Best 5 Short Documentary Film Festivals

The creators of short films are a special breed. There is a perception that making a short film, particularly one under 10 minutes, is easier than making a full-length movie. Anyone who has tried to write a poem versus a novel will tell you that that simply isn’t true. It’s even more difficult when you are doing a documentary. There is no true story that isn’t complex.

There are many short film festivals and many documentary film festivals, but there aren’t many that specialise in documentary shorts. This is a list of important short film festivals in Europe that have a documentary component:

  1. Uppsala International Short Film Festival – Uppsala, Sweden – Internationally recognized as Sweden’s most important short film festival, this is one of the world’s top places to have a short documentary shown.

  2. Curtas Vila do Conde – Vila do Conde, Portugal – This festival has a reputation for finding the most interesting and powerful new works and styles. It is important among the European short film festivals for its ground-breaking films.

  3. Short Film Festival Hamburg – Hamburg, Germany – Hamburg is a festival that is not only powerful for reaching audiences, but also industry leaders. It is a bellwether for international tastes and trends.

  4. Odense International Film Festival – Odense, Denmark – As Denmark’s oldest film festival, Odense sets that tone for the nation and the region. It attracts newcomers as well as some of the world’s finest creators of short documentaries.

  5. Zinebi Bilbao – Bilbao, Spain – The Mikeldi awards in documentary, fiction, and animation are among the world’s most coveted prizes. Bilbao is Spain’s oldest and most prestigious short film festival and  is considered by many to be the European Academy Awards for short films.

Most general content short film festivals have a documentary category, but these are among the most prestigious and famous in Europe. A win at any of these festivals and a documentary can easily be considered ground-breaking and worth watching.

Which festivals have you seen the best documentaries at? Which short documentaries do think are the most impactful and important?

Article written by Bob Peryea for The Monthly Film Festival 



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