Ways to Make Money via Short Films

A short film is any film not long enough to be considered a feature film .the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences defines a short film as “an original motion picture that has a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all credits.”

Short films are like the laboratory of film making. It’s the area where filmmakers learn and experiment. The demand for short films has reached an all time high today.

Calling card : aspiring filmmakers  make short films which are used as a “calling card” to get exposure in Bollywood/Hollywood, so that producers, agents, studio executives, etc. will see them and then offer larger projects. is filmmakers can get offers for decently paid work in advertisements, web series and/or music videos.

Film festivals : The film can be screened at various reputed film festivals across the globe and cash money can be earned as prize. Also, when a filmmaker is accepted into a major film festival , lot of of offers from new websites. Some of such film festivals are mentioned below in the list:

Top 5 Film Festivals

  • Sundance Film Festival(USA)
  • Cannes Film Festival(France)
  • Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films (USA)
  • Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival (France)
  • Aspen Shortsfest (USA)

Other Film festivals held in various countries across the world are mentioned in alphabetical order:

Country Festival
Argentina Mar del Plata International Film Festival
Australia Flickerfest International Short Film Festival 
Melbourne International Film Festival
Sydney Film Festival
Belgium Brussels International Short Film Festival
Ghent Flanders International Film Festival 
Leuven International Short Film Festival
Bermuda Bermuda International Film Festival
Bosnia-Herzegovina Sarajevo Film Festival
Brazil Rio de Janeiro International Short Film Festival
Sao Paulo International Short Film Festival 
Sao Paulo International Film Festival
Canada Toronto International Film Festival 
Montreal World Film Festival 
Montreal International Festival of New Cinema
Canadian Film Centre’s Worldwide Short Film Festival
Vancouver International Film Festival – for Canadian shorts only
Edmonton International Film Festival 
Calgary International Film Festival
Chile Santiago Chilean International Short Film Festival
Colombia Cartagena International Film Festival
Czech Republic Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Denmark Odense International Film Festival 
AFIA Film Festival, Aarhus
Finland Tampere International Short Film Festival
France Angers First Film Festival
Germany Berlin International Film Festival
Cologne International Women’s Film Festival
Oberhausen International Short Film Festival  Oldenburg Film Festival 
 Interfilm Berlin Short Film Festival 
Filmfest Dresden 
 Hamburg International Short Film Festival
Greece Drama International Short Film Festival
Japan Short Shorts Film Festival
India Mumbai International Film Festival
Ireland Foyle Film Festival 
Cork International Film Festival
Italy Venice International Film Festival 
Turin International Film Festival of Young Cinema
Netherlands Rotterdam International Film Festival
Norway Grimstad Norwegian Short Film Festival
Poland Cracow International Documentary and Short Film Festival 
Wroclav Era New Horizon 
South Africa Durban International Film Festival 
Cape Town World Cinema Film Festival  
Spain Huesca International Film Festival 
Bilbao International Festival of Documentary and Short Films 
Gijon International Film Festival for Young People 
Valladolid International Film Festival
Sweden Uppsala International Short Film Festival 
Stockholm International Film Festival    
Gothenberg International Film Festival
Switzerland Locarno Film Festival
UK Raindance Film Festival
London Short Film Festival
Edinburgh International Film Festival
Manchester International Film Festival 
Encounters International Short Film Festival 
Leeds International Film Festival
Aesthetica Short Film Festival
Los Angeles Film Festival 
Tribeca Film Festival
SXSW: South By Southwest Film Festival 
Telluride Film Festival
Seattle International Film Festival 
San Francisco International Film Festival 
Slamdance Film Festival 
Chicago International Film Festival 
Austin Film Festival 
St. Louis International Film Festival 
Cinequest Film Festival 
Atlanta Film Festival 
Santa Barbara International Film FestivalRhode Island International Film Festival 
Florida Film Festival 
Nashville Film Festival 
Hamptons International Film Festival 
USA Film Festival – for American shorts only
Los Angeles International Short Film Festival 
Chicago International Children’s Film Festival 

Ann Arbor Film Festival 
Athens International Film Festival 
Black Maria Film Festival 
New Directors/New Films Festival 
Gen Art Film Festival – for American shorts only
Heartland Film Festival 
Starz Denver International Film Festival 
Mill Valley Film Festival 
Woodstock Film Festival 
Hawaii International Film Festival 
San Diego Film Festival 
Cleveland International Film Festival 
Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival 
Philadelphia Film Festival 
New Orleans Film Festival 
Stony Brook Film Festival 
World Arts Film Festival


Social Networking revenues : New Video on Demand (VOD) platforms are being launched almost every single day where the films can be launched. Vimeo, is perhaps in  the best known in the film distribution game.  Their recent introduction of the “tip jar” was a step in the right direction,.For example, a filmmaker on  Vimeo could charge 5 cents per film view. As a viewer, one has to  purchase a $5  credit from Vimeo, and then everytime the viewer watches a film that requires  payment, the site would automatically deduct a nickel from his/her account.  Vimeo could charge 10% for the service (that’s half a penny on a  five-cent film). A film with 500,000 views at a nickel apiece would earn  $22,500 for the filmmaker and $2,500 for Vimeo. Add in downloads for 25  cents, and you’ve instantly created a more effective model for short  filmmakers.

Youtube Adsense is another way of displaying the short films to the public, increase the online traffic and earning revenues.

The film maker can make money by partnering with any MCN available the country , which  will help gain audience and share revenue based on the agreement.

Grants: they are a pretty good way of funding your doc project. There could be several private, and state grants. PSBT in India is one.  Like this one – Call for Documentary Proposals. There are also theme specific grants like Climate Change etc, by international agencies.

Merchandise: Tee-shirts, wristbands or anything that you can buy cheap. You are not going to make a ton of money through this unless you have a huge fanbase. Film Riot has got it right.

Local Screenings : Through paid screenings in preview theatres. Through television screenings . A number of local cable operators networks are offering good money for the telecast rights of short films.

Legal tool : Selling rights of the short film to be made as a feature film is another way of earning.

Corporate sponsors/product placement : If the short film supports a particular cause or comes in the social benefit vision of any of the corporates, they may sponsor it. Also, placing an advertisement of a product or a local business in the short film, some sponsor money can be collected through this mode.

VFX breakdowns, detailed behind the scenes videos, production scripts, storyboards, lighting plots are  some more ways to add to the film content  and make it more interesting to the public which will in turn draw more revenues.

At the end, having discussed all the ways of earning through a short film, “The real profit is when you get to make another film,” says Kimberley Browning, director of Hollywood Shorts. The likes of Christopher Nolan and Wes Anderson made short films before their respective big breaks.

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