from across the globe. We’re looking for inspiring, innovative filmmakers who share our passion for inspiring change through film and video. Whether you’re an established filmmaker or just starting out, Umano Cinema Shorts wants to hear from you.


    The theme of our Online Film Festival is Building Critical Empathy. To be eligible for Umano Cinema Shorts, your film must have a clear focus on a message that aims to make this world a better place taking humans, animals, and the environment into account. Your film could focus on key events or individuals, draw attention to different causes in a holistic manner or by encouraging others to join a cause. Please be as creative as you like and consider adding a call to arms to ensure that we continue to fight for the values we believe in.

    Umano Cinema Shorts rewards the winner of each category with a $5,000 prize.

    • We only accept short films via FilmFreeway.
    • We only accept short films based on our theme of radical/critical empathy.
    • Maximum film length 20 minutes (we have no minimum length).
    • Films in languages other than English will only be accepted with English subtitles.
    Submissions will be judged and scored based on criteria including: quality of screenplay (story, dialogue, character arcs etc), illustrating theme, acting, production quality, originality, technical proficiency, cinematography, sound design, editing, location/s used and set design. 

    We support indie filmmaking and will award additional points to shorts produced on a micro budget and/or minimal crew. We will also award additional points for shorts that address the well-being of humans, animals, and the environment holistically. 

    Your selection and award classification will be posted on our website. Selected films will also be available for viewing on our website. 

    We may choose to screen selected entries at our events. You will be notified before a screening of your film via email. 

    To stay up-to-date on our events, please subscribe to our newsletter. We only send emails when there are important Umano updates to share.


    If your short is selected for evening at an event we will inform you. We will also send you an exhibition file request email. You will need to provide an HD (1920 x 1080) file.


    Please make certain the email address in your entry form is correct. Please also ensure our email address is added to your Safe Senders list on your email platform.


    There is no fee to submit your short film for consideration to Umano Cinema Shorts.
    • Umano Cinema Shorts has no festival premiere eligibility requirements. Shorts that have screened at festivals are still eligible.
    • Umano Cinema Shorts has no public or internet broadcast eligibility requirements. If your short has screened on Vimeo etc, it is still eligible.
    • Changes to submitted films will only be accepted if accompanied by a new submission.
    • The decision of the selection committee is final.
    • Stills of selected films may also be shown on the Umano website and publicity/promo material including press releases, brochures and other materials.
    • Entrants are responsible for securing all rights and permissions from copyright and other holders relating to their short.
    • Umano Cinema Shorts reserves the right to update or modify these terms and policies without prior notice.

    We consider films fully before making a decision. Decisions are made in two rounds during our 6-month submission process. However, we will notify all filmmakers by or before April 30th, 2021 and November 30th, 2021 via email.

    • After selection, notification letters will be sent electronically.
    • Umano Cinema Shorts does not accept trailers or rough assemblies but will accept work-in-progress cuts (picture lock with temp sound, color, etc.). Please be aware Umano Cinema Shorts will not view multiple updates/versions of your film for programming consideration.

    Winter: 20th December 2020
    Summer: 1st July 2021




    I pledge to think critically and with compassion about my relationship with animals 

    - I will advance my knowledge about the sentience of animals
    - I will research and consider my decisions to use products and support activities that abuse and exploit animals
    - I will learn about what happens to animals in industrial farming, laboratories, zoos, circuses, and fashion
    - I will abstain from participation in animal exploitation and educate others 

    You have successfully signed up!


    I believe that Empathy can reduce suffering in the world, therefore I pledge that:

    - I will make a conscious effort to enhance my empathetic abilities

    - I will be mindful of my ego which can discourage my ability to relate to others

    - I will stand and speak up for the well-being of humans, animals, and our planet

    - I will align my thoughts, speech, and actions with the core principle of empathy

    You have successfully signed up!