Call for Entries Coming SOON!

The submission period for the 2018 Fast Forward Film Festival will open Summer 2017!

About the 2018 Call for Entries

The Fast Forward Film Festival encourages films from Rochester, NY residents that tap into the local experience and compel audiences to engage with the community and raise environmental awareness.

Embracing the short film format, Fast Forward challenges filmmakers to utilize the power of visual storytelling to convey the urgency of our environmental problems. Shorts are a liberating form that allow for greater experimentation and give voice to both aspiring and veteran filmmakers. By focusing creativity into films under five minutes in length, Fast Forward films become an important communication tool to inspire change, connect people and build an environmentally concerned community.

The Fast Forward Film Festival is an initiative of the 501(c)(3) non-profit The Lost Bird Project. For more information:

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Submission Tips – The Dos & Don’ts

The Dos!

Tell Local Stories: We want films that inspire both our filmmakers and our audiences.  Although it is not required that the focus of your film be about the Rochester area, we want our filmmakers to feel connected and passionate about their subject matter. Help others take action locally by letting them know what means the most to you!

Share YOUR Perspective: Your perspective is important and has the potential to deeply affect the way others engage with the environment. Tell a story from your heart and watch change happen before your eyes!

Be Creative: Do you love animation? Prefer to get down and dirty with clay instead of film? No problem! This is your film, and we’d love for you to put your spin on it.  From claymation and cartoon graphics to documentary storytelling, our filmmakers use many different techniques. This festival is an opportunity to express your creativity!

Get others involved: Collaboration is key!  If you’re more of a writer but not a director, find someone who is and work together to create something great!  The craft of making films requires many specific skills.  Working with other people will make your film stronger and better.

Live Here: The Fast Forward Film Festival only accepts entries from filmmakers in the Rochester area.

Shorten an old film: Films must be 5 minutes or less, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use your old footage to tell the story in a shorter time frame.

Make it about the environment: The Fast Forward Film Festival only accepts films that related to our environment.

Be Proud! No matter what your age, skill level or prior experience, be proud of what you’ve submitted! You have used your voice for the power of good to inspire others to care about the environment!

The Don’ts!

Get Discouraged: Filming isn’t easy for everyone, but even the most novice of filmmakers have reaped the rewards of their efforts. Be patient with yourself, especially if you have not created a film before. Make sure to give yourself ample time to plan, film and edit before the submission deadline.

Think your age is disadvantage: We encourage all ages to submit to the festival! We have Youth (to 17) and Adult (18+) categories to better feature your films and perspectives. It’s always the right time to tell your story!

Sell a product: We want to hear your unique perspective, not a promotional video about you, your product, or your services. We are looking for films that inspire. Make what you do a part of the film but we are looking for new perspectives, not promo videos.

Go over 5 minutes: We are a short film competition.  All films should be no longer than five minutes in length, including end credits.

Submit the same video: We will not accept a film that has already been submitted in previous years to the Fast Forward Film Festival.  It is okay if your film has been submitted to other festivals.

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Submission FAQs

When are submissions being accepted, and when is the submission deadline?

Submissions open August 8, 2016 and close on February 27, 2017.

Is there a fee to submit?

There are no fees to submit to the Fast Forward Film Festival.

Who can submit a film, and what type of film can be submitted?

Anyone from the Greater Rochester area can submit a film, which includes the Finger Lakes area (but not as far as Buffalo or Syracuse).

We encourage all ages to submit to the festival.  All genres and styles are accepted.

Are there submission categories?

Fast Forward 2017 has an Adult Program and a Youth Program.  Cash awards will be given to filmmakers for the most inspiring, compelling, and engaging films. The categories for the programs are as follows:

For the Adult Program:

(3) Winners of the adult program will each receive an award of $1,000.

(1) The Audience Choice Award recipient will receive an award of $500.

For the Youth (under 18) Program:

(3) Winners of the youth program will each receive an award of $500.

(1) The Audience Choice Award youth recipient will receive an award of $250.

Does my film topic have to be about Rochester?

The festival is all about celebrating the environmental voice of Rochester, but subject matter is not limited to the Rochester area. Please note that filmmakers must be from the Greater Rochester region, which includes the Finger Lakes area (but not as far as Buffalo or Syracuse).

Why is the limit 5 minutes?

The Fast Forward Film Festival is a short film competition. Limited only by runtime and driven by innovation and experimentation, short films transcend the rules of conventional storytelling and allow for greater creativity.

Short films submitted to Fast Forward must have a total running time of less than 5 minutes, including credits.

Can I submit a short film that has already been released publicly? 

There are no premiere or prior screening restrictions for short film submissions. Shorts that have been previously released via any home video outlet, broadcast television, internet, and/or publicly screened anywhere in the world remain eligible.

Can I use a pre-existing film for the Fast Forward Film Festival?

We will not accept a film that has already been submitted in previous years of the Fast Forward Film Festival. Otherwise, pre-existing films are encouraged and allowed.

If any film includes non-English dialogue, do you require English subtitles?

All films that contain significant non-English dialogue MUST include on-screen English subtitles at the time of submission. A translated list of dialogue on paper is not sufficient. If your film is mostly in English and you intend to intentionally leave out subtitles for any non-English dialogue included in the film, you do not need to provide subtitles for those particular sections.

How do I submit online?

Fast Forward Film Festival accepts entries via, an online submissions platform. FilmFreeway offers free HD online screeners, Vimeo and YouTube integration, and more. To submit, please go to: and click on “Submit Your Film”.

If you submitted your film via our online submission platform, you do not need to send us any physical materials. If you are not satisfied with the quality of your digital upload and would prefer to send a disc instead, please contact immediately, so we can modify your previously selected submission format.

Am I required to obtain rights for copyrighted material included in my film?

You must clear all copyrighted materials included in your film before you can publicly screen it. It is the sole responsibility of the entity submitting the project to secure permission from the copyright holder of the material in question, whether it is music, stock footage, or any other elements that could violate an existing copyright. Films that are accepted into the Festival must sign a waiver stating that materials used in the film do not violate any existing copyright.

How many films may I submit?

You may submit as many films as you would like, all will be eligible as long as they meet the criteria. Each film must be submitted separately.

What types of films are you looking for? What stands out?

We celebrate the independent spirit of unique and original storytelling. Diverse voices and films that push the limits of style and narrative also excite us, but there is no single aesthetic that we look for over any other. We value creative storytelling about an interesting environmental point-of view.

May I make trailers, clips, or scenes of my film available online?

Yes, you may make any shortened version of your film available online before, during, or after the festival. We ask that you simply do not air the entirety of your entry before the screenings at the Fast Forward Film Festival.

Who will review my film?

The Fast Forward Film Festival has four jurists who will be made publicly known during the submission process. These jurists review, score, and select the films for the Festival.

When and how, will I hear about my submission?

During the submission period, you will contacted if your film needs additional documentation. Within one month following the submission deadline, you will be notified via the email address you provided at submission if your film has or has not been selected.

Who do I contact if I have any questions after I submit my film?

Email with any questions during or after you submit your film. We make every effort to respond within 24 hours of your inquiry.

Where do I mail a submission if I choose to mail through the US Postal Service?

All submissions should be mailed to us at the address below along with the Festival Mail-In Submission Form.  This form can be requested by emailing  Please do not send us a DVD if you have already submitted your film through FilmFreeway.

Mail to:

Fast Forward Film Festival
274 North Goodman Street
Ste B267
Rochester, NY 14607


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Submit Your Film

Fast Forward Film Festival accepts entries via, an online submissions platform.

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Resources for Filmmakers – Downloads

Make sure that your film submission follows the Terms & Conditions (PDF) of the festival. Rochester Movie Makers has generously allowed Fast Forward Film Festival entrants access to their library of release forms. Depending on the type of film you submit, you may need to use the forms available below. For more filmmaking documents visit Rochester Movie Makers “Filmmaker Resources” webpage.

Adobe PDF

General Music Release ver2 PDF
General Location Release ver2 PDF
General Actor Waiver and Release ver2 PDF

Word DOC

General Music Release ver2 DOC
General Location Release ver2 DOC
General Actor Waiver and Release ver2 DOC

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